Have a chunk whilst you get your bike fixed, shop for household furniture or see a clearly show

You may be employed to going procuring and staying available a cup of not-so-refreshing espresso while you browse.

But what if you could munch on freshly popped popcorn whilst browsing for a new hedge trimmer at the hardware store – then decide on up an artisan loaf of bread on your way out the door?

Skip breakfast? No concerns, the owner of a regional bicycle store will make you a breakfast sandwich and pour you a cup of Honest Trade organic and natural espresso to go with it while you hold out for your trip to be repaired. Seize a crimson snapper whilst you are hoping to make a decision on that new dining space table, or decide up a 6-pack together with a surfboard before you head to the beach front. Out for a evening at the theater? Expend intermission devouring a slice of nevertheless-heat do-it-yourself blueberry pie, topped with hand-crafted ice cream, then select up some bison steaks or Mangalitsa pork at the on-web page farm stand.

These are just a number of examples of Maine firms that are not dining establishments or delis or marketplaces, but market extra than bikes, surfboards, coffee tables, incredibly hot drinking water heaters and theater tickets. They are unforeseen sites to uncover one thing tasty to take in or consume.

Most locations confess that certainly, this can be a good promoting transfer that delivers a lot more folks into their companies, and delivers in extra repeat business, especially in a foods-loving city like Portland. But it is also extra than that – it’s a way to link with prospects by providing them an expertise, and, in some scenarios, tapping into “hanging out” tradition.

From the outdoors, 93 Main Electric Bicycle Cafe does not look like the sort of place that would provide a superior cup of coffee or a breakfast sandwich. Personnel photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

When Thaddeus St. John, the owner of the 93 Key Electric Bike Cafe in South Portland, and his business enterprise spouse, Doug Watts, were 1st imagining about opening a retail shop, they talked about how considerably they like to have a cup of espresso in the mornings prior to likely for a ride or even though watching their bikes being repaired. So they determined to set a few of couches and a coffee table into their photo voltaic-run retail area, and provide espresso, bagels and breakfast sandwiches as very well as electric bikes. They even have a takeout window. “We seemed it up, and there are these bike cafes all-around the world,” St. John said. Persons congregate at these cafes, he mentioned, to cling out and communicate about their most loved pastime – driving bikes.

The South Portland bike cafe has only been open up for a number of weeks, but it’s already gained an award for greatest iced espresso from the web site Portland Outdated Port. The shop, which is licensed as a business kitchen area, serves Truthful Trade natural espresso from Harpswell-primarily based Moses Dyer Espresso Roasters. Its bagels occur from Bread + Butter Catering Co. in South Portland. St. John grills the breakfast sandwiches himself.

The cafe’s tagline? “Hot bikes, rapidly espresso.”


Surfers searching for a new surfboard can also acquire Speckled Ax espresso and beer from Austin Avenue Brewery at the Maine Surfers Union in Portland. The Totally free Road keep built a coffee bar in the course of the pandemic, and this thirty day period will start off selling bagels from Rose Meals. Image courtesy of Maine Surfers Union


Change out the bikes for surfboards, and you have the Maine Surfers Union, a surf shop on Free Avenue in Portland. When the shop had to shut briefly throughout the pandemic, the entrepreneurs made a decision to add a coffee bar. They partnered with Speckled Ax, which created them their individual signature coffee, termed Dawn Patrol.

“Dawn Patrol is a nod to receiving up tremendous early to go surfing,” mentioned Charlie Fox, who owns the shop with his wife, Kristina Grimaldi. “At that time, a ton of surfers will have a cup of coffee to aid them wake up and get likely.”

Nitro chilly brew coffee is out there, as very well as nitro chilly brew yerba mate. “Sometimes yerba can have a bitter bite to it,” Fox claimed, “but placing nitro into it basically smooths it out and offers it a smoother, buttery flavor.”

The coffee bar has three stools at the counter wherever shoppers can enjoy a cup when they enjoy surf motion pictures on a close by tv. Or they can sit at 1 of 3 picnic tables outside the house. Fox a short while ago included bagels from Rose Food items to the menu. “We may well insert some a lot more food items down the street,” he claimed. “We’re just type of acquiring pleasurable with it suitable now.”

Fox has also partnered with Austin Street Brewery and sells various of its beers in one cans or 6-packs – a different nod to surfer society. In the spring, the brewery launched a collaboration pale ale referred to as Free Friction, which refers to surfing with a finless board – “an ancient Polynesian way of surfing,” Fox discussed. The beer was so preferred it was rereleased about a month in the past, Fox mentioned, and a 3rd release is planned for September.

Dawn Patrol coffee, a signature brew produced by Speckled Ax, sits on a surfboard in entrance of the espresso bar at Maine Surfers Union in Portland. Picture courtesy of Maine Surfers Union

Fox’s prospects like to hang out as nicely as hold ten. They arrive into the shop the two just before and right after browsing, which is what makes coffee and beer the best beverages to offer – though they can’t yet consume beer on internet site. Fox is performing on having a tasting space license so that individuals will be capable to consume beer at the picnic tables subsequent summer season.

The two Fox and St. John have surprised shoppers, as very well as city and point out officials with their organization designs.

“It’s not your normal business enterprise,” Fox stated. “I know working with the state of Maine, they have been a minimal puzzled at very first that we had been a retail outfits store selling surfboards and making an attempt to sell coffee and beer at the same time. It is one thing that hasn’t genuinely been completed below still. It is certainly been finished in other states. New York Town and California have stores that have a coffee bar inside of them.”

St. John also strategies to add a tasting room in his bicycle shop at some level, so he can offer cocktails made with the vermouth he produces at his winery in the again of the creating, identified as Lincoln & Primary. He desires people to go for a bike trip, then cease in for a vermouth spritzer and converse shop. And he has ideas to increase his menu to consist of a lot more sandwiches and charcuterie boards. (“Even my mother has stated, ‘You want a fidget spinner,’” he joked.)

All of the 28-calendar year-old’s obsessions will then be for sale less than just one roof. But is it three unique businesses, or just one business offering a few various matters? St. John stated he’s at present awaiting a special exemption license from the metropolis of South Portland for the reason that “when you implement for a bike-coffee-winery tasting space, the organizing board members kind of glimpse at you like you have 3 heads.”


The concession stand at Jordan’s Furnishings retail outlet in the Maine Shopping mall. Photo courtesy of Jordan’s Home furniture

A widespread thread amid these unusual foodstuff oases is that they offer a memorable encounter that goes beyond just pulling out a credit rating card. Jordan’s Home furnishings in South Portland will come proper out and claims it with the motto that it’s “not just a retail outlet, it is an knowledge!” Families shop for furnishings prior to or following trying out the store’s ropes training course, which arrives complete with zip lines and a concession stand that sells hot dogs, popcorn and ice cream. It looks like a concession you’d find in a motion picture theater.

“We supply amusement along with home furniture shopping to improve the complete retailer visit for all customers,” said Heather Copelas, a spokeswoman for the retailer.

Maine Components in Portland has given out absolutely free popcorn for 23 years, and it’s turn out to be so much a part of the purchasing encounter there that consumers begged for it to arrive back again immediately after keep manager Tim Currier suspended the perk throughout the early levels of the pandemic. Prospects – and specially their kids – had been so dissatisfied when the popcorn disappeared that Currier taken out the popper from the income ground because the vacant device “was just crushing the kids’ hearts.”

“I did not understand what it intended to everyone because actually, I would have been fine not bringing it back,” he explained. “I’ve been smelling it given that 1998.”

Now the popcorn has returned, and the team is back to creating a number of batches in the morning, and yet another a number of batches in the afternoon. “It feels like it’s component of Maine Components, and we have to keep it at this stage,” Currier said.

This 12 months, Currier introduced a further food stuff product, whilst this just one is not absolutely free. The store now sells Generally Grains bread, together with Portuguese and Italian loaves, and English muffin bread. The owner of the bakery is a purchaser, Currier claimed, and the thought arrived to him 1 working day when they have been chatting. Now the hardware store gets bread deliveries three or four situations a 7 days, and it is offered quite a few hundred loaves considering that March, Currier explained.

Gayle Guptill crafts artisan Azul Chocolates in the Hackmatack farmhouse and sells them through reveals at the Hackmatack Playhouse concession and in the new farm stand. Photograph courtesy of Michael Guptill


Go out for a evening at the theater, and you are mostly probably to uncover cookies, sweet and other snack meals at the concession for the duration of intermission. Hackmatack Playhouse in Berwick, established on Hackmatack Farm 50 a long time in the past, has always finished points a minor otherwise.

“We made use of to go select corn and serve corn on the cob,” explained Michael Guptill, whose household has lived on the farm considering the fact that the 1600s.

The farm no for a longer period grows corn, but the summer time theater’s concession stand frequently commences the time with do-it-yourself strawberry shortcake, then switches to do-it-yourself blueberry pie for the duration of blueberry year. The pie, designed by Guptill’s wife, Gayle, is sometimes continue to heat from the oven. The treats are topped with artisan ice cream made by their daughter, Lauren, operator of Rococo Ice Product in Kennebunkport.

“My son started elevating bison here 10 yrs in the past,” Guptill claimed, “and for a while for the duration of intermission, he was serving bison burgers and bison kebabs.”

This handmade chocolate bison is a person of the treats that is occasionally for sale during intermission at the Hackmatack Playhouse in Berwick. The barn theater is located on a bison farm. Photograph courtesy of Michael Guptill

Gayle Guptill also has an artisan chocolate small business called Azul Candies, and she sells the candy to theatergoers. Occasionally it’s in animal designs, so you may well get a chocolate bison. And if you want frozen bison meat to take residence, the spouse and children will accommodate you.

The playhouse went dim previous calendar year due to the fact of the pandemic, and its shortened season this calendar year began Aug. 6 (with “The Spitfire Grill”) and operates by way of Aug. 28. Michael Guptill explained the loved ones small business made use of some of its Paycheck Safety Software (PPP) dollars from the pandemic to construct a farm stand, which he mentioned will in all probability be open up on at the very least some display days this year. The farm stand sells bison meat, Mangalitsa pork, hen, eggs – all varieties of local farm merchandise.

“When individuals arrive listed here they under no circumstances quite know what they’re going to get for intermission,” Guptill said. “It is a little bit quirky, and we try out to hold it quite homey, quite friendly.”

Now that sounds like an knowledge.

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