Top Menu

BDA Membership News Blog

BDA’s bi-weekly feature with News & Updates on BDA member businesses and the community

June 22: Welcoming New Member Amy Lewis

We are always happy to welcome new members, and this week I would like to introduce our newest member, Amy Lewis Photography, In her own words:

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and my business. My name is Amy Lewis and I have been a Brunswick resident for the past 10 years. I have spent many years as an Educator – first as an Alternative Education teacher and more recently as a School Counselor. At the start of the pandemic, we decided as a family that it would make sense for me to be a stay-at-home parent to take care of our two young children. During this time, I have become incredibly passionate about photography and have done everything I can to become the best photographer that I can be! I began a journey of eating, sleeping, and breathing photography and that momentum has not slowed down! I really wanted to focus on fully understanding the technical aspects of photography and the emotional aspects of photography. I was determined to understand this art form and its impact on people.

If there is one thing I have learned over the past few years, it is that life can move so fast and it is so incredibly important to have memories captured, especially moments with people we love and care about. As I have spent more time with my kids and wife the past few years, I realized how important it was to me (and our village of friends and family) to have pictures of those we cherish that were beyond just a quick snap with a cell phone (these photos have their place of course, believe me, I have many!). 

I started with taking pictures of family and friends and that has evolved into a small business that I am incredibly excited about! It was truly a leap of faith for me to take a step away from a career in Education but following my heart and a side of myself that I never knew existed feels incredible. I specialize in taking portrait photos: seniors, families, children, couples, engagements and more! I wanted to join the Brunswick Downtown Association because me and my family have participated in many of the events that they have organized, and I want to get to know other local business owners and become more involved in the town I call home. Please visit my website to learn more:  

Welcome Amy!

June 8: Maine Astronomy Takes to the Skies

We are delighted to welcome the Southern Maine Astronomers club to our membership fold at the BDA. When we read the press release of their open house at the new location on the Brunswick Landing, we wanted to learn more about the club and its history, so I caught up with the President and a founder, Robert Burgess, a Brunswick resident[RB1] .

Rob is President of SMA and a long-time friend. Rob built his own roll-off roof observatory at his home about 20 years ago using concrete pillars for the telescopes separate from the foundation to reduce vibrations for better nighttime viewing including astrophotography. Through the years he has opened his home & observatory to school classes, youth groups such as Scouts, and provided tours of the night sky as charity auction prizes.  (He’s even had NASA’s head scientist and Astronaut Chris Cassidy there.)[RB2]    When I asked Rob how he became so interested in astronomy he recalls his childhood – his dad was a sea captain he and often sailed with him and learned about navigating by the stars.[RB3]   Rob recalls a trip as a high school student in Wales to Moscow in the summer of 1969  which happened to be the same time the U.S. landed on the moon: “I remember being in Red Square the day Neil Armstrong walked the moon” he starts, “an unusual experience given the Space Race between us and Russia!  Despite that, the Russian people were totally concerned about the astronauts getting home safely.”

Although he followed a career in law and banking, his passion for astronomy continued throughout the years and he worked with an astronomy club in Kennebunk before joining with local friends to form Southern Maine Astronomers in 2004 to support their own kids in local schools.  During the pandemic club membership nearly doubled, so finding a new meeting location was imperative.  Their new space is shared with Teens to Trails on Neptune Drive and allows them to hold  meetings inside (if needed due to weather) and offers a great space outside with an open view of the southwestern sky. What better address for the club to have the 179 Neptune Drive after all?  And just a stone’s throw away from BluShift Aerospace at Tech Place, also on the Brunswick Landing.

So what exactly does the club do?  “Outreach, of all kinds,” Rob said. “We offer nighttime star parties where people get to look through all kinds of sophisticated telescopes.  We provide laser-pointer tours of the night sky and identify constellations.  We offer solar viewing periodically, where the sun can be observed with specially filtered telescopes. And we offer monthly meetings where we bring in knowledgeable speakers providing insight into the latest developments in astronomy.”  For the last two years all such meetings have been via Zoom, allowing them to get speakers from as far away as India.  All events are free and open to the public.  “We are there for any person wanting to learn more about astronomy.”. Rob points out that currently there are five planets aligned (and in order) visible in the early morning eastern sky through June. 

When I ask Rob about the future of astronomy, he’s both excited and concerned.  Rob describes the advances in telescopic equipment, including one designed to auto-align & register its location and begin taking images that can be downloaded right to a pc or cell phone.  The Club obtained a grant from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation allowing it to acquire equipment to instantly image deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae and project them onto a screen, allowing COVID-compliant outdoor observing.    “There’s been so much advancement with equipment and affordability for the average viewer” he remarks, “and the Club has telescopes to lend to our members.”  Rob said SMA is also involved with the International Dark Sky Association and Dark Sky Maine, and promotes the use of limited, downward facing public lighting to reduce the light pollution that plagues many cities and towns.  We also discussed the troubling number of satellites being launched nearly every day – whether for public use such as the Starlink internet project that launches dozens of satellites with every launch, or the increasing number of countries entering space technology.  With the increasing number of private and government satellites circling the earth and the increase in space junk, it will have an impact on our view of the stars in the years ahead. 

For now, Rob looks forward to sharing SMA’s knowledge of the night skies with anyone at any interest level and hopes you’ll stop by for one of their monthly events at their new location on the 2nd Saturday of each month, with this Saturday, June 11th lined up, starting at 8 p.m.  FMI please visit their website at and check out some of the amazing images they’ve captured!

by Tom Barter, BDA staff

As we approach Memorial Day weekend we’re happy to see the return of the Brunswick/Topsham Memorial Day Parade and to remember what this holiday represents. For many the Memorial Day weekend symbolizes the unofficial start of summer, gathering of family or friends, camping, taking a trip and more. But we should not forget that part of our freedom to do so came at the expense of those that have served our country to protect the freedoms we all enjoy today.

It all began with uniting a divided country  Memorial Day was first officially observed on May 30, 1868 to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers. Former Union General and sitting Ohio Congressman James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetary where more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were buried. While many states throughout the following years designated it as a legal holiday, it wasn’t until after World War I that it was more widely established as a national holiday throughout the United States. Memorial Day became a tradition of wreath laying, visiting the graves of loved ones and paying tribute to fallen service members with services and parades across many small towns in the US.  Now, as the world is watching as yet another conflict tears countries apart with so many lost lives, we are reminded that, despite everyone’s desire for peace and conflict resolution, there are still forces beyond control that will turn to violent actions, forcing others to defend themselves. Now, more than ever, it’s important to pay tribute to those that believed they were fighting to defend their families, friends and country and gave there lives doing so.

A bridge united  For over 60 years the towns of Brunswick and Topsham have combined efforts to pay tribute and host a combined parade that starts in Topsham and ends at the Brunswick Town Mall.  After a 2 year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Brunswick/Topsham Memorial Day Parade Committee is happy to bring the event back, despite some challenges.   I spoke with the committee member Mark Rockwood and committee Chair Tasha Connors about the event. The process all starts sometime in March with a committee of over 20 people meeting nearly every Friday to get things rolling.  From soliciting floats & entries to finding a Grand Marshall, the committee works to ensure the event is a safe, family-friendly event. While Tasha would’t say exactly how long she’s been involved with the committee, she does recall as a child watching the parade form and start from the Topsham Fairgrounds..”and then it moved to Mt. Ararat (school), which blocked the travellers on 196” she recalls, and now it forms and begins at the Topsham Municipal lot. Tasha recalls the streets of Brunswick “were lined five deep” with spectators when she became involved, and although viewing is down “they’re still at least three deep” she says of the sidwalks in Brunswick and at the lower end of Topsham, by the bridge. Speaking of the bridge, Mark Rockwood describes the efforts both Topsham and Brunswick Fire departments have to make due to the weight limitation of the Frank J. Wood Bridge “They are staging trucks at both ends of the bridge” he states, “Topsham & Brunswick trucks will proceed through Topsham until they approach the bridge and turn off, while another set of emergency vehicles from both towns will be waiting to pick up the parade at Fort Andross”.  Both Mark and Tasha are excited that the parade is returning and encourage everyone to come down Monday morning to observe, reflect, and enjoy the efforts of those putting the parade together, but more importantly to honor those that gave the ultimate price for us to have the freedoms we enjoy. 

The parade starts in Topsham Monday, May 30th at 9 AM and usually finishes at the Brunswick Town Mall just after 10 AM.  There will be a brief memorial service at the start of the parade, on the Frank J. Wood Bridge, and to close at the Brunswick Town Mall.  For information on the event, volunteering, or how to enter your group in the parade next year please visit

May 11: The Animal House Comes to Downtown Brunswick

By Tom Barter with Will Paul

With the departure of Fiore’ at 90 Maine Street this year, we were thrilled to see new construction beginning in early March with the arrival of a locally owned pet store, The Animal House (with two other stores in Westbrook and Damariscotta).  Owners Will Paul and Branden Perreault learned about available space and immediately went into action to open a third location in the heart of downtown Brunswick.  

Will & Branden got into the business in April of 2020 when they bought the existing locations after a year’s worth of discussions with founders and owners of the 2-store chain.  The previous owners had transitioned their lives across the country to Oregon leaving day to day operations to staff and wanted to keep the businesses family owned and operated, refusing to sell to a “corporate entity”. Will & Branden saw an opportunity to make their mark on the Midcoast in an industry they love — furry family member care!

Branden worked for the previous owners in a financial capacity for over six years and had a strong understanding of business operations.  “We knew the (current) staff was integral to the future success of the businesses and (employees) David, Kim and Becca were the best gift with purchase we got!” says Will. They quickly developed a plan to take the business to the next level with an emphasis on Natural and Holistic products, environmentally sustainable products, and supplies.  “We pride ourselves on our knowledge (of the items they sell), making recommendations specific to (customer’s) pet’s needs”.

Will has been in the pet industry since high school – working at several pet stores, rehabilitating wild animals, and is currently taking classes working towards his bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and Nutrition.  Will also has a cheerleading business he runs on the side, is involved with gymnastics, cheering clinics and choreography for schools & various programs. 

Branden works in municipal government and has a bookkeeping and income tax preparation business on the side. The couple has been together for over 16 years and married for two. They have an “Animal House” themselves, with three cats, two poodles, fish, etc. 

Their new location in downtown Brunswick catches your eye the minute you step through the door – bright lighting & colorful walls along with fully stocked shelves and loads of unique items lurking in every available space. They try to carry as much as possible, and stock locally sourced products as often as they can. 

They feature treats and items from small producers in Maine, New Hampshire, and dog cookies from the Boston area that look just like bakery cookies! They also feature a tv over the counter playing DogTV during the day and are in the works of accumulating images and videos provided by customers of their pets to showcase in slideshow format! They plan to host the Midcoast Humane cat adoption program in the store and have continued supporting them with monetary and food donations since they purchased the business. “We want to be part of this community” says Will, “we are excited to be in Brunswick!”.

Be sure to visit their Brunswick location soon, and the BDA is hosting a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Grand Opening this Saturday, May 14th starting at 10 am. There will be goodies, representatives from their suppliers and raffle drawings for dog & cat goodies! Midcoast Humane will be at The Animal House for the grand opening hosting a special cat and bunny adoption event as well! We welcome the newest business to Maine Street Brunswick and wish The Animal House the best!

Ship City Fitness Renovates

Right next door to the BDA is member business Ship City Fitness (see June 11, 2021, story in the Membership News Blog); owner Branden McCoy was busy last week as he began renovations to the downstairs fitness center. The wall dividing the weight room and the fitness room was demolished, leaving an open-air space, and allowing better traffic

Branden goes into Demo mode

flow. Branden himself was assisting in the demolition of the wall  (see photo above) and was excited to see the work be completed slightly ahead of schedule. After three long, grueling days of demolition, cleaning and reorganizing the equipment (including nearly two tons of weights around the gym), he re-opened on Sunday, May 8th. I caught up with Branden today who, after resting for 2 days after all the work, was excited how the space turned out. “It’s much more open and easier to maneuver around” he states. “The flow was restricted (with the wall) and just did not make the best use of the space. While there is still more work to be done, he’s glad the hardest part is done.  Check out Ship City Fitness at, 9 Cumberland Street in downtown Brunswick!

After wall removed
Before wall removed

April 13: The Brunswick Visitor Center, Travel Hub of Brunswick

One sure sign that things might be getting back to somewhat normal is the dramatic increase in the number of passengers and visitors at the Brunswick Visitor Center-the hub of all transit activity in downtown Brunswick. What’s surprising is, while it has been in operation for over 10 years, many local residents either have not visited or are not aware that it exists.  The Visitor Center, managed by the Brunswick Downtown Association, has been in operation since 2012 and is a Welcome Center for Brunswick visitors and a hub for every form of public transportation in & out of Brunswick.

History: The building was erected in 2009 by JHR Development as part of an initiative to bring passenger train service to Brunswick while creating additional business and retail space to the location.  The Visitor Center opened before the Amtrak Downeaster arrived but shortly became known for a visitor information center.  Once the Downeaster began its official service to Brunswick in November of 2012, things started picking up quickly.  Concord Coach moved it’s previous stop on Pleasant Street to the new Visitor Center for the coastal bus route in 2014, and a few years later the Brunswick Explorer (now Brunswick Link) made it’s primary stop here while also renting out office space within the Visitor Center.  Soon after the Greater Portland Metro Breez extended it’s route to Brunswick and chose the Visitor Center as well as 2 other stops in Brunswick as the primary stops for the new Freeport/Brunswick service.  The builiding now houses the Mid Coast Walk-in Clinic, Scarlet Begonia’s, Byrne’s Irish Pub, Omnic Data and the several offices of Bowdoin College.

Visitors from near, and far!  Once the train and bus began making regular stops and the word got out to travellers heading to Maine, the Visitor Center noticed a steady increase in visitors from away-sometimes as near as southern Maine and New Hampshire, but across the country and yes-the world.  The staff introduced a guest book for travellers to indicate where they were from & why they were visiting alongside a large, printed map of the US & the world.  Pins began appearing from all over-nearly every U.S. state was represented every year, and people from many other countries also made (and still make) the journey to Brunswick and beyond.  The staff will engage in conversation with travellers and often hear very interesting stories from the visitors.  If you ask the staff, they will quickly tell you their own favorite story from the many interactions throughout the years, and they are worth sharing.  Ask to see the map view with the various pin locations for just this year!

Staff & Volunteers: We are fortunate to have a very tenured staff (currently three part-time employees) at the Visitor Center as well as a small handful of volunteers.  Linda Saila, currently the Manager of Operations at the Visitor Center began as a volunteer in 2012 and has been with us ever since.  She resides in Brunswick with her husband and local artist Karl Saila.  Linda was instrumental in getting the Concord Coach bus to stop at the Visitor Center with her background in banking-she was comfortable with the cash transactions that were necessary to sell the bus tickets.  Joan Edwards, also lives right in Brunswick and also started in 2012.  Joan was the first paid staff and also manager at the time and has certainly seen the many changes through the years.  Rounding off the current staff is Susan Bridge who covers the weekends and started in late 2013-creating nearly 30 years of collective staff experience at the Visitor Center.  Our current roster of volunteers is smaller since the pandemic, but reliable.  The provide the support to the staff (only one staff members works per day) and enjoy assisting visitors and travelers with suggestions on where to visit, dine or shop in Brunswick.

What’s next: As noted above, the number of travellers has quickly rebounded and things are starting to look pre-pandemic at the Visitor Center.  The Amtrak Downeaster has seen ridership increase to 70%-80% of 2019 levels (it’s highest ridership year) and have already experienced “sold out” trains for the upcoming April Vacation week!  One of the issues that has arisen in recent years is parking-the public lot at the end of Station Avenue (on Union Street) often fills up during peak travel times or special events (sports games in Boston for example).  The new Cedar Street Parking lot solves the issue of parking availability, but currently requires an eight minute stroll down Cedar Street to Union, then to the station.  There are plans to create a much shorter walkway directly by Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program that would make the trek less than five minutes, and is proposed for last this year into 2023.  We anticipate seeing many new faces this year at the Visitor Center and look forward to welcoming both visitors and new residents to the community.  A bevy of brochures greets visitors from our member businesses and includes travel information to many other locations in the state of Maine (thanks to the Maine Tourism Association and our friends at the Yarmouth Visitor Center).  We welcome our local residents to stop by anytime to check out the visitor center, and perhaps consider a trip aboard The Downeaster, Concord Coach, Metro Breez or Brunswick Link if you haven’t done so.  We would love to talk to you if you are interested in volunteering at the Visitor Center-we are always looking for new volunteers, and so is the Trainriders Northeast group which meet the train passengers at the Visitor Center before and after our regular business hours.

March 30: Welcome new member Mockingbird Massage

I had the pleasure of meeting Natalie Pollock of Mockingbird Massage to learn about her practice, Mockingbird Massage on Park Row in Brunswick.  I was intrigued to learn that a new massage therapist had come to Brunswick and wanted to learn more.  Her office is on the 2nd floor of 169 Park Row, home of Keller Williams up front and other critical/health professionals on the 2nd floor.  Interestingly enough the entire 2nd floor is comprised of women-owned practices, a unique feature that helped Natalie make her decision to start her practice there.

Natalie started her LMT training at the onset of the pandemic, and recalls the first time she could work on a patient “we were all dressed in full PPE-face shiels, gowns, gloves, everything!” she says, “it was not what a massage was all about”  I asked Natalie, currently working full-time as a Project Manager for a local company why she turned to massage therapy. Natalie, an avid rock-climber, sustained injuries in her hands that traditional medical remedies failed to improve.  Massage therapy was the only thing that helped, and Natalie was hooked.  I

asked Natalie what sets her apart from other massage therapists, and her answer was moving: (especially with the pandemic) “I think of my therapy as sending love through my touch…like a really good hug” she says, what people could really use right now I say. “I care about my clients…and they can sense that, some will tell me ‘I feel like you really care’”.  Another difference in her approach is the type of massage she offers-trained on traditional Swedish, Deep-Tissue and Myofacial therapy, Natalie prefers to tailor her massage to the wants and needs of each client-using a mixture of techniques rather than limit to a particular type of therapy. Natalie has been working as an LMT for about 18 months now and is finding that especially now “people missed that physcial touch (during the pandemic), it’s healing”. 

As we finish I ask about the name “Mockingbird Massage”-“To Kill a Mockingbird was my favorite book” she notes. And she had a friend help design her logo based on the Mockingbird theme.  Her wall features a handcrafted sign with the logo, and was cross-stitched by her mom!  Mockingbird Massage currently offers appointments Monday through Thursday evenings and Saturdays.  Featuring plenty of on-street parking or a large lot out back, you can find her by entering through the 2nd door on the front porch and proceed upstairs (by appointment only of course). 

March 16, 2022: Gearing up for a Summer of Hope

We are all hopeful that things can slowly get back to normal with the pandemic apprently easing, and we are very hopeful this continues.  We are looking forward to another summer filled with BDA and many other Brunswick community summer events that everyone looks forward to. We know there are more events than we can possibly list here but we’ll take a stab at the big annual highlights. And as you’ll read below, we are so fortunate to welcome 3 new renowned events that are coming to Brunswick!

Starting off with a new event to Brunswick in May is the arrival of ‘Miles for Mills 5K”, a benefit event for the Travis Mills Foundation on Memorial Day weekend. The event has become a Memorial Day keystone across Maine to remember the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes and this year Brunswick will host the Memorial Day event. If you only run/walk one 5K race this year, consider joining the Travis Mills Foundation on Memorial Day at the Miles for Mills 5K. FMI: Mid Coast Hospital Auxiliary’s Grand and Glorious Yard Sale plans to return May 20, 21, and 22 at Merrymeeting Plaza and get ready for the triumphant return of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bath/Brunswick‘s Bowl for Kids’ Sake on April 9th!

Another event that is new to the area we are excited about is the 26th Annual Bath Savings Paddle for Pine Tree Camp – coming to Brunswick on Sunday, June 5th!  Held annualy in Solon as a fundraiser for the Pine Tree Camps, they are hosting a 2nd event right here in Brunswick at the Androscoggin River Boat Launch. Family-friendly and perfect for all ages, join them in their quest to make the camps available to all!  FMI:   

Brunswick’s very own Maine State Music Theatre (MSMT) is thrilled to return after a tough two year hiatus due to the pandemic (not to dismiss their best efforts last year) with the return to Picard Theatre!  This season kicks off on Wednesday, June 8th with “The Sound of Music” as the first of four Mainestage series of shows.  Add three Concert Series shows and three TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) shows and you’ve got a full summer of MSMT sparkle to look forward to!  Get tickets as soon as they go on sale, and for more information visit Mid Coast

Friday, June 10th is the return of BDA’s 2nd Friday Brunswick Art Walks-an event started years ago by the then Five Rivers Arts Alliance and adopted by the BDA in 2017 that features local artists, gallieries, entertainers and the beauty of downtown Brunswick.  Last year we had a record number of local artisans on the sidewalks of Maine Street and inner Pleasant Street, and this year we welcome the return of the Spindeworks Lincoln Street Block Party!  Featuring live music, dancing and art by the folks of Spindleworks, we will help close off a section of the street to make this a true Block Party!  Stay tuned for more details for each of the 2nd Friday Brunswick Events. FMI:

We welcome back the Trek Across Maine this year featuring virtual and in-person rides to help raise funds for The American Lung Association.  The event moved it’s starting point to Brunswick in 2019 and returns to Brunswick, starting & finishing at Thomas Point Beach & Campground the weekend of June 17 to 19.  Riders and volunteers are greatly needed, FMI:

It would be hard to find anyone that has not experienced or knows about Music on the Mall-our 10-week, free summer concert series every Wednesday on the Town Mall.  We kick off this year on Wednesday, June 29th at 6 PM with Cilantro.  Every year the crowds get bigger, and last year we went well above 1,000 in attendance for several of the concerts!  Featuring purely local talent including Salty Dogs, Delta Knights, Pat Colwell and the Soul Sensations and a special presentation by Maine State Music Theatre, you won’t want to miss any of them!  The full schedule and information available at

July continues with the 2nd Friday Brunswick Art Walk, Music on the Mall, MSMT performances, The Maine Folk Festival at Thomas Point Beach & Campground, Brunswick Farmer’s Market on the Mall, Outdoor dining galore, and so much more!

August brings the 16th annual Brunswick Outdoor Arts Festival on Saturday, August 20th, hosted by the BDA. This juried, fine arts show includes more than 80 artists and artisans who will be displaying and selling their work along the sidewalks of Maine Street and on the Town Mall in downtown Brunswick. Food, music & art all day from 9 am to 5 pm.  And in the works for August is an all day event on the Town Mall by another local non-profit organization, but as of this writing it has not been finalized, so more details to come.

Before summer ends, September signals the return of the annual Bluegrass Festival at Thomas Point Beach on Labor Day weekend. Also enjoy the last 2nd Friday Brunswick Art Walk on Friday, September 9th as we hope to have the return of a “block party” at the Tontine Mall with children’s activities and outdoor beer garden.  We close out summer with our annual Community BBQ event on Saturday, September 10th.  We look forward to teaming up again with American Legion Post 20 for the Community BBQ and tribute to 9/11, including music, kid’s activities, food, and a special invite to all our non-profits to be part of the event and get in front of our community. FMI

Sounds like a lot, and it is!  And we are currently working on a project to line the sidewalks with creatively painted Adirondack chairs for our new venture called “Have a Seat”, stay tuned for more information!  We look forward to seeing everyone safely out & about this summer and bring the community back together!  For additional information and other events that are yet to be announced, please visit our website under “Events” 

March 2: The Federal Brings the Inn Back To Life

Most of you will recogize the name The Captain Daniel Stone Inn, or “The Daniel” as it’s most recognizable name, but the hotel & restaurant was purchased in 2020 and has undergone extensive renovations to both the current hotel & restaurant section, but also to the older, original buidling that had lacked attention for decades.  Bella Point Holdings, LLC, a local Maine property investor, has committed to bringing the hotel back to it’s former glory. 

The Original Daniel Stone Inn Building

Rich in History: Originally built in 1810, the property at #10 Water Street is the original home of Captain Daniel Stone and his family, including his wife and ten children. Ever heard of the “Ghost of The Daniel”? Rumor is it’s most likely Narcissa Stone, the eldest of the Stone children.  Born 1801, she became a prominent businesswoman who owned property on several Brunswick streets into the nineteenth century. It was Narcissa who was the last of the Stone family to inhabit the home as her nine other siblings all passed at early ages. As a matter of fact, none of her siblings made it past the age of 28, leaving Narcissa as the last heir when she passed at the age of 76.  There are rumors and stories from guests and staff from many years ago when someone ventured into the original building, objects would be moved back to their original spots, doors could be heard opening or closing…and other tales that would make your hair stand on end! Recently, a contractor and his team had just finished a section in the original building and had turned to leave when a wall panel had come loose and fell over…or was it Narcissa?

Back to life: When the former Daniel hotel & restaurant was purchased in 2020, the new owners decided to bring the entire property back to the luxury property so many had failed to do. With the hiring of new property manager Gerard Kiladjian and committing to over $5 million in renovations, the property is nearly ready. Gerard brings over 20 years’ experience from operating the Portland Harbor Hotel, Diamonds Edge Restaurant & Marina. Work began and has since included extensive HVAC repairs, electrical & flood damage repair, and an elevator that was out of service for months under its previous owners. Among many of the improvements planned, the greatest could very well be the full renovations to the original inn building, which will now host four stunningly renovated guest rooms and two deluxe suites. Some of these rooms still feature the original tiled fireplaces while also featuring modern tile bathrooms and stunning views of the river. Although the pandemic’s impact on contractor’s and supplies slowed the progress, things finally started coming together last summer and fall and they are planning on opening the hotel any day now.

Perhaps the most noticeable changes for most will be the complete rebuild of the dining & bar area. With the addition of a central bar area and the interior walls removed, the dining space is much more open, with the new floor to ceiling windows on the west side filling the room with afternoon sunlight. As we watched there were two artists hand-painting the entire west wall surface with monochromatic native Maine wildflowers, adding a soft, almost 3-D look to the otherwise mono colored wall sections. New flooring, trim, paint, and other additions have been added to the main dining area with an emphasis on the feel of a larger yet intimate setting.

Fully renovated original Daniel Stone Inn room

Many of the rooms in the existing hotel have been given several upgrades, including fresh paint, carpeting, bedding (pillows & duvets are from Cuddledown of Maine), and minor cosmetic changes as they were still in good condition.  Recognizing the need for high-speed internet, high-capacity routers have been installed, serving only four rooms per router. Each room received new TV’s that will allow guests to utilize the high-speed internet and stream from their mobile devices onto their room TV-a very new trend in hospitality that recognizes the desire for those with streaming services that can be cast to a TV to enjoy their own variety of shows or movies rather than rely on the limited entertainment available at most hotels.

With the hotel opening the first week of March, The Federal stands to bring back the luxury hotel guests to Brunswick, and the dining area (still undergoing final renovations) will open soon to bring back fine dining and local cuisine to both locals and visitors alike. Hotel Manager Jeff Cappelleri welcomes everyone to visit the new property and we look forward to the opening of the all-new restaurant, targeted for April. We welcome The Federal and its staff back to Brunswick!

February 16, 2022: Welcoming new Mainers to Brunswick

It’s been two years in the making and as of this Friday, February 18th, the all new Welcome Center at the Brunswick Parks & Recreation building will re-open to all new Mainers in the area. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 4:00 PM at the facility and all are welcome to visit the newly renovated space.

History: In 2019, the Brunswick Town Council approved the creation of a Welcome Center to be used as a central hub of activity for Brunswick’s New Mainer community (primarily the asylum-seekers from Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo) to gather, learn and socialize.

As demand for the space grew so did the need for additional furnishings, equipment, and technology to support the delivery of various social services, trainings, classes, and technology needs of the New Mainer population. The Welcome Center received a much-needed upgrade and expansion through the generous support of foundations and community partners including The Maine Community Foundation, Nathaniel Davis Fund, Sam L. Cohen Foundation & Wayfair. The Town of Brunswick’s Economic & Community Development and Parks & Recreation Departments were instrumental in the renovation of the space and as of this writing were still working to put the final touches on everything in preparation for Friday’s event. 

Location: As nearly all of the new Mainers were housed near The Brunswick Landing, the Parks & Recreation space is ideally located and within walking distance for most.

Located at the north end of the main building the main space features a large, welcoming community room with lounge furniture, big screen tv, video conferencing equipment, children’s activities & tables, and classroom tables and chairs. Other rooms include a cafeteria area, completely renovated restrooms, telecenter, and meeting rooms that will provide a central meeting area to connect with resource representatives such as housing and job placement. Not to be missed are the two large artworks on display in the community room and the entryway-a project facilitated by the Brunswick Public Arts, the Town’s Economic Development Department, and ArtVan, an art therapy nonprofit. ArtVan staff worked with youth artists to produce two murals with the theme “What does Community Mean to Me?”

Staffing: Brunswick is pleased to welcome Benedita Kakhuba, an employee with the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine (IRCM), who emigrated to the United States in 2019. Benedita will be staffing the Welcome Center weekdays to support refugee, immigrants and asylum seekers through advocacy, trainings, and access to direct services. Benedita came to Brunswick in 2020 from Angola among concerns about corruption, crime, and economic instability and speaks six languages (having only recently learned English upon arrival to Maine). Her experience transitioning to a new country and culture will be vital to other new Mainers, and the town of Brunswick anticipates more asylum seekers from Afghanistan arriving soon.

Join the Town of Brunswick and the community at this Friday’s event or stop by anytime thereafter to learn more about the mission of the Welcome Center and meet Benedita-volunteers are always welcome too!

February 2, 2022: The Sisters of Seacoast Nutrition. Welcome to our newest members!

In perhaps what could be classified as “The Big Resignation”, Sisters Paula Lessard and Sheryl Howe decided to leave careers behind and opened Seacoast Nutrition this past October in Brunswick.  Sheryl had a long career in accounting, and although she didn’t mind the job, she started to get the itch to move to something new.  Her sister Paula was enjoying retirement from the military but antsy to stay busy.  Sheryl’s daughter, Suzanna Brennan owned several successful smoothie shops in Farmingdale & South China tied to Herbalife products. Sheryl, a Herbalife distributer already, saw the success and enthusiasm of her daughter and approached Paula with the idea of opening one near Brunswick. It didn’t take a lot of convincing for Paula to say “yes”, and Sheryl made the leap and officially “retired” from her career in accounting to leap forth into entrepreneurship. Paula was already a preferred customer of Herbalife and loved the idea of opening a shop. “I love to be around people” she says, “and I missed that after I retired”.  After meeting with Suzanna in August of 2021, the two were ready to get things moving-and they did quickly. After a brief search for a location, they found 25 Stanwood Street-formerly home of Believe Fitness and Jen’s Place Diner. The lease was signed in September and with the help of family and friends they quickly converted the space to their liking, including a beautifully crafted bar shelf made by Gary Hersom, a friend of theirs. In less than three months after the lease was signed the doors opened in November of 2021 and the adventure began.

The concept seems simple, healthy smoothies and teas created from Herbalife products that are low in calories, high in protein, and loaded with flavor. But as Paula is quick to point out there are strict guidelines they have to abide by, however there is much in the form of support and training offered by Herbalife.  With dozens of flavor combinations available for both smoothies and teas, it’s nearly impossible to not find at least a few favorites. Flavors include Peanut Butter Cup, Turtle Cheesecake, Cookie Dough as well as fruit blends like Blueberry Banana, Orange Creamsicle and Fruity Pebbles. Or you could just ask for Dutch Chocolate or Vanilla.  Healthy add-ins include extra protein, fiber pro-biotics and immune booster. Most all smoothies are less than 300 calories and less than 10 grams of sugar while offering 24 grams of protein and 24 vitamins & minerals among other benefits.

The location is very welcoming-open space with artwork from local artists on display, a clear (yet thorough) menu board, and a very clean, organized workspace. In order to get the word out Paula & Sheryl will often pick a local business or organization and do a “Tea Drop”-a delivery of assorted teas to introduce themselves and their product. “We’ve delivered to dozens of places already” Paula tells me including the police, fire & EMS workers, hospitals, and schools. They try to keep everything local by buying all their cups and other supplies locally, and having their merchandise made locally as well. 

As for upcoming plans Paula and Sheryl are continuing their Tea Drops and working on expanding their social media following. They offer VIP loyalty cards featuring 1 free beverage after the purchase of 10, a weekly drawing for a free beverage, and a weekly trivia board to build loyalty & returning customers. In the future they hope to offer healthy challenges and support classes as incentives to a healthier lifestyle.

Be sure to check out Seacoast Nutrition and find “your healthy”! Currently open 6 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, Saturday 9 am to 3 pm, but winter hours may change. Visit them on Facebook to connect or a visual teaser of their offerings that you’ll want to try!

December 15: In the spirit of giving, the Alfred M. Senter Fund

As we wrap up 2021 and are deep in the holiday season, we wanted to share a story about a trust fund that has benefited many organizations in our community for 20 years.  Since 2002 nearly $2.6 million has been awarded to nearly 200 local non-profit organizations from the Alfred M. Senter Fund, a private charitable trust established by Alfred M. Senter.  Senter was the owner of Senter’s Department Store in downtown Brunswick, and you’ll recognize it today as Senter Place at 124 Maine Street, and home to over 25 tenants currently. 

Alfred M. Senter was very involved in the community, as a matter of fact some might say he laid the path for the current planting of petunias in the median strips on Maine Street.  Alfred grew petunia seedlings at home and then planted them in the middle of Maine Street back in the 40’s & 50’s.  But his biggest contribution was setting up the charitable trust and it was his wish that public charities benefiting from the fund be involved in promoting the cultural, educational, environmental well-being and general health and welfare of the inhabitants of the Towns of Brunswick, Topsham, Durham, Harpswell, West Bath and Lisbon, and the City of Bath, all in the state of Maine.

For 20 years our local non-profit organizations have been applying for and benefiting from the Alfred M. Senter with over $2.6 Million going to the local community since inception.  Chances are you’d recognize nearly all of the over 200 recipients over the years including organizations like Art Works, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Brunswick Topsham Land Trust, Midcoast Humane, Good Shepard Food Bank, Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program, Oasis Health Network, People Plus, Tedford Housing, Junior Achievement of Maine, and the local school departments, just to name a few.  Requests for general operations are not accepted-applicants must provide a specific project or use to benefit the organization and the community as well. 

In full disclosure the BDA is a past receipient of the fund. The Fund committee is made up of 3 designates: an Alfred M. Senter family member, an appointee from the First Parish Church of Brunswick (the Senter family’s church), and a representative of the financial institution that handles the trust fund. Dee Perry, Manager of Senter Place for over 23 years has had the pleasure of working with fund applicants and delivering the good news after the approvals have been made.  “I have the best job” she states, when thinking of the whole process.  While Dee does not serve on the fund committee, she is the primary point of contact for the applicants. “Some of them need help (with the applications) especially if they’ve never applied before” she continues, “and some of them need a reminder of the (application) due date”.  Although Dee is not part of the approval process she has the pleasure of contacting those approved to share the good news. 

So the next time you see the planted petunias on Maine Street or visit one of the many businesses inside Senter Place, remember Alfred Senter’s commitment to the community and consider how we could all give back-in the spirit of giving.

December 1: Downtown Brunswick Continues to Flourish…

Perhaps you’ve seen posts on social media or even noticed some of our local establishments renovating, updating or otherwise improving their space in these still uncertain times.  We checked out some of the most recent activity among our local businesses and are excited to share what’s going on in downtown Brunswick.

Broadway Deli: Owner Nancy Bigelow & her daughter Brianna Bigelow are excited to begin much needed renovations to the kitchen area after 33 years of working in the cramped, outdated kitchen space. “The time is now, and we are all looking forward to being able to come back to a streamlined area to create the meals we love serving!” Nancy wrote on Facebook. In addition to the kitchen renovations, they are replacing the antique ac units and upgrading to heat pumps both out front and in the back.  Nancy adds that the upgrades have been long overdue and, despite the pandemic, the support from the local community has been overwhelming and will enable the upgrades to take place.  Adaptability has been key to their success as of late noting they barely had 1 take-out order, if that, per day prior to the pandemic, but quickly shifted staff & supplies to accommodate the nearly 50% or more take out orders that followed. Renovations are expected to be completed and the restaurant opening back on Thursday, December 9th!

The Lemont Block: Literally right next door to Broadway Deli certainly everyone has noticed the ongoing renovations to the Lemont Building (perhaps also known as The Wyler Building).  Owners Aaron Turkel and Cleo Vauban purchased the building just over two years ago with the plan to bring the building back to life.  Cleo created the Lemont Block Collective-featuring a space for local artisans to display and sell their crafts on a rotating basis while the other ground floor spaces were immediately leased.  The building, originally constructed in 1870 features a 300-person grand hall that has been literally untouched since around 1980 when the Knights of Pythias ceased meeting there. The $5 million price tag, offset by some government funding & tax credits is nearly ½ way complete with April of 2022 as the targeted completion date.  They plan to bring the Lemont Hall room back to life and available for functions, while featuring 5 beautiful apartments to the upper floor as well.  The outside is being restored and behind the building an elevator is being installed to meet ADA requirements.  Stay tuned for more updates as we look forward to seeing this beautiful timepiece restored!

Bohemian Coffee House:  Peter Robbins, owner of the Bohemian has invested in new equipment at the coffee shop, including all new chairs and stools for the dining area and adding a full deli menu earlier this year. Peter doesn’t hesitate to say he’s had his “best year ever”, thanks to his incredibly loyal customers and the addition of the deli menu.  The Bohemian continues to win survey awards-just recently winning Best Coffee, Best Waitstaff, and Best Deli by Market Surveys of America.  Peter shared his plans for next spring-adding a landscaped outside dining area featuring planter/dividers with tables and chairs for more ambiance for the outside dining space.  We look forward to seeing this expansion next year! 

Perhaps some of you will recall the Bohemian at its former location (along with several other businesses) at 111 Maine Street, which will be the new home of Ritual Bakehouse & Patisserie-and we’ve noticed a flurry of construction activity as of late.  From The Times Record: The Ritual Bakehouse Owner April Robinson said customers should expect a European-style bakery with a small amount of seating. The bakery will offer pastries like croissants and macaroons as well as artisan breads.  We don’t have an official opening update yet but look forward to that announcement soon.

Root Rind & Petal: With barely a year under her belt, owner Jennifer Fitzpatrick has announced an expansion of her small yet wonderfully merchandised shop at 8 Pleasant Street.  When you walk into Root Rind & Petal you are immediately taken back by the sights, sounds and scents of her soaps, candles, oils and other items-beautifully displayed on shelves, tables, and antique furniture, but the space also must serve as her workspace.  As I chat with Jen, she is using a small counter to pour her latest candle creations as she tries to keep up with demand.  “The added space will allow me to spread out a bit but also host more people for my classes” she adds.  She is hopeful to have the work done and be settled as early as January, and we are excited to see her business grow in just over a year.

Riley Insurance: Directly across from the Lemont Block you’ll also notice a facelift on the Riley Insurance Building.  Owner Dave Millar tells me it’s been in the works for some time and much needed as water leaks had developed around the old brick chimneys.  Both sides of the building received brick repair and replacement, while the front façade received a facelift as well.  The sign was repainted along with the trim, giving the building a very noticeable facelift.

Finally, it wouldn’t be complete to not mention how far along the work at the Tontine Mall has come (which we’ve covered previously) and the upcoming opening of The Butchers & Bakers in early January.  The new elevator, baking oven & soon to be finished parking lot are all the latest additions to the final stages. Also coming soon-I’ll be highlighting the upcoming changes at The Federal (formerly known as The Daniel) as we were given a sneak-peak of the ongoing construction to bring the grandeur back to the restaurant and hotel.  We can tease you by saying it’s going to be amazing, but our photos are “on hold” until they get closer to completion.  We are excited to see the original 1810 building finally being renovated with the rooms being open to the public after nearly two decades.  Stay tuned for the full story coming soon.  We also acknowledge that we may not have covered all the current reno’s and upgrades in the works but are delighted to bring you this sample.

I’ll wrap up by stating the obvious, the business owners, managers, and staff of our local establishments in Brunswick have demonstrated perseverance and adaptability like no other time, and to see the ongoing renovations, upgrades and other signs of positive activity is a testament to not only their challenging work, but also to the local community for continuing to support them.  Thank you all, and we at the BDA want to wish you a wonderful holiday season!

November 3: The Butchers & Bakers are coming!

It’s probably no secret by now that the newest addition to the Tontine Mall will include a butcher shop and bakery-known as The Butchers & Bakers, and plans to open by the end of the year.  As with all our locally owned businesses, there’s a story behind the business worth sharing and we were fortunate to meet them both at our office to tell it.

Filling a void: When Wild Oats Bakery & Café left downtown Brunswick in November of 2020 it left a void for locals, students, and visitors.  They offered not only baked goods, sandwiches, soups and much more, but it was a gathering place for so many-dining in the open seating area or on the patio in warmer weather was an experience.  Tontine owner Dan Catlin recognized this as he began the remodeling of the building, and his goal was to find a suitable replacement for Wild Oats that would hopefully have the same appeal. 

Teaming up: About a year ago, Steve Campbell, Bakery Team Leader at Whole Foods Market in Portland, began toying with the idea of going into business with Marissa Stahl-Hodgkins, Bakery Team Leader at Whole Foods Market in Nashua, New Hampshire.  The two met over 4 years ago when Steve began running the Bakery department at Whole Foods and Marissa was a college student & seasonal worker there.  Steve’s experience as a butcher began at the age of 18 when he worked with the meat inspector upstate New York and spent 21 years with Publix Supermarkets prior to working at Whole Foods Market.  While working at Whole Foods Market Marissa graduated with an Associate Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts and a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Management.   Steve was impressed with Marissa’s work ethic and commitment to baking, and they soon began chatting about opening a business someday. “We half-dreamed, half planned of opening a business together” Steve recalls the random conversations they had. 

Then November of 2020 happened…Steve saw a story about The Tontine Mall and saw the architects’ plans for the Tontine Mall.  “I drove up that same weekend” says Steve, “I talked with Indrani at her shop (at the Tontine Mall) and then ran into Dan (Catlin), I was impressed that he was there on a Saturday”.  He and Dan talked about the space that would be available and Dan gave him a tour.  Prior to that day Steve & Marissa had discussed where the ideal shop would be, including places like Seattle, Portland Oregon, New Hampshire, and other towns in Maine.  “We wanted a small town feel with amenities” Steve recalls, “we looked at other college towns as well, but Brunswick checked all the boxes (they were looking for)” and triggered Steve & Marissa to start planning.  They met with Dan over the summer and the lease was finally secured in September..

Business Model: The Butchers & Bakers will feature two unique businesses in one location: the butcher shop will feature full butchery services from locally sourced farms, “whole animal use”- utilizing nearly every useable part of the animal, freshly delivered to the shop.  Marissa, with a passion for gluten-free baking, delights in creating nearly every version of baked goods (and much more) as Gluten-Free.  “When made right (gluten-free items), you really cant tell the difference” Marissa starts, “Plus there’s a wealth of health benefits from going gluten free-you can feel better by dropping gluten from just one meal”.   Marissa is excited to bring a very diverse gluten-free menu to the café upon opening, with plans to venture into new and exciting menu options as they settle in. Transparency is an important element for both as they feel people should be able to see where their food comes from and how it is produced.  Glass walls will be featured throughout the space in the Tontine including large windows looking into their workspaces, as well as glass walls that owner Dan Catlin incorporated between their respective work areas during construction. 


What to expect: While the supply-chain issues have delayed the renovations at The Tontine, they are still on track for a late December/early January opening.  Marissa was expecting her biggest asset-the cooking oven, to be delivered this week as things finally take shape inside.  Steve & Marissa have been visiting many local farms as they form alliances to provide the meat, dairy and produce for their businesses. Brunswick-based Wicked Joe Bard Coffee will be featured in the café, along with the bakery items, sandwiches, soups that will feature meats from the butchery.  They plan to open 6 days a week from 7 am to 7 pm, with a planned closing on Wednesdays to properly catch-up and get ready for the next 6 day stretch. They hope to offer classes soon after opening, including charcuterie and bread boule making for example. And as for keeping it local, Marissa, currently living in New Hampshire, will be one of the first tenants in the apartments at the Tontine and living in the heart of downtown Brunswick!

We are so fortunate to continue to see the constant life cycle of growth in downtown Brunswick and we are confident that The Butchers & Bakers will be a welcome asset to our community-we wish them the best of luck and hope you will all come out to support them once they open!  For more information and updates on their progress, please visit them on Facebook or Instagram

October 19: Mare Brook Farm, a story of Boomerangs and Local connections

Blooming flowers in October?  Rare, yes, but also a symbol of the resilience of local floral farm owners Courtney & Ryan Ravenscroft of Mare Brook Farm in Brunswick. We had the pleasure of meeting them and their son Merritt on one of the best of October days, sunshine and upper 70’s!  “We’re having a 2nd growing season” remarks Ryan on the new growth of flowers in their gardens.

Boomerangs: Ryan & Courtney met while attending Bowdoin College nearly 20 years ago; Ryan is from Pittsburgh, Courtney from Long Island.  They were both enamored with the town of Brunswick and how welcomed they felt while attending college.  “We both held multiple campus jobs and participated in programs like Bowdoin’s Common Good Day, so we had lots of opportunities to collaborate with or learn from Brunswick residents; we felt like we were already part of the community” Courtney reflects on what inevitably led them back to Brunswick in 2018 when they bought the farm property.  During their time after college, they both dreamed, and planned on the return to Brunswick to build their dream of a flower farm.  Their hope was to help foster community connections through flowers, or “spreading smiles” as they coined it.                

Connections: Once the property was purchased, they wasted no time getting things started.  “The entire house was made up of shelving, lights and seedlings” Courtney says as they prepared for their first outdoor growing season.  Here’s where the story develops into the success of community support and networking.  By utilizing social media platforms to share flower-inspired hope and promote local business offerings, they developed a network of local businesses and organizations that further helped them to offer local flowers to those interested and support the community during the height of the pandemic.  “Last year, we experienced such a groundswell of local support, even when many businesses had turned virtual,” Courtney adds. “Everyone was looking to forge mutually beneficial relationships that would add value to their businesses and to the greater community. We forged so many new relationships by sharing community news on our social channels or flowers with friends who needed some encouragement.” Ryan, who previously worked with the Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program, noted that many of the local farms (that were regular donors of the food pantry) were also very interested in serving as mentors or collaborators as the farm began to ramp up production.

In its third year, Mare Brook Farm now offers sustainably grown, seasonal flower shares, specialty arrangements, and wedding florals. Vessel & Vine, Wild Oats Bakery & Café, and The Vegetable Corner carry their products, further spreading their name to the community. 

Their front & back yards are used to grow most of the perennials and dahlias, while their primary field spaces support growth for annuals, more perennials, fruit trees, and some space to trial new products. With over 20 acres available, Ryan has been busy preparing the larger fields for future plantings, a process that takes time and, of course, a little sweat equity.  They are currently busy harvesting fall blooms and herbs for special orders and upcoming dried flower and wreath work.  As we left them on that very warm October day were reminded, once again on how wonderful this community can be by working together to support one another and our local businesses.\

September 22, 2021:  Adaptive Outdoor Education Center opens in Brunswick; Tontine Mall Renovation update.

The BDA held a ribbon cutting in conjunction with the Open House at the new Adaptive Outdoor Education Center at 675 Old Portland Road in Brunswick recently to officially mark the opening of the wonderful new facility in Brunswick  We had the pleasure of meeting with Zach Steadman, Community Outreach Director (formerly with Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick), for the new Adaptive Outdoor Education Center previously for a tour while they were still under construction and were amazed at the finished product. 

Owners Bruce and Annemarie Albiston, already operating a center in Carrabassett Valley and Dedham, Maine, brought the vision to Brunswick after purchasing the former Spurwink School property in 2020.  The new facility, known as the Horizon Center further expands their vision to the Midcoast community. Their full story from their website: Founders Bruce and Annemarie Albiston were catapulted into the world of disabilities in 2005. Annemarie’s father, Andre, had a stroke and acquired Aphasia, affecting his speech and language. Andre was an educator and communicating with young adults was his passion. ?

The Albistons set out to make a difference in the lives of people with Aphasia, establishing The Aphasia Center of Maine and an annual Retreat, the Andre R. Hemond Aphasia Retreat Weekend. Inspired by the change one weekend made in the lives of participants they searched for ways to reach more people, with a wide variety of abilities. Their vision, now a reality, is the Adaptive Outdoor Education Center,

With a total rehab of the property both inside and out, the new center boasts a large event room, complete with a stage for events and presentations; a full commercial-grade kitchen, dining area, office spaces, outdoor patio, sensory gardens and much more.  And just recently they signed to purchase the property next door, formerly the C & R Trading Post gun shop, giving them access to more outdoor space with plans on transforming the existing building into a retail store & ice cream shop. 

For those dealing with family members with Aphasia or other disabilities, having such a tremendous resource right here in Brunswick is a blessing, especially with the variety of on-site resources available. We recommend that you make a point to stop by for a visit to see this amazing facility and how passionate the owners and staff are about their work, and the opportunity to serve this area.  Contact them at 207-841-7597, email to or visit FMI.

An update on The Tontine Mall:

It was recently announced that Tontine Mall owner Dan Catlin had secured 2 anchor tenants for the remodeled Tontine Mall in downtown Brunswick; a bakery and a butcher shop. We are excited to learn these new businesses will fill the void left by the departure of Wild Oats Bakery & Café last year. With the deal signed and the new owners eager to get their operations open, construction is reaching a pinnacle both inside and out.  We originally did an update back in March when the building was reduced to nearly a shell as a full overhaul began, from the bottom to the (now 3 stories) top. 

Despite construction material shortages the contractors have been able to effectively stay pretty much on target with the various stages of construction.  This week the new flooring is being poured in the main level-a combination of epoxy and other materials that will not only look great but be outstandingly durable.  The basement level that was torn down to the very gravel of the foundation is taking shape and will feature both a 1,250 sq. ft. space and an 850 sq. ft. space available across from the elevator access once completed in November.  Elizabeth Nails, currently in a temporary space, will feature new ceilings and more room at the entrance to the lower level. 

All glass doors will greet customers as they enter the main floor from the Maine Street entrance-currently occupied by Indrani’s and Engel & Volkers Real Estate.  The new dining area is already showcased in warm sunlight as the last stages of construction are completed.  The Music Store, a staple of the Tontine Mall will be moving to Topsham later this year.  Dan plans to upgrade that space and offer the nearly 2,500 sq. ft space once completed.  “I’d like to see a night trade come here” he says, “to complement the other tenants” which would include the Eveningstar Cinema.  “Perhaps some type of eatery, or wine bar?” he ponders. All 16 of the new apartment units have been fully rented-something Dan didn’t expect to happen so soon, but he’s thrilled to have the tenants as part of the final product.  We are thrilled with the investment he’s making to our downtown and look forward to the Grand Opening coming soon!

September 1, 2021:  Raven & Crow Lands on Pleasant Street

Inner Pleasant Street continues to evolve with the arrival of Woods & Waters Gear Exchange, the sudden departure of The Odd Duck Restaurant, Vessel & Vine’s transformation from cocktail bar to upscale retail hybrid, new business Root, Rind & Petal opening and now the arrival of Raven & Crow Co. at 11 Pleasant Street (next to the former Odd Duck restaurant).

This is a story about young entrepreneurship & making a dream come true for owners Cornelius and Lou Ford, Alex Lavergne and Emile Boisvert as they officially opened the doors on Sunday, August 22nd.  The idea for the shop-a combination of Metaphysical supplies, Divination Services and espresso bar came together over two years ago while Cornelius worked at The Little Dog Coffee Shop as a Barista.  “I knew I wanted to have my own shop” says Cornelius, “but I didn’t want to have a full-blown coffee shop”.  With their interests in ethically sourced teas and herbs, as well as metaphysical & divination, they dreamed up the idea of combining it all into one store, and Raven and Crow Co. was born.

“We found that nobody carried everything in one store” he continues, referring to the metaphysical supplies, Divination services and teas & herbs, “so we thought combining them together with an espresso bar seemed like a good idea”. They four of them began dreaming of the concept and last year began a 2-year business plan. While looking at another space this spring they happened to learn that the space next to the Odd Duck might be available and realized it would be the perfect space.  Suddenly the 2-year plan became a four month hustle to negotiate the lease and renovate the space to their needs.  Not only did the acquire the street-level space but also the basement area with over 2,000 square feet of space, formerly the home of Twice Told Tales used bookstore (they have exciting plans for this space later so follow them on social media to learn more).

With grit, determination, a dream, and a lot of sweat during the hot months of July and August, the preparations came together, and they officially opened the doors August 22nd, and featured a BDA ribbon cutting on Monday the 23rd.  The shop is very much a melding of all four owners, with Emile’s expertise in herbs, bones, and spreadsheets, Alex’s in logo and merchandise design, Lou’s in customer service, tarot, and all things metaphysical, and Cornelius’ in the world of espresso. When you walk in the space you are greeted by Cornelius at the espresso bar, ready to create your hand-crafted beverage.  The back wall is filled with jars of teas & herbs, all locally & ethically sourced, some grown by the partners themselves. In the center is a large table filled with beautiful stones, hand-made jewelry and more.  The other wall contains divination supplies from books to Tarot cards.  Elevated in the back of the room sits Lou Ford, ready to perform Tarot readings-both walk-in and scheduled are welcome.  And look up and you’ll find a uniquely painted ceiling featuring a planetary birth chart designed for the date the lease was signed. To describe the space as “charming” would be both accurate a play on words-as this is where you can learn about…well, charms.

Cornelius hasn’t forgotten his craft for as I reach for my single-shot cappuccino I admire the added touch of the heart shape made of steamed milk, the signature of a true barista.

This store truly is worth stopping by as there’s something for nearly everyone, whether it’s a latte or chai tea, freshly grown & ground herbs (Cornelius was cultivating fresh Basil from the window boxes as we spoke), getting a Tarot reading or just browsing the many unique items they offer.  Raven and Crow Co. is open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 am to 6:30 pm and Sunday 9 am to 2 pm at 11 Pleasant Street.

August 18, 2021:  Rising to the top: Petit Jete’ enjoys a whole new space!

After many years of operating in the lower level of Senter Place on Maine Street, mother & daughter owners Bonnie Redzinak and Francesca Ceccarini of Petit Jete’ Dance Boutique are celebrating their move up the stairs into a larger, highly visible space right on Maine Street! The move comes just after their 5th year of opening their business in the lower level of Senter Place on Maine Street. 

Francesca has been dancing since she was three years old, and they both saw an opportunity to bring the unique business to Brunswick.  “Brunswick is centrally located between the dance schools in southern and northern Maine” she says, which was why they chose Brunswick, noting that there were no dancewear stores in the area.  “Dee was wonderful to work with when we approached them for a space” she continues, speaking of Dee Perry, President of AMS Title Company, trustees of the Senter Place building.  Within a short time after opening the shop they found a need for even more space, and Dee accommodated them with 3 spaces in the lower level of the building. 

Now, with the move upstairs, they enjoy having everything in one large space and expand on their inventory as a result.  While they specialize in personalized pointe shoe fittings, they also carry a wide selection of other dance shoes including tap, jazz, character, dance, and ballroom shoes.

They also carry leotards and an expanded line of fitness wear-all from toddler to adult sizes. But it’s not just dancewear at Petit Jete’-it’s a passion to personalize the fittings and to consult with dancers, dance lovers, studios and teachers of the craft.  Business growth has continued as most of Maine’s dance schools sent their dancers to Petit Jete’ including theater programs like Maine State Music Theater.  As a result, they not only outgrew their space but found it necessary to add a staff member and Lee Gilmore joined them in 2020.

Even if you’re not into dancewear, they invite you to stop by and say hello-I can attest that this is the happiest group of shop owners around, and you might even get to see Norbert-Francesca’s French Bulldog (also the store mascot)!  They are open Sunday 11 am to 4 pm, and Monday to Wednesday 11 am to 6 pm.  We welcome them “up” to Maine Street!

August 4, 2021:  Brunswick PD hosts National Night Out-a huge success!

Tuesday, August 3rd, the Brunswick Police Department hosted the first National Night Out in Brunswick at the Brunswick Parks & Recreation lot to the delight of hundreds of attendees. “This was a promise I made during my bid for Brunswick Police Chief as part of my community outreach campaign” said new Chief Scott Stewart. He was happy to see the turnout after only the first 20 minutes into the event, which only continued to grow in numbers as the evening progressed. 

The event featured not only Brunswick Police Department, but the Brunswick Fire Department, Maine Marine Warden Service, K-9 teams, Brunswick Park Ranger, Project Lifesaver and much more. A special guest appearance by Lifeflight of Maine took place as they flew in just after 4 PM and offered tours of the state of Maine’s emergency helicopter service and answered many questions from adults & children alike.

There was much to be enjoyed at the event including food, DJ music, demonstrations, and tours by all local first responders. Mark Rockwood, Brunswick Police Department’s Chaplain & Pastor of the Berean Baptist church provided the hot dogs, popcorn, and cotton candy with the assistance of members of the church.  Members of the Brunswick Police Department had on display the Special Response Unit, Police cruisers & motorcycle, drone operations, robot demonstrations, and more. Brunswick Fire Department had several vehicles on display along with the Safety House mobile education unit and the ladder truck. 

Perhaps the more popular booth was the dunk tank-featuring various first responders and “notorieties” taking turns getting soaked, but the lines grew long when Chief Stewart and Town Manager John Eldridge took to the diving board.  Everyone seemed to want a turn throwing for a chance to dunk them…and at one point there seemed to be a malfunction allowing nearly every thrown ball to dunk Chief Stewart. The event was a huge success and Chief Stewart plans to hold the event every year going forward.

August 4, 2021:  Hair Today…and tomorrow

We officially welcome Sally Dunn and Hair on Maine as a new member to the Brunswick Downtown Association. Sally purchased the former Split Endz Hair Salon in the Tontine Mall this past winter. Sally is a career hair stylist and worked in Brunswick since 1979, and worked at Split Endz with the previous owner, Carol Thibeault since 1997. Sally says she “acquired” the shop once Carol retired from the business, indicating she plans to continue her career until her day of retirement comes. Once the transition was formalized Sally went to work on renovating the space a bit. “I wanted a fresh start, make it my own shop” she says.

After a couple of weeks of fresh paint, shiplap and all new equipment in the three workstations she was ready to open Hair On Maine. Business never faltered during the pandemic as people were anxious to get back to their hair stylists as soon as things started opening up. Sally, working alone at the time fortunately found Lynn Miller, whom she had worked with at Looking Glass Studio years ago and came to work with Sally as business grew. I asked Sally what drives her after over 42 years in the business-she replied “I like the social aspect-talking with my clients, getting to know them, and making them feel good and look good after they visit. I’ve been doing this since I was 18 and you become like family to these people”, I’m sure those that visit Sally would agree.

What’s next?  Sally recently added another stylist to Hair on Maine, Stacy Cogswell so all stations are now staffed.  Stacy answered Sally’s Facebook post for a stylist with an emphasis on customer loyalty.  Sally was very happy to find Stacy knowing that Hair Stylists were like the rest of the employment pool-very hard to find. Hair on Maine offers cuts, perms, coloring and waxing for both men & women and they are currently accepting new clients.  The salon is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm, Saturday from 9 to noon.  Other appointments can be arranged if needed.  As for Sally’s future plans?  She is still enjoying the business, but hopes that, she too can retire someday and turn the business over to someone else. 

We welcome Sally, Lynn, and Stacy to the BDA and to our little corner inside of Senter Place!

July 21, 2021: Walk a mile…or 10 in his Shoes. Meet Tom the Bottle Man, a member of our community

Chances are that if you live or work in the Brunswick area, you’ve seen or met Tom Morrison, aka Tom the Bottle Man, and his wagon full of bottles walking around town.  Tom has been known as “the bottle man” for several years now since someone made a personalized reflective vest for him for his safety. 

Although he’s not a member of the BDA, Tom is recognized as a member or our community and stops by our office frequently. I had the chance to chat with Tom and learn more about him today. As you can well imagine Tom has worked all his life and, being slightly past retirement age continues to do so. Tom grew up in the Bucksport/Belfast area and started working on a dairy farm at the age of 7. He helped around the farm and helped with the milk deliveries in Belfast. He spent many years in a poultry processing factory on the Belfast waterfront right next to a former sardine canning operation that existed there for decades. After that he spent several years as a school bus driver for the Bangor and Hamden school departments.  “I loved the little kids, they were always happy and would sing songs …and I would sing along with them” he says. “I was (an) overly cautious driver” he continues, and several parents recognized him for being one of the safest bus drivers on the route.

Maddie & Tom

When Tom fell upon harder times he was introduced to Brunswick by his daughter and has been living at the Brunswick Towers for over 11 years now, where he met his current wife Madeline, or “Maddie” as she’s known.  They met shortly after Tom moved into the apartment complex, and Tom says he dreamed he would meet his new wife while he was there.  “I could see (her face) in my dream, and I saw her the very next morning on the patio” Tom recalls. They’ve been happily married since then, and Maddie usually accompanies Tom, but recently her health has been an issue so she’s taking it easy.  But not Tom, he covers miles of territory collecting bottles from both businesses and individuals that save them for Tom from Church Road out to Pleasant Street, the Industrial Parkway and all downtown Brunswick, Jordan Avenue and Bath Road, and out as far as the Walmart shopping area. As you may know some of these areas have no sidewalks or crosswalks, yet Tom finds a way to cross the busy Cook’s Corner intersection. “I make eye contact, and they stop and let me cross” he says. 

Tom is not without incident-only three years ago he was admitted to the hospital with heart problems and underwent surgery, only to fully recover and get back at it in a very short time.  Recently Tom took a fall in a crosswalk downtown and took a hard hit to his face, but thanks to a couple of good Samaritans he was immediately taken to safety and treated by local EMS. True to form, he was back on the street the very next day with stitches to his forehead and a large bandage on his nose. “I didn’t really feel anything (the next day)” he tells me, but he is the type that wouldn’t complain anyway.  

Many locals know Tom and look out for him, offering not only their bottles but help with his bottle carts.  A local auto body shop recently helped Tom install new wheels for his cart, and others have helped in many other ways.  Tom loves his community, and when asked what his plans are for the future, he states he would love to find a place in Brunswick for he and Maddie to live out their remaining years. 

Next time you see Tom be sure to shout out or wave as you see him out and about in Brunswick and keep guessing just how many miles he might have walked so far today.

July 7, 2021:  Lessons in Jewelry & the Maine fishing industry-our newest Members

We welcome two new members to the Brunswick Downtown Association: CHICKENSCRATCH Jewelry and The Maine Fishermen’s Association!

Fort Andross is home to a highly diverse group of businesses from restaurants to retail, artists & crafters to a bicycle shop, chances are you will find something you need or want there!  That is where Lisa & Scott Cylinder have set up CHICKENSCRATCH, a studio jewelry company founded in 1988 and offering over 34 years of jewelry-making experience. 

Their work has been featured across the globe and has been featured in galleries from San Francisco to Paris, and once again a world-renowned business has set up home in Brunswick (remember the brownie ladies that were featured on Oprah & the Academy Awards?).  Imagine a pair of earrings crafted from bolts & nuts or “Space Invader Earrings”, all handmade from base metals & wire, then colorfully created into beautiful pieces of jewelry-these are the staple products at CHICKENSCRATCH.

Lisa & Scott opened their new studio in The Fort just over 3 years ago, adding to the roster of over 15 artists & crafters housed at Fort Andross.  Their new space (affectionately called “The Wedge”) is located in the lower level of the complex “We love the space” says Scott Cylinder, “it has enough room for our studio and classroom, and we love the bonus window overlooking the back patio”.

While they, like most every other business found it necessary to change and adapt during the pandemic, have always featured their work online and have also recently started getting back to in-person shows in the Boston and Philadelphia area. In addition to creating world-class jewelry, Scott & Lisa have offer jewelry workshops and classes for both basic and intermediate skill levels, and as of this writing they have space for 2 attendees for their next classes staring in September. To see samples of their work, learn more about their history or sign up for a workshop or class, please visit their website at 

From out of Fort Andross to a new location on Pleasant Street in Brunswick, we welcome the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association (MCFA), an industry-led non-profit that works on behalf of the community-based fishermen of Maine. MCFA, formed in 2006 as the Midcoast Fishermen’s Association, is now made up of fishermen from the New Hampshire border to Canadian Border with the mission to “identify and foster ways to restore the fisheries of the Gulf of Maine and sustain Maine’s fishing communities for future generations”. The organization recently purchased a property at 93 Pleasant Street, giving them more flexibility and accessibility. 

With the many projects and causes they facilitate, it’s hard to imagine just how broad the scope of the operation is until you visit their website and discover just how involved the organization is with the many aspects of the fishing industry. Executive Director Ben Martens and Program Assistant Kalyn Bickerman-Martens invited us to their new location in the fast-paced corridor of outer Pleasant Street (formerly a law office). MCFA made the purchase back in October of 2020 and have made many improvements since then. Removing peeling wallpaper from water-stained walls, installing new heat pumps for efficiency, and removing carpeting and refinishing beautiful pine & birch flooring were just a few of the projects that Ben & Kalyn have tackled (all this while keeping up with day-to-day business, including raising a family). 

Ben and Kalyn look forward to getting back to business and hosting meetings at the new location. “We are looking forward to when all this (renovation) work is done” he states.  The location features ample parking as is, but Ben plans to make better use out of the space the property has and expand the parking. They also have a small office space with shared restroom and a kitchen that is available for rent — adding “landlord” to their already full list of responsibilities. “It will make a great space for someone-and we think we’ll be pretty good landlords” says Ben. 

We welcome MCFA to our growing list of members, and are so happy to help spread the word about their work. Please visit their website at to learn more about them and how you could become involved. 

June 11, 2021:  From the Cellar to Ship City Fitness-Welcome our newest member!

The Brunswick Downtown Association is pleased to welcome Ship City Fitness as our newest business member in June!  We had the pleasure of meeting with new owner Branden McCoy recently to learn about his business and his plans for the future. 

You may know the former gym as Cellar of Fitness-originally opened in 1994 by local brothers Matt & Dave Cost, and it has been a staple of downtown Brunswick since then.  While passing ownership several times throughout the years it has always remained a local gym.  Meanwhile in Bath, Ship City Fitness opened as a Martial Arts studio in 2004 and became Ship City CrossFit in 2012.  Branden, having graduated FIU with a bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration in Miami in 2017, learned of an internship opportunity back in Maine and moved back to Bath.  Having over 12 years’ experience in Martial Arts, Branden re-introduced the sport to Ship City shortly after returning to Maine, and within a very short time later found himself in a position to purchase the business.  With Branden’s background in physical therapy and a passion for fitness, he saw the opportunity to focus on strength training as part of the gym’s offerings and changed the name to Ship City Fitness-and gained a new following.

Sometime in 2019, Branden learned that the owner of Brunswick’s Cellar of Fitness, Brittany Blakemore, was considering selling the business and he considered the opportunity to move Ship City Fitness to Brunswick.  “The (Cellar of Fitness) had much more space and equipment than Ship City, including parking” Branden notes- “and I liked the location in Brunswick”.  Branden purchased the business in July of 2020 and has not looked back.  Branden added more equipment, including free weights and other non-traditional fitness equipment such as tractor-tires & Battle ropes-focusing on strength training.  While he did not intend to change the dynamic immediately, he has seen the membership grow and more members using the weight-lifting gear then when he started.  Branden realized the value of one of the Cellar’s previous trainers, Chad and hired him on as a personal trainer. 

The facility still boasts a large variety of aerobic machines, and while much of the equipment is original, he finds that they are still in great condition and working well.  Membership at Ship City has become more diverse-including pre-teens to senior plus adults joining at the new location and keeping Branden busy.  He installed a 24-hour access system to allow members to work out on their schedule, but Branden is always “on call”.  He’s a busy man-providing personal training classes at Ship City and still maintaining his Martial Arts classes in Bath, but he loves what he does.  “My goal is to make overall fitness & strength training accessible to as many people as possible” he states.  As for looking ahead to the future-he hopes to be able to make his gym more accessible, add group classes of all sizes, while keeping an emphasis on strength training.  “Something that no other (local) facility can offer”.

We welcome Branden to Brunswick and The Brunswick Downtown Association.  You can find more information about Ship City Fitness at  or call 207-373-0800 FMI.

May 26, 2021:  Spark Cycling comes to Brunswick Landing

Growth at The Brunswick Landing continues!  Spark Cycling Studio joins the recent burst of developments at The Brunswick Landing. With the recent move by Wild Oats Bakery & Café last winter plus Martin’s Point Health Care, the new plaza at the entrance including Dunkin Donuts and Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Merry Meeting Kitchen and more all within the last year, we are excited to welcome our new member – Spark Cycling Studio!  Located in the front portion of the building that also houses Seeds of Independence at 29 Burbank Avenue, owner Brittany Hyde opened on Saturday, May 15th after a BDA ribbon cutting the night before. 

We had the pleasure of meeting Brittany and her family as they put the finishing touches on the studio in preparation of the opening.  A warm, brightly lit entrance welcomes cyclists to the studio followed by locker rooms for gearing up.  Once you enter the biking studio you know you’re in for something special-dark walls & ceilings with the army of stationary bikes is as exciting as entering a theme-park ride! 

The instructor bike at the front of the room is showcased by a neon wave of light…the instructor gives everyone a quick orientation to today’s class and then the music kicks in from the tower of speakers and you’re off! But don’t let the atmosphere intimidate you, it’s designed to motivate and make everyone feel comfortable as Britt & her instructors are out to make your experience inclusive. 

A few years ago, Brittany realized that she was happiest on the days that she exercised with a group of people rather than on her own.  Finding herself “between jobs” recently, the idea of a cycling studio presented itself, so she began exploring the idea further.  She found Tom Wright-a Landing developer and former Executive Director of Seeds of Independence, known for helping local start-up businesses on The Landing, back in September of 2020.  “Tom offered me space on the spot and while I did look at a few other options, 29 Burbank seemed like the best bet. Tom is a fantastic human, a huge supporter of women-owned small businesses, and a leader in the community, especially Brunswick Landing – it was a no-brainer!” says Brittany. 

“The renovation took six weeks, and it took me about two weeks to get the space ready for opening day. My background in operations and event management made this part fun – I knew what I wanted it to look and feel like, so executing it was exciting. I had so much help from family and friends, especially my dad! He worked tirelessly to build the platform that the instructor bike sits on, spent many hours tweaking the audio equipment with me, putting together furniture, hanging balloon garlands, running through practice classes, etc.

From my group of instructors to my attorney-friend who gave me hours of free legal advice, to my friends who live far away but have purchased merchandise and asked how they could support long term, everyone has been so encouraging of this venture, and I’m so appreciative. I’m excited to continue to meet members of the greater Brunswick community and to welcome them into Spark Cycling. The people we’ve met so far have been enthusiastic, brave, and truly people that I want to be around. What a gift!” She is most excited about building a space where daily movement is prioritized and recognized for its value. Britt’s dream for Spark is that everyone can find their place in the studio. She wants you to feel at-home the moment you walk into the building, a new ‘family’ that you belong to.   Britt invites everyone to check out the studio and try a class out-you might just get hooked!  Visit or for more information including upcoming class schedules, or drop them an email at  

May 12, 2021:  More new Members to celebrate!

The month of April, in true Maine form, is a month where things come to life. The Brunswick Downtown Association was very fortunate to welcome more new business members in April and women-owned!

If you would like to get off the beaten path (or out of the way of tourists) and see what Maine has to offer, then Red Cloak Tours is for you!  Currently (due to pandemic) offering Walking Tele Tours, Tidbit Tasting Parties, Virtual Presentations and Custom Tours. The Red Cloak Experience, with professional storytellers, is the perfect addition to your Maine getaway. 

Owner/founder Sally Lobkowicz began offering walking tours in the mid-coast area in 2007 featuring the first Maine Haunted History tour that year just in time for Halloween.  Since then, she and her husband Greg Latimer have offered a variety of historical, foodie and sometimes whimsical walking tours of many of mid-coast’s popular destinations as far north as Bar Harbor and south to Kennebunk. A researcher and writer specializing in genealogy and history, Sally spends her downtime researching local history and working with new venues to provide unique experiences for both locals and visitors to Maine. The popularity of the tours has increased over the years and with Covid hitting in 2020, Sally quickly shifted gears to host Tele-Tours-her tour is guided live by conference call as the participants walk the route.  This model has been quite successful and will continue, however Sally still looks forward to donning her traditional red cloak and getting back to live walking tours as soon as she feels it is safe for everyone.

For more information and to book a tour, please visit or call 207-380-3806.  Get out and explore parts of Maine you thought you knew this summer!

We also welcome Sundara Pathways LLC to the growing list of BDA Members!  Founded in 2015 by Leyza Toste, while still working in a career in higher education human resources she started focusing on that which she truly loved doing (helping others), through Life Coaching & Reiki.  Leyza is a Master Reiki practitioner, board certified life coach (BCC), and holds a certification by Peggy Huddleston to facilitate the Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster mind-body technique workshop. Leyza’s background in human resources led her decision to establish Sundara Pathways with emphasis on helping people with issues-whether it is preparing for surgery, coping with life’s ups & downs, or generally looking to live a more fulfilled life.  As for how the pandemic influenced her work, Leyza found the life coaching was best done online.  She can meet with folks no matter where they live with the bonus of no added travel time, a plus for those with busy lives. For those that do not know, Reiki (pronounced ‘ray-key’) is a gentle, non-invasive, technique for stress reduction and relaxation has roots in Japan dating back to the early 1900s. 

Leyza currently offers Reiki, in person, within the office of Doctor Holly J. Brown, DAOM, L.Ac, at the Parkview Campus, 311 Maine Street. She offers remote consultation for life coaching and Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster. “I love what I do, and I do what I do because I love helping others” -the true testament to the saying if you do what you love it will never be “work”!  Please visit to learn more about Leyza’s offerings, and perhaps schedule a session today!

April 28, 2021:  A Community-focused concept: Merry Meeting Kitchen opens this week!

You may have visited Turtle Rock Farm at 39 Burbank Avenue in the past, especially when they hosted the Brunswick Landing Farmers Market on Fridays.  A new collaboration has emerged-officially opening Wednesday, April 28, and is called the Merry Meeting Kitchen.  It is a market, community kitchen, meeting space and more focusing on locally sourced food & other products.

Merry Meeting Kitchen staff

Rental and Community Manager Amy Fagan described the renovated space as all the above, but mostly as a place for the community to come together.  Amy along with Merry Meeting Kitchen Board Member Jennifer Legnini and Retail Manager Courtney Sonia greeted the staff of BDA as well as Sally Costello and Emily Ruger from the Town of Brunswick’s Economic Development department for a tour of the facility prior to opening on their first day.

The retail space is filled with local products from snacks, jellies, soaps, coffee and more, most of which you will recognize as locally created.  There are vegan & gluten-free offerings in addition to the many organic items. Directly behind the retail space is the community kitchen-a complete commercial kitchen space available for rent-perhaps to create your own seasonal jam or jelly or cater an event at the greenhouse space next to the building.  In addition, they have a pizza oven that could also be rented for any event.  

The greenhouse is a large venue available for rent for events and was recently used for an engagement party-it can seat up to 70 (once guidelines allow).  “The idea of connecting the local community to farmers and producers was our guiding principle” says Amy. 

“In addition to the greenhouse and the kitchen, we plan on adding raised bed gardens and can see any part of our space being used for small or large gatherings, tea parties, anything that brings the community together”. 

Merry Meeting Kitchen currently works with several of the local farmers for local products but as the growing season comes into play, they plan on incorporating more farmer’s goods in the store.  With the Saturday Farmer’s Market returning to the parking lot behind Flight Deck Brewing this Saturday, they anticipate people will continue shopping at their shop after perusing the farmer’s market.  There are many more collaborations in the works with multiple farms and vendors so one can expect to see Merry Meeting Kitchen itself “grow” as the summer months arrive. 

Currently open Wednesday through Friday 11 am to 6 pm, Saturday 11 am to 4 pm.  There’s an option to order from local producers for pick up by visiting For more information about Merry Meeting Kitchen, events & information sessions, visit or call then at 207-446-4027.

We at the Brunswick Downtown Association are so happy to see the growth taking place at The Brunswick Landing and the collaboration between the many businesses such as Flight Deck Brewing, Wild Oats Bakery & Cafe and now the Merry Meeting Kitchen, making The Brunswick Landing a destination of its own within the Brunswick community.  And coming soon we will be featuring yet another new business right next door to Merry Meeting Kitchen, Spark Cycling Studio!  Be sure to stay tuned to our website or Facebook & Instagram for their big opening announcement soon!

April 14, 2021:  Root Rind & Petal, her story

We at the Brunswick Downtown Association as well as our community are once again blessed to see another new business rise from the pandemic year and open up shop in Brunswick.  Root Rind & Petal is a quaint new shop located at 8 Pleasant Street with a welcoming porch and mini garden at the front.

Owner Jennifer Fitzpatrick has been in the location since March of 2020 of last year, opening the doors in December of 2020.  The store is filled with items that please the senses-the diffuser filling the air with the day’s essential oil, soft music fills the air while you browse.  Each display is a mini showcase, neatly arranged to highlight the wide variety of items.

The story behind her business started in 2015 when her youngest son Nathan was diagnosed with pediatric cancer.  As he endured the year of treatments, Jennifer began seeking alternative medicines for both physical and mental healing, for both her and her son.  Her diligence led her to many discoveries that she feels made the recovery process so much easier to deal with.  One such discovery was Lucy’s Love Bus-a non-profit organization in Amesbury Massachusetts offering alternative therapies for children with cancer.  As her son began the recovery process, she began sharing her story of healing with others going through similar situations, and for the past five years has offered group sessions and classes to people from all over the state of Maine, sharing her knowledge and experience with anyone that finds themselves in similar situations.  Each Wednesday evening is Workshop Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 PM at the store.

Today the shop is alive and packed with so many unique items including Aromatherapy items, crystals & minerals, soaps & candles, books and more.  You will be welcomed by the sights, smells, and sounds of relaxing, natural therapies.  With Mother’s Day coming up, have Jennifer put together a custom basket for you (order soon).  For more information on her events & information sessions, visit her Facebook page at or stop in Wednesday through Saturday from Noon to 6:00 PM.

March 31, 2021:  This week: BDA is on the move; Outdoor Dining Returns by Tom Barter

After nearly 17 years in our 2nd floor office above Norway Savings Bank, the Brunswick Downtown Association moved our office to a much larger, first floor space at Senter Place. We said goodbye to our “roost” this week at Norway Savings Bank at 85 Maine Street, leaving behind the legacy office space of the foundation of the BDA, as the name was changed from Brunswick Intown Group, or BIG in 2004.  With the addition of a full-time executive director (Stephanie Slocum) and the need for affordable office space, Norway Savings Bank offered the office at an extremely reasonable cost.  As the years went by, additional staff was needed to handle the growing membership, marketing and event needs as BDA continued to develop many of the current programs and events that we still host today.  For the last several years the 2-room, 460 square foot space housed 3 full time employees and supply storage, and it became obvious more room was needed.  Additionally, many of the event supplies had been stored in the 2nd floor empty office space above Key Bank on Maine Street-with limited access and labor-intensive shuffling for many events.  As the saying goes “timing is everything”, space became available at Senter Place this year. 

The new space includes a separate area with enough room to store all our event supplies from Key Bank, giving us unlimited, first-floor access when needed.  We are sad to leave our former space and will miss our Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Bath Brunswick neighbors as well as the ever-accommodating staff at Norway Savings Bank, but are happy to be part of the Senter Place “family” and be more in the heart of downtown Brunswick.  We welcome anyone to stop by and say hello as soon as we are fully organized and ready for visitors, hopefully by the end of April. We hope to host an open house sometime this year.  We can still be reached at 207-729-4439 and mailing will remain PO Box 15 in Brunswick.

Outdoor Dining Returns: With the tease of warmer weather, we saw the breakout of tables at many of our downtown restaurants and the return of the Mall food trucks for those that enjoy the fresh air, distancing or just the chance to get outdoors!  From Pepper’s Landing at Cook’s Corner, Fat Boy Drive-In on Bath Road, Flight Deck Brewing at Brunswick Landing, to Scarlet Begonia’s and Byrne’s Irish Pub on Station Avenue.  As for downtown, you can now dine outside (as weather allows) at Bohemian Coffee House, Grampa’s Garden, Broadway Deli, Portland Pie, Gelato Fiasco, Little Dog Coffee Shop, Bombay Mahal, Big E’s Burritos, and soon (April 14th) Joshua’s Restaurant.  Many feature outdoor heaters, and most locations also can be found on a new website, Maine Outdoor Dine @ a new site highlighting Maine’s outdoor dining options. 

As always, our local restaurants have survived only because of local support, so keep on ordering local!

Welcome New Members:  Last but not least we want to welcome a few new members this week: Root, Rind & Petal is a new shop at 8 Pleasant Street featuring Essential Oils, Stones and Tools for Health and Wellness. Open 12-6 Wednesday through Saturday; call (207) 680-5509.

Merry Meeting Kitchen is a local marketplace, online network and Community Kitchen.  Not quite open yet but offering a variety of local food items for pick-up on Friday afternoon at 39 Burbank Avenue (former site of the winter farmer’s market) at Brunswick Landing.  (207) 522-6276

Red Cloak Tours joined the BDA this week and offers historical tours of 12 Maine towns including Brunswick, featuring TeleTours or live guided tours to allow social distancing as well. 

Look for a full write-up on these new businesses with pictures in the next Membership News & Updates on April 14th!

3/15/2021 Coming Soon: The all-new Tontine Mall!

Have you wondered how the construction was going at the Tontine Mall or wondered when will construction be complete?”  We may have some answers for you…We were invited by property owner Dan Catlin of Commercial Properties to view the renovation progress at the Tontine Mall recently.  We met Dan at the entrance to the Eveningstar Cinema / The Music Center walked up to the former Wild Oats & dining space on the 2nd floor. 

The entire floor has been completely gutted (except for Indrani’s space) and was teaming with construction workers weaving in & out.  Although there is framework up for the some of the interior walls, Dan explains the layout.  The biggest change is the dining area-after years of facing north with a view of the rear parking lot, it will now be on the south side with lots of windows.  Dan shows us one of the two new windows that are nearly 12-feet-wide and open easily (to nearly 12’ long), overlooking the planned outdoor dining area.  The windows were an unplanned expense, but Dan feels people will appreciate the access to fresh air in the warmer months. 

Next, he points out the ceiling-made of hemlock boards and support beams, and after having an engineer review the materials and deemed them fully safe, he decided to clean them up and leave them exposed to highlight some of the history of the building.  Although Dan has not finalized the future tenant of this space, he hints that he is close to an agreement that, if secured, could result in some type of bakery and possibly a butcher shop.  The remaining space on the 2nd floor is currently being leased to Homes & Harbors (now Engel & Volkers Real Estate) and Indrani’s-the latter of which will also feature expanded space.  Of note-the primary entrance to the 2nd floor will be on the south side (near where the entrance to Wild Oats was) and will also feature an elevator for full access to all floors.

After this we proceeded to the basement, or 1st floor as it is officially called.  Again, we are amazed to see an entirely gutted floor-all interior walls have been removed as well as most of the concrete floor.  Dan explains that once they began the project last fall and faced problems with the existing sewer (which ran on pumps that had to be pumped out several times per year) and water system, he decided at that point that he could either invest “just enough” to get the building up to code or “go all in” and make a true, long-term investment in the property.  He decided on the latter-making the new Tontine Mall a new, modern, and efficient space for his tenants and their customers.  “We started by running all electrical from the pole underground (which also included the Riley Insurance and Sotheby’s buildings).  Next, we realized we needed an all new, gravity-feed septic system that could handle the flow without pumping” he stated.  And then the water-which was currently a 2-inch feed, he decided to go with 6-inch water feed lines to provide more than enough water pressure for every tenant, current and future.  This required bringing in mini excavators into the basement to dig up all water & septic lines and make the changes.  Another necessary adjustment made in the basement was the construction of small support walls to shore up the existing concrete & steel beams.  This will also afford him flexibility in the construction of interior walls as needed in the future.  As we visited the crews were busy removing the remaining concrete flooring to prepare for the new concrete pouring in the weeks ahead.  Dan’s vision for now is to leave the 1st floor as open as possible as it will be a common space for some of the tenants until future spaces are leased.

As we ended the tour, we asked about the 3rd floor-most everyone knows he plans to build apartments there to add to the housing availability in downtown Brunswick.   “They (contractors) will be starting around the first of April” he says, and when asked when he anticipates the construction of the 1st and 2nd floors to be completed, we were shocked to hear him say that construction could finish by the end of March with some spaces opening as soon as April, and the 3rd floor could be ready by mid to late summer.   

So, if you have passed by the Tontine Mall these past few months and wondered why things seemed to be moving slowly, now you know-the entire Tontine Mall, when completed, was a ground-up restoration and not just a few renovations here and there.  We are excited to see the finished project-including the new 2nd floor dining area, outdoor patio, updated exterior, and the new apartments!  If you would like more information about the Tontine Mall or are interested in leasing a space there, you can sign up for their newsletter at .  We look forward to the completed project and another beautiful investment in downtown Brunswick!

3/03/2021: Welcome Bay Bowls to Brunswick! No, it’s not ice cream

We welcome Bay Bowls, our newest downtown business to open (yes, during the pandemic) and new members of the Brunswick Downtown Association.  Located at the corner of Maine Street and Station Avenue at the former Cote’s Ice Cream building, Bay Bowls brings yet another new cuisine style to one of the most diverse dining line-ups you will find on any Main street in USA. 

What is a Bay Bowl?  I recently visited with the owner, Sal Matari while he was preparing to open the shop.  First, I can personally attest that Bay Bowls are one of the most delicious bowls of healthy food I’ve ever tasted (yes healthy).  But don’t let the word healthy scare you from trying one!  A Bay Bowl could be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert because of the many ingredients that will leave you both satisfied and, well yes-feeling good!

The story behind Bay Bowls is another story of someone betting on the Brunswick community and of taking a risk.  Owner Sal Matari worked in the clothing industry for over 30 years primarily in New York City; his daughter, Leah moved to Bowdoinham about 5 years ago and attended Bowdoin College.  Leah & her friends craved the Acai smoothies and bowls they enjoyed in NY and beyond, and often drove to Portland to find them.  When Leah saw the vacant Cote’s space last year, she texted her family with the info. “I never thought about owning or running my own business” Sal says while chopping the fresh strawberries at the counter. But one thing led to another and soon a lease was signed.  Sal, with help from his family, spent a significant amount of time and capital on renovating the Cote’s space, working through the summer and fall to get things ready to open. 

Things were ready to go by early January, and they officially opened on Saturday, January 30th, with a line that wrapped around the corner onto Station Avenue!  Why open an Acai bowl & smoothie shop in January?  Sal’s response is simple “If not when you’re ready, then when?”, and so they launched in the coldest months of the year. Since opening (Sal & family) are very pleased with the support they’ve received from both the town and the community.  They have seen people of all ages come out to try the many varieties of bowls from the menu and have enjoyed many repeat customers already.  Things are going so well, in fact, that Sal is already dreaming of branching out and leaving his clothing career behind.

One thing they want you to know-this is NOT another ice cream shop.  As Sal recalls a conversation with a local couple that stopped by during construction, Sal tried to describe what the prime ingredients were like and had to use the analogy of sorbet, which the couple then said “Oh, so another ice cream shop?”.  So just what is a Bay Bowl made of?  The key ingredients are Acai (pronounced “Ah-Sigh-Ee”) berries and Pitaya (Dragon fruit) berries, which are blended to make a smooth, creamy base for all bowls and smoothies.  Sal won’t reveal his source, but he knows he is getting the best there is and has to drive hours to get it.  Add to that a selection of fresh fruit (Sal plans on locally sourcing when available) choices including strawberries, blueberries, coconut, pineapple, banana, etc. and a few special topping ingredients and you have a Bay Bowl!  As you enjoy the bowl and the Acai & Pitaya start to melt the flavors blend together and you don’t want it to end!  Rather than go into more detail of the ingredients and the health benefits, I’ll let you try one for yourself while chatting with Sal and the staff, and you’ll wonder why you never had one before!

2/17/2021: Turning a vision into reality: Woods and Waters Gear Exchange

How much fun can you have running a business?  Just ask Jenna Vanni of Woods & Waters Gear Exchange.  Just check out some of her Facebook posts showcasing some of her outdoor gear and you get the sense that someone is enjoying what they do, and for good reason. 

Last week Jenna was recognized for her efforts with LIFTED Outdoors to raise money for Teens to Trails, Kingdom Kids, and The Venture Out Project. Jenna was very supportive of LO’s mission as it was a way that she could support several youth organizations throughout New England. This first campaign raised $300 for the participating organizations.  Teens to Trails was selected as a beneficiary of LIFTED’s first campaign and these funds will support high school outing clubs, including the clubs at Brunswick and Mt. Ararat High Schools.

Woods & Waters Gear Exchange opened the doors as a new downtown Brunswick Business on January 18th, 2019 and since that day the business has taken off and grown well beyond what she expected, especially with a pandemic hitting just over a year later.  As a new business owner striking out for the first time on her own, it has been a success from day one (which anyone can tell you is usually not the case with any new business) even though being an entrepreneur was the furthest thing from her mind just years ago. 

Jenna started a career in engineering garments, a bit off from her college studies of Studio Art and Community Development.  Working with several companies including LL Bean, she spent years in apparel development and fashion design, but always knew there was something missing.  Having the opportunity to travel to New York, Los Angeles and overseas she began thinking of “a way out”.  Through these years working with new apparel and outdoor gear she accumulated lots of items as part of her work, even offering to buy some items off her co-workers.  She began hoarding these items and a plan soon formulated.  “In my years at the University of Vermont I discovered a store in town called The Outdoor Gear Exchange offering used outdoor gear & apparel for a fraction of the cost, and also a warm, welcominig atmosphere.  It allowed me to explore many outdoor sports that I may not have had the opportunity to do, and it was such a fun, laid-back store that I just enjoyed going back”.  Soon the idea came together-her collection of items, a love of the outdoors and a drive to help others to explore nature created an opportunity, so she struck out create her own gear exchange.  She fell in love with #12 Pleasant Street from the minute she walked in and the dream became a reality in a few short days.  With access to Bowdoin students (and eventually many other college students in the area) and a downtown location, she felt this was the ideal place to open “Woods + Waters Gear Exchange”, stocking the store initially with her years of collected items.  Since then, she has built a successful consignment shop that continues to expand in outdoor gear & apparel, from gloves, hats & jackets to boots, bikes and canoes.  Carrying pretty much anything you can imagine she has also had many unique items.  “I just received a dog sled” she says, “and military issue sleeping bags complete with arms and legs!”

Jenna loves what she does, especially knowing that she is giving others the opportunity to explore the outdoors that otherwise may not afford to do so.  She often donates items to those in need, works with local start-ups by featuring their merchandise, and works with the local B’wick Bikes program, rehabilitating old bicycles and donating them to those in need.  After 2 years in business, she feels the business has been a success and looks forward to continuing her mission of helping people to explore the great outdoors and live a better life.  Check out her shop at 12 Pleasant Street or preview items online , on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

01/28/2021 BDA’s Member of the Year-Curtis Memorial Library

The Brunswick Downtown Association Board of Directors have voted Curtis Memorial Library as the 2020 Member of the Year Award winner.Your local library since 1883, Curtis Memorial Library has weathered many changes throughout its history, but nothing like the pandemic.  A mecca for all the community, a library’s primary function is to provide a space for people to interact around information, and Curtis Memorial Library provides this and so much more.

For Library Director Liz Doucett and the staff at CML, the decision to close the doors to the public (twice) was not easy, but necessary to protect the staff and patrons.  However, immediately after closing the doors in March, the staff began finding ways to move many of their services to online platforms. “I’m so proud of how quickly we shifted gears…they put their fears and anxieties aside and came up with plans to help the community to be able to enjoy the benefits of the library” says Liz.   With curbside pick-up one of the first moves made to accommodate the traditional lending service, many of the familiar programs were moved to online platforms-one example is the art exhibit in the Morrell Meeting Room, an ongoing, rotating art display featuring local artists.  “Normally we’d see dozens of people viewing the art in person, but once we launched the virtual exhibit, we saw hundreds of views, and more art was being sold through this new program.” There are more than a dozen new virtual services that have been added since the pandemic, and Liz is quite proud of their work in creating a whole new model of how libraries operate.  As Liz says, “I feel like we’ve never really closed down”. 

When I asked Liz what she was most proud of, she related back to the quick actions and flexibility of her staff.  “The demonstrated their willingness to keep moving forward in the face of all obstacles.  Everybody has learned to navigate through this new (online) environment and operate as best as possible”.  Some of the other innovations the library has introduced include hundreds of virtual books and magazines added to the cloud library, the addition of extensive online learning database, language-learning programs, and Kanopy-streaming movies & documentaries.  Additional services added include contact-free delivery of material to senior and assisted living, Books on Wheels delivery service, Telephone discussions with patrons about next book recommendations plus regular blogs with reading recommendations, resumed weekly pick up of Harpswell book drop, and if you haven’t checked it out yet a new podcast (Curtis Cast) on dozens of useful topics for all.

Liz and her staff look forward to the day when they can safely “return to normal” and open the doors to the public, but in the meantime they have been working tirelessly to offer the same services their patrons are used to in a way that is as convenient as possible under the current circumstances and will continue to bring the community together as best as can be…and for that we congratulate the staff of Curtis Memorial Library for the BDA Member of the Year Award for 2020!

2021 Update: the doors were opened to the public in May and things are back to “normal”!

12/16/20: California Dreaming becomes Maine Reality at Elevated Remedies

With the marijuana industry coming into full acceptance across the US, you do not need to look far to find dispensaries popping up across the state of Maine, but like a good coffee house versus a fast-food drive-through, all dispensaries are not alike.  Meet Keith & Kevin Carlon, brothers with roots in Brunswick, that opened Elevated Remedies, a medical cannabis dispensary at 14 Industrial Parkway in Brunswick. 

Keith started his work in the cannabis industry in California where he worked for three years in cultivation as well as studying the medicinal side of the plant and its effects on the endocrine system and psychological health. After seeing an opportunity at home, Keith returned to Maine to be closer to family; and with the help of his brother Kevin, who had been working in cultivation for a few years, began the business planning and licensing process. With a lot of elbow grease, caffeine, meetings, and a few lucky stars; the brothers Carlon opened for business in August of 2019.

Dedicated to setting the bar high, Elevated Remedies works with their patients to provide the best product based on their needs in a highly consultative setting. When you walk into their shop, you are greeted with a rustic, yet clinical aesthetic designed to highlight some of their extensive product lines and to give a homey Maine feel.  By appointment, Keith & Kevin will meet with you to learn about your needs and discuss the many options available from pain management, sleep-aids and anxiety relief that can be very educational for the first-time user. From day one, Keith and Kevin believe that education and de-stigmatization is the key to helping cannabis patients feel enabled and encouraged when selecting the products that best suit their needs.

Although marijuana has been legalized in most every state, many people still have pre-conceived notions about the industry, including yours truly.  When I met Keith last year and spent some time learning about his background and extensive knowledge of how the different cannabis products interact with our bodies, I walked away with a completely different outlook and truly understand the positive impacts cannabis can have for a variety of medical conditions.

One of the biggest challenges they face currently is their location in the Industrial Park-it’s not the best location for any retail business including a dispensary.  Based on existing town ordinances and zoning, marijuana dispensaries can only be in the industrial zones of Brunswick, and this has had an impact on getting new customers to find them; especially where the lack of foot traffic is concerned. Keith and Kevin have set a goal to work with the town on potentially expanding the zoning for storefronts in Brunswick because, at the end of the day, they are committed to being a visible part of the Brunswick business community. For them, like any customer-facing business, being closer to the Pleasant Street or even Maine Street corridor would be ideal, not only for them but for their clients.  Until that day comes, please make a point of checking out Brunswick’s best kept secret at Elevated Remedies and chatting with Keith and Kevin, you will not be disappointed.

, , , ,

© 2013 Brunswick Downtown Association