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11-18-20: Downtown Business succeeds during the Pandemic: The Transformation of Vessel & Vine

If you haven’t been to Vessel & Vine in the past few months you will be in for a surprise. Gone is the cocktail bar/petite dining interior filled with tables, antiques and bar seating, replaced by what one might describe as a small indoor farmer’s market retail store reminiscent of a typical New England Country Store. 

Owner Nikaline Iacono opened Vessel & Vine in the spring of 2018 as a unique cocktail bar featuring local wines, beers and hand-crafted cocktails and serving small plates of appetizers and charcuterie items. 

It was a unique space that also featured unique & antique furniture, tableware, stools, and other pieces scattered about the space that were always “for sale”.  “I’m a scavenger by nature” says Nikaline, “I opened the store on a shoestring and by nature I’m not afraid to change things up and let things go”.  The setting certainly set a quiet, comforting mood, and also included a small selection of wines for sale in a corner of the shop.  Prior to the pandemic, Nikaline began adjusting her space to accommodate more wine selections and small offerings of locally sourced items as the wine sales began to grow. 

Once the pandemic hit, Nikaline, like many of our downtown business owners, quickly realized a need to transform how she did business.  She began by offering local deliveries of her retail items including wines that the state had allowed and saw business start to take off.  Once she decided to open in June, she set to expand her retail space even further adding more wines, beers, ciders and local food items. 

With business growing rapidly she finally decided to focus most of the entire space on retail offerings – “Business has nearly doubled every month since March over last year” she says as a result of her rapid transformation of the business model.  Nikaline was able to retain all but one of her employees throughout the closures and transition to retail-a feat to be lauded.

Some of the unique offerings at Vessel & Vine include unique ingredients for your in-home meal preparation, including locally herbs, cheeses, and spices to make your meals memorable.  For example, she offers in-house crafted pie crusts along with pumpkin filling for the best pumpkin pie you’ll ever create for the holidays.  She also hopes to start a wine club early next year where you can sample some of the unique wines offered from around the world and delivered to your door.

As for the bar service, with the colder weather now upon us Nikaline hopes to keep the outside space viable, at least on Friday & Saturdays if the weather cooperates.  “I debated whether or not to buy heaters, but they’re not cost-effective and right now they’re hard to find”.  

Once you enter Vessel & Vine you’ll see how the new layout creates a space for each of the components: Prepared and specialty foods, cheeses and charcuterie, small production beer, wine & ciders, a great selection of cocktail supplies and a variety of unique items that will make perfect gifts for you and anyone on your gift list.  Visit Vessel & Vine at 4 Pleasant Street from 11 am to 8 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.  Say hello to Nikaline & her staff, including Linda-a very affectionate 4-legged greeter. As always, please support our community and shop local!

11-04-20: David & Cathy Flaherty move to Downtown Brunswick

Perhaps you have seen the RMS sign recently installed at 56 Maine Street (formerly Maine Street Sweets).  Cathy Flaherty of Residential Mortgage Services (RMS) and her husband David Flaherty of Flaherty Realty recently relocated to downtown Brunswick after 36 years on Pleasant Street.  With the new Brunswick Fire Station plan to be constructed at their location on Pleasant Street, Dave made the decision to buy the building formerly owned by the family of Richard Nemrow. 

David was intrigued with the building’s history, being built around 1840 with an addition added approximately around 1880.  “it was known as the Black Building, named after one of its former occupants, Black’s Hardware” he noted. The original brick walls were highlighted during the renovations David & Cathy made to the space, along with the high ceilings and wooden beam construction. 

There are currently seven tenants in the building including the flagship tenant Bayview Gallery, a staple on Maine Street since 2003.  Other tenants include Back River Accounting, Massage on Maine, Midcoast Pilates, Dirigo Capital Advisors, and private piano lessons that sometimes add a musical backdrop to the back of the office.

David & Cathy look forward to being part of the downtown community, and we at the BDA are fortunate to have them join us!  Please consider RMS or Flaherty Realty for your future home buying/selling needs.

10-21-20: New business continues to grow/relocate in Brunswick.

Throughout the past six months we’ve seen the pandemic take Its toll on local businesses across the state, the country and the world.  While some have thrived in the dynamic shift caused by changes in our daily lives, many struggled and continue to do so-some hanging on by a thread.  We are fortunate in our community to have several recent additions to our membership base in downtown Brunswick and beyond.  Recently Sally Costello, Brunswick’s Economic & Community Development Director, joined Deb King, Executive Director, and the staff of the Brunswick Downtown Association on a road trip of impromptu ribbon cuttings to welcome some of these new additions.

Our first stop: Susan Kamin of Lifecycle Women’s Health at her new office at 37 Mill Street in Brunswick which opened in September.  Susan is a certified nurse-midwife and offers full-scope, holistic women’s health care. She specializes in care during the menopause transition & sexual health for women of all ages.  She is the first person in Maine to be certified as a Sexuality Counselor. Susan and her family moved to Maine 3 years ago to enjoy the wonders and natural beauty of this state. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to provide this much needed service in Brunswick. Susan accepts multiple insurances including Medicaid and Medicare and invites you to call her to schedule an appointment by phone at 207-835-1720 or visit lifecyclewomenshealth.com.

We then met with Cathy & David Flaherty who have moved their offices from Pleasant Street to 56 Maine Street in Brunswick.  Flaherty Realty has been in business since 1978, starting in Bath before moving to Brunswick in 1984.  They bought the building recently from Nemrow family and have been working on several ongoing renovations since, including the office of Residential Mortgage Services (RMS) which is run by Cathy Flaherty, his wife.  They kept the historic interior intact, keeping much of the brick walls and hardwood ceiling beams in place while creating a modernized workspace for their offices.  “Business has been booming since the influx of people looking to relocate to Maine” says David, and they truly love being on Maine Street in Brunswick. 

You can reach David Flaherty at 207-729-5581 or flahertyrealty.com on the internet.  RMS can be reached at 207-725-5550 or on the web at Cathy.Flaherty@rmsmortgage.com

Right across from the BDA office we met up with Mike, Jud and Deja of 2Dinein, a new local dining delivery service that expanded to Brunswick.  We were intrigued when we searched for them online when they moved into town, finding that this is a truly Maine-owned business and not a national chain service (or not yet, at least). 

Mike Bolduc & his wife Sarah of Scarborough started the company in Portland in 2007.  “When we first started, it was Sarah & I in the car-me driving to deliveries while she was on the laptop and taking orders over the phone…needless to say it was one way to spend time together!” Now with dozens of drivers, nearly 150 restaurants and a dozen office staff they are committed to work with the communities they work in during these tough times by offering delivery right to your door. Mike and his team want to help our local establishments as we head into the winter months and will be offering new restaurant customers special rates.  Give them a call at 207-747-4111, visit on the web at Brunswick.2dinein.com, or stop by their office at 98 Maine Street, Suite 1, and look for the highly visible 2Dinein-mobile around town! 

A trek to the “other side” of Brunswick lead us to the new production and eventual retail space of Healing Harbors, Maine-made CBD products.  This beautiful location at 430 Bath Road is next to the Mid Coast Medical Group Orthopedics office near New Meadows river.  Owners Stacy Moore and Ashley Lenz along with Jess, their employee greeted us and gave us a look at the new production, warehouse, and fulfillment area.  Starting in Harpswell just a few short years ago they quickly realized they needed more space and the opportunity to offer CBD products directly to the consumers, and the new space on Bath Road was perfect.  “We hope to work with (Mid Coast Medical Group) in the future, offering our products and other services to their patients” Ashley stated-with the ability to walk a few steps from physical therapy to a healing massage, sauna or other treatment they offer (they’ve partnered with Bhavana, formerly of Freeport, to offer a complete line of health care services).

Healing Harbors is a Women-owned, Veteran-founded Maine Company and their Maine-made products are currently available at many local shops and medical/wellness centers from Maine to Oregon as well as online. We encourage you to learn more about their journey and the many benefits of CBD products by visiting online at healingharbors.com, email to customercare@healingharbors.com or calling 1-833-825-3223.  Healing Harbors-Care for Every Body! As always, please support our community and shop local!

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