Have a bite though you get your bike repaired, store for household furniture or see a demonstrate

You may possibly be utilised to likely procuring and staying supplied a cup of not-so-new coffee although you browse.

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

Skip breakfast? No anxieties, the operator of a area bicycle store will make you a breakfast sandwich and pour you a cup of Fair Trade natural espresso to go with it even though you wait around for your ride to be fixed. Grab a pink snapper though you’re making an attempt to make your mind up on that new eating area table, or pick up a 6-pack together with a surfboard right before you head to the seashore. Out for a evening at the theater? Commit intermission devouring a slice of nonetheless-heat home made blueberry pie, topped with hand-crafted ice product, then select up some bison steaks or Mangalitsa pork at the on-web page farm stand.

These are just a couple illustrations of Maine companies that aren’t dining establishments or delis or marketplaces, but promote additional than bikes, surfboards, espresso tables, hot h2o heaters and theater tickets. They are unforeseen sites to discover anything scrumptious to try to eat or drink.

Most sites confess that sure, this can be a excellent marketing move that brings additional men and women into their businesses, and provides in more repeat business enterprise, especially in a meals-loving town like Portland. But it’s also additional than that – it’s a way to hook up with consumers by offering them an working experience, and, in some cases, tapping into “hanging out” culture.

From the exterior, 93 Main Electric powered Bicycle Cafe doesn’t look like the sort of position that would offer a excellent cup of espresso or a breakfast sandwich. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

When Thaddeus St. John, the operator of the 93 Most important Electric powered Bicycle Cafe in South Portland, and his business spouse, Doug Watts, were to start with pondering about opening a retail shop, they talked about how a great deal they like to have a cup of espresso in the mornings ahead of heading for a trip or while watching their bikes becoming repaired. So they decided to put a pair of couches and a espresso desk into their photo voltaic-run retail room, and market espresso, bagels and breakfast sandwiches as very well as electric bikes. They even have a takeout window. “We appeared it up, and there are these bike cafes close to the entire world,” St. John explained. People today congregate at these cafes, he explained, to cling out and discuss about their favourite pastime – using bikes.

The South Portland bike cafe has only been open up for a handful of weeks, but it’s by now received an award for best iced espresso from the web-site Portland Previous Port. The store, which is accredited as a professional kitchen, serves Truthful Trade natural and organic espresso from Harpswell-primarily based Moses Dyer Espresso Roasters. Its bagels occur from Bread + Butter Catering Co. in South Portland. St. John grills the breakfast sandwiches himself.

The cafe’s tagline? “Hot bikes, quickly coffee.”


Surfers shopping for a new surfboard can also obtain Speckled Ax espresso and beer from Austin Street Brewery at the Maine Surfers Union in Portland. The Free of charge Road shop created a coffee bar throughout the pandemic, and this thirty day period will begin offering bagels from Rose Food items. Image courtesy of Maine Surfers Union


Change out the bikes for surfboards, and you have the Maine Surfers Union, a surf shop on No cost Street in Portland. When the store had to close quickly throughout the pandemic, the entrepreneurs decided to add a coffee bar. They partnered with Speckled Ax, which manufactured them their have signature coffee, called Dawn Patrol.

“Dawn Patrol is a nod to acquiring up super early to go surfing,” explained Charlie Fox, who owns the store with his wife, Kristina Grimaldi. “At that time, a ton of surfers will have a cup of espresso to aid them wake up and get likely.”

Nitro cold brew coffee is offered, as perfectly as nitro cold brew yerba mate. “Sometimes yerba can have a bitter chunk to it,” Fox claimed, “but placing nitro into it in fact smooths it out and provides it a smoother, buttery taste.”

The coffee bar has a few stools at the counter where by buyers can appreciate a cup whilst they enjoy surf films on a nearby tv. Or they can sit at just one of three picnic tables outside the house. Fox recently included bagels from Rose Meals to the menu. “We could possibly increase some extra food stuff down the street,” he reported. “We’re just form of possessing enjoyment with it proper now.”

Fox has also partnered with Austin Street Brewery and sells quite a few of its beers in one cans or six-packs – a further nod to surfer tradition. In the spring, the brewery released a collaboration pale ale named Free Friction, which refers to surfing with a finless board – “an historical Polynesian way of browsing,” Fox explained. The beer was so popular it was rereleased about a month in the past, Fox explained, and a 3rd launch is planned for September.

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

Fox’s shoppers like to hang out as well as dangle ten. They appear into the shop both of those right before and right after surfing, which is what tends to make espresso and beer the best beverages to offer – while they can not but consume beer on website. Fox is doing the job on obtaining a tasting home license so that men and women will be equipped to consume beer at the picnic tables subsequent summertime.

Both equally Fox and St. John have shocked buyers, as perfectly as city and point out officers with their organization models.

“It’s not your normal organization,” Fox said. “I know functioning with the condition of Maine, they ended up a small puzzled at very first that we have been a retail clothing keep providing surfboards and seeking to sell coffee and beer at the identical time. It is something that hasn’t genuinely been performed listed here nevertheless. It’s definitely been performed in other states. New York Town and California have stores that have a espresso bar within of them.”

St. John also options to increase a tasting area in his bicycle store at some point, so he can market cocktails produced with the vermouth he produces at his winery in the again of the creating, known as Lincoln & Key. He wants folks to go for a bicycle journey, then quit in for a vermouth spritzer and talk shop. And he has ideas to broaden his menu to consist of far more sandwiches and charcuterie boards. (“Even my mom has stated, ‘You require a fidget spinner,’” he joked.)

All of the 28-year-old’s obsessions will then be for sale below a single roof. But is it a few different enterprises, or one organization promoting three unique matters? St. John explained he’s at this time awaiting a unique exemption license from the city of South Portland since “when you use for a bicycle-coffee-vineyard tasting home, the preparing board associates kind of seem at you like you have a few heads.”


The concession stand at Jordan’s Home furnishings store in the Maine Shopping mall. Photo courtesy of Jordan’s Home furnishings

A widespread thread amid these unconventional food items oases is that they give a unforgettable encounter that goes further than just pulling out a credit history card. Jordan’s Home furniture in South Portland will come right out and claims it with the motto that it’s “not just a retail outlet, it is an expertise!” Families store for furniture prior to or right after seeking out the store’s ropes program, which comes entire with zip traces and a concession stand that sells hot canine, popcorn and ice product. It seems like a concession you’d obtain in a movie theater.

“We provide enjoyment together with home furnishings browsing to greatly enhance the overall retail outlet go to for all customers,” claimed Heather Copelas, a spokeswoman for the store.

Maine Hardware in Portland has provided out totally free popcorn for 23 a long time, and it’s turn into so significantly a component of the buying expertise there that buyers begged for it to come again immediately after shop supervisor Tim Currier suspended the perk all through the early levels of the pandemic. Clients – and specially their small children – were so unhappy when the popcorn disappeared that Currier taken off the popper from the revenue flooring simply because the empty machine “was just crushing the kids’ hearts.”

“I did not notice what it meant to most people mainly because honestly, I would have been great not bringing it again,” he explained. “I’ve been smelling it considering that 1998.”

Now the popcorn has returned, and the personnel is again to generating many batches in the morning, and yet another various batches in the afternoon. “It feels like it is part of Maine Hardware, and we have to retain it at this point,” Currier claimed.

This year, Currier released another foods merchandise, even though this one particular is not free. The retailer now sells Generally Grains bread, together with Portuguese and Italian loaves, and English muffin bread. The operator of the bakery is a buyer, Currier stated, and the strategy arrived to him a single day when they were chatting. Now the components retailer gets bread deliveries a few or four occasions a 7 days, and it’s bought a number of hundred loaves considering that March, Currier claimed.

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


Go out for a night at the theater, and you are typically likely to uncover cookies, candy and other snack food items at the concession through intermission. Hackmatack Playhouse in Berwick, founded on Hackmatack Farm 50 yrs in the past, has often done matters a little in a different way.

“We employed to go choose corn and provide corn on the cob,” said Michael Guptill, whose household has lived on the farm because the 1600s.

The farm no more time grows corn, but the summer time theater’s concession stand usually begins the season with do-it-yourself strawberry shortcake, then switches to handmade blueberry pie all through blueberry period. The pie, produced by Guptill’s wife, Gayle, is often still warm from the oven. The treats are topped with artisan ice cream built by their daughter, Lauren, operator of Rococo Ice Cream in Kennebunkport.

“My son begun boosting bison right here 10 years ago,” Guptill mentioned, “and for a even though all through intermission, he was serving bison burgers and bison kebabs.”

This handmade chocolate bison is one particular of the treats that is in some cases for sale throughout intermission at the Hackmatack Playhouse in Berwick. The barn theater is found on a bison farm. Photograph courtesy of Michael Guptill

Gayle Guptill also has an artisan chocolate business referred to as Azul Chocolates, and she sells the candy to theatergoers. In some cases it’s in animal shapes, so you could get a chocolate bison. And if you want frozen bison meat to just take house, the household will accommodate you.

The playhouse went dark previous yr mainly because of the pandemic, and its shortened season this yr began Aug. 6 (with “The Spitfire Grill”) and runs via Aug. 28. Michael Guptill stated the loved ones company used some of its Paycheck Defense Software (PPP) cash from the pandemic to create a farm stand, which he said will in all probability be open up on at least some present days this calendar year. The farm stand sells bison meat, Mangalitsa pork, chicken, eggs – all forms of neighborhood farm solutions.

“When men and women arrive here they under no circumstances fairly know what they’re likely to get for intermission,” Guptill claimed. “It is a minor bit quirky, and we consider to continue to keep it pretty homey, incredibly pleasant.”

Now that appears like an expertise.

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