BELFAST — Over the winter, Belfast shuffled around numerous locations of current businesses, sort of like players on a giant Monopoly Board. Zach Schmesser, Executive Director of Our Town Belfast, Inc. said: “Back, when I was living in Waldo county going to Unity College, half of Belfast’s storefronts were empty. Now, every location in town is filled and when a space open up, there are usually seven or eight businesses interested in trying to get into that location.”
If you're wondering what’s with the “Snow Bats” moniker, it's because years ago, Belfast's champion, Mike Hurley, made up a bunch of bumper stickers celebrating the left-leaning citizens he affectionately called Moon Bats. So, if you've been away this winter, Penobscot Bay Pilot has an update on everything that opened, closed and changed while you were gone.
What has moved
Out on a Whimsey Toys
In what Our Town Belfast called a “grand spring cleaning effort” as multiple storefronts had “Moving” signs posted in the empty windows, the most prominent change in town was to the Masonic Building on the corner of Maine and High streets as plastic tarps concealed what was going inside the dramatic corner space over the course of the winter. Out on a Whimsey Toys, the largest toy store in the Midcoast, moved a few storefronts down into the 2,200 square foot space, doubling the store’s current footprint. “They did a magnificent renovation to that building,” said Schmesser. And we recently profiled their re-opening in our recent Penobscot Bay story.
Not only did this business change locations from its basement location on Main Street into the storefront formerly occupied by Out on a Whimsey Toys, but they also changed their business name to Heavenly Yarns. Store owner Helen Sahadi told Our Town Belfast that nothing will change about the stores’ offerings and affordability except for maybe some more elbow room.
Permanent Expressions Tattoo
Also leaving a basement location on Main Street, the tattoo shop got a prominent new space (formerly next to the old yarn shop) above Alexia’s Pizza with dramatic renovations to the second floor space. See our recent story on them: “What’s black and white and red all over?”
The bookstore has also moved from High Street and is currently renovating a new space at 33 Pendleton Lane, next to Cold Mountain Builders with the intent to open up in the spring. A new cooperative Gallery, Local Color Gallery, cut the ribbon on its new space on Tuesday May 1.
Across the street on High Street, The Sail Locker is moving to a space down on lower Maine adjacent to the Epoch store and is now re-opened.
Epoch is now gone and in its place, Harbor Artisans, a co-op of more than 60 artists has found a new home once again after a three-year absence from Main Street. They plan to hold their grand re-opening on the Belfast First Friday Artwalk May 25.
Alder and Vine
Alder and Vine, the witchy oddities store, that occupied the triangular tiny space on Beaver Street, will in turn, will be taking the Sail Locker space and opened on Friday the 13th of April. See our recent story on them here. The space vacated by Alder and Vine is now occupied by Rachel Epperly photography with a ribbon cutting on Friday at 5 p.m.
What has closed
Mark Senders, owner of the Bagel Cafe franchise, has decided to close its 159 High Street location in order to concentrate on his Camden location and the Big T Snack Shack, his on-site breakfast and lunch restaurant operating out of the Camden Snow Bowl.
Rachel DeLong and Epoch shops on lower Main have announced they will be closing. Nautical Scribe Books on Church Street has also announced it is closing up shop.
What is for sale
The Chocolate Drop Candy Shop is currently for sale and the turnkey business is all set for someone to jump behind the counter.
What is new
Front Street Shipyards, according to city hall, will be breaking ground on a new building this summer by the waterfront.
“Right now, the Belfast waterfront is very accessible with a number of restaurants, a brewery, the footbridge and the Harbor Walk Trail and I think there is definitely a desire to keep that access,” said Schmesser. “ And I think there’s a lot of attention being paid to that final piece of land on the water in terms of thoughtful development that will benefit the citizens of Belfast.”
If we've missed any new businesses that would be interesting to folks coming back to Maine, shoot us an email with the subject line"Add to Rockland story" and we'll add it into the list! Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com