FREEPORT — With the arrival of summer and plenty of tourists and shoppers, the town is seeing a surge of new businesses.
Eight businesses have opened or will be opening in Freeport by the the end of the month, according to Sande Updegraph, executive director of the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce, who said new businesses often open in Freeport at this time of year.
“It’s really indicative of not only springtime in Freeport, but of a surge in the state and national economies,” she said.
But Updegraph said it’s unusual how many have opened recently.
“We’ve never (had) quite this many in a five-week period,” she said.
Among the new arrivals are 18 Maple, a business offering group painting nights where wine is served. It also has a gallery, and owner Kit Munroe-Myers will be teaching art classes.
Artisan Maine on Lower Main Street is a crafts store, and Maine Wicked Goods Mercantile on Route 1 will be selling antiques, collectibles, and Maine-made items.
A hair salon called Freeport Salon is new on Independence Drive, and Coastal Maine Popcorn, a gourmet popcorn shop that also has locations in Boothbay Harbor, Portland, and Rockland, has opened on Main Street.
“We kind of always wanted to come to Freeport,” co-owner Julie Roberts said in May when the popcorn business was in the process of moving to town.
Updegraph said she’s glad the store is coming to Freeport because its unique.
“We’ve never had popcorn in Freeport and that’s a great tourist draw,” she said.
Stirling and Mull, a European-themed gastropub, is opening this week at 175 Lower Main St. The establishment, which will seat 120 in the dining area and 30 in a bar, will feature a beer wall and a wine wall, where customers can pour their own drinks.
The menu will mostly be Spanish, German, French and British.
“We are bringing food types that are currently lacking in the Freeport area,” co-owner Ed MacLean said in December. “And, while it is a restaurant, our desire is to share experiences to the greatest extent possible so we will have a European feel that no other restaurant in Freeport currently has.”
Updegraph said she thinks all the new businesses will all fit in well. “They’re all offering something different,” she said.
Updegraph said many of the businesses are locally owned, which goes against the common misconception that stores in Freeport are only national chain stores.
“The amount of locally owned businesses is increasing,” she said. “Adding more to the locally owned businesses will really bring more customers.”
Freeport Medical Center at 23 Durham Road will also be reopening. Updegraph said it’s been in Freeport for nine years, but has “expanded extensively.” The center will continue as a walk-in facility, but will now have more medical professionals, including two pediatricians and an obstetrician.
Updegraph said the new center is convenient because many departments are in one building.
“This is really a first for Freeport to have a coalesced group of medical practitioners,” she said.
While the chamber doesn’t record information to show how new businesses affect the town’s economy, Updegraph said she thinks the result of all the new establishments will be positive.
“I think this is a really positive thing for Freeport all the way around,” she said.