Originally published in The Weekly Packet, March 29, 2018
New businesses to open in Blue Hill
Entrepreneurs look to restore Main Street and beyond
by Anne Berleant
Plans to fill three vacant buildings could mean a livelier downtown this season with more to offer visitors and year-round residents.
Three of the four properties to host new businesses were purchased last year by John Warren, whose interest lies in fostering new businesses with a focus on historic preservation and the arts, he said in a recent interview.
At 8 Mill Street, Thai restaurant Siam Sky has an April opening in the former Blue Hill Harbor School building, offering eat-in and take-out lunch and dinner, operated by a couple from Massachusetts with help from local artist Julie Jo Fehrle.
At 34 Main Street, Moyo, a “destination” gift shop will open in the building formerly housing Mill Stream bakery, which closed in 2016. The shop will be situated behind Boyce’s Boutique, which occupies the front area. Owner Jill Clendenen said she envisions events on the side porch, like “paint and sip” and is selecting merchandise that “you can’t find on Amazon.”
At 66 Main Street, Warren is in negotiations to lease the building once filled by the 66 Restaurant with a new eatery under a contract that specifies a rent lower than the building’s previoiusly owner charged, he said. Warren was not able to provide specific details before a contract was signed but said he was confident that a new restaurant would open in that building in time for the summer season.
At 40 Main Street, new owners William and Sandra Fletcher plan to open a cafe by early summer in the former residential building.
Warren, who has over three decades worth of experience, albeit in much-larger St. Petersburg, Florida, in renovating historical buildings and supporting small business start-ups, said one of his objectives is “to give depth to Main Street without changing Main Street.”
“Each small business on a street is contributing to its appeal,” he continued. “[Former] 66 is important but so is the building next door and the building at the end of the street. In the long run, the objective is to have healthy businesses along Main Street. That strengthens the [town’s] tax base and revenue.”