I believe the Town of Castine can and should do more to support our merchants. We often talk about attracting families to Castine to rent or buy, but when you ask most folks how they found Castine they’ve either been here their whole lives (summer, student, long-time resident), or they discovered it on a vacation or a day-trip.
When I helped start the Castine Farmers’ Market almost a decade ago, there were vendors and farmers excited to sell who had never actually been to Castine before. They lived in Ellsworth. That should not happen, and I think the town can do a better job of advertising the facilities we have and adding facilities we don’t have to attract more day-trippers and weekend vacationers.
That starts with supporting our merchants. Speaking with the head of the Castine Merchant’s Association yesterday, I discovered that the Visitor’s Center has been a huge success the past few years, but that the merchants need help keeping it going. I would like to work with the merchant’s association, perhaps attending their meetings as a non-voting participant, and working through the challenges of running a business in Castine and addressing their concerns with honesty and optimism.
Let’s build a stronger Castine, one business at a time!