This is my first post in a long, long while. Life has been CRAZY and busy and very, very good. The holidays have come and gone, and the door has closed on 2014. For some, it was an excellent year. For others, well – let’s just say 2015 couldn’t get here fast enough. In pondering what I should share with you as we “Peek into Piscataquis”, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of expectancy, and my hope is that I can somehow capture what I am feeling and why, so that I can effectively share it with you.
There is a quiet stirring going on, a change is coming; it is something that requires discernment to recognize, but it’s there. Sometimes, when a town has been “asleep” for a while, people begin to believe it will NEVER awaken, that its best days are behind it, and that the future is bleak. Then, there are those who see things through the lens of hope, and…dare I say: faith; those who understand that “up” is the only possible direction to go from here; forward is the only obvious course.
It is most definitely winter, and it’s been a cold one. Around us, much of what we see is covered up in a blanket of snow – most of the time. It is difficult to find signs of life. But we know there is a truth we cannot see. Under the snow, something is happening. The soil is being prepared for spring; life is waiting to push through the cold ground to prove to us once again that there is a season for everything in this life. This week, I read something I would like to share with you:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for everything….. there is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
Seasons: string them together, and they become the fabric that makes up what we call “life”. Some seem much longer than others, harder than others; some we might even call unbearable; but what we do with each season is everything, because if we let it, this season will prepare us for the next, much like the forces of winter actually prepare the ground for spring.
For Piscataquis County, a new season is coming. Today, outside the rear window of the chamber office overlooking the Piscataquis River, I hear the sound of heavy equipment and power tools. The Moosehead Mill is making amazing progress- and it is literally like watching something DEAD come back to life. It is magnificent, truly – to behold a project such as this, a forsaken building filled with forgotten rooms, representing hundreds of families who were once supported by the manufacturing that took place within its walls. Being re-purposed as the Dover Foxcroft Mill, offering quality, yet affordable housing, generating new jobs through a business center, serving as a social hub for the community, and providing guests a place to stay. I believe the Mill will assist in helping Dover Foxcroft reach its potential as a thriving “Downtown Community” with walk-able streets filled with interesting things to do, and great meeting places in an internet accessible area (but that’s for another blog-post!).
Downtown Dover Foxcroft is already a great place to stop for lunch or dinner, or to hang out with friends after work, with options such as Pastime’s Pub, Pat’s Pizza and Allie-Oop’s Sports Bar, Athen’s Pizza, the Noreaster Restaurant and the Bear’s Den. The area is bustling with businesses, some which have been around for generations; and at the center of it all is Dover’s beloved Center Theatre, an iconic landmark of the community, and a vital local source for the arts. Recently, locals Dan & Lori Sharrow planted a “new seed” in Dover Foxcroft – the Center Coffee House, adjacent to the theatre. The space formally used as the theatre’s box office gives the coffee house great visibility to those driving through town, and offers both on and off- street parking.
This is a unique place – unlike anything else in Dover-Foxcroft, and from the moment its doors opened for business, it has been non-stop. Lori dreamed of owning and operating her own coffee house for many years, and worked diligently towards that goal. Then, with the help of a community block grant secured through the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, it became a reality at the end of 2014.
The coffee house is comfortable and inviting, with an eclectic feel. It has introduced a new flavor to Main Street, a fresh energy, attracting customers of every age. It is a great place to meet a friend for a locally baked treat and a chai latte (my personal fav!) or have an out-of-office business meeting, with a double-espresso to keep you focused. Lori is on site, eager to please and excited to do what she is doing. This is not a chore for her, it is a joy, you can see it on her face and in the attitudes of her employees, and you can taste it in every delicious bite (or sip) of everything she prepares. I also love the fact that she offers home-made food items from Stutzman Farms, and recently began carrying fruit- filled crumb tarts from Oats Any Time, another locally based business.
She truly cares about this community, its residents and businesses, and wants to see it all prosper. The response from this community has been outstanding. One local resident told me, “This coffee house was exactly what we needed”, and she was right; the “walking” traffic on Main Street in downtown Dover Foxcroft has visibly increased. People walk in with smiles, and walk out smiling wider. Center Coffee already has “regulars” they can claim, but still, new customers are walking through the doors every day, including members of the construction crew from the Mill across the street.
Success? Yes, it is still happening, even in THIS economy, even in THIS county; and yes, that is special. But there is something more. Center Coffee House may be that first “bud” that appears after a long winter; the beginning of new growth, that first sign of new life. The thing that raises the faith of others to believe that a new season is coming. Or that perhaps, it’s finally here.
Thank you for taking a Peek into Piscataquis!
Center Coffee House is located at 22 E Main St, Dover-Foxcroft For a menu, or to visit the Center Coffee House on the web here: http://www.centercoffeehouse.com/home.html
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/centercoffeehousedova
Phone: 207-802-8052 Monday – Thursday 6:30am – 4:00pm Friday 6:30am – 7:30pm Saturday 8am – 7:30pm
For more information about Piscataquis County or the Chamber of Commerce, please call (207)564-7533