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May 3, 2024

Friday Food Insider: Our cup is brimming with Maine coffee news

Courtesy / Great Falls Construction Aroma Joe’s has relocated its Berwick coffee shop to 3 School St.

Coffee shop chain Aroma Joe’s has moved its branch in Berwick to a new downtown site, just a five-minute walk away.

Previously at 67 School St., the coffee shop has reopened in a 1,625-square-foot space at 3 School St. The walk-up/drive-thru branch features handcrafted coffee, espresso, energy drinks, soft drinks and a food menu.

The location is part of the Edge at Berwick, a mixed-use complex in Berwick Village developed by Great Falls Construction. 

The franchise will employ about 18 people, and is owned and operated by brothers Brian and Mike Sillon, two of Aroma Joe’s founding members. 

“Berwick has given us so many great memories, and we’re excited to do even more within this amazing community that is such a huge part of our history,” said Brian Sillon. “Even though we’ve grown up and grown our business, we’re still focused on providing an authentic, positive experience and putting smiles on faces every day.”

Aroma Joe’s is headquartered in Scarborough and was founded in East Rochester, N.H., over two decades ago. Today the company operates 114 locations in Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Coffee By Design is a union shop

Baristas and front-of-house staff at Coffee by Design have unionized. After voting unanimously and signing a contract earlier this week, they are now the newest members of Local 327 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

“It's been an amazing feat to watch the baristas of Coffee By Design come together with teamwork, patience, dedication and solidarity,” said Jillian Mercier, a Coffee By Design barista and shift lead. “We started this process as a way to make the best coffee shop in Maine even better by ensuring its workers have the tools needed to serve the best customers in Maine.

"I’m proud of my co-workers for their loyal and selfless determination. We’re excited to help write this new chapter in Coffee By Design's history.”

Organizing started in October when some employees announced they were planning to form a union and filed paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board. 

The workers cited low pay, inconsistent hours and benefits, and an ad-hoc disciplinary system as reasons for organizing.

Coffee by Design's owner, Mary Allen Lindemann, said she looks forward to working with the union.

“My priority has always been ensuring our employees have a voice and equal opportunity,” she said in a media statement. “The Laborers’ Union’s thorough approach is appreciated. I’m proud of our entire family, from our dedicated farm partners to our award-winning roastery team and loyal customers to our retail baristas. Solidarity within our community and workplace is our foundation."

What else is percolating?

Swell Nitro Coffee, specializing in nitro cold brews, opened in downtown Saco last weekend.

Swell co-owner Pater Vacca said the new shop launched Saturday at 200 Main St., which previously housed the Everything Zen clothing and gift shop. The coffee shop features nitro cold brew with locally sourced coffee beans, teas, seasonal drinks, and a small selection of baked goods. 

Photo / Alexis Wells
Coffee by Design has officially closed its Congress Street location.

Meanwhile, Model T Coffee Co. is set to open its doors today at 620 Congress St., the former and original location of Coffee By Design. After a 30-year run, Coffee By Design bid farewell to this spot in October, paving the way for Model T to drive into the space.

The new coffee shop and its mobile food truck will serve hot coffee, iced coffee, espresso drinks, sweet treats and breakfast items. Vendors will include Coffee By Design, naturally, as well as Union Bagel, Tony’s Donuts and the Baker's Bench. 

Are you excited about new coffee shops in Maine? The Mainebiz Food Insider is eager to hear about your coffee adventures! Share your thoughts with Alexis Wells at

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