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Updated: March 6, 2024

How Freeport is using incentives to draw local businesses to downtown

Courtesy / Town of Freeport In downtown Freeport, from left, Samantha Migliozzi-Zanfagna, Uprise Hot Yoga; Natalya Nikitina, Loom Clothing and Home; Colleen Brink, Twist Salon; Kelleigh Dulany, Brewster House; and Richard Gorvett, Fit-Up committee member.

A yoga studio is among the first businesses to take advantage of the town of Freeport’s Fit-Up grant program, which offers incentives for local businesses to open in the downtown. 

Samantha Migliozzi-Zanfagna and Ben Zanfagna opened Uprise Hot Yoga at 21 Main St. in downtown Freeport, site of the former When Pigs Fly bakery.

In addition to the conversion from a bakery, the 19th century building needed work on electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, as well as cosmetic upgrades like refinished floors.

The new owners were able to leverage $15,000 of their own money to get a $10,000 grant from Freeport’s Fit-Up program. 

“We really appreciate the Freeport community’s support to bring our vision to life,” said Migliozzi-Zanfagna.

She said the studio hired six employees and plans to add another six. The yoga classes are running at capacity.

“The response has been amazing,” she said. 

Freeport Fit-Up

In addition to Uprise Hot Yoga, three other entrepreneurs have been able to tap into Freeport’s Fit-Up funds, for a total of $40,000 in those funds and $115,000 in private investment. About 15 jobs have been created or will be created. 

At 56 Main St., above the Sperry footwear store, Natalya Nikitina will open Loom Clothing and Home. Opening day will be May 6.  

Loom is a curated collection of sustainable and ethical fashion brands that ensure their workers are treated fairly across the supply chain. Nikitina and the property owner are matching $10,000 in Fit-Up funds with approximately $20,000 in private investment to refresh the retail space and create up to six jobs in the coming months.

“I find that women look for brands that they can trust for contemporary wardrobe pieces with attention to detail and a focus on sustainable materials,” said Nikitina. “Loom will be that trusted source with a personal touch right on Main Street.”

At 180 Main St., at Brewster House, Kelleigh Dulany will open a sauna and cold plunge experience.

Modeled on similar offerings in Scandinavia, the heat/cold experience is a recognized wellness therapy that reduces inflammation, increases circulation, and improves mood and mental clarity.

The facility is in development and will leverage $10,000 in Fit-Up funds with $30,000 in private investment.

“After encountering the tradition in Norway, I fell in love and became inspired to share this practice in a convenient location that my neighbors can experience with their friends or on their way home from work, or within walking distance for a tourist visiting L.L.Bean’s Flagship Store," Dulany said. 

On Depot Street, Colleen Brink will open Twist Salon, retrofitting a garage as a salon.

Brink and her partner Thomas Kivler invested $70,000 and were able to leverage $10,000 in Fit-up funds.

“To be within walking distance to the shops or a good cup of coffee will only add to the Twist experience,” Brink said. 

How it works

The Freeport business Fit-Up grant program offers matching grants for projects that redevelop, restore, renovate or reconfigure commercial properties in Freeport’s downtown and along U.S. Route 1. 

It's part of Freeport’s "Downtown Vision" plan, which is a blueprint for new investment "to support a vibrant downtown district with gathering spaces, public art, new housing and business development, and enhanced bicycle and pedestrian connectivity to enhance the experience of residents and visitors," the town said.

In a related move, the town is seeking requests for proposals for a tenant to take over the historic Bartol Building, at 55 Main St. The building is situated between Starbucks and the L.L.Bean bike-and-boat store, a prime downtown location.

Sophia Wilson, the new town manager for Freeport, said the intent of the Fit-Up program is to develop a network of “local entrepreneurs who are investing their creative energy and resources in downtown Freeport.”

“The Bartol Building’s next user will be an important partner in advancing Freeport’s Downtown Vision,” she said. 

Fit-Up Program details and the Bartol Building Request for Proposals are available at

The deadline to respond to the Bartol Building RFP is Thursday, April 25, at noon. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Brett Richardson at 207-865-4743, ext.117, to discuss their project goals and proposal application process.

Luxury benchmark

Legacy Properties Sotheby's International Realty, a luxury real estate company in Portland, said it recorded 36 home transactions of $3 million or more in 2023. 

York proposal withdrawn

A proposal in Wells that could have meant 110 single-family dwellings and nearly 50 units of multi-family housing has been withdrawn, according to the town's Planning Board website. The proposal had been from Richard Jorgensen, owner of AJM Construction LLC.

The 121-acre site was to have been off of Port Road. A letter filed with the town on March 4 did not elaborate on why the proposal was withdrawn.

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