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October 15, 2018 From the Editor

Maine's coast is hot property, but businesses have to stay nimble

Maine's coast is ever evolving, ever a source of wonder and debate, as our Midcoast and Downeast stories show.

We don't always equate farming with fishing, but the two concepts are quickly coming together on the Midcoast.

As Laurie Schreiber reports on Page 14, two separate operators plan to invest millions of dollars to create salmon farms in Belfast and Bucksport, in the latter case taking over the former Verso paper mill site. Salmon farms require considerable investment, but in the long run it will take much of the guesswork out of fishing. The fish are raised in containment systems, so no costly boats or fishing gear is actually needed, making it somewhat more like farming. Farm-raising fish is a controversial topic, globally and locally, but both efforts seem to be moving forward. How the farms will fit into Maine's traditional role in the fisheries remains to be seen.

As Maureen Milliken reports on Page 22, internet access has been and remains one of the biggest challenges facing businesses in the state's rural areas. As any business person can tell you, patchy service can sabotage even the simplest of retail transactions, such as running a credit card purchase. Obviously, there are far more complicated service needs than that, so it's not hard to see that spotty internet service is a deciding factor in a company turning its back on a potential site.

One company that is making a difference in Maine's rural areas is Machias-based Axiom Technologies. Incoming CEO Mark Ouellette is following in the footsteps of Susan Corbett, who demonstrated a knack for building telecommunications systems out of bare-bones infrastructure and a patchwork quilt of federal grants. Axiom also has a knack for finding partners, not just the communities it serves but deeper pocketed allies like Microsoft.

“Anything that provides access is something we will consider and we will do,” Ouellette tells Mainebiz.

From Boothbay, Renee Cordes updates us on the ongoing effort by the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens to expand and upgrade its offerings, which attract 190,000 visitors a year. Its expansion hasn't been all smooth sailing; neighbors had challenged aspects of the expansion plan. But, with differences settled and $50 million in upgrades planned, work is surging ahead. See Page 18.


Anthony Shurman, CEO of Wyman's of Maine, joined the Milbridge-based company within the past year. Mainebiz was fortunate to have him take part in our recent CEO forum, which asked each CEO to come up with 10 ideas to make a business better. If you were at the panel, you know there were a lot of good ideas thrown out there, but one in particular stood out, I thought.

“Get in the action. Raise your hand for the toughest projects. Reach out for advice. Take meeting requests. Make things happen.”

Well said.

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