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Sponsored by: Town of Brunswick

Town of Brunswick

Photo courtesy of Benjamin Williamson Photography Over 100 Brunswick businesses are at work in the Fort Andross Mill Complex, shown here looking north on Maine Street.
Photo courtesy of Patti Spencer-Yost, Brunswick Downtown Association Downtown Brunswick is highly walkable, with a variety of shops, restaurants, offices and a cinema.

‘Beautifully balanced’ — for business

There’s a dynamic but poised energy to Brunswick, a symmetry that is attracting new businesses, residents and activity to this coastal community.

Situated roughly 30 minutes from both Portland and Lewiston, Brunswick is a vibrant mix of city and village, a Cumberland County town with its own bustling economy, and which serves as the gateway to the Maine midcoast. The marketing slogan Brunswick has adopted reflects its diverse assets: “Beautifully balanced.”

Nowhere is the balance more evident than in the business clusters that dot this community of 20,000 residents.

Brunswick Landing, the site of a U.S. Navy air station that closed in 2011, is now a 3,200-acre campus where more than 100 companies do business. They range from technology start-ups such as Starc Systems, a modular temporary wall system company, to Mölnlycke Health Care, an international manufacturer of medical products, and to Wayfair, the online home furnishings company whose 500-person contact center makes it one of Brunswick Landing’s largest employers.

Another historic military installation, a few miles across town, has also been reborn as a thriving commercial hub. The Fort Andross Mill Complex was the site of a garrison that protected colonial settlers during the 17th century, and later housed textile mills that operated until the 1950s. Today, the sprawling 450,000-square-foot complex hosts 100-plus businesses, including offices, restaurants, galleries, light industry and even a radio station.

Linda Smith, Brunswick’s economic development director, puts the busy business scene in perspective.

“Fort Andross is a beehive of activity,” she says. “But so is Brunswick Landing, our downtown, and the Cooks Corner area. There’s no single place or factor responsible for the success of our business community. It really has more to do with the everyone working together, in balance, for mutual benefit.”

She points to another example of Brunswick’s balancing act.

In June 2016, the launch of Wayfair’s contact center received public accolades and widespread press attention. At the same time, but perhaps with less fanfare, another business was debuting a new facility. Within days of the Wayfair ribbon-cutting, U-Haul Moving & Storage had opened a 186,000-square-foot office and service center at 1 Cressey Road. The new facility brought 25 jobs to Brunswick, and just as importantly, new life to the site of a long-vacant manufacturing plant.

“Both businesses are important to Brunswick, and it’s opportune that they made their investments when they did,” says Smith. “Two thousand sixteen was an exciting year for us.”

The right balance for growth

Complementing Brunswick’s economic growth are the town’s educational resources, Smith adds. In typical Brunswick fashion, they work in harmony, serving diverse needs.

Of course, there’s Bowdoin College, the prestigious liberal arts school of 1,800 undergraduates, which attracts visitors from throughout the world and has fostered a vigorous arts community. Each year, the college hosts 60,000 visitors for the Maine State Music Theater, 30,700 visitors to the Museum of Art and 6,800 visitors for the International Music Festival. Brunswick is also home to a branch of the University of Maine at Augusta, and Southern Maine Community College’s Midcoast Campus offers classes to over 2,000 students at Brunswick Landing. In addition, the town boasts one of the state’s most highly regarded public high schools as well as a regional technical high school.

To deliver students, customers and others to its door, Brunswick relies on an expanding transportation infrastructure. In 2012, Amtrak’s popular Downeaster train service was extended to Brunswick, connecting the town directly by rail to Portland and Boston and serving over 55,000 travelers annually. The town benefits from a local bus service, which serves over 21,000 passengers every year. In 2017, an express bus service between Brunswick and Portland was launched, making 14 round trips each weekday and seven on Saturdays, averaging service to over 200 people per day.

There’s plenty for them to see.

“In Brunswick, we’re not about any single thing,” Smith says. “We’re a constellation of small assets that add up to something remarkable.”