CARIBOU, Maine — As Aroostook County continues to battle with youth out-migration, just one town is a promising vacation spot for younger entrepreneurs.
Caribou, together with the neighboring city of Presque Isle, saw a 9.2 % drop in populace about the past decade, higher than Aroostook’s overall drop of 7.1 per cent, according to the U.S. census. As of 2020, the city experienced a inhabitants of 7,396 folks in comparison with 8,189 in 2010.
Those people figures have urged city leaders to connect with latest and aspiring business enterprise house owners and invest in sources that make Caribou much more beautiful to artistic-minded young folks. It is an ambitious venture for a metropolis that does not have an financial improvement director, but city management working together is building it materialize, in accordance to several young business owners who are opening store or increasing their by now profitable enterprises.
Like many 20-a thing Caribou natives, Derick St. Peter was looking for bigger scale vocation prospects when he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2014. A extended-time nation new music supporter, the faculty graduate hoped to be a manager for recording artists. Within 3 yrs, he was doing work for a management firm and backstage at the Region Songs Television Awards.
But when he commenced supporting a good friend with carpentry work, St. Peter recognized how considerably he savored functioning with his hands. He recognized solo careers and loved the perform so substantially that he returned to Caribou in 2017 to see if there would be enough need for another person with his skillset.
5 several years later, St. Peter’s business enterprise — Artistic Carpentry of Maine — is a just one-gentleman operation that sells handmade home decor and gift objects to loyal on-line customers in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. Using a area facade improvement grant, St. Peter is renovating his 1970s-period store in downtown Caribou for an indoor browsing experience for community prospects and tourists.
St. Peter, 32, credits the open discussions involving town govt and business enterprise house owners as a main reason why more young business people are getting their odds on Caribou.
“[Business owners] know that they can go to the town with issues and issues and that [the city] desires to see these businesses prosper. Possessing that support means a large amount for young people today beginning out,” St. Peter explained.
The city’s help has also encouraged young business owners who are creating services firms more available to Caribou location residents.
Jen Anderson, whose family is from Ohio, moved to Pennsylvania shortly soon after graduating from Caribou Substantial Faculty in 2002. Soon after functioning various jobs in retail and the nonprofit sector, Anderson grew to become a certified therapeutic massage therapist and saw the career switch as a person with additional prospects to help persons.
Anderson returned to Caribou four years ago to be nearer to family. She furnished products and services together with a community chiropractor but grew to become so active that she started out a much larger follow from her house.
The need for massage services has developed to where she has expanded to Caribou’s downtown and hired a second, portion-time therapeutic massage therapist, Anderson mentioned. She just opened Thrive Entire body Spa on Sweden Street, a segment of Caribou that has specifically struggled to retain enterprises because the closure of Limestone’s Loring Air Pressure Foundation in the 1990s.
The city hopes that proposed alterations to the city’s ordinance for property occupations, such as an enlargement of allowed enterprise space in a dwelling or accessory developing, will spur advancement of residence-centered ventures that may possibly relocate to downtown professional structures.
Metropolis leaders have been enthusiastic whilst serving to her go downtown and have also awarded her a facade grant to obtain new signage, Anderson mentioned.
“They informed me, ‘This is the form of point we like to see. A dwelling occupation that is so active they want a more substantial business enterprise space,’” Anderson explained. “Caribou surely has a tiny town vibe. Folks are incredibly supportive and they want to give you advice.”
That vibe inspired Andre Rossignol, a 2017 Caribou Higher School graduate, to flip his enthusiasm for actual physical health into a company geared towards young athletes and the normal community.
Rossignol opened Rossignol Efficiency and Physical fitness final fall. The health club is obtainable for public use but Rossignol also offers strength and conditioning education for middle and large college athletes, such as some from Madawaska and Hodgdon.
Rossignol is initially from Van Buren but life in Caribou and has develop into additional invested in the group by means of coaching significant university sporting activities teams. While attending school in Presque Isle, he attained instruction knowledge at his uncle’s clinic and grew his clientele.
But what has actually allowed him to open his personal enterprise are the connections he has with other business people. Like the individuals at the town workplace, area organization proprietors have offered him the advice and inspiration he desired to attain his targets in Caribou.
“The city is inclined to listen to thoughts and organization proprietors are eager to give you information and enable you learn as you go,” Rossignol said. “I believe that mindset is heading to assistance individuals like myself who want to obtain a specialized niche area that they can serve.”
If Caribou can go on encouraging formidable business owners, the city could possibly have a much better chance of attracting newcomers, primarily people in search of additional rural locations just after the COVID-19 pandemic, Metropolis Supervisor Penny Thompson explained.
With lots of new firms in enhancement for the metropolis, she sees the inclusion of a lot more younger business owners as a indicator of hope.
“There are several folks from Caribou who want to see the local community thrive and be section of the alternative,” Thompson claimed. “The youthful generations have that spark of self confidence to say what they want to do and how they can do it.”