EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- With its picnics, concerts, and fireworks, the East Millinocket Summerfest is a 100 year tradition. But this year, picnic goers say there's something new.
"Well, there's more smiles, I guess," said Charlie Theriault, a life-long East Millinocket resident.
In the last year, the community has had a lot to smile about.
After Cate Street Capital purchased the East Mill, the mill has reopened, giving jobs to more than 200 people in the community.
"Before it just seemed like the whole town was just going through the motions," said Millinocket resident Matthew Michaud.
"But now...there's a lot more smiles. Everyone is happier," said Michaud.
He said with the mill back open after four years of inactivity, there is new hope for struggling business owners.
"I just think it can only get better from here," he said.
After the East Mill closed in 2008, Michaud's parents' motel business went under. He was laid off from his home health care job.
He's now finding work in the home heating business.
Theriault is another hopeful East Millinocket resident, optimistic that his real estate work will pick up with more people back to work.
"The real estate business has not picked up yet," he said. "It will. It's right at the bottom now, but it will pick up."