EASTPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Running a businesses in a big city can be tough at times. But running a seasonal business in a small city can be even harder. Bike Maine aims to ease that burden, by bringing people to parts of the state that can use a boost to the local economy. And that boost is exactly what the city of Eastport got over the last two days, with 400 guests spending their off-day around town.
Eastport is made up of about 1300 people, and relies on the fishing industry and tourism.
I spoke with the man who owns the Waco Diner and the Eastport Chowder House about how hard running his businesses can be, and about how important this Bike Maine trip is.
Robert Del Papa is no stranger to the food industry, he has been in the restaurant businesses for decades. He owns the Eastport Chowder House, which employs about 15 people and operates on a seasonal schedule. But in a city with a little over 1,000 people sometimes filling positions and finding reliable work can be tough.
“They're just not here, I even asked for students up at the high school to come down dishwasher say just to get them going and sometimes you can catch one or two but very seldom very seldom” said Del Papa.
Del Papa said at least 80% of his income comes from tourists. Most come during events such as the recent Pirate Festival, and now Bike Maine. He said cyclists filled up the chowder house this week.
“The bikers excellent oh yeah like I said we had two full houses last night we doubled up last night” said Del Papa.
City Manager Elaine Abbott said she believes the events have a big economic impact across the city.
It certainly has extended out our season quite a bit, and so i think that the restaurants the shop owners they're really looking forward to hosting everybody and i believe that we're going to see a big economic impact” said Abbott.
Del Papa said he works seven days a week, and loves every second of it. At the end of the day he said there's nothing he'd rather be doing.
“It’s kind of a pleasure working here, if you’re in the big city everybody’s trying to cut into your business here like I say, everybody helps everybody” said Del Papa.
Because some The Eastport Chowder House is seasonal --it will be closing its doors for the season in less than a month. The Bike Maine cyclists will be on their way soon they are heading out Thursday to Lubec.
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