Ellsworth area businesses crowded as tourism soars

“We just don’t have the capacity”
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 5:56 PM EDT
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ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) - Maine is living up to its Vacationland slogan this summer as more and more people travel to the state. In Ellsworth the tourism season has made things busier than ever.

“It’s an easy vacation, people know they want to go someplace where they think it’s going to be quiet. I’m afraid it’s not quite that this year.”

Gretchen Wilson, executive director of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce, says lodging like hotels and Airbnb’s are in extremely high demand.

“They are booked pretty much through October at this point.” says Wilson. “We were finding days, just a Tuesday, where there was no vacancies anywhere.”

And while businesses in the area are definitely thankful for visitors after the hardships of last season, there are new problems to face.

“With that high an occupancy in the area the biggest issue is dining and food. So you’re seeing lines at the grocery store and lines at any place you want to go to breakfast dinner or lunch.”

Daron Goldstein, owner and chef of Provender Kitchen and Bar on Main St. in Ellsworth, says they’re busier than they’ve ever been since opening around five years ago.

“Ellsworth is just sold out. We’re full up on reservations, we’re turning away 20-30 people a night easily with just walk-ins, we just don’t have the capacity.”

Staffing and supply chains also continue to be issues for many area businesses.

“The labor shortage is certainly for real. We’ve been very lucky we have a great core staff. But now with it being so busy we’re looking to put on some more people. That’s proven to be a little difficult.

Despite the crowds, they don’t want to turn anyone away who is looking for a fun vacation.

“We’re grateful for the business, we’re happy everyone is here so we look forward to seeing everybody.” says Goldstein.

“There’s a lot to do in the area, spread yourselves out.” says Wilson. “The chamber is more than willing to help you find someplace that’s a little more quiet and off the beaten path. Just going to have to be kind, be patient, and be prepared for plan B.”

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