The business of Stephen King is booming in Bangor Part 1

Published: Oct. 30, 2018 at 9:53 AM EDT
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2019 will see the release of the movie Pet Sematary and the second installment of the movie IT.

That will introduce more people to Stephen King and Derry, Maine.

The search for all things Derry will bring countless tourists to Bangor.

When they get here, they will find a number of things to quench their thirst from sights, sounds, and now a place to stay.

"We're really not trying to get rich off Stephen King's name" said Allan Hewey - Managing Partner Vacationland Inn Properties. "We're trying to show people where Derry is, you know, and that Stephen King has really helped out the communities around here."

"So many of the record companies that would call in and artists that would try to get me to play stuff and they'd say, 'Is Stephen King, is that The Stephen King that owns you,' and I go, 'Well yeah, that's him,'" said Bobby Russell - WKIT Morning Show Host and former General Manager. "So I decided at one point, let's just embrace it, and so I went to Steve and I said, is it okay if we branded Stephen King's Rock and Roll Station."

But it's not just a search for horror, thrills and fright which brings them to Stephen King's city.

"People have told us Stephen King stories have gotten them through deaths in the family, divorces, cancer treatments," noted Stu Tinker owner and operator of SK-Tours of Maine. "It's just amazing the people that can lose themselves in his stories. It's a whole different world, and it just takes them away from all of the problems of the real world."

Whatever brings them to visit, they are arriving in Maine from all over the world.

"Had four countries of the Middle East come, had people from Japan, all over Europe. Steve is extremely popular in European countries," said Tinker.

"Spain, Italy, China, Japan, Australia, all over," added Hewey.

"Two weeks ago, I got a family of three from Siberia, and that just, I can't get over that" said Tinker. "I mean that's not a place that you think people would come from to Bangor."

"And many of them come to Bangor, because Bangor is Derry, Maine," said Hewey.

"If they're coming to the States from a distance like that, it isn't just Bangor, but the reason they are coming to Maine is because of Maine, because otherwise, they're in Boston, or New York, or in Florida or something," added Tinker. "But I've had people fly in to the airport here, I'll pick them up at the airport, do the tour, and take them right back to the airport, and then they fly right back out to where ever."

They come to see the Standpipe, or Mount Hope Cemetery, to set foot in the places in the movies or to see the places written about in King's novels.

And with new movies comes a new fan base.

"I think that just increases it, it just adds, it just adds to the mystique of this place," said Russell. "We're used to it, you know, he's Steve. He comes in, he sits where you're sitting, we talk about baseball, we talk about music, we talk about anything, he's just Steve. But to the rest of the world, he's like the world's best selling author, and he's just a regular guy who has a really weird mind as far as writing stuff, yes."