CARIBOU, Maine — As Aroostook County carries on to struggle with youth out-migration, just one town is a promising destination for young business people.
Caribou, alongside with the neighboring town of Presque Isle, saw a 9.2 per cent decrease in population more than the previous decade, increased than Aroostook’s in general decrease of 7.1 per cent, according to the U.S. Census. As of 2020, the city experienced a population of 7,396 individuals in comparison with 8,189 in 2010.
Individuals figures have urged town leaders to talk with current and aspiring business proprietors and commit in methods that make Caribou a lot more beautiful to creative-minded young people. It is an bold undertaking for a metropolis that does not have an financial improvement director, but town leadership performing together is making it occur, in accordance to numerous young entrepreneurs who are opening shop or growing their by now profitable enterprises.
Like several 20-a thing Caribou natives, Derick St. Peter was trying to find more substantial scale occupation prospects when he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2014. A extensive-time place new music lover, the higher education graduate hoped to be a supervisor for recording artists. In just three years, he was doing work for a management business and backstage at the Country Tunes Tv Awards.
But when he began encouraging a buddy with carpentry careers, St. Peter realized how much he liked working with his palms. He acknowledged solo employment and loved the do the job so a lot that he returned to Caribou in 2017 to see if there would be plenty of desire for anyone with his skillset.
Five several years afterwards, St. Peter’s business enterprise — Artistic Carpentry of Maine — is a 1-person procedure that sells handmade dwelling decor and present merchandise to faithful on the net clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. Applying a regional facade advancement grant, St. Peter is renovating his 1970s-period store in downtown Caribou for an indoor buying knowledge for community shoppers and visitors.
St. Peter, 32, credits the open conversations between city governing administration and small business owners as a major explanation why much more youthful business owners are having their prospects on Caribou.
“[Business owners] know that they can go to the town with thoughts and considerations and that [the city] wishes to see these corporations prosper. Owning that aid implies a lot for younger folks beginning out,” St. Peter explained.
The city’s guidance has also impressed young entrepreneurs who are building provider companies additional accessible to Caribou spot residents.
Jen Anderson, whose spouse and children is from Ohio, moved to Pennsylvania soon soon after graduating from Caribou High University in 2002. Immediately after doing work various employment in retail and the nonprofit sector, Anderson grew to become a licensed therapeutic massage therapist and noticed the vocation swap as just one with a lot more possibilities to enable folks.
Anderson returned to Caribou 4 several years in the past to be nearer to spouse and children. She supplied solutions together with a nearby chiropractor but grew to become so busy that she started off a greater exercise from her property.
The need for massage solutions has developed to the place she has expanded to Caribou’s downtown and hired a next, aspect-time therapeutic massage therapist, Anderson stated. She just opened Prosper System Spa on Sweden Road, a portion of Caribou that has especially struggled to keep organizations due to the fact the closure of Limestone’s Loring Air Force Foundation in the 1990s.
The town hopes that proposed modifications to the city’s ordinance for house occupations, together with an expansion of allowed business place in a house or accent developing, will spur progress of dwelling-primarily based ventures that could relocate to downtown commercial buildings.
Town leaders had been enthusiastic even though helping her shift downtown and have also awarded her a facade grant to acquire new signage, Anderson explained.
“They advised me, ‘This is the form of detail we like to see. A property occupation which is so busy they need a larger organization space’,” Anderson reported. “Caribou definitely has a small city vibe. People today are very supportive and they want to give you guidance.”
That vibe inspired Andre Rossignol, a 2017 CHS graduate, to turn his enthusiasm for physical fitness into a business geared toward young athletes and the common general public.
Rossignol opened Rossignol Effectiveness and Health and fitness past tumble. The gym is accessible for public use but Rossignol also presents strength and conditioning schooling for center and significant school athletes, such as some from Madawaska and Hodgdon.
Rossignol is at first from Van Buren but life in Caribou and has grow to be a lot more invested in the local community as a result of coaching superior faculty sports activities groups. Even though attending college or university in Presque Isle, he attained teaching practical experience at his uncle’s clinic and grew his clientele.
But what has certainly permitted him to open up his own small business are the connections he has with other business people. Like the people at the city business office, local business enterprise house owners have supplied him the suggestions and drive he desired to acquire his ambitions in Caribou.
“The metropolis is prepared to hear to thoughts and enterprise entrepreneurs are willing to give you advice and assistance you discover as you go,” Rossignol said. “I consider that mindset is going to assistance folks like myself who want to discover a area of interest area that they can provide.”
If Caribou can carry on encouraging formidable entrepreneurs, claimed Town Manager Penny Thompson, the town may well have a much better possibility of attracting newcomers, particularly individuals trying to find additional rural locations soon after the COVID-19 pandemic.
With numerous new businesses in growth for the town, she sees the inclusion of additional youthful business owners as a indicator of hope.
“There are several people today from Caribou who want to see the group thrive and be element of the alternative,” Thompson stated. “The youthful generations have that spark of self-confidence to say what they want to do and how they can do it.”