Several new businesses have opened their doors in town recently or will plan grand openings this season, which Searsport Economic Development Director Dean L. Bennett finds encouraging.

Bennett said he hopes the Searsport revitalization plan, currently in the hands of selectmen, will be approved, along with creation of a TIF (tax increment financing) district to strengthen and attract even more economic development to the downtown area.

Coming soon

Splendiferous Sweet Shoppe, an Alice in Wonderland-themed candy store, is hoping to open sometime in May in the old bank building at 21 E. Main St.

Owner Meryem Rogan said in her Kickstarter campaign introduction, she has had an online shop for almost six years and that now, "The next best thing to do would be to open a shop; and where better to do it than in this 1800s bank right in scenic downtown Searsport?

"I love personalizing my products or even creating one-of-a-kind items for your special event," she said. "If you can dream it up, I can probably create it!"

She plans on having many sea-theme candies in the shop, according to her Facebook page, along with "unique and wonderful" sweets of all kinds. Rogan sends a portion of her proceeds to help medical missions worldwide and desires to provide training and positions for those who have challenges that often make finding a job difficult.

Massimo Ranni is chef and owner of Massimo's Cucina Italiana in Bangor. He is opening The Lobster Rail, a traditional roadside stop at 237 E. Main St., formerly Cooks Crossing.

According to his Facebook page, "We will be serving up some of Maine’s favorites with Massimo’s special touch. Artisan lobstah’ rolls, crab rolls, homemade clam chowdah,' red snappah’ hot dogs, fresh breads and so much more."

There will be limited seating in the train but a lot of outdoor seating. There is also an ice cream shop where Gifford's will be served. A grand opening is planned for the near future.

Recent openings

Jen Wenz moved her store, The Aquarian Gift Shop, from Belfast to 28 Main St. in October last year.

According to her Facebook page, the shop is a "Magickal little place where the magick is real and amazing people gather!"

"We carry many gift ideas such as jewelry, apparel, accessories for both women and men," she said in her post. "There are also candles, incense, books, oracle and tarot sets, runes crystals, décor and more."

Her store is also the home of Pay It Forward for Kids Inc., a nonprofit group that raises funds for students to pay off outstanding lunch balances at school. She said they gather school supplies to help schools and students thrive and also accept donations for the purpose of resale with proceeds benefiting the PIFFK program.

The Aquarian Gift Shop is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday,  and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Paul Rulli Reproductions moved in to the Capt. B. B. Park House at 380 E. Main St. last October and offers finished furniture pieces or custom design reproductions.

Rulli said this would be "their first real season," and that all handmade reproductions are built using the same methods, and with period hand tools, just as the original pieces were constructed.

According to Rulli's website, all furniture can be crafted in a wide choice of woods, including cherry, mahogany and maple, and finished in stain and color preference. They are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but Rulli said they are usually there all the time.

On the horizon

A contemporary furniture maker has bought the yellow building next to Up In Smoke Fireworks, formerly a thrift shop, and plans to raze the building and construct a new structure, according to Town Manager James Gillway. Additional details, including a timeline, are not available at this time.

According to Bennett, there are other changes to the business scene in Searsport as well. Block Brothers Custom Cabinets will be moving from their 57 E. Main St. location to Northport, he said, and Steamboat Mobil was purchased by Maritime Fuels. As well, the Irving/Maritime Farms gas station is expected to close.