A mother and her two daughters plan to bring a “21st-century workplace” to the historic Gilbert E. Gay building at 133 Main St. in downtown Damariscotta.
Jennifer Van Horne, of Swans Island, and her daughters, Erin Van Horne, of Portland, and Torie DeLisle, of Waldoboro, plan to open Buzz Maine, a membership-based workspace with a coffee bar and a cocktail bar.
Dan and Eileen Miller, of Bremen, purchased the building in 2013. For the past three years, the ground floor has been a showroom for the Millers’ Ocean Point Furniture, which features designs from Margonelli Fine Furniture, their workshop in Edgecomb.
The Millers also own Lobsterman’s Wharf and Ocean Point Marina in East Boothbay.
Ocean Point Furniture moved out of the building earlier this week. Multiple attempts to reach the Millers were unsuccessful.
The space opened up for rent around the time Jennifer Van Horne, Erin Van Horne, and Torie DeLisle were looking for a place for Buzz Maine. According to Jennifer Van Horne, her husband, Eric, first came up with the concept for the business almost 30 years ago under the name Corner Office.
“The idea was that it would be a place where people working from home could rent a desk or space to supplement working at home,” Jennifer Van Horne said. “A lawyer starting up their own firm could use the space to meet with a client and then do the rest of their work at home.”
Buzz Maine takes the original idea and modernizes it based on the needs of the community.
Torie DeLisle and her husband, August, co-founded the downtown Damariscotta restaurant Van Lloyd’s Bistro. The restaurant hosted semi-monthly “speakeasy” events, during which they covered the windows and kept the bar open until midnight.
Through speaking with customers at the events, Torie DeLisle realized how many young professionals live in the community and might need a place to work remotely.
August and Torie DeLisle recently left Van Lloyd’s, which is now managed by August DeLisle’s father, Bernie DeLisle, but they wanted to bring what they learned through the speakeasies into their next venture.
“It’s about making places like Damariscotta a viable place for people in our generation to live and work,” Torie DeLisle said. “There’s this energy around the ‘work in place’ movement, and we wanted to bring that here.”
Access to the Buzz Maine workspaces and resources will be membership-based. Memberships will be available for purchase by the day, week, month, or year, with incentives for each level, Jennifer Van Horne said.
A collaborative workspace will be in the center of the building, allowing members to discuss ideas and work together on projects. A quiet workspace will also be available for members who would like to work privately.
Buzz Maine will also have a conference room for use for meetings or presentations. Jennifer Van Horne said she hopes to one day offer workshops and host speakers at the business.
“It’s all about connecting people to resources and helping them succeed,” Jennifer Van Horne said.
An organic coffee bar will be open to members of Buzz Maine and the public all day. Beginning at 5 p.m., Buzz Maine will start serving cocktails for members and their guests.
“You don’t need to be a member to buy a cocktail; you just need to show up with one,” Jennifer Van Horne said.
August DeLisle will manage the coffee bar and cocktail bar.
Buzz Maine will also become the new location of the semi-monthly speakeasies started at Van Lloyd’s, Torie DeLisle said. Membership is not required to attend the events.
“We’re doing it the same way we did over there, except now we have more room,” Torie DeLisle said.
The plan is to open Buzz Maine before Sept. 1. More information about the business can be found on the Buzz Maine Facebook page.
In addition to her excitement about opening the new business in Damariscotta, Jennifer Van Horne said she is looking forward to running the business with her daughters.
“I think together we’re an unbeatable team and I’m so excited we’re doing this together,” Jennifer Van Horne said.
The Damariscotta Board of Selectmen approved a liquor license for Buzz Maine LLC during its Wednesday, July 20 meeting.