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Matt McLaughlin Matt McLaughlin
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Taking advantage of downtown

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Taking advantage of downtown Photo by Anne Schmidt Photography

Speaking as a young professional who works and lives in the Bangor Region, an active community that engages with and provides substance for its young residents is important. More often than not there is a presumption that to find quality shopping, arts, restaurants, bars and everything else young people yearn for, you must travel away from Bangor to Portland, Boston or New York. That's fortunately not the case - downtown Bangor businesses are doing a fantastic job of keeping things lively.

I was one of many who came to downtown Bangor on May 16 for Fusion's first Downtown Proud Open House, an event that helped demonstrate the livelihood of our city by showcasing 22 downtown businesses and all they have to offer. Although one could take advantage of great discounts, prizes and free food and drinks, it was more about the downtown experience going to a downtown business for the first time and thinking, 'Wow, this is in Bangor?' I had that exact thought when visiting The Rock and Art Shop for the first time. Their merchandise was vast and unique, and I was having a fantastic time simply browsing it all. Eventually, I settled on some purchases and made a mental note to return soon (which I most definitely will).

Businesses who participated in the downtown open house reported seeing new customers. The Big Easy Lounge at the Charles Inn commented on seeing new faces and friends they hadn't seen in a while. They also said that they gave away some free bar bucks and are enthusiastic about continuing to offer their 'half-room' discount rate to Fusion members.

That was the goal of Fusion's Downtown Open House and the overarching goal of the Downtown Proud movement. Downtown Proud wants to illustrate the vitality of our region's downtowns, exemplifying the multitude of things there are to do and experience. We want our fellow young residents to realize that it is worth living and working here, and we want them to share in our downtown pride.

Downtown Proud has only just begun. If you're interested in hearing more about it, I would encourage you to come to Fusion's Noontime Networks this month on Thursday, June 21 from 12 to 1 p.m. at Wellman Commons (at the Bangor Masonic Lodge). Noontime Networks is Fusion's monthly networking luncheon where members come to network and hear a presentation on a topic relevant to the Bangor Region. June's topic will highlight downtown Bangor and what Fusion is doing to support it. Zachary Robbins of Her Majesty's Caberet will also be on hand to talk about how their unique performance experience relates to downtown. Lunch will be served by Ann Marie's Kitchen, and the cost to attend is $10 if you RSVP in advance. RSVPs can be emailed to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Fusion would like to thank all downtown Bangor businesses who participated in the first Downtown Proud Open House.


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