LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — The communities of Lincolnville, Islesboro and Northport straddle the line between Waldo and Knox counties, but some business owners believe that their towns can get lost in the midcoast marketing shuffle.
Enter NOCASOBE. The acronym was recently coined to represent the towns north of Camden and south of Belfast, and one Lincolnville woman hopes that a concerted volunteer effort to promote and market these midcoast communities will help draw more visitors to all their business doors.
“I’m all about the win-win,” Jane Liedtke of Bay Leaf Cottages said Tuesday.
She said that Lincolnville historically belonged to the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce. When that entity merged with the Rockland-Thomaston Area Chamber to form the consolidated Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2011, Lincolnville businesses began to feel neglected. They also feel that the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce doesn’t always do a good job of representing their three communities.
“The new chamber just forgets that we’re there,” she said. “We’re sort of like this void between these two chambers of commerce.”
A small group of local business owners met last summer to brainstorm ideas that would help them carve out an individual regional identity. Art Durity of Dot’s in Lincolnville thought of “NOCASOBE,” and the name has stuck, Liedtke said.
This winter, three student interns from Illinois State University, where she formerly taught industrial technology before retiring, worked on a marketing project with her that includes a website, www.NOCASOBE.com, that will feature information for residents, visitors and travelers to the region. The website will go live in April and offer free business and community organizational listings as well as advertising she described as intentionally affordable.
Visitors to the website also can order clothing with special logos, find a list of the top 10 reasons to discover the region and read about the American Indian history of the communities, which is extensive, she said.
Some of the unique features of the region include Lincolnville Beach, a wide variety of local art and crafts, gourmet food, beer, wine and coffee, the spiritual camp at Temple Heights in Northport and outdoor adventures aplenty.
“The more things that focus on our region, the better,” she said.
Staci Coomer, executive director of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday that her organization is very supportive of local business groups that develop in the communities that it serves, including the new NOCASOBE group. She also said that the chamber considers Lincolnville to be an important part of its membership.
“We don’t want anyone to feel that they’re neglected,” she said. “We’re supportive of groups such as this, which are looking to really understand tangibly what they need from a marketing perspective. We’re definitely there to build and enhance our member organizations. That’s what we do.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story requires correction. Jane Liedtke was incorrectly identified as currently teaching at Illinois State University. She has retired from the university.