LUBEC, Maine — The owner of one of Lubec’s former hot spots, Cuperneil’s Corner, is returning to this coastal community with a musical mission.
In mid-July, Mark Buell, 56, will be opening Coop’s Too, a club and gathering place for teens and young adults that will be centered around learning, playing and sharing music.
“My goal is to get kids to work and play together and find value in what they do,” Buell said Thursday from his Clarence, N.Y., home. Eight years ago, Buell founded a similar venture in Buffalo, N.Y., called Nickel City Frets. He said he hopes to build on that club’s success at the Lubec location.
In essence, he said, it is like coming full circle. Buell operated Cuperneil’s Corner, locally called Coop’s, in Lubec for about six years beginning in 1989. He said the original Coop’s started off as a nonalcoholic venue and ended as a tavern.
“It was sold several times and finally moved across the street as Anabelle’s,” he said.
Buell left Maine to care for aging and ill parents in New York, went back to college and taught English in the Buffalo school system and at the University of Buffalo. At Nickel City Frets, he teaches guitar, banjo and mandolin, among other instruments, performance workshops, music theory and songwriting.
After an absence of 13 years, Buell finally has found himself in a position to be able to return to Lubec, if only for one week a month.
Traci McCaslin-McConnell and her husband Mitch McConnell offered the building at 56 Washington St. to Buell, where his first open house will be held all afternoon on Saturday, July 16.
“It will be a chance to reconnect with people,” he said. There will be refreshments and live music, as well as a jam session for those who show up with instruments.
“I was originally drawn to Lubec by the ocean,” Buell said. “But it didn’t take me long to figure out that it was the people that made me stay, and made me want to return.
“It’s the stories,” he added. “When I first moved to Lubec, people, kids, all told stories. Funny, clever and sad stories, and I got to know the people differently than I had in other places. It was always about the people.”
Buell said he will offer music lessons at Coop’s Too and people already are signing up through Lubec’s Facebook page, listed as Lubec Community Bulletin Board.
Although his new venue is aimed at the junior high and high school age group, he is teaching students from ages 4 to 70, including a family of seven. But even while he is here, he doesn’t lose touch with his other students.
“My Lubec students will be able to keep in touch with me when I’m in New York through Skype,” he said.
Eventually Buell hopes to create a traveling band that will provide concerts and performances in the Lubec area. He also hopes to bring other performers to Lubec for concerts and teaching sessions.