MILLINOCKET, Maine — One of Millinocket’s newest businesses is hoping to help turn a page on the region’s economic development as it moves from a mill-based economy to one centered around outdoor recreation.
At Turn The Page Bookstore and Wine Bar owner Steve Golieb with girlfriend Ashley Wells may have come up with a magic combination — books, craft brew, great wines, good food and friendly conversation. All under one roof.
“I saw some great opportunities here,” Golieb said. “There is a lot of interest and renewed focus on the area with the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
So confident was Golieb in the Katahdin region’s economic future, he packed up his entire stock of used books from his Baker City, Oregon, bookstore and moved lock, stock and barrel to Millinocket, opening the bookstore-eatery this past July.
Housed in the former Pelletier Logging Family Restaurant where once hung numerous items paying homage to the state’s logging industry, Turn the Page now features walls lined with bookshelves and used books ranging in topics from historical fiction to romance to paranormal.
A few of those logging momentos remain — some photographs and a chainsaw here and there.
But the vibe is now definitely bibliofile.
Over at the bar, Golieb has a dozen or so Maine craft beers on tap in addition to an impressive variety of wines from Gnarly Head Wines. The limited menu is one of quality over quantity and offers a turkey panini with chipotle cranberry sauce, grilled vegetarian burrito, a lemon-veggie sandwich and creamy gnocchi.
“I really wanted to do something that was in the retail sector where I could meet people and get to know the people,” Golieb said. “So far, most of the people around here love it.”
Among those loving it is local business owner Tom Shafer of Maine Heritage Timber.
“A business like this was 100 percent needed in Millinocket,” Shafer said during a recent visit to Turn the Page to grab some curried lentil soup to go. “It’s a place where you can come in, chill and get some good food a drink — I love it.”
Shafer was particularly happy to hear that Golieb was working on a new batch of spruce syrup to sell through his other company, Edible Wilds.
“It’s hard to describe spruce syrup,” Shafer said with a laugh. “Unless you’ve had a grandfather who gave you a hunk of spruce pitch as a kid and told you to just let it sit in your mouth for awhile until it softens up enough to chew.”
Along with the spruce syrup, Golieb carries organic mixes for waffles, brownies and maple salsa as part of Edible Wilds.
Liz Ahmann took a break from hiking in the Katahdin region to check out the shop and look over the book and food selection.
“This is a really cool place,” the Maryland resident said. “If my husband were here, we would be piling books in a huge bag to bring home.”
Sentiments like that are music to Golieb’s ears.
“We want to be that place people come into after hiking or to take a break from camping,” he said. “And we are the perfect place to spend a rainy day.”
Turn the Page Bookstore and Wine Bar is located at 57 Penobscot Avenue in Millinocket. Hours are Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.