BUCKSPORT, Maine — They’re advertisements you might have seen and you’ll have a chance to see again.
“Downtown Bucksport: A Place to Dock, Dine and Shop” is the title of two 30-second spots that aired on local television and the internet in July and August. The spots will run again next year from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July, according to Richard Rotella, the town’s economic development director.
The commercials, which cost about $3,000, are among several projects that aim to bolster this Hancock County town of 4,900 as a place to visit and do business, Rotella said. The others include renovations of the town dock and marina and the town’s former paper mill, with a maritime training college annex and a $250 million salmon farm.
“They did very well,” Rotella said of the advertisements. “I actually had a friend of mine email me a picture of their television screen with the ad on it.”
The ads ran on such television and internet services as Sling, Turner Broadcasting, Sling TV, Sony Vue, Discovery and Fox networks, Pluto TV, Newsy, Tubi TV, Sony Crackle, Xumo TV, Fubo TV, and Scripps Networks, Rotella said.
Produced by WLBZ-2, the NBC affiliate in Bangor, the ads drew an estimated 58,105 views online, and 97 percent of online viewers watched the ads all the way through, Rotella said.
The ads reflect a reality. Boaters do dock in Bucksport just to go shopping, according to Glenn Redman, owner of Glenn’s Place restaurant on Route 1.
“At least once a week I have people come from boats up here,” Redman said. “Anything that they can have come into the town is great. It helps all the surrounding businesses. I know that they are trying to attract more.”
“The town is finally becoming awakened, especially since the mill has gone down. It’s going in the right direction,” Redman said.
Verso Paper, the final owner of the riverfront paper manufacturing facility, shut down the mill in December 2014, laying off 570 people and bringing Bucksport’s 84 years of papermaking to an end.
Town officials concede that Bucksport is a long way from becoming a tourist mecca like Bar Harbor. Counting fast-food establishments, the town has about a dozen eateries, plus three gift shops, including the Lighthouse Arts Center, a bookstore, the Alamo Theatre and assorted other stores.
Yet by reversing a popular axiom ― “people” it, and buildings will come ― town officials say they are supporting the businesses in town and making it more likely the town will grow.
“The hardest part in Bucksport is parking, the way that parking is set up,” Redman said. “We only have angled parking, no public parking, and a lot of people that work are parking there, so it makes it difficult for people to park and walk around.”
“There are some vacant buildings, so you hope that new businesses do come,” Redman added. “That helps everybody.”