Business bustling this summer in downtown Bath, but it’s no 2021

Bette Spettel, owner of Over the Moon in downtown Bath, said business has been good so far this summer, but it was better at this time last year. “I’m not complaining,” she said. Mikayla Patel / The Forecaster

Business so far this summer has been brisk in downtown Bath and foot traffic has been excellent, retailers say, although nowhere like last summer, which they said was unbeatable.

“It hasn’t been as busy as last year as the state of the world has shifted,” said Heidi Neal, owner of Loyal Biscuit Co., a pet supply shop. Still, she’s happy with how busy it’s been this tourist season.

Loyal Biscuit Co. moved to downtown Bath location in 2020, so Neal has yet to experience a summer without the pandemic hovering outside her door.

Neal, along with several other local business owners, speculated that the drop in visitors from last year is because people were so excited last summer to return to public spaces for the first time in a while.

“Last summer was crazy,” said Bette Spettel, owner of the Over the Moon lingerie shop, “but this summer has still been great. I’m not complaining.”

She theorized that people who choose to travel this summer may no longer feel the need to stay close to home, or even in the country, which could be why Maine has seen fewer tourists than in 2021.

Messages left for Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber Executive Director Cory King about how Bath businesses have fared over the past several years were not returned by The Forecaster’s deadline.

Business has been good at Lisa-Marie’s Made in Maine, but it’s down since last summer, said Andy Stewart.

“I think there are people here, but they’ve spent too much on getting here, hotels and food that there’s not much left for retail,” said Stewart, husband of Lisa-Marie Stewart, the gift shop’s owner. He said sales have been slightly behind 2019, but not significantly.

Bath Brewery Company has not been as busy this summer as it expected, even during Heritage Days last month, usually one of its busiest times, according to employee Zach Siteman. The brew pub has yet to bounce back to where it was before the pandemic, he said.

There have been outliers who have seen their business increase this summer.

Eliza Whysenand, who is employed at Bruno’s Pizzeria, reported that sales have doubled since last summer, and “it’s never been dead” with “rare breaks.” She said she’s yet to see a slow day at Bruno’s, which sees tourists from all over the world.

Business at the Maine Street Design Co. home décor shop has improved every year since it opened in 2019 and this year has actually been “way better” than last year, said Jim Mcbride, visual merchandiser.

Most businesses stated that August tends to be their busiest month, so they’re holding out for a pickup in customers in the coming weeks.

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