Portland businesses gear up for National Governor’s Association conference

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Portland hosts the biannual conference of the National Governor’s Association. It’s the first time Maine has hosted the event since 1983. Between governors, their teams and lobbyists, it should attract between 600 and 700 additional visitors. “If it brings us more business, that would be fantastic and we would be absolutely ready for that,” Carissa Fifield, director of Portland Lobster Co., said on Commercial Street during the tourist season. “Our business model is to be ready for any volume of business at any time,” Fifield said. “We’re always prepared for roughly the number of people we can get here in a day.” About 50 companies offer special discounts to governors and hope to benefit from all the activity. In order to accommodate denser crowds, the city has road closures in some of the busiest parts of the city. Sections of Commercial Street and Spring Street are closed from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. “If that brings more people on foot who go for walks, that could be a very good thing for us,” Fifield said. Many businesses say they only heard about the closures on Wednesday and some fear it will affect their business operations. “I guess the street closure will negatively affect business – just people who don’t want to do take-out orders or walk in,” said Amy Marchessault, director of Flatbread Company. today just because they didn’t want to deal with the street being closed.” adapt and optimistic that the week is going well. “I think it will be a challenge, but we are really You’re good at meeting challenges, so in the grand scheme it’ll be fine,” Marchessault said.

Portland hosts the biannual conference of the National Governor’s Association. It’s the first time Maine has hosted the event since 1983. Between governors, their staffs and lobbyists, it’s expected to draw between 600 and 700 additional visitors.

“If it brings us more business, that would be fantastic and we would be absolutely ready for that,” Portland Lobster Co. director Carissa Fifield said on Commercial Street.

The influx of visitors is likely to provide more business for local restaurants and shops, which could mean plenty of additional customers during an already busy summer tourist season.

“Our business model is to be ready for any amount of business at any time,” Fifield said. “We’re always ready for about the number of people we can get in here in a day.”

About 50 companies are offering special discounts to governors and hope to benefit from all the activity.

In order to accommodate denser crowds, the city closed roads in some of the busiest parts of the city. Sections of Commercial Street and Spring Street are closed from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

“If it brings more people on foot who go for a walk, that could be a really good thing for us,” Fifield said.

Many businesses say they only heard about the closures on Wednesday and some fear it will affect their business operations.

“I guess the street closure will negatively affect business — just people who don’t want to do take-out orders or walk in,” said Amy Marchessault, director of Flatbread Company. “We already had a booking cancellation today just because they didn’t want to deal with the street being closed.”

Marchessault says she would have liked to receive more advanced notice from the city so she could alert her staff to the parking limitations, but she is ready to adapt and optimistic that the week will go smoothly.

“I think it will be a challenge, but we’re really good at meeting challenges, so in the grand scheme it will be fine,” Marchessault said.

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