The Buzz: Auburn's Center Street to see major Wendy's reno, new eyeglass chain

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Wendy’s on Center Street in Auburn will be closing for renovations Monday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Eyemart Express is moving into the former D’Angelos building on Center Street in Auburn. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Skiing beer kegs? This week The Buzz is all about building, brewing and breaking it to you gently: Local Wendy’s Baconators, chili and Frosties are going away — for just a little while.

But first, keen-eyed observers may have already noticed there’s a new business bound for Center Street in Auburn.

Eyemart Express is opening in the former D’Angelos at 363 Center St. According to its website, Eyemart is the eighth-largest optical retailer in the U.S. and provides same-day prescription glasses.

City Planner Zach Mosher said the company pulled a permit on Feb. 21 for interior demolition, estimated at $20,000, and for electrical work, and a permit for a temporary banner.

No word yet on an opening date. It may be as soon as this summer, according to staff at its South Portland store.

Waiting on Wendy

A few blocks down the road on Center Street, Wendy’s is closing for a six- to eight-week remodel on Monday, March 5. The last day to Frosty it up for now is Sunday.

The restaurant received a permit for a $650,000 remodel on Feb. 28, according to city staff.

A Wendy’s manager said Friday there was no firm reopening date. The project sounds massive with a new, larger kitchen planned.

“I think they’re keeping three walls and building from there,” she said.

Brewhaha 

Lost Valley Brewing Co. started pouring this week from the base lodge at Lost Valley in Auburn. It began with four craft brews on tap Wednesday evening and quickly sold out of all but one, according to spokesman Travis Dow.

The brews are named after Lost Valley trails and history: Beaver Brown Ale, Otter Slide IPA, Powder Maker Pale Ale and Base Lodge Blueberry Ale.

About 300 people turned out for the opening, exceeding expectations, Dow said. The first keg to sell out was set aside and then ceremonially strapped to two skis, tied with flares and sent down Big Buck Trail after all of the skiers were off the mountain for the day. (And of course, there’s video.)

Hoping to try out a pint this weekend? Brewer Darren Finnegan is at work making more. Dow suggested reaching out on Lost Valley Brewing Co.’s Facebook page to ask if specific flavors have been restocked.

Nearly down to the minute

Last Saturday, the Sun Journal wrote about the partnership between L.L.Bean and Auburn’s Thos. Moser to create high-end, limited, $12,500 fly-tying desks. We asked how many hours went into making each desk and didn’t hear back in time for the story, but the answer was too interesting not to share: 

It’s 149.2 hours, all by Auburn craftspeople, per public relations firm Moki Media.

According to an L.L.Bean spokesman, three of the run of five are left.

Yes, that’s million 

The Maine Office of Tourism received several awards at the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International annual Adrian Awards ceremony last month, including one for a campaign linked to Lewiston.

It was called “Marsden Hartley’s Maine” and involved MOT and Nancy Marshall Communications arranging for a show of Lewiston native Hartley’s paintings showing off Maine at the Met Breuer Museum in New York City.

Per the press release: “MOT sponsored the opening event, inviting key travel media, and executed a subsequent public relations and social media campaign that underscored how the landscapes and culture of Maine that inspired Marsden Hartley and other artists equally inspire today’s visitors to experience Maine. 

“The campaign resulted in 132 pieces of press coverage, 288-plus impressions, and nearly 50,000 social shares. An Associated Press article alone, which focused on related ‘trip ideas,’ had an advertising value of $1.7 million.”

Now that’s a lot of Baconators.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzz-worthy tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or [email protected]

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