This week the Buzz is going on a lobster boat, vicariously, with a fellow named David and eating a Lewiston-made whoopie pie after.

Labadie’s Bakery’s whoopie pies were featured in Boston Magazine’s August issue, in an article on 43 things to eat on your New England road trip. (It’s number 33.)

Owner Fabien Labadie, who was happy to be included, says he sees quite a few tourists in the summer.

“Usually the three things they want to buy are whoopie pies, red hot dogs from Simones’ Hot Dog Stand and Sam’s Italians — three things they say when they live out of state they can’t get,” said Labadie.

His most popular whoopie flavor: “Hands down, the classic.”

Speaking of visitors . . .

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Tourism talk

At Thursday’s monthly Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce breakfast, President Beckie Conrad said the chamber is close to going live with its new tourism-centric website, visitlamaine.com.

It’s within sight of a $30,000 goal for the effort and still fundraising. There’s $6,750 left to go and a goal of going live by Labor Day.

Guest speaker George Gervais, commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development said, statewide, tourism numbers this year are so far strong.

In 2016, tourism brought almost $6 billion in direct spending to Maine, he said, a 6 percent increase over 2015.

“It looks like 2017, so far, is going to break that record again,” Gervais said. “Restaurant and lodging taxable sales are up nearly 5 percent through May compared to last year, and lodging sales alone as of that time are ahead more than 13 percent over last year.”

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Along came David

Gervais also gave the Twin Cities a shout-out for help with a recent tourism “influencer” campaign. David Hoffmann from the website DavidsBeenHere.com has 138,000 Instagram followers and 40,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.

Hoffmann’s trip, organized by the Maine Office of Tourism earlier this summer, started in L-A. He ate at Gritty’s, toured Baxter Brewing and biked Mount Apatite before heading out on a lobster boat and hitting a half-dozen Portland activities and breweries.

He wrote and shot videos about the adventure then posted them all online.

“His first words to us were how nice everyone was (here),” Gervais said. “That’s 178,000 followers between those two social media (platforms) and first impressions do mean a lot. The first impression here in L-A, the people he met set the tone for a very successful PR campaign so give yourselves a hand.”

Speaking of the Twin Cities . . .

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Speak up

Uplift LA is hosting a forum on the proposal to merge Lewiston and Auburn on Oct. 3 at the Franco Center.

In an email Monday, Conrad said 12 percent of members had responded to the chamber’s own survey trying to gauge support for the idea.

“The survey is trending toward ‘yes’ for the merger among all members as well as among those who can vote in LA,” she wrote.

Conrad hopes more members weigh in before the chamber’s board takes up the issue.

There’s a week left to vote.

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Actual golfing optional

The chamber’s also hoping to raise $53,000 this month for the 18th Annual Chip Morrison Scholarship Scramble on Aug. 23.

It would bring the total amount raised for scholarships over the last 18 years to $700,000, Conrad said.

This year for the first time, there’s a “virtual golfer” option — a straight up donation — for those who don’t golf, with the incentive of a $5,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor.

The scramble last year provided scholarships to 18 graduating high school seniors, two adults and 26 Central Maine Community College students.

Jobs update

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Firm numbers weren’t available at press time on Wednesday when Dielectric announced its expansion into Lewiston, into the Gendron Business Park.

A spokesperson on Thursday said at least half of the 50 people working at the new antenna manufacturing facility will be new hires.

It’s expected to open Nov. 1.

From blueberries to huckleberries

Sales coach and motivational speaker Donnie Tuttle, his wife and seven of their eight children left Florida in March with a plan to live a more meaningful life, moving to a new community every 90 days.

Maine was their second stop.

Now, it’s off to Idaho.

Safe travels!

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

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