Four of the nine principals behind the new Sonder & Dram bar coming to 12 Ash St. in Lewiston are, from left, Rick Roy of Raymond, Michael Gosselin of Lewiston, who’s also the chef, Tom Ardia of Minot, also bar manager, and Peter Flanders of Falmouth. (Kathryn Skelton/Sun Journal)

This week The Buzz is marking the calendar and picking out a speakeasy outfit.

You may have caught a few teases on Facebook in the past week for Sonder & Dram coming to Lewiston.

Just what is it? And what’s the name mean?

Turns out Sonder & Dram is a new bar coming to 12 Ash St. It’s backed by nine business partners who are right now renovating the basement space that used to be occupied by Great Falls Development Group and Corner Pocket Properties. (Reach back 60 years and it was the home of Austin’s Cafe, according to Rick Roy, one of the nine.)

For the meaning of the word “sonder,” Peter Flanders, another of the partners, pointed to the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, which reads in part: “the realization that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own … in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.”

“Dram is a small drink or sometimes a small drink of whiskey,” Flanders said.

He described their Sonder & Dram as “a neighborhood bar, but it probably has a little bit of a speakeasy feel to it.”

They’re hoping to open in May or June. It will have a small menu of house-made new American cuisine, a few tables in addition to a long bar and it will stay open until 1 a.m. Wednesday to Saturday.

Trade shows times two

No, you’re not seeing double.

Over the next six months, Lewiston will play host to both a new business trade show and a longtime-but-rebranded business trade show.

First: The rebranded trade show.

The Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council ran its Maine B2B networking event for 22 years before LAEGC became an organization within the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce earlier this year.

The chamber rebranded the event as the LA Metro Marketplace and moved it from the Androscoggin Bank Colisee to the Bates Mill Complex. It added a morning component for students, folded in the chamber’s annual job fair, changed the hours and added a request for a $5 donation to the chamber scholarship fund at the door in the afternoon.

“We’re doing it in June like (LAEGC) always did,” Chamber President Beckie Conrad said. “Yes, we’ve made some changes, but it’s still the B2B.”

The event, this year on June 7, needed updating, she said.

“I had three more sponsors sign up yesterday,” Conrad said. “People are seeing it as efficient, effective, exciting. I have businesses signing up who have never participated in the B2B because of the youth part. I have folks coming out saying this is the change we were looking for.”

Then, in September: the new trade show.

Local trade show promoter Travis Dow had organized the Maine B2B the past two years for the LAEGC. Last week, he announced he would offer the new Maine Business to Business Trade Show on Sept. 6 at the Colisee.

Entry will be free with a business card, as it historically had been at the Maine B2B, and the hours will be similar, though he’s adding a VIP luncheon midday with programming and a cocktail hour for networking in the afternoon.

Dow believes people liked the old format.

“I’ve gotten a number of emails from people who say they’re excited to hear about it,” he said. “Right off the bat, in the first day, we had four companies sign up.”

“I’m not trying to compete with them in any way,” Dow added. “I think anybody that’s doing something that can bring more excitement to the area and create connections between businesses — I’m a chamber member myself — (is a good thing.) They’re doing a great job and this isn’t to compete with them.”

Houses times 31

The Lewiston Planning Board this week unanimously approved Chase Custom Homes & Finance’s new Sanctuary Estates subdivision at 131 Hogan Road.

Plans call for 31 lots on 33.2 now-wooded acres.

“I think the plan is for them to start cutting trees within the next month or so,” said Jeff Amos of Terradyn Consultants, which is working on the project.

Housing lots will be for sale later this year.

Bifocals times … ?

Finally, an update from a Buzz item last month: Joy Real Estate pulled a renovation permit on March 16 to turn the former D’Angelo’s into a new Eyemart Express at 363 Center St. in Auburn.

The estimated construction cost: $800,000.

That’s … a lot of glasses.

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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