Kerry Conway stands Wednesday in front of her business, The Sausage Kitchen, on Main Street in Lisbon Falls. “This is what we look at all day long,” she said. Businesses have seen a loss of foot traffic since the street reconstruction began this year. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

LISBON — After construction of Main Street in downtown Lisbon Falls began earlier this year, Maggie Norzow saw a 75% decline in sales at her clothing boutique, Eastcraeft.

“Business has been a lot worse than previous years — even worse than the COVID years — and that’s saying something,” Norzow said. “We were closed for four months (in 2020).”

Her business isn’t the only one that has been hit. Other Main Street business owners say the decrease in foot traffic has significantly hurt their businesses.

To draw more people downtown and bring much needed financial support to Main Street, business owners have organized the “Save Main Street” block party Friday and Saturday.

Eastcraeft clothing boutique in Lisbon will sell a special edition “Save Main Street” T-shirt during a block party Friday and Saturday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Saturday will feature two dozen local vendors on Main Street beginning at 1 p.m., with live music from 4 to 9 p.m. Main Street will be closed and all construction vehicles moved.

Olive Pitt Brewing Co. and Flux Restaurant will open outdoor beer gardens, according to Olive Pit Brewing owner and Town Councilor Christine Cain. The Sausage Kitchen, farther up Main Street, will set up a pop-up tent and grill to serve sausage and steak subs.


Eastcraeft will also sell a special edition “Save Main Street” T-shirt. Revenue from the sales will go toward offsetting the costs of live music, according to Cain.

Closed on Saturday, Frank’s Restaurant will instead host a luau party from 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, including live music.

Cain said the financial hit to some downtown businesses has been so bad, some are not sure whether they will make it until the first phase of the Main Street renovations are completed this fall.

“It seems as if we’re not trying to actively pull people into the store and just reminding people consistently that we’re open, people kind of forget about us,” Norzow said, adding that she believes people are actively avoiding downtown because of the construction and road closures.

Businesses along Main Street in Lisbon Falls are struggling while construction limits parking and foot traffic. Standing on the street Wednesday are, from left, Flux sous chef Jeb Charette, Flux owner Jason LaVerdiere, Eastcraeft owner Maggie Norzow and Olive Pit Brewing owner Christy Cain. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

The businesses saw significant bumps in traffic during the Maine Blues Festival in June and the Moxie Festival in July. Organizers hope the block party will provide a lifeline for the downtown businesses to make it through August.

Kerry Conroy, owner of The Sausage Kitchen, said her business has diversified its revenue in an effort to make up for the loss in foot traffic. Knowing that the Main Street construction project was approaching, she has worked to increase whole sales, hold onsite makers markets and attend local events as a vendor.


Selling subs at the Topsham Fair last week “helped take the edge off” her financial concerns, she said.

Director of Economic and Community Development Ross Cunningham said that despite preconstruction planning and marketing campaigns from the town, downtown businesses have suffered from the reduction in foot traffic on Main Street.

“This is clearly a situation where the downtown businesses have taken positive steps to create the traffic that they’re lacking this year,” he said.

A woman crosses Main Street on Wednesday in downtown Lisbon Falls. The major reconstruction is expected to be finished this fall. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Construction on the lower end of Main Street is planned to be completed by mid-September, he said.

The Main Street construction promises to completely overhaul the underground utilities, road, sidewalks and light fixtures on Main Street, from its intersection with Route 196 to Huston Street.

Although downtown businesses are struggling now, Conroy believes the renovation will benefit the town in the long run.

“In the end, it’s going to be a much nicer downtown,” she said.

Parking for downtown Lisbon Falls is available on side streets and at the site of the former Worumbo Mill off Route 196.

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