It’s All In The Name

We took a meander up the coast in mid-May hoping to spot warblers, but a weekend of dense fog turned us from birdwatchers to birdlisteners. It was fun all the same. Hiking through a coastal woodland with nature’s music as a soundtrack is lovely.

We drove Route One from Portland to Hancock County, an interminable trip in the summer but hands down the most enjoyable road this time of year. It’s an annual ritual to drive the post road in the springtime, checking to see if anything exciting happened over the winter.

Not a heck of a lot changes along the coastal corridor from year to year, and in some places, from decade to decade. (Perry’s Nut House, anyone?)  But  new businesses do bloom each spring, and this year we jotted down their names as we passed from town to town.

We spotted a place called The Only Donut, a response, perhaps, to The Holy Donut in Portland. We didn’t stop to see how The Only Donut’s offerings stack up with the famous Maple Bacon confections from the church of yumminess, which hands down has the best slogan—If Loving Donuts is Wrong, I Donut Want to be Right.

Had we been in the mood for pastry, the Scone Goddess in Northport would have gotten the nod. The sign was fabulous and I bet the food is, too.

We noted an unusual number of businesses with Mainely in their names this trip. Mainely Used Cars. Mainely Gallery. Mainely Burgers. You get the picture.

A check of the Maine Secretary of State’s corporate name website shows this convention is wildly popular. There’s Maine-ly Harmony (a non-profit in Belgrade) and Maine-ly Trees in Strong (which is true, literally). And one cannabis entrepreneur calls their business Mainely Dope, which also is a pervasive theme all along the coast these days.

According to the Secretary of State’s website, a lot of Mainers also incorporate “unlimited” into their business name. We drove past Plants Unlimited. Others with the same idea include Carpets Unlimited, Boxes and Bags Unlimited and (my personal fave) Smart Pants Unlimited. I am familiar with Smartie Pants, but really would like to know more about smart pants. It’s a wicked good question, don’t you think?

Which brings me to the most Mainey business category of all, those who work “wicked” into their name. They’re represented in numerous industries and are all over the map. Wicked Brew Café in Bangor. Wicked Maine Lobster in Saco. Wicked Clean Car Wash in Searsport and Wicked Cool Vans in Skowhegan.

There’s also Wicked Joe Coffee, which has recently partnered up with The Holy Donut for a caffeine/carbohydrate punch that could give Dunkin’s a run for their money, unless the ubiquitous pink and orange coffee joints hook up with the cannabis folks.

That would result in what we call Market Saturation Unlimited.

BLOG READERS:  What are your favorite Maine business names?  Drop a note in the comments please!

 Brenda Buchanan brings years of experience as a journalist and a lawyer to her crime fiction. She has published three books featuring Joe Gale, a newspaper reporter who covers the crime and courts beat. She is now hard at work on new projects. FMI, go to

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12 Responses to It’s All In The Name

  1. matthewcost says:

    Sounds like a great trip! My mystery coming out next year is MAINELY WICKED. Covers all the boxes.

  2. David Plimpton says:

    Sea Glass restaurant at Inn by the Sea – Cape Elizabeth

  3. Julianne Spreng says:

    Years ago we traveled up the east coast to P.E.I. with my family . My nana had us read town names, shop names, and random billboards which she noted in a small padfolio. I recently came across it. At the time we youngsters thought she was crazy to write down all those unrelated bits, but it immediately brought back the trip. Now I try to snap photos of shops with fun names. I thoroughly enjoyed your notes. Even if I wasn’t hungry, I would have stopped at the scone shop.

    • Brenda Buchanan says:

      The moral of the story: Nana knows best.

      I still regret not stopping for a scone . . .

  4. Anonymous says:

    Mainely Character!!

  5. John Clark says:

    Flatlanda Diner on Route 201 in Fairfield. Not sure how they serve them though.

  6. Pingback: It’s All In The Name – Trenton Farmings

  7. jselbo says:

    Great travel stuff – love it

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