Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably driven (or walked) by the empty storefront in downtown Orono. You know the one; it was once occupied by the artsy boutique, Metropolitan Soul and last year the vaporizer shop called “Everything Vapes” both opened and closed its doors. It was months before movement could be seen inside the vacant space…until now.
The owners of Nest, a new coffee and bakery café, have begun renovations on 24 Main St.
Owners and business partners Anna Berube and Li Yang believe that Nest will feature a cozy atmosphere for students and community members alike. That hope is reflected in the company logo, which features three birds in a nest with the caption “Nest bringing peeps together.”
“It’s gonna [sic] be like coffee shop/bakery/boutique,” Berube said. “[It’ll be] just like a fun place to go and hang out and do homework, and I’m going to be selling my baked goods, so cakes, pies, cupcakes.”
Berube began selling her baked goods in Brewer through her at-home bakery business, Vanilla Avenue Bakery. Berube just graduated this past May and Nest is the second project under her entrepreneur belt.
Yang, who owns and manages local Japanese hibachi grill, Kobe, says this is just another project of many on his radar. Yang is even already considering an expansion to open a second “Nest” in Bangor.
Yang says the idea of owning a coffee shop just came to him and he knew it was time to pursue that idea.
“I was driving one night, and you know, it came up. [It’s] always been a dream,” Yang said. “Orono doesn’t really have a coffee shop.”
“Yeah, it’s only like [sic] fast food [in Orono], like Dunkin’ Donuts and Aroma Joe’s. There’s no place to go to just sit down and hang out,” Berube said.
Aroma Joe’s, a locally-owned coffee shop chain, opened its doors in Orono in 2014.
It’s too early to tell how Nest will fare in Orono, but students have been buzzing with excitement since renovations began. Elizabeth Proctor, a senior anthropology student, is ready for what’s in store with Nest.
“I saw the sign up in downtown Orono when I was driving through the other day, and one of my friends who was with me told me it was going to be a coffee shop,” Proctor said in an email. “I’m really excited for it, but it’s too bad we didn’t get a good coffee shop until my last year. Nothing against our current coffee shops, but they don’t really have the kind of vibe that makes me want to sit down and stay a while.”
Yang and Berube plan to make the décor comfortable, mirroring the interior design trends of major coffee shops like Starbucks, with a rustic modern design. Nest will be a place for friends to come and stay a while, according to Yang.
“People go [to coffee shops like Starbucks] to hang out, you know? Instead of being on their phones, playing on social media,” Yang said.
However, Berube claims there will be outlets at nearly every table in Nest.
“I really hope Nest is a place where I can go on an afternoon to get a cup of coffee and settle down for a while to do some reading. I’m a fan of small cafés and local coffee shops in general, because they feel more personal and cozy,” Proctor said. “With enrollment being really high right now, the Union and the Bear’s Den [on campus] have been really crowded lately, so I think UMaine students will appreciate having somewhere new to meet for a cup of coffee in Orono.”
Nest is slated to open sometime in the next few weeks.
For more information about Nest and their opening, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NestCoffeeOrono/.