WATERVILLE — Businesses on Main Street were split on whether the 10-day long Maine International Film Festival has brought more customers in their doors, with most eateries reporting that it had helped them while most nonfood retailers and service-based businesses were less likely to notice an impact.

Workers at restaurants like Jorgensen’s, Selah Tea and Waterville House of Pizza all said that they had enjoyed more business during the festival, which ends Sunday.

Elizabeth Walsh, at Selah, said she not only saw more customers, but that she also learned a little bit more about the film business.

“It was nice to hear from people who had produced movies talking about the process,” Walsh said. “We definitely saw more business, especially in between the movie showtimes.”

Morgan Guimond, of Jorgensen’s, said they, too, had noticed an increase in customers.

At Waterville House of Pizza, Ashley-ann Ferris reported that the lunch crowd had been particularly good throughout the week.


Kalyne Norris, of Downtown Smoothies, said the business, which only opened its doors recently, had seen its best day on Saturday, when the film festival overlapped with the Waterville Arts Fest on Main Street.

Workers at other businesses, such as the art supply store Berry’s Stationers, the nail salon DK Nails and Attitudes Hair Salon said they didn’t notice any increase in business.

Laurie Laliberte, of the hair salon, said her business actually suffered on the opening Saturday, because Main Street was closed to vehicle traffic for the Arts Fest.

“All it does is, it hinders my clients,” she said. “They had nowhere to park.”

But on that same Saturday, Lisa Witham said her retail business, Poulin Optical, saw a slight increase in business.

Jane Lynch, of Headquarters Hair Styling, said that the festivals have long-term benefits for all retailers, regardless of whether their business had seen extra traffic during the festival.


“It’s good for the downtown,” Lynch said. “It brings people to the area and gives everyone exposure to more customers.”

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287

[email protected]

Twitter: @hh_matt

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