Name: Steve Rabasco

Age: 61

Title: Owner

Company: White Rabbit Emporium, Auburn and Florida

About: Sells tie-dyed clothing at fairs across Maine and on Mount Vernon Avenue in Augusta

What’s your biggest challenge right now?

Extreme weather, when it’s extremely hot like we had (two weeks ago), in the 100s, that affects it. Or extreme cold. Extreme hot keeps them away.

I am always outside (under a tent) except at the Fryeburg Fair. I am inside there.

What’s the best advice you have ever given someone?

Have a lot of patience. Customer service is a priority. It’s hard to be patient in the society we live in today. People have to work out how to be patient for themselves.

How do you solve problems?

I keep calm most of the time, think it through and plan it out.

What’s your biggest concern?

It’s always a concern about the economy. It’s good now. People have money to spend. There was a downturn when gas prices were at $4 a gallon. The only decision about the economics with the gas prices, (when they are high is) people stay local and spend local rather than going on vacation, that I have noticed. That benefits me, because I am pretty stationary.

Where will your business be in five years?

Hopefully, I am retired then.

I started this 20 years ago, just tie-dying, selling at lawn sales, and one thing led to another and here I am. I do state fairs, the Skowhegan Fair, the Windsor Fair, the Fryeburg Fair and the Boston Christmas Show.

I do this full time. I live in Florida in the winter. I’m born and raised here, in Auburn. I used to be in the restaurant business. I came down with essential tremors in 2010. Are you familiar with the actress Katherine Hepburn? She had them in her voice, I have them in my hands. So that ended that.

But I have another business also that I do besides tie-dyes. It’s called Moose Creek and it’s gourmet soups, dips and desserts. I took my restaurant smarts that I got from working in restaurants for decades and I do that.

This (the tie-dyes) I started out as fun, and it led into this. So I still keep it fun. But the food is a little more serious. I dye the shirts in the winter time, it’s more of a hobby. I really don’t time it.

The other takes up more of my time. It’s more thinking and coming up with new recipes. I really don’t market it. I find it better to be out with the people. I’m a people person, from being in the restaurant 40 years. It’s impersonal with the internet. I like the interacting with the people. A lot of people know me and beep at me here.

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