When Pam Laskey introduced Maine Foodie Excursions 13 years ago, it was a seasonal company, and a single of only a handful of food stuff tours in the nation.
“I was a number of a long time forward of the curve with this point,” Laskey laughed, recalling lean and minimal-income times as the company uncovered its footing for the initially year or so.
Now identified as Maine Working day Ventures, Laskey’s corporation operates numerous food items tours yr spherical, with 14 guides on the floor in Portland and about 30 foods and consume venue companions, together with supplemental tours in Bar Harbor, Boothbay Harbor and Kennebunkport. That Laskey’s excursions took off in a foodstuff-nuts city like Portland is no shock. But she has faced true troubles maintaining small business managing given that 2020.
“COVID was a match-changer for us,” she said. “It was pretty difficult. We tried using to continue to keep the excursions outdoors as much as attainable, but it was a terrible grind.”
Laskey’s organization design to that position depended on tourgoers heading into a variety of eating places and bars alongside the route for tasting samples, and from time to time to sit and appreciate a chat with the house owners or community patrons. “We have five to seven stops, and we certainly fill folks up by the end of the tour,” she stated.
But the pandemic forced her to scale back again the food stuff excursions, focusing on the companion venues that could accommodate her teams outside, or prepare to-go samples. Laskey minimize the greatest sizing of her tour groups from 14 to eight or 10 to make her consumers experience safer.
Laskey wasn’t by yourself in having difficulties. Maine Food stuff for Considered, immediately after four many years of meals tours exploring the state’s farm-to-table food stuff method, closed indefinitely previous 12 months, a further pandemic casualty.
Nonetheless, Laskey explained Maine Day Ventures had a chaotic 2021 regardless of the difficulties. And this thirty day period, she stated, they’ll be launching a new culinary shopping tour in Portland, with stops at venues like Heritage Seaweed on India Street, Cellar Doorway Vineyard on Middle Avenue, and the spice shop Skordo on Fore Street.
Also, Maine Day Ventures’ two-hour bar-centric pleased hour tours will increase to turn out to be two-and-a-half hour afternoon tasting tours with far more emphasis on food items.
Laskey is speedy to observe that her company’s choices stay dependent on the state of the pandemic. She lately experienced a group of eight terminate a tour since of COVID infections.
“This yr, matters are far better so far with the pandemic, but I really do not feel we’re out of the woods nevertheless,” she mentioned.