Once upon a time, Duke Ellington said:

"It takes a gimmick to find good players for your band. The gimmick I use is money."

These days, money isn't always enough, as we're finding out in a pandemic economy. People have been offered bonuses, higher wages, and any other manner of trick to get people to come work for them.

In the service industry in particular, positions have become extremely hard to fill. Mostly because a lot of those folks have moved onto other industries altogether. Cooks are now flaggers, servers are now administrative assistants, all sorts of things. So what's the one thing that might lure them back? A cheap place to live.

The owners of the Whale's Tooth Pub in Lincolnville hope so.

Like most businesses right now, the owners of the Whale's Tooth were being met with staffing shortages. And people were weary of applying because they were worried about finding a place to live in the area. That got Chris and Martha Nickerson thinking about what they could do.

They went ahead and doubled down, and bought another business, specifically the old Belfast Breeze Inn, and have converted it into 21 affordable housing units for employees. They explained it this way to WABI:

We’re sort of do whatever it takes type of owners. This was an acute issue that not only we’re facing but all of our friends are facing as well so we decided to bite the bullet and buy another business right now. So we’re excited about it, we have no regrets, and we’re super focused.

But it's not just for their employees. Other local businesses have felt the same crunch, so the newly named Northport Inn and Lodge will provide potential housing for those folks too. It's obviously a win/win for the community and an extremely innovative idea. Heck, when the pandemic hands you lemons, make pandemonade.

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