When Pam Laskey launched Maine Foodie Excursions 13 years in the past, it was a seasonal enterprise and one of many few meals excursions within the nation.
“I used to be a number of years forward of the curve with this,” Laskey laughed, recalling the lean days and low incomes when the enterprise discovered its footing within the first yr or so.
Now often known as Maine Day Ventures, Laskey’s firm operates a number of meals excursions all year long, with 14 guides in Portland and about 30 associate food and drinks venues, together with further excursions in Bar Harbor, Boothbay Harbor and Kennebunkport. That Laskey’s excursions took off in a food-crazed metropolis like Portland isn’t any shock. However it has confronted actual challenges preserving the enterprise working since 2020.
“COVID was a recreation changer for us,” he mentioned. “It was very difficult. We tried to maintain the excursions outside as a lot as potential, however it was a horrible grind.”
Laskey’s enterprise mannequin as much as that time trusted guests going to numerous eating places and bars alongside the path to pattern and typically sit down and revel in a chat with native homeowners or clients. “We have now 5 to seven stops, and we undoubtedly pack individuals by the top of the tour,” he mentioned.
However the pandemic pressured her to chop again on meals excursions, specializing in associate venues that would accommodate her teams outside or put together grab-and-go samples. Laskey decreased the utmost dimension of her tour teams from 14 to eight or 10 to make her shoppers really feel safer.
Laskey was not alone within the combat. Maine Meals for Thought, after 4 years of meals excursions exploring the state’s farm-to-table meals system, closed indefinitely final yr, one other casualty of the pandemic.
Nonetheless, Laskey mentioned Maine Day Ventures had a busy 2021 regardless of the challenges. And this month, he mentioned, they’re going to launch a brand new culinary buying tour in Portland, with stops at locations like Heritage Seaweed on India Avenue, Cellar Door Vineyard on Center Avenue and Skordo spice store on Fore Avenue.
As well as, Maine Day Ventures’ two-hour pub-focused completely satisfied hour excursions will develop into two-and-a-half-hour afternoon tasting excursions with extra emphasis on meals.
Laskey is fast to level out that his firm’s choices proceed to depend upon the state of the pandemic. He just lately had a bunch of eight cancel a tour as a consequence of COVID infections.
“This yr, issues are higher thus far with the pandemic, however I do not assume we’re out of the woods but,” he mentioned.