Elaine’s Bakery named Chamber Business of the Year
MILO — Elaine’s Bakery is well known in Piscataquis County, not simply because their finger-licking products can be found in convenience stores, cafes and markets across the state of Maine but because of the bakery’s owner Elaine Poulin. Most would say of Elaine, “to know her is to love her.”
The bakery shop’s official name is “Elaine’s Basket Café & Bakery” because in addition to offering breakfast, baked goods and catering services, Elaine hand-weaves baskets of all shapes, sizes and colors and sells them from the shop, which has been in business for over 12 years. Elaine worked in state government for 30 years before leaving to pursue her dream, which was to do exactly what she is doing now. After spending mere moments with her, most can discern Elaine’s two greatest passions: baking, and people. “What I do every day is so rewarding,” she says. “I get to do what I love most while interacting with people, sharing stories and building relationships. I have the ability to make people smile; I don’t even consider it work because I’m having so much fun!”
In 2016 Elaine’s little shop expanded into the adjoining space of the building she rents, giving her customers more room to enjoy their breakfast and more space for conversation. Since the expansion, Elaine has also utilized the space for small parties and gatherings, as well as a bi-weekly open mic night for the community. The kitchen was also expanded, which was desperately needed as her customer base and employees continue to grow.
Eventually, Elaine hopes to package and ship her donuts and pastries around the world. In the meantime, she has created a much-loved place for the locals and tourists (many of whom specifically ask “How do I get to Elaine’s Bakery?”) to gather and enjoy delicious food and scrumptious sweets.
“What Elaine provides to the local community of Milo, coupled with her impact on tourism, would be enough to receive this recognition,” said Denise Buzzelli, executive director of the Piscataquis Chamber, “but there’s so much more that folks might not be aware of – the more meaningful reasons she was chosen as our 2019 Business of the Year recipient”.
Though Elaine was born and raised in New Canada, a small town outside of Fort Kent, she loves the community of Milo and considers it her home. What most folks might not know about her is that she possesses an enormous, benevolent heart. Buzzelli explains, “Elaine uses her business as a means to give young women who have had a troubled past an opportunity to start over; she provides them with work, mentors them, and trains them in business”.
Though the bakery has a constant flow of customers and her wholesale and catering businesses are booming, Elaine somehow manages to remember what is important, and remains grounded and committed to using her talents to make an impact in the lives of others. This is precisely what makes her such a treasure to those who know her, and what has escalated her little bakery and café to one of the region’s most beloved businesses.
The Piscataquis Chamber Board of Directors will be presenting the Business of the Year award to Elaine’s Bakery and Café on Thursday, Oct. 10 at the Piscataquis Chamber annual meeting and business of the year celebration from 6-9 p.m. at The Commons at Central Hall. A full dinner will be served. This event is open to the public; registration is required and can be completed through the Chamber’s Facebook page or website or by calling 564-7533.