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Portland's Distant Cliff Island Kickstarts a Year-Round Store and Cafe

Jennifer Blomquist crowdfunded $19,000 for the business.

Cliff Island Store and Cafe/Kickstarter

Cliff Island is about to get a lot more hospitable to its 50 or so year-round residents. Jennifer Blomquist, one of those intrepid inhabitants, just Kickstarted $19,000 — $2,500 over her goal — to open a permanent business called Cliff Island Store and Cafe at 11 Wharf Road. Look for it by June or July. Until last year, the property housed Pearls Seaside Market and Cafe, a summer-only spot run by Vena's Fizz House owners Steve and Johanna Corman.

Briana Warner, formerly of Maine Pie Line and current Economic Development Director for the Island Institute, said Blomquist's plan to serve her community locally-sourced scratch foods and groceries throughout the year is exciting. "A school and a store are central institutions for an island that's difficult to get to. Islanders were really supportive of the campaign. This is a great way for Cliff to start attracting young people back, or for the first time," Warner explained.

And even if you don't foresee taking the 80 minute ferry ride to the island, there's still hope: in her five year plan, Blomquist said she would "be offering goods online for those that want a little Cliff Island wherever they are," housemade treats from sea salt and pizza sauce to pickles and whoopie pies.