Find True Relief from Your Chronic Illness at Med Matrix in Freeport, ME

Med Matrix - Your Partner in Vitality

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Functional Medicine in Freeport, ME

Have you ever been to a primary care doctor and wondered why they focus on treating symptoms instead of addressing the root cause of your illness? Rather than take a patient-centered approach to address questions like, "Why are you ill?" they prescribe medications that alleviate symptoms but don't do much to solve the underlying issue that's causing you to be sick.

When you have a cough, you're handed a cough suppressant. When you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you're prescribed a pill that masks the issue. The truth is that this approach only masks symptoms and can even make them exponentially worse. Medication never treats the root cause; your body's dysfunction isn't due to a deficiency of the medication you're taking.

That begs the question: Wouldn't you prefer to deal with the underlying cause of the problem making you feel bad? At Med Matrix, we take a functional approach to medicine instead of simply treating the symptoms our patients have.

We ask questions like:

  • Why is your body making more cholesterol?
  • Why are you obese?
  • Why is your blood pressure higher than ever before?
Functional Medicine Practice Freeport, ME

Med Matrix: Taking a Functional Approach to Healthcare

At Med Matrix, we delve deep to uncover the fundamental reasons behind your persistent health issues, offering you a path to lasting relief. Our team consists of knowledgeable doctors and skilled functional medicine experts who create caring environments focused on patient needs. We prioritize a holistic healing approach that looks beyond symptom management and aims to uncover and solve the core causes of your conditions for sustained wellness.

Are you:

  • Fed up with prescription after prescription and the side effects that come with them?
  • Seeking clear answers to complex health issues?
  • Craving a proactive role in improving your health?
  • Looking for a supportive, compassionate healthcare team in Freeport?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above or cannot get relief through conventional methods, functional medicine in Freeport, ME, is for you.

What is Functional Medicine from Med Matrix?

The functional medicine model of care offers a patient-centered approach to managing chronic diseases. It aims to answer the question, "Why are you ill?" so that you can receive personalized and effective care tailored to your needs.

Functional medicine providers in Freeport, like Med Matrix, take the time to listen to you and gather your medical history. This information helps us identify the root cause(s) of the illness, including triggers such as:

  • Poor Nutrition
  • Stress
  • Allergens
  • Toxins
  • Genetics
  • Microbiome (the bacteria living in and on your body)

Once we identify the triggers, we can create a customized plan that helps you lead a healthy life. Your plan will address various aspects of your life, including physical needs such as nutrition, exercise, and sleep, as well as mental and emotional stressors related to social, work, and community life.

 Functional Medicine Meal Plan Freeport, ME

The Med Matrix Difference

 Functional Medicine Testing Freeport, ME

At our functional health center, we provide a full spectrum of services and cutting-edge technologies to support your path to optimal health. Our team is skilled in a variety of practices including functional medicine, health coaching, hormone therapy, ozone therapy, and nutrition. Unlike some clinics that prioritize profits, we use diagnostic tools such as genetic testing and comprehensive laboratory evaluations to obtain a deeper understanding of your health conditions. In short, we take the time to get to know you, your body, your needs, and your goals. That way, we can provide the most effective, longest lasting care possible.

We also introduce innovative treatments and therapies like regenerative medicine, IV nutrient therapy, detoxification programs, PEMF mat, peptides, exosomes, and more. By integrating the most effective elements of conventional and functional medicine, we offer a comprehensive approach to health care that is tailored to you - not someone with a similar body type, age, and chronic illnesses.

Our Philosophy

Med Matrix was founded on the notion that patients deserve personalized, comprehensive care and unwavering commitment. Our philosophy also includes:

Above Beyond
Going Above & Beyond

Conventional medicine primarily aims to label diseases and prescribe medications for specific symptoms. At Med Matrix, we believe in a more holistic approach. Functional medicine - our chosen path - perceives the body as a harmonious. We view it as an interconnected system rather than a mere collection of isolated organs. In essence, we treat your entire system by delving into the root causes of your symptoms rather than trying to alleviate them on their own.

Working Together
Working Together

At Med Matrix, we consider patients to be more than visitors. We believe they're valued partners on the path to optimal health. Our cohesive team of seasoned physicians, devoted nurses, and expert nutritionists has an unwavering commitment to steering every patient towards health and happiness - a state we affectionately term "Health Actualization." Our functional medicine clinic is your comprehensive destination for wellbeing, and healing that propels you toward a life full of energy and vitality.

Advanced Testing
Advanced Testing

We seamlessly blend time-honored Western medical practices with cutting-edge functional medicine diagnostics conducted within our state-of-the-art, in-house laboratory. We understand that every patient has unique health needs and goals. Our diagnostic testing helps uncover the underlying issues you're dealing with so they can be addressed effectively. We do so through individualized treatment plans and custom treatments, not generalized care. Whether your path to wellness includes supplements, botanical medicines, prescription medications, therapeutic diets, detox regimens, or stress-reduction strategies, we're dedicated to your health.

Patients First
Patients First

Our core philosophy revolves around patient-centered care. Our practitioners take the time to listen, truly understand your unique story, and make you an integral part of the discovery process. We firmly believe that there's no one-size-fits-all solution in healthcare. That's why we're dedicated to delivering the highest quality functional medicine in Freeport, ME. Our approach to Health Actualization isn't solely about the absence of disease; it's about fostering vitality and overall wellbeing. Together, let's collaborate to achieve your path to Health Actualization.

Functional Medicine Memberships from Med Matrix

Our functional medical memberships are designed to optimize your health and prevent diseases from interrupting your wellbeing. These 12-month memberships feature the following core components and timeline:

Advanced Testing.png

Advanced Testing

Our advanced diagnostic testing takes into account more than 100 biomarkers, which helps us identify and ultimately address the underlying problems causing you to be sick.

Functional Medicine

Functional MedicineReview

We'll set up a one-hour meeting where you'll meet with an IFM-certified provider. During this meeting, your provider will get a better sense of who you are and the goals you have for your body and overall wellness.

Healthcare Plan

Personalized Healthcare Plan

Your healthcare plan is customized to your body and your goals and can include guidance on lifestyle optimization, diet optimization, supplement optimization, and hormone optimization.

Quarterly Testing

Quarterly Testing and Review

Once a quarter, you'll meet with a health coach from Med Matrix who will check on you and where you're at with your health goals.

Other benefits of signing up for a functional medicine membership include IV vitamin credits, access to a professional health coach, and discounted pricing on stem cell therapy.

Top 6 Reasons to Consider Functional Medicine in Freeport, ME

One of the most popular questions we get from new patients at Med Matrix is why they should even consider functional medical services over those at conventional medical centers. We get it - if you've only known the traditional side of medicine, exploring treatment from a functional medical doctor might seem unnecessary or uncomfortable. Before you retreat back into your comfort zone, take these points into consideration.

 Functional Medicine Consults Freeport, ME

Comprehensive Treatment Options

Unlike conventional doctors, who must work in a narrow scope of treatment, functional medicine opens the doorway to a wealth of therapies and treatments. For instance, at Med Matrix, when a patient presents with symptoms of depression, we don't simply consider which prescription medication to prescribe.

We thoroughly assess omega-3 levels, vitamin D levels, hormones, thyroid imbalances, gut issues, and inflammatory markers. Our goal is to identify the root cause of your depression. We seek to understand WHY your depression is happening. Some common functional medicine treatment options can include the following:

  • Health Coaching
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • Diet Optimization
  • Holistic Treatments and Therapies
  • Hormone Balancing
  • IV Vitamin Therapy
  • Med Spa Services
  • Peptide Therapy
Healthcare-and-Wellness

Healthcare and Wellness Services Catered to You

Functional medicine recognizes that each person is unique, so their treatment should be personalized. We all have different genetics, upbringings, diets, stress levels, and backgrounds. As functional medicine providers, we aim to understand each patient's life story from birth and create a plan that is tailored to them. Common sense says that conversation could take some time, and you'd be correct. An initial consultation with a functional medicine provider from Med Matrix can last an hour or more. But that allows us to provide you with focused, one-on-one attention.

This approach is in stark contrast to an appointment with a primary care physician, which only lasts a few minutes and can make you feel like you're just a number. It's challenging to have a meaningful conversation and provide a comprehensive solution in such a short time. Doctors who practice functional medicine in Freeport, ME, often see fewer patients per day, and for good reason - they're able to devote more time and energy to you, not processing transactions.

Education-that-Empowers

Education that Empowers

The primary objective of functional medicine is to equip and empower the patient to take charge of their health and enhance their quality of life. Since you can't visit a Med Matrix doctor every day, it's important that we continue your healing process using guidance provided by your functional medicine provider.

This guidance will cover important topics relating to your individual health, and may include protocols for optimizing your diet, lifestyle, exercise, stress, and supplements intake. We couple that guidance with advanced lab testing, condition diagnosis, and medication management. We understand that can be a lot to process in one or two meetings. As such, we may recommend health coaching and other services to help.

System-Based-Treatment-Protocols

System-Based Treatment Protocols

Functional medicine believes in treating the person, not just the disease or the symptoms. Most conventional medicine models prioritize prescription medications that match up to specific symptoms. In the world of functional medicine, that's a short-sided approach. Instead, providers at Med Matrix take a systems-based approach to care.

For instance, if you're concerned about enduring too much stress, we want to know that's due to inflammation, malfunctioning adrenals, G.I. problems, or something else entirely. To find out, we check the functionality of your kidneys, heart, gut, liver, thyroid, hormones, and even your vitamin D levels. The more we know, the better understanding we have of the systems we need to address.

functional-medicine-appointment

Uncover the Root Cause

Many people struggle to find answers to their medical conditions because they are passed around from doctor to specialist and back again. This happens frequently. Numerous patients have told us that they were informed, "it's all in your head" and "your labs look normal," despite experiencing severe symptoms indicating that something was wrong.

When you come to Med Matrix for a functional medicine appointment, it's almost like you're hiring a medical detective to uncover the root cause of your symptoms. Our doctors thrive on difficult cases and won't stop investigating until a solution is uncovered.

Preventative-medicine

Cost-Effective Treatment, Long-Lasting Results

Functional medicine goes by many names, such as integrative, holistic, personalized, and preventative. Preventative medicine is the most cost-effective form of healthcare. By preventing or slowing down diseases, you can save future healthcare costs that would have been incurred if a preventative approach wasn't taken.

For instance, let's consider Type II Diabetes. Patients who visit a functional medicine provider are proactive and start addressing blood sugar concerns well before conventional medicine does. Functional medicine providers monitor blood sugar levels even before they reach conventional pre-diabetes levels. When patients are informed and educated about diet and lifestyle before the onset of a disease, much better results are achieved in disease prevention. Once someone has a diagnosis or disease, it becomes more challenging and expensive to correct.

Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Maintaining Your Health

One of the major hallmarks of functional medicine in Freeport, ME, is to stay healthy year-round by eating a healthy diet and exercising. While diet and exercise are crucial for wellness, many Americans don't get the necessary amounts of vitamins and nutrients in their diets. Whether you're working with a health coach or you're simply looking for diet tips, keep these important supplements in mind as you work towards a healthy life.

 Functional Medicine Treatment Center Freeport, ME

Two words that send shivers down the spines of every man are "erectile dysfunction." Unfortunately, when your T levels are lower than they should be, this is one of the most common symptoms that men must endure. Being unable to get it up isn't just embarrassing - it can be downright depressing and lead to issues with mental health. It's a hard topic to discuss, but a personalized TRT plan from Med Matrix can help.

Natural sources of vitamin D include:

  • Sunlight
  • Fatty Fishes
  • Dairy Products
Functional Medicine Practice Freeport, ME

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a crucial nutrient for supporting the immune system and overall health. In addition to its well-known role in preventing scurvy, vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis, wound healing, and combating infections. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. Including vitamin C-rich foods in your diet or taking supplements can help ensure that your body has an adequate supply of this vital nutrient.

Natural sources of vitamin C include:

  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes
  • Cruciferous Veggies
 Functional Medicine Meal Plan Freeport, ME

Anemia is a condition that affects millions of Americans, resulting from various factors including iron deficiency, which is one of the most common national deficiencies. Iron is crucial for maintaining healthy blood. It plays a key role in supporting the production of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.

Natural sources of iron include:

  • Seafood
  • Poultry
  • Meat
 Functional Medicine Testing Freeport, ME

Functional Medicine in Freeport, ME: A Root-Cause Focus from Med Matrix

As a catalyst in the evolution of healthcare, functional medicine adopts a holistic approach to promoting health and wellbeing. It delves into the underlying causes of diseases and aims to restore optimal bodily function through a personalized and patient-centric approach. This approach complements conventional medicine and serves as a crucial partner in the overall healthcare landscape.

If you're sick and tired of relying on traditional models that push pills and prescriptions down your throat, it's time to make a change. At Med Matrix, we look beyond symptom management. We're focused on being proactive, not reactive. Our doctors of functional medicine are trained and fully equipped to help you reimagine what it's like to live a happy, healthy life.

If you're ready to take the first step toward true wellbeing, we're here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about our comprehensive functional medicine program.

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Latest News in Freeport, ME

Freeport businesses prepare for celestial event

As Maine gears up for a day of solar festivities, Midcoast towns like Freeport are preparing solar eclipse viewings just outside the path of totality.The tourist town is set to experience a near total solar eclipse (about 97%) starting at 2:18 p.m. Monday. The celestial event will peak at 3:31 p.m.Check out which nearby businesses are celebrating the midday affair.Though the woman-owned custard and vegan ice cream shop typically closes on weekdays, it will keep its doors open for the eclipse.The business, located ...

As Maine gears up for a day of solar festivities, Midcoast towns like Freeport are preparing solar eclipse viewings just outside the path of totality.

The tourist town is set to experience a near total solar eclipse (about 97%) starting at 2:18 p.m. Monday. The celestial event will peak at 3:31 p.m.

Check out which nearby businesses are celebrating the midday affair.

Though the woman-owned custard and vegan ice cream shop typically closes on weekdays, it will keep its doors open for the eclipse.

The business, located on Route 1, invites those looking for a sweet treat during the event to stop by and try its four homemade custard flavors. Dairy-free viewers are also welcome as the shop will serve three flavors of vegan ice cream.

The business has a large parking lot and covered porch area for custard-eaters to watch the eclipse outside.

For those who like a midday party, this Freeport brewery will be hosting an eclipse viewing at its Main Street location. Customers will enjoy a 20% discount on any product that has the word “sun” in the name, which includes both beers and merchandise.

Partygoers can view the partial eclipse on the brewery’s back deck and patio.

The library will pass out free eclipse glasses starting at noon Monday. The catch, however, is that glasses are limited to one per family and are first-come, first-served.

The library has outdoor stone benches and a gazebo that viewers can use to watch the global event.

Just west of the town, Pineland Farms will host a viewing party, “Lights Out on the Farm,” at its outdoor center.

The viewing party will issue eclipse glasses and goodie bags in the afternoon. Attendees are encouraged to wear closed-toed shoes and bring blankets and chairs. The event is $7 per person and is open to all ages.

A second spring storm has battered power lines and piled snow on Midcoast towns, leading to dangerous road conditions and closed businesses across the region.

All school events and classes were canceled for the day as thousands suffered power outages in the winter-like storm.

Bath emergency services reported minor flooding in low-lying areas near the Kennebec River and traffic hazards such as downed trees and wires.

By midafternoon, nearly 700 homes and businesses were still without power, according to Central Maine Power.

The storm canceled several events, including a panel at the Maine Maritime Museum that was set to discuss storm damage on the waterfronts and a public meeting at Bath City Hall to hear resident concerns over storm damage. The panel was rescheduled for 5:30 p.m. on April 29, and the Bath City Hall meeting was moved to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 11.

Kristian Moravec / The Times Record

The nor’easter canceled many city events in Brunswick, including the second Zoning Board hearing for the contested Wilbur’s Woods project. There is currently no set makeup date for the hearing, though a decision must be made by April 21. The Times Record could not immediately reach the Brunswick Fire and Rescue department to assess damages.

CMP reported that nearly 7,000 homes and businesses lost power.

Surrounding cities such as Bowdoin, Freeport, Harpswell, Topsham and Woolwich reported widespread power outages in the region. All CMP customers in Bowdoin and Harpswell lost power during the heavy snowfall. Nearly all 1,797 CMP-serviced homes and businesses in Woolwich lost power.

Over 3,700 Freeport homes and businesses — a vast majority of CMP’s Freeport customers — lost power, and over 4,300 Topsham customers lost power during the day.

6 candidates vie for Freeport Town Council seats

Six candidates are vying for three contested seats on the Freeport Town Council as Election Day approaches.Joanna Benoit and Tais De Los Reyes are running for Jake Daniele’s seat as councilor-at-large. Daniele is not running for another term.Benoit, 33, is a grant project director for the state — a position to which she was elected in 2021. She has never held a position in politics before but has experience in community organizing.For Benoit, affordable housing, environmental stewardship and bolstering the ec...

Six candidates are vying for three contested seats on the Freeport Town Council as Election Day approaches.

Joanna Benoit and Tais De Los Reyes are running for Jake Daniele’s seat as councilor-at-large. Daniele is not running for another term.

Benoit, 33, is a grant project director for the state — a position to which she was elected in 2021. She has never held a position in politics before but has experience in community organizing.

For Benoit, affordable housing, environmental stewardship and bolstering the economy in the downtown area while continuing to employ locals are priorities, she said.

“As a resident and a candidate with lived experience and professional expertise in these target areas, I’ll help Freeport rise to the challenge by advocating for reviews and updates of processes to ensure there are clear paths to success that reflect Freeport’s values,” Benoit said.

Benoit said she is “eager to represent this town and help translate ideas toward concrete action.”

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De Los Reyes did not respond to a request for comment.

Matthew Pillsbury is running for reelection as councilor for District 3, opposed by Kimberly Buck.

Pillsbury, 45, has served as the District 3 councilor since 2021. If reelected, he said, he will first and foremost “continue to do the important work that goes into running our town.”

Pillsbury, who works at Roux Institute a Maine campus tied to Northeastern University, also identified creating a more comprehensive housing plan as a continued goal.

He said he hopes to “keep the momentum going for the downtown visioning” and continue moving toward improving climate resiliency and reducing climate impact in Freeport.

Achieving these goals as a town comes down to two things, Pillsbury said, “making good decisions that are supported by data and are not made in isolation, and continuing to solicit and receive feedback from all stakeholders to ensure we are continuing down the right path for our community.”

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Challenger Buck said she “would not characterize the issues facing Freeport as problems, but rather opportunities that will allow us to preserve the best of what our town has to offer while also ensuring a positive future for our community members.”

Key to that positive future are housing affordability and the town’s Freeport Downtown Vision Plan, released in 2022, she said.

“I recently chatted with a local business owner who shared that he experienced unanticipated delays obtaining approval to open his business even though he had received all necessary permits and licenses to operate,” Buck said. “I would propose streamlining processes to create assurances that when prospective business owners take all necessary steps to open a business, they’ll be able to do so in a timely manner.”

Buck said she’s also eager to find solutions for generating revenue for the town outside of annual property tax increases. She hopes that this revenue could be used to support affordable housing.

A manager at TD Bank, this is the first time Buck has run for political office.

Eric Smith and Adam Ulrickson are running for Edward Bradley’s seat representing District 2. Bradley isn’t running for reelection. Smith and Ulrickson didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Absentee voting in advance of the Nov. 7 election will open this coming week. Ballots may be returned in person to Freeport Town Hall or mailed to the town clerk at 30 Main St., Freeport, ME, 04032.

What’s in Store for Freeport?

By Bridget M. Burns Photographed by Dave WaddellFrom our May 2023 issueIn the 1700s, Freeport was a shipbuilding town. By the mid-1800s, shipbuilding had given way to shoemaking — 30 shoe factories operated in town over the next 100 years, including familiar names like Eastland and, of course, L.L.Bean. In the second half of the 20th century, American manufacturing was in decline, and shoemaking wasn’t immune. Freeport had to piv...

By Bridget M. Burns Photographed by Dave WaddellFrom our May 2023 issue

In the 1700s, Freeport was a shipbuilding town. By the mid-1800s, shipbuilding had given way to shoemaking — 30 shoe factories operated in town over the next 100 years, including familiar names like Eastland and, of course, L.L.Bean. In the second half of the 20th century, American manufacturing was in decline, and shoemaking wasn’t immune. Freeport had to pivot again. By the ’80s, it had tapped into the retail boom, with national brands’ outlet stores taking over Main Street storefronts. Eventually, the oldest downtown home became a Starbucks, while Abercrombie & Fitch took over what had been the public library.

Now, Freeport is facing a fresh wave of changes. Brick-and-mortar retail was already struggling, then the pandemic hit. Abercrombie closed, as did a dozen other stores in the past several years, most of them national brands. The downtown vacancy rate cracked 12 percent in 2021, its highest point since the 2008 recession. Some spaces have found new tenants, but many haven’t. The current vacancy rate is around 10 percent. “We recognized the problem on Main Street,” says Tawni Whitney, who was serving on the town council as storefronts were emptying out. “After several years of hoping things would come back around, we were certain, especially with COVID, it wasn’t going to fix itself.”

Now, Whitney is executive director of the Freeport Chamber of Commerce and part of a team that helped develop a revitalization plan — the Downtown Visioning Leadership Team also included the town planner, the town manager, a member of the Freeport Economic Development Corporation, town council members, and others. The group chose to work with a Boston-based urban design and development firm, Principle Group, that has led Main Street renewal projects in the past. Whitney realized the town wasn’t as poorly positioned as she first feared. “Many of the towns the consultant groups are dealing with have lost their one main industry, like when a mill closes down, and they’ve got to start from scratch,” she says. “For us, we have a well-appointed Main Street, we’ve got a great reputation, we have lots of natural resources, and we have a great school system.” Plus, Freeport has the steady presence of L.L.Bean, which opened its flagship store 106 years ago. L.L.Bean is the second-most-popular attraction in the state — behind only Acadia National Park — drawing more than 3 million visitors to Freeport every year.

As Whitney and the rest of the revitalization team drafted plans for the downtown, they looked for community feedback and found that, especially amid the pandemic, residents had the interest and the time to weigh in. “COVID worked to our advantage during that time,” Whitney says. “Everything from town walks to town meetings to surveys, our response rate was very high. We have about 8,500 residents, and we were capturing 40 percent of their voices. We got to hear differences of opinion and where our shared values were.”

The resulting proposal, published last spring, prescribed that “the future of Downtown Freeport should be a welcoming New England Village center and destination for unique local businesses, outdoor recreation, local arts and culture, relaxation, and dining, where people can live, work, and play with walkable and biking connections to South Freeport, the Waterfront, and the region.”

In December, a task force of 40 people, representing 23 local organizations, presented a list of 21 priorities to the town council. Some, like updating zoning rules to align with goals for the future or installing electric-vehicle charging stations on town land, require the direct support of the municipality. Others, such as bolstering arts-and-culture programming, can be led by local nonprofits like Meetinghouse Arts and the Freeport Historical Society. The overall aim of laying out a vision for the downtown is to get the whole community pulling in the same direction.

The key to the whole plan? Bringing housing and locally owned businesses back to Main Street. Andy Wilbur, a Freeport native and the owner of Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolate Confections, a 40-year-old Freeport company, remembers seeing downtown apartments razed over the years. “When I was a kid, some of the shoe factories in Freeport were still operating,” he says. “Those were labor jobs, and in order to afford living on those wages, they had to have reasonable housing. There was a lot of that in Freeport.”

When the outlet stores moved in, parking shortages became an issue. The town council passed an ordinance requiring shops to provide one customer parking space per 150 square feet of retail space and one employee parking space per 1,000 square feet. Private companies built lots and leased spaces to retailers. Some lots went where residential buildings used to be. “It made sense at the time,” says Phil Wagner, owner of Derosier’s, a Main Street pizza and sub shop. “But we kind of went too far in one direction.” Wagner is all for bringing housing back, but he hopes plans will take past problems into account, so the town doesn’t end up on the other side of the equation. “I do have concerns that we go too quickly in the opposite direction,” he says. “I know there’s several big apartment buildings proposed and not near enough parking associated with them.”

The town council has established a housing study group to examine how best to rebuild in-town residential capacity, and Whitney is optimistic a mix that ranges from affordable options for downtown workers to luxury condos geared toward retirees would benefit the whole community. “If you want a vibrant downtown, you have to have downtown living,” Whitney says. “It’s extremely exciting to think about that coming back.” The idea is, essentially, to kick-start a virtuous cycle. “This has been one of the criticisms about Freeport — you can come and shop during the day, but what is there to do at night?” Wilbur says. He, Whitney, and others believe that people moving downtown will attract galleries, bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues, which will in turn attract more people to live downtown, which will attract more small businesses, and so on.

Plans also call for a dedicated team to help identify candidates to fill empty storefronts. To help market Main Street, the Freeport Economic Development Corporation launched choosefreeport.com, providing demographic, consumer-spending, and workforce data, plus commercial real-estate listings and a link to the downtown vision plans. “There needs to be a bigger emphasis on smaller non-chain stores,” Wagner says. “People come to Freeport and they want to go shopping, but they don’t need to see the exact same stores they’re seeing in every mall across America. That makes no sense. If people can shop that anywhere, why come here?”

Wilbur agrees. “We need to figure out a way to make Freeport have niche stores amongst the national chains,” he says. “Some of that’s happening now. I’m hopeful that we’ll have a mixture moving forward to create the kind of individualized culture people like when they visit a town.”

Recent additions to Main Street include Freeport Oyster Bar and Haberdashery Resale Clothing. Vermont Flannel Company has picked Freeport for its first location outside its namesake home state. The Downtown Visioning Leadership Team would also like to see a food-truck park and a brewery join the mix.

While the town has been hashing out its own future, L.L.Bean recently announced a $50 million investment in reimagining its campus that fronts Main Street. “Clearly, there’s a very symbiotic relationship between Freeport and L.L.Bean,” says Greg Elder, the company’s chief retail officer. “To be honest, the downtown vision plan was a pretty instrumental catalyst in getting traction behind this project. Looking at the things the vision plan is oriented on, like a downtown for all that is walkable and bikeable, a small-business ecosystem, and embracing the outdoors, I mean, those are all core tenets of what Bean is as a brand. So the two projects really work hand in hand.”

Plans include expanding Discovery Park, the grassy square that hosts free summer concerts, yoga classes, outdoor movies, and more. “There will be considerably more green space that will be a legitimate community asset,” Elder says. “Think of it as a downtown city park. Success would look like, on any given day, families picnicking and playing games.”

The flagship building will change too. “Back in the day, it was a store and a warehouse and a post office and a variety of things. It’s kind of organically been built up over the years, and it looks as such,” says Elder, who thinks changes at L.L.Bean will complement the town’s plans for Main Street. “By doing this, we believe more retailers, more tenants, more food and beverage operators, more hospitality options, and more artisans will be inclined to invest in bringing their business to Freeport. This should really be an economic boost to the community of Freeport.”

Derosier’s, catercorner from the L.L.Bean flagship, is one of the few other businesses to survive Freeport’s many ups and downs. Phil Wagner’s great-great-grandfather Augustus opened the shop as a grocery in 1904. In the late ’40s and early ’50s, while shoe factories were still the main game in town, grab-and-go food was added for shift workers. “There’d be a line around the corner at lunchtime because everyone piled in to get their ham Italian, with or without onions,” Wagner says. “We would have this giant stack of the sandwiches already made up and someone would be adding salt, pepper, and oil and wrapping them as they went.” Later, as the number of people living downtown declined, demand for groceries waned, and the shop switched fully to operating as a restaurant. “Certainly, more people living in the center of town, near my shop, is good for me,” Wagner says.

Whitney is confident the coming changes in Freeport will be good for everybody. “I know we are going to be better and stronger than we have ever been,” she says. “We’ve been many things over the years. We can do something again in the future.”

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Maine Beer Company - 525 U.S. Route 1

When you think of beer tourism in Maine, all signs point to Portland. Portland's brewery scene has already become the stuff of legend, with walkable areas of the city filled with breweries, seltzeries, and distilleries that have helped Portland's tourism boom. But as the crowds have gotten larger each and every year in Portland, two other Maine cities have begun to sprout their own destination brewery scene. Biddeford's beer scene is on the rise, featuring Run of the Mill, Ba...

When you think of beer tourism in Maine, all signs point to Portland. Portland's brewery scene has already become the stuff of legend, with walkable areas of the city filled with breweries, seltzeries, and distilleries that have helped Portland's tourism boom. But as the crowds have gotten larger each and every year in Portland, two other Maine cities have begun to sprout their own destination brewery scene. Biddeford's beer scene is on the rise, featuring Run of the Mill, Banded Brewing, Blaze Brewing, and Maine's only totally gluten-free brewery, Lucky Pigeon. If you're willing to travel a little further north, Freeport's beer scene is multiplying rapidly, and people are noticing.

Maine Beer Company - 525 U.S. Route 1

One of Maine's most prolific breweries in Maine Beer Company. It has been a destination for fans of craft beer for years, and as Maine Beer Company's popularity has grown, so too has the size of its brewery and offerings. Their tasting room is open 11am-8pm seven days a week, and there's always plenty of their most popular beer, Lunch, on tap.

Mast Landing - 200 Lower Main Street

Mast Landing Brewing started in Freeport before jumping to Westbrook to expand their operations and fully establish themselves. Mission accomplished. Their most popular beer, Gunner's Daughter, has reached must-have popularity while allowing for expansion back into Freeport. Mast Landing took over a large-scale space that was once home to a children's clothing company, and has designed a destination taproom that shouldn't be missed.

Gritty McDuff's - 187 Lower Main Street

Gritty's has been slinging beers in Freeport for a long time, and still maintains a certain charm. Gritty's operates as a full brewpub, meaning that if you're on a tour with a beer drinker and you don't drink beer, Gritty's has got you covered with other options. During the warmer months, they have an expansive deck space and outdoor play area where the entire family can enjoy themselves.

Stars and Stripes - 8 Varney Rd

Stars and Stripes Brewing greets everyone departing I-295 with a giant American flag hanging on the road side of their taproom. Stars and Stripes is a veteran-owned brewery and donates a portion of their proceeds to different veteran organizations. Stars and Stripes has a terrific outdoor seating area, including a large fire pit for a chillier day or to end a perfect summer evening.

Goodfire Brewing - 117 U.S. Route 1

Initially, Goodfire Brewing planned to open a brewpub in conjunction with Mr. Tuna. Those plans fell through, but Goodfire remains committed to opening a new taproom in Freeport in the old space that housed El Jefe. Goodfire plans to bring many of the same offerings that have made their Portland taproom popular, plus some additions with expanded space and outdoor capabilities. They remain hopeful to open by the summer of 2022.

'It got into my soul': Freeport woman's hobby brings joy to children across the country

FREEPORT — Retired teacher Jeannie Brinkmeier's dolls are the treasured toys of children across the country thanks to her restoration and networking skills.Brinkmeier specializes in making American Girl and similar dolls like new again. A seamstress for most of her life, she also makes special outfits for the dolls before she donates them to organizations that give the dolls to ...

FREEPORT — Retired teacher Jeannie Brinkmeier's dolls are the treasured toys of children across the country thanks to her restoration and networking skills.

Brinkmeier specializes in making American Girl and similar dolls like new again. A seamstress for most of her life, she also makes special outfits for the dolls before she donates them to organizations that give the dolls to children living in poverty and foster care.

It all started a year ago with the restoration of a doll for her 8-year-old granddaughter. After that, Brinkmeier was hooked. Being able to help other children obtain dolls to play with was a perfect way to channel her new hobby for good.

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“If it hadn’t been for my granddaughter, I wouldn’t have Googled doll groups,” Brinkmeier said. “I tapped into a new world of making sure the dolls I make create a smile on the faces of little girls who have nothing. I have sewed since I have been 6 years old, but this is my new passion.”

Brinkmeier also does dress alterations for wedding gowns and prom dresses. In many cases, that means leftover material.

“The first (doll) dress I made was a wedding dress by using old material,” she said.

“I finished the doll, and then I didn’t know what I would do with it. I then learned of non-profits that take the dolls to give. It just blossomed from there."

Brinkmeier works with three national non-profits. She said she loves networking with organizations to make a difference.

“It’s a sense of community, and we all love dolls,” she said. “It went from loving dolls to adding onto my love for children. It got into my soul.”

One of the non-profits she works with is Special Dollivery in Utah, which sends the dolls to children in foster care. Susan Robison started this organization.

Robison praised Brinkmeier for her “humanitarian heart.”

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Robison said playing with a doll is about allowing children to dream, and to know the dream can be attainable.

“Our team encourages these dreams by providing dolls of all ethnicities with wardrobes for foster care and other children in need,” she said.

“Jeannie is always first in line to support our special projects. We recently had a large number of Afghan refugee families relocated to our area. We felt like dolls could help children transition to their new homes. We put a call out for authentic Afghan outfits and of course, Jeannie was the first to respond, and rally others to help. She happily shared her designs with others and we were able to donate 30 dolls to a refugee organization near us. Her outfits were so authentic that the person who took the donation got a little misty-eyed.”

Brinkmeier said each of her dolls comes with three outfits. She loves to see the smiles on the faces of pictures sent to her of her dolls with a child. She has schooled herself on how to restore and fix dolls by networking and watching YouTube videos.

She scours thrift shops for clothing, buys material and dolls, knowing the retirement money she receives goes to good use.

“I am now part of another community affecting children’s lives, and I love it,” Brinkmeier said.

The next step for Brinkmeier is to create a charitable group in the Freeport area.

She wants to share her joys of doll restoration with others. She wants to call the group “The 3 R’s,” which stands for restore, restyle and regift.

Brinkmeier invites anyone interested in joining her in her work to email her at jeanniebrinkmeier@gmail.com.

“I have already made dolls for Afghan children. My next step is dolls for Ukraine,” she said. “This is a story that began with my granddaughter to become something bigger than myself. Making dolls takes me back to my childhood. I had joy, and I want to share it with children.”

Jane Lethlean is a freelance correspondent.

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