What a year it has been!
To our Tenants, Members, Sponsors, and Friends,
Seven years ago, we found ourselves immersed in the concept of Full Utilization and the amazing work of the Icelanders at the IOC. We were enthralled and inspired to bring these concepts, conversations, and opportunities back with us to Portland, Maine. We returned with high hopes of one day being able to develop on our waterfront similar to theirs to serve as a home base to cultivate further the community surrounding this mission.
A lot can happen in 365 days. One full year of a global pandemic has changed many things and reminded us that we control very little. After 5 years in business and 2 years of planning, design, and construction- the New England Ocean Cluster Hus was ready to finally open its doors on March 18, 2020. This was the same week as the first stay at home order in Maine and the beginning of a year of uncertainties bigger than we’d encountered to date. We feared all the wonderful progress made over the years would have been on indefinite pause and that you might never get to see the culmination of our efforts to bring you The HÚS.
When the CDC gave us the okay to open on June 1, 2020 –we found ourselves in quite a different climate than where we left off- a “new normal,” as most called it. As entrepreneurs, we have never known a different “Normal” than one that was fraught with uncertainty, demanding much perseverance, inconsistent at best, requiring the ability to juggle, with long hours, a normal that is equal parts exciting and terrifying. We are supremely grateful that we are still here to say there is much to be excited about despite the circumstances of 2020. In every storm of darkness, there is that seed of hope.
That seed for us was witnessing the brilliant resilience of you all. NEOC members and tenants – brilliant entrepreneurs –all of you have been sources of inspiration. Your work, vision, and willingness to collaborate amidst the turbulent oceans of uncertainty before us, all the while keeping your course and focusing on the horizon has been a source of strength for the NEOC. It is because of this collective community that we are still here and that is not an exaggeration. It is thanks to your support that we can proudly keep open our doors a year into COVID. If we are anything, we are a community of people with common values, shared interests, and a shared vision of how blue economy development can be the hope of Maine.
Wherever we find ourselves at this moment in time- distanced, virtual, or together we celebrate one year of survival, change, and collaboration. We are so grateful for each of you working with us as we grow toward further innovation surrounding the blue economy, as we continue to dive into coastal resource stewardship, and in turn, find ways to strengthen the local economy that has been hard hit.
You all have made this vision a reality.
You all have sustained us through a time in history such as this.
You all continue to remind us that Maine truly is the way life should be and that anything can be accomplished when we row in the same direction.
There is much more progress to be made, and we are so excited to continue this journey for years to come.
A genuine and sincere thank you. Happy First Anniversary!