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Lobster promotion far exceeds expectations; 7,000 sold

Boothbay Harbor Register, November 13, 2008 Lisa Kristoff, Staff Reporter “We could have sold thousands more,’’ said Boothbay Harbor Police Chief Bob Hasch, referring to the nearly 7,000 lobsters sold last Saturday at the high school parking lot. The promotion, dubbed “Lobster Maine-ia,’’ was planned to focus attention on the dramatic drop in lobster prices this past month, due to a glut in Canadian processing plants. The sale was scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m. Saturday in the lower parking lot adjacent to the tennis courts, but by 7:30, potential customers were already showing up, and by 9 a.m., an estimated 2,000 lobsters had already been sold. The lobsters were offered either live or cooked for $5 per lobster, and the demand for cooked lobsters proved to be extremely high. The three trucks running between the parking lot and the dealers – Robinson’s Wharf, Sea Pier, Bristol Lobster Sales, Atlantic Edge and Boothbay Lobster Wharf – couldn’t keep up with the sales. “Before we finished unloading a truck, all the lobsters had already been sold,’’ said Hasch, who helped spearhead the sale after talking to lobsterman Clive Farrin and area lobster dealers. Hugh Thompson and Eddie Tibbetts spent the day cooking lobsters to try to keep up with the demand. Evelyn Andrews kept track of the financial end of the sale throughout the day. Enthusiastic customers wanting to both help the lobstermen and take advantage of the low prices reportedly came from far and near (customers were identified from as far away as Bangor and Lewiston), after hearing the lobster promotion advertised on television and in the newspapers. Some orders were for as many as fifty lobsters. The arts and crafts show and dog trials across the street at the YMCA also helped boost sales, and every available parking spot in the Meadow area appeared to be taken throughout the day. By 1 p.m., the lobsters were nearly gone, and the dealers began culling over more of their lobsters to come up with more chicken lobsters. This new supply didn’t last long, either, and before 1:30, the “Sold Out’’ signs went up, with apologies to those who arrived later to buy lobsters. Throughout the day, the crew handed out sample menus, information on how to store lobsters, etc. Area inns offered lobster for breakfast, and helped promote the special Boothbay Harbor event. The promotion went so well that most of the participants agreed it is worth repeating. An estimated $10,000 was cleared, to be used to promote lobster sales statewide. The promotion brought a great deal of publicity, which continued well into this week, with calls still coming in asking for details on what had taken place here