Bad Luck Begins Business 

Joy Hollowell

Between Friends Art Center in Brewer is celebrating its second year in business this month.It opened soon after the owner’s husband, lost his job.Joy Hollowell tells us how the Marceron family turned bad luck into a business venture.”It’s amazing to me that we were able to take an empty building that hadn’t had anything done to it for so many years,” says Tracey Marceron.And turn it, into this. Between Friends Art Center is the vision of Tracey Marceron. She had wanted to start something like this for years. Then, Tracey’s husband, Dave was laid off from the Georgia Pacific mill in Old Town.”I just said, you know, I’ve got to take some kind of control here over what we’re going to be able to retire on. So we took our life savings and a lot of faith and hope that this would work out,” says Tracey Marceron.The Marcerons say it was the worst and best time to start a business. “When you hit rock bottom with your finances, you gotta start somewhere,” says Dave Marceron.Tracey enlisted the help of a business advisor in Bangor. The service was free and she learned a lot. “We started off with an original business plan and that grew and changed and we added a lot of things, we dropped some things from the original business plan. We just crossed each bridge as we came to it. We opened the gift shop first, and started getting a little income from that, we built the dance studio two months later, we built the theater a month and a half after that,” says Tracey Marceron.And Tracey is not done yet. Plans for a lunch cafe inside the Next Generation Theater are now in the works. “I think the key to surviving in a bad economy is have a lot of branches on one business. If I had just relied on the gift shop, I’d be in big trouble right now,” says Tracey Marceron.Tracey’s husband as well as her two daughters help run the place. The family is extremely fortunate their business is actually growing during this tough economy, but Tracey has also learned what kind of toll it takes personally. “In the last two years, I have probably only had 15 days off. I work about 90 hours a week and for the whole first year, I paid myself 50 cents an hour. So if you think that you’re going to get rich by starting your own business, you have to love what you’re going to try and you have to be willing to get 0 in return for at least a couple of years. I now make $1.50 an hour,” says Tracey Marceron.For more information on Between Friends Art Center, including what’s going on at the Next Generation Theatre this month, you can log onto or call them at 989-7100.You can also catch Tracey Marceron every Monday morning on the TV 5 morning show. Her weekly arts and crafts segment air during our 6:30AM half hour.