“They’re totally Instagrammable,” raved repeat customer Jeremy Spencer, a marine biology major at UMO. Jeremy frequents Pa’s often and likes the familial environment there. “Sam was the first person to steer me away from potato sciences. It was another major I was considering. He wants me to follow my passions rather than the crowd,” he said. Orono neighbors Maine’s own Spud Valley. It’s the agrarian alternative to Silicon Valley in California (and the loving nickname for Aroostook County).
“I really can’t wait to see what else they do with the place,” Jeremy added, gesturing to the new wall colors. They stick to the same palette used to sell everything these days, from magazine subscriptions to food delivery services: pale pink, bright orange and a deep green. A hand-drawn wall mural reads “#PasPiz,” followed by “#EatME” and some confusingly colored minimal pizzas. They’re designed to encourage customers to post about their positive experiences on popular social media.
“It’s a publicity thing,” Sam explained. “If you don’t evolve with the times, you get left behind. We’re willing to sacrifice our old stoner atmosphere. Especially if it means being the hangout of choice for a new generation of college kids.”