Since the president’s vacation on Mount Desert Island last weekend, more and more Mainers and visitors have been saying, “I’ll have what he had.”

Mount Desert Island Ice Cream has had a strong increase in sales since President Obama and his family visited one of its stores in Bar Harbor on Friday night.

“We’ve got the ‘Obama Bump,’” said state Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, who manages the creamery’s Portland location on Exchange Street.

On Saturday, the day after the Obamas’ visit, sales in Portland roughly doubled Friday’s sales, Russell said. Sales have remained above average since then.

Russell said customers have been asking for what the president ordered in Bar Harbor: the coconut ice cream, made with sweet cream ice cream, coconut milk and toasted coconut. All of the shop’s ice cream is made with gourmet ingredients, without any artificial flavorings or colors.

The first lady had the chocolate. Sasha, 9, and Malia, 12, had the candy shoppe and cookies-and-cream flavors, respectively. Russell said the flavors are popular with children the girls’ ages.

The “Presidential Milkshake,” made with the chocolate and coconut, is now available, too.

Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, which started in 2005, has two stores in Bar Harbor and one in Portland. The Portland shop opened on Memorial Day weekend and was funded in part by the federal economic stimulus.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine recommended Mount Desert Island Ice Cream to the White House.

Russell has been touting the first family’s visit with a sign reading “Recommended by the U.S. President!” and a Portland Press Herald article in the window that cites the Obamas’ stop at the store in Bar Harbor.

One middle-aged couple took photos of the sign, Russell said, even though they didn’t go into the shop.

Lori Baxter of South Portland stopped for ice cream Tuesday at the shop in Portland with her daughter and her daughter’s friend. She said she had heard that the Obamas visited the shop in Bar Harbor.

“You know — if it’s good enough for the president,” she said.

Havana South in Portland, the sister location to the Havana restaurant in Bar Harbor where the Obamas ate Saturday night, has also reaped the benefits of the presidential visit.

Havana South has had about a 25 percent increase in reservations since Saturday, said Rosemary Baldacci, the restaurant’s event coordinator.

“I think the buzz that the president and his wife and family gave to the Bar Harbor location obviously intrigued people to come and try out the place in Portland,” she said.

Havana South has been open for only three weeks, and some of the increase is natural for a new business, Baldacci said.

Russell said she thinks Mainers are proud that the Obamas came here for their vacation. People have congratulated Mount Desert Island Ice Cream and Havana via their Facebook pages, agreeing that they were the best choices for a presidential visit.

Russell thinks the bump in sales will continue for another week or two. She said jokingly that many people think Democrats are bad for business, but that hasn’t been the case for her.

“Obama’s been damn good for business,” she said.

 

Staff Writer Stephanie Hardiman can be contacted at 791-6301 or at: shardiman@mainetoday.com