Biddeford Regional Center of Technology Business Education students in the entrepreneurship essentials class listen as Tom Peacock, owner of Dizzy Birds Rotisserie on Main Street in Biddeford, talks about the restaurant, the food, and commerce. Students have been visiting local businesses, listening, learning, and brainstorming ideas on how businesses might increase their visibility. Tammy Wells Photo

BIDDEFORD — Make no mistake about it, students taking an entrepreneurship essentials class in the business education program at Biddeford Regional Center of Technology dive right in.

Recently, the class of juniors and seniors has been visiting locations in downtown Biddeford, talking to merchants about their businesses, listening to what they are striving for, what has worked along the way, and what could use a brush-up.

“They’ve met with business owners to learn about their operations, successes, and challenges,” said Heart of Biddeford Executive Director Delilah Poupore, who is collaborating with BRCOT’s business education instructor Karen Gellis on getting the students downtown, meeting with merchants.

So, what does a group of teenagers know about business?

Dizzy Birds Rotisserie serves family meals as well as individual offerings at the restaurant on Main Street in Biddeford. Students in the entrepreneurship essentials class at Biddeford Regional Center of Technology stopped by a week ago to hear about the business from owner Tom Peacock. Barbara Peacock Photo

Well, they know what appeals to young people, they know where young people spend time together online, they know that often if it is kid-approved, parents follow — and they can take a fresh look.

“It not only teaches them about running a business, product pricing, displays, marketing, and more … it shows them just how hard it is to run a successful business,” said Gellis. “(And) it allows them to get out of their comfort zone and meet people they don’t know. It’s great for the students to feel like they are part of the development of their downtown.”


On a recent day, the class, along with instructor Gellis and Heart of Biddeford’s Poupore stopped by Dizzy Birds, where Tom and Barbara Peacock and their staff — 10 full- and part-time people — have been offering up free range, organic rotisserie chicken sourced from a Quebec farm since the spring of 2019. Customers may dine in, or order to go, and can choose either individual or family meals.

While the aroma of a chicken slowly roasting on a rotisserie can be heavenly, also on offer are barbecue ribs, pot roast, fish cakes, homemade mac and cheese, homemade cornbread, and a French dip popover. In fact, nearly everything in this scratch kitchen is homemade, Tom Peacock told students, as he provided the teens with an early lunch of mac and cheese and chili, with a side of fragrant cornbread.

“People are still discovering us,” said Peacock, who directed culinary operations for students and faculty at Harvard Law School, among other positions, including project management at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, before moving to Maine and opening Dizzy Birds Rotisserie.

He wants more people to discover the restaurant at 65 Main St., whether they dine in or out, or make catering arrangements.

He is looking to increase inside dining, and as warmer temperatures arrive, patio seating as well.

The business is currently open 3 to 7  p.m.  Wednesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and until 6 p.m. on Sundays.


“This is one of the first places we tried when we moved here,” said student Rose Disciscio.

“The location is great, and you can eat outside in summer,” said Fatimah Ali, but she said she had not dined at Dizzy Birds, and had been unaware that the food is halal — permissible by Islam.

“You need to get that word out,” said Gellis, along with information about vegetarian and vegan choices.

Students asked about Dizzy Birds social media presence — an area that could be beefed up.

“Would you consider having high school students do your social media?” asked student Laura Perreault.

Peacock said that he would.


The students listened, asked questions, and were to return in a couple of weeks with suggestions on how to broaden Dizzy Birds reach — just as they did with Pepperell Provisions, a market in the North Dam Mill, where Keith and Lanai Castro have been turning out prepared meals, salads, desserts, and more Monday through Friday for the past 15 months.

“They really had energy,” said Keith Castro of the students.

The Castros were looking to draw more people to their market, located in the lobby of the North Dam Mill.

Keith and Lanai Castro, owners of Pepperell Provisions in the North Dam Mill in Biddeford, say they’ve noticed a difference in business in the month since they were visited by business education students at BRCOT and took some of their advice – like making social media videos to illustrate exactly where they’re located. Tammy Wells Photo

Students listened, returned to their classroom and brainstormed suggestions, like making videos for TikTok and Instagram that show people how to get to their location, installing a neon sign in the window, taking part in local events, upping social media postings, and perhaps offering rewards, among other ideas.

Lanai Castro said she has made some TikTok videos, and already, a month later, has noticed a difference.

Students have also visited Lucious Curves on Main Street, and Drift and Wander, a plant, apparel, and lifestyle boutique on Alfred Street.


“We were glad to have them,” said owner Gina Fici of the students. Fici is a Thornton Academy graduate who took an accounting program at BRCOT.

The business visits came as Gellis and Poupore put their heads together and discussed how the entities might collaborate.

Gellis said she loves taking students out into the community and is enjoying their interactions with business owners.

“I am so impressed by some of their  ideas,” she said of the students.

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