In its second winter season, Age Friendly South Portland’s Golden Shovel program was again successful in its objective of incentivizing Ocean Street businesses (between Mill Creek Park and Thomas Knight Park) to clear, sand, and ensure safe access to the walkways around their shops during inclement weather conditions.

This season, we see the coveted Golden Shovel change hands from our inaugural winner, Verbena (103 Ocean St.), to our new titleholder, SoPo Seafood (171 Ocean St.), in what was a tight race consisting of incredibly positive responses in support of both businesses.

Maxine Beecher, co-chair of Age Friendly South Portland, presented SoPo Seafood with the second annual Golden Shovel Award. Courtesy photo

When visiting the SoPo Seafood team to present the award, they shared stories of the lessons they learned this past winter from residents who pointed out slippery or inaccessible portions of their sidewalk, and how they improved their efforts throughout the season as a result of the feedback.

That can-do attitude is what makes SoPo Seafood the perfect winner for this year’s award. We received several complimentary comments from residents frequenting their business about their diligence and commitment to keeping their storefront tidy – rain or shine, sleet or snow.

But as always, all Ocean Street businesses should be commended for their sidewalk care this winter season. We received encouraging feedback about businesses located from one end of the street to the other, all in the same vein of quick upkeep and perseverance.

Sincere thanks to all who participated in this year’s program to keep our residents safe.

As the friendly rivalry heats up between Verbena and SoPo Seafood, we wait until next winter season to find out if they – or another Ocean Street business – can claim the Golden Shovel as their own for the next year. In the meantime, we wish all Ocean Street businesses a prosperous summer season.

And if you haven’t checked out SoPo Seafood’s Market & Raw Bar (171 Ocean St.) yet, we highly encourage you to go meet their fantastic team and try some of their locally harvested and caught seafood – you won’t be disappointed!

Chad MacLeod is co-chair of the Age Friendly South Portland Committee and can be reached at [email protected]

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