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Worried about what’s happening to our community, our parents, our vulnerable, our small local businesses, our front-line workers? We will be here–if you help keep us here.

As Maine business owners and their employees weather this unprecedented pandemic, the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce has partnered with several organizations in our state to promote a campaign to support our community through collective action: Pay It Forward Maine.  

Pay It Forward Maine asks individuals, businesses and organizations to continue supporting local businesses and their employees in our new world of closed storefronts and social distancing. They have been there for you through thick and thin. Now it’s time for us to all come together to return their service and support, however we can. 

Let’s collectively help each other to the other side of this crisis!

As an employee of Lisa-Marie’s Made in Maine, a small, family-owned business located in the hearts of both Portland and Bath, I am feeling overwhelmed. This global pandemic has infiltrated Maine, and so many businesses such as ours have had to come to a complete halt. Lisa-Marie and Andy, owners and leaders of this shop, have worked night and day to find ways to keep their employees–nay, their work family–afloat. We are working hard to keep up with online orders and curbside pick-up for those amazing individuals supporting us with sales. This Pay It Forward Maine campaign spreads the word about ways in which we can all support each other, not only monetarily but socially, too.

Here are a few key ways we hope to help our fellow local businesses:

  • Buy a gift card, gift certificate, class pass, etc. – this may be the simplest and most effective way to continue supporting local businesses throughout this crisis. Think of a business you would have visited that day/week/month and buy a gift card instead!  Keep it for yourself OR give it as a gift to someone who could use it!

  • Purchase merchandise from the business’ website – obviously retail locations, but many businesses and organizations in all industries offer merchandise such as clothing, hats, glassware, posters, and more. Buy online and have it shipped to your door! 
  • Support Maine farmers! Many farms across Maine have added alternative ways customers can obtain farm products to accommodate for social distancing in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • If you can’t afford to show monetary support, SHARE the website or social media account of your favorite business, organization, or entrepreneur and encourage others to support them.

Let me take a moment to applaud healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, mail carriers, trash and recycling employees and those who have kept our country going during this hectic and unnerving time. It’s because of you that we are able to: stay healthy, buy food and other necessities, connect with our loved ones, and keep our homes clean and sanitized. 

Here’s to looking forward to the day we can return to doing what we love for the community we love. Stay positive, keep healthy, shop small, and support each other.