Maine: A Place of Business 2022

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Celebrating Maine companies, their achievements over the years and the ways they give back to the communities that support them.

A Place of Business A Special Advertising Section of the Bangor Daily News l Friday, January 28, 2022


MAINE: A PLACE OF BUSINESS • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • January 28, 2022 © BASILICOSTUDIO STOCK / ADOBE STOCK

Maine Businesses Slowly

Rebounding W

hen the stay-at-home order was in effect at the beginning of the pandemic, many businesses closed. Maine Department of Labor’s Deputy Director for the Center for Workforce Research Glenn Mills reports that nearly 95,000 jobs were lost during March and April 2020, but about 68,000 jobs have been gained since then. However, he said the state still remains 26,900 jobs short of the February 2020 level. According to Mills, the majority of the decrease in jobs occurred in three sectors: leisure/hospitality, state/local governments and healthcare/social assistance. He reported that about half the decrease in the healthcare/social assistance industries was in social assistance functions, such as child care, individual and family services, nursing care facilities and assisted living facilities.


from Devastating Effects of Pandemic

Mills explained that the decrease in healthcare/social service industries included not only doctors and nurses, but also CNAs, managers, accountants, accounts receivable clerks, janitors, maintenance workers, IT staff, childcare workers, social workers, home health aides, chief executives and human resource staff. He said there was no one reason why jobs decreased in that sector during the early months of the pandemic.

Maine Businesses Face Ongoing Challenges

President/CEO of Eastern Maine Development Corporation Lee Umphrey said the pandemic ravaged small businesses across Maine and has created “extraordinary ongoing challenges” for all Maine businesses. He said the pandemic caused many business owners to reevaluate their operations and service delivery models to en-

sure survival. Despite those efforts, many businesses were forced to close. “There was great uncertainty, especially in the early days, about the severity and spread of the COVID-19 virus,” said Umphrey. “To curb the public health crisis, businesses and communities had to adapt to restrictions including mandated shut-downs, masking, social distancing and vaccinations. While challenging to the workflow for every business, these changes eventually encouraged expansion, flexibility and innovation. Still, the pandemic exacerbated problems in finding workers and reliable supply chains while facing rising costs.” According to Umphrey, Maine businesses who survived did so by grit and resolve. He added that the collective resilience and determination of Maine business-

MAINE: A PLACE OF BUSINESS • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • January 28, 2022

es was recognized with federal pandemic relief programs approved by Congress. He noted that many of the businesses which survived were recipients of some kind of pandemic aid. “The expansion of unemployment benefits to aid workers and the paycheck protection program (PPP) for businesses are two great examples of survival tools during the darkest hours,” said Umphrey. In regard to the current state of affairs, he said the owners of Maine businesses have become more nimble, mostly with an expanded online presence to sell goods and services with better overall promotional efforts. He said many had to create or advance an online presence to reach their customers and pay bills. Restaurants adapted by creating outdoor seating and curbside pickup or delivered meals. Other businesses, he said, changed their product line to meet changing demands caused by the pandemic.

Critical Partnership Between Federal, State and Maine Communities

Looking back, Umphrey believes the partnership between the federal government, the State of Maine and Maine’s communities was essential in offsetting what could have been an even more devastating impact by the pandemic. He said Maine businesses will continue to face challenges but the resolve and recovery will be

strong because of the work ethic of the owners of Maine businesses and the willingness of the State of Maine “to make targeted investments of federal funds to promote a full and sustainable economic recovery.” He added that some investments, like Broadband for everyone, will promote prosperity and engagement in parts of the state which need a boost. Communications Manager for the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Jennifer Geiger said Maine DECD awarded $273,000,000 of recovery funds to Maine businesses impacted by the pandemic. She said the funding was targeted to relieve business losses in the hardest hit sectors.

Pandemic’s Effects on Workplace Behaviors May Become Permanent

President/CEO of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce Deb Neuman predicts the effects of the pandemic on businesses and employers will be permanent. She said that not all of the changes brought about by the pandemic were negative. “On the positive side, businesses most affected by the pandemic had to innovate and create new ways to reach and protect customers,” said Neuman. “For many businesses, those changes have worked well and continue to be part of their business model post-pandemic. Remote work and virtual meetings are likely here to stay. As a


result, we are seeing new residents choosing to live in Maine because they can now work from anywhere.”

Maine’s Shrinking Workforce

In addition to finding new ways to reach and protect customers, Neuman noted employers also had to find new ways to recruit, train and retain workers as the pandemic negatively impacted Maine’s already shrinking workforce. “A shrinking workforce was a pre-pandemic challenge but the pandemic fueled the situation as school children went to remote learning, access to affordable and quality childcare became increasingly difficult for families, concerns about exposure to the virus at work and employers cutting their workforce to survive the pandemic have contributed to these challenges,” said Neuman. “In addition, the pandemic caused a lot of people to reassess their lives and work. Some chose to find new jobs, change careers or retire earlier than they had planned.” According to Geiger, some employers responded to changing worker needs by increasing wages, offering flexible and remote work opportunities, and investing in worker training. Other employers, she said, have sought to employ workers who are often under-represented in Maine’s workforce such as persons with disabilities, those involved with the justice system, or those in recovery.


MAINE: A PLACE OF BUSINESS • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • January 28, 2022

“The Department of Labor can assist employers in employing historically marginalized communities with programs such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services employer resources and more,” Geiger said.

A Changing Work World

Earlier this year, Jessica Picard, Communications Manager for Maine DOL, said the work world is changing for both employers and employees. “Like workers in states across the nation and in countries around the globe, Maine people are in the midst of a monumental shift in how, when and where they work, a shift accelerated by a global health crisis,” Picard said.

Slow But Steady Growth In Some Industries

Although the State of Maine still remains 26,900 jobs short of the February 2020 level, Mills said there were job gains between November 2020 and November 2021 in the leisure and hospitality industry (4%), professional and business services (3.1%), other services (9.3%), retail trade (2.2%), wholesale trade (8.1%), transportation and warehousing (7.6%), and manufacturing (2.1%). “Around the state, the Portland/South Portland metro area added 5,600 jobs (up 2.8%), the Bangor metro area added 1,700 jobs (up 2.7%), the Lewiston-Auburn metro area added 900 jobs (up 1.9%), and the balance of the state (outside the three metro areas) added 2,800 jobs (up 1%),” Mills said. In regard to the hospitality industry, interesting to note is the fact that rural areas in Maine saw more significant growth in tourism during the summer of 2020 than more populated areas. Geiger reported that Maine Office of Tourism tracking data shows Oxford, Franklin, Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot and Washington counties experienced double digit increases in visitation during that time period. © LEN44IK / ADOBE STOCK

MAINE: A PLACE OF BUSINESS • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • January 28, 2022

A Different Approach to


aine has a wide variety of excellent summer camp choices for kids covering almost every area of interest imaginable. There are camps that offer archery, backpacking, hiking, canoeing, ropes courses, sailing, sports and music. But there are also campers who don’t like the outdoors as much as they like other quiet indoor activities. Since 1997, the MSSM STEM Summer Camp has been keeping kids ages 10-14 academically stimulated during the summer with engaging STEM classes that require no previous knowledge. Campers can learn about robotics, building and launching model rockets, introduction to programming, 3D printing and even get a glimpse at some basic calculus topics. Many of the instructors at the camp say the best part about working there is seeing the kids discover something not only ex-

Summer Camp ists, but it’s possible and affordable to pursue outside of camp. Campers often return to say they became a senior member of their robotics team because they learned the foundations at camp. Something we hear often at camp is, “I found my people,” because they are so happy to connect with peers who have similar interests and are not super competitive. At the MSSM STEM Summer Camp, there is a calculated blend of STEM classes and traditional summer camp fun. After the four classes end in the early afternoon, we have activity periods with things like swimming, tie dye, slime making, mega waterslide, arts and crafts, painting and more. Then after dinner during quiet time and evening activities, campers often play Magic the Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons and other board games. We hope your child can find a camp that fits their interests and has the life chang-



ing experience of a Maine summer camp. It’s true at every camp in Maine that lifelong friendships are made in as little as a week. We have heard stories of campers having birthday parties years later and inviting their camp roommates before their other classmates. There’s something

special about time at summer camp with like-minded friends. If you have children that are of camp age, we hope you will consider the MSSM STEM Summer Camp if they are interested in STEM, but if not, there are plenty of other camps in Maine to enjoy.


MAINE: A PLACE OF BUSINESS • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • January 28, 2022

Lynch Logistics and

The Lynch Family

of Companies



ynch Logistics, a division of The Lynch Family of Companies, is the epitome of the one truck start-up company. The company was formed in 1970 by current owner and President, Ray Lynch Jr., alongside his parents, and was comprised of a single moving truck and crew. The company has since grown into a diverse group of businesses, with over 150 employees and more than 20 properties in Maine. Lynch Logistics operates the over the road (OTR), dedicated and specialty trucking side of the business as well as overseeing in excess of 400,000 sq. ft. of commercial warehousing space in multiple facilities that accommodate food grade and temperaturesensitive products. Business operations for Lynch Logistics encountered some unique challenges starting in March of 2020, however, we have successfully weathered the pandemic to date with the support of our exceptional associates, including our professional driver community and fleet management team. While the first months were extremely difficult due to the retail and manufacturing closures, we contin-

ued to employ each and every one of our team members while looking for unique ways to “tighten our belts” elsewhere. We were even able to award our team with an across-the-board bonus in June of 2020. Once 2021 hit, our businesses again began to strengthen, buoyed by our outstanding workforce. Our OTR team, like the entire driving community, continued day in and day out to remind us of their tremendous value during one of the most extraordinary periods for our country’s (and global) supply chain. In addition, our warehousing complexes have been filled to capacity as we shared in the challenges of our business partners to manage their product inventories. Conversely, we were also on the receiving end of a dysfunctional logistics system that resulted in significant delays in equipment and supplies, including our over-the-road sleeper tractors, dry van trailers, and warehouse and specialty loading equipment. In addition, parts and materials to service our equipment at our company maintenance shop were in short supply and/or caught up in transportation network disruptions. With the nim-

bleness and experience of our entire team as well as our solid partnerships with our suppliers, we did not experience any shutdowns or miss any opportunities with our shipping community. During this entire period now approaching two years, we increased our employment levels across the company and had virtually no employee turnover. While maintaining a healthy and safe environment for all of our employees, we managed ever-changing conditions and adhered to all health and safety protocols that were essential during these unprecedented times. The diversity of our businesses across all our companies, as well as the camaraderie that we experience as an extremely tight-knit family, have been instrumental in contributing to our continued success even during the toughest of circumstances. One of the main attributes that help us establish our vision, adhere to our mission, and achieve our company goals is the ability to hire the right people for our varied roles. It is then incumbent on us to retain these valued associates by providing a safe and comfortable workplace as well as a competitive and comprehensive benefits package. We constantly review our benefits, incentives, and pay programs to make certain we are providing our employees and their families a comfortable work-life balance. At the end of the day, we are a familyowned transportation and logistics business, and our drivers and support teams are the lifeblood of our company. Our programs must match our employees’ distinctive lifestyles and we consistently look at revamping our overall program to ensure all our employees are excited about the company they work for. As an example, of our commitment to our hard working associates, we were able to award all Lynch Logistics employees

and support staff a generous bonus to end 2021. We believe that we have one of the most generous, flexible and comprehensive benefits programs that is geared toward our employees’ type of work. That includes exceptional vacation, holiday and personal time off that continues to grow with your years of service. We also are adamant about the safety and health of our employees by offering bonus programs, recognizing safe behavior, as well as company matching benefits for contributions to our health insurance programs. And, if associates find ways to save the company money or reduce expenses, we also share those savings with them. Additionally, we offer generous referral bonuses when you bring likeminded and professional individuals to our team. Our company consistently gives back to the communities we work in and just this year, the Lynch Companies contributed over $22,000 in charitable contributions through employee auctions, company matching and in-kind assistance to local organizations that help support members of our community. Last but certainly not least, we are honored to say that over 40% of our Lynch Logistics’ company drivers are veterans and represent all branches of service. Each of these drivers is offered the opportunity to proudly display their branch-specific decaling on their company-provided trucks. We also take part annually in the Wreaths Across America program, which supports veterans and their families. We are extremely proud of our Mainebased company, our accomplishments and the communities and businesses we serve, but most importantly for the fantastic people, we can employ and support. Come join our team… we plan on being here for a while!

MAINE: A PLACE OF BUSINESS • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • January 28, 2022



MAINE: A PLACE OF BUSINESS • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • January 28, 2022

Spilling the Tea:


Winterport Business Gets Creative To Keep Things Going



inter in Maine brings to mind many things, among them just how frigidly cold it can get. Thankfully, my cupboard is fully-stocked with lovely teas from around the world, each one making me feel warmed and inspired. There is something magical about a cup of finely brewed tea. And luckily for me, there is one of the best tea shops in all of Maine located about two miles from home, right here in Winterport: Tea Maineia. One step into this cozy, boutique tea shop right on Route One will make you feel at home. From the rustic artwork to the cozy armchairs, not to mention the incredible array of teas available to sip on the spot or package up and take home, Tea Maineia is a destination for every tea

lover in the Pine Tree State. Tea Maineia is the brainchild of Winterport residents Dan and Debbie Holmes who strive to make Winterport a destination for tea lovers everywhere. “We pride ourselves in offering personalized customer service, helping customers find the right types of teas and tea products for them to enjoy at home,” said owner Dan Holmes. “We aspire to have every customer leave with information and tools needed to brew and enjoy a perfect cup of tea.” Being a small business in Maine, the Holmes’ found themselves having to get creative when the pandemic struck and non-essential businesses were forced to close their in-person services.

“During that time we focused on promoting our online presence, curbside orders and doing deliveries in the local area,” Dan Holmes said. “When we were able to open it was with restrictions. The retail portion of our business was open with limited capacity but our tea lounge remained closed. We decided to diversify our product line a bit with some of the fantastic products Maine has to offer — we hoped that would help other small businesses and give customers more reasons to visit our shop.” Tea Maineia also started doing live Facebook videos every Saturday morning where they focused on tea education and building a community of tea lovers. The Tea Maineia Live sessions have been a hit

thanks to the Holmes’ fun and spontaneous styles. While some small businesses, unfortunately, closed during the pandemic, Tea Maineia found a niche following of local tea lovers who helped keep the doors open virtually and physically. Before the pandemic hit, Tea Maineia offered plenty of fun, in-person opportunities for patrons to learn about and enjoy drinking tea. These included public Tea 101 classes where anyone could learn about the differences between tea varieties and the unique steeping times and preparation methods for making the perfect cup of tea. And while the public Tea 101 class is on pause, the Holmes’ say that they hope to start those back up soon.

MAINE: A PLACE OF BUSINESS • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • January 28, 2022

“We carry teas that may be familiar and many that are not. We enjoy introducing customers to unique teas from around the world that many have never experienced before,” says Holmes. “Many of the blended teas, we blend ourselves in small batches, and we also carry a large selection of teapots, mugs and accessories as well as many Maine-made, tea-related products.” For those who want to dabble in the fascinating world of teas, Holmes says to

start simple and easy with herbals. “Herbals are a great place to start as they are not particular to water temperature and steeping time. I enjoy bold, earthy strong black teas such as lapsang souchong, a Chinese black tea that has a unique smoky flavor,” Holmes said. “Debbie prefers a medium-bodied, smooth black tea called Golden Monkey and a mild, slightly sweet green tea called Dragon Well.” As a local, I have had plenty of opportu-

nities to try out Tea Maineia’s vast selection. One of my favorites is their Carnation Flowering Tea. I place one dried tea ball in a glass pot and steep it in hot water and then watch as a beautiful flower bloom spreads out, creating a lovely, fragrant pot of tea. My kids think drinking flowering tea feels like being in a fairytale, and I have to agree. But for those who think tea might be too hoity-toity or complicated to try, Tea


Maineia is here to calm your fears and serve you a fantastic experience in a cup. “We are passionate about tea. Our mission since the beginning was to take out the intimidation and remove the preconceived notion that loose leaf tea is difficult and fussy to brew.” To learn more about what Tea Maineia offers, check out their website or stop by their Main Street shop located in the heart of Winterport.


MAINE: A PLACE OF BUSINESS • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • January 28, 2022

Keeping it Local


Brewer Store Finds Success with Maine’s Local Food Supply Chain


s everyone who shops at a grocery store can attest, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a myriad of supply chain shortages that have impacted everything from eggs and cream cheese to

beef and flour. Many times, grocery stores struggle with empty shelves, but Tiller & Rye, a local grocery store owned by Sarah Morneault and Lindsey Levesque that has always focused on a local supply chain,

A pre-pandemic photo inside Tiller & Rye in Brewer. LINDA COAN O’KRESIK, BDN

has not experienced these same shortages. In fact, because Tiller & Rye focuses on supplying its customers with food that comes directly from Maine farmers, it is one local store that has thrived during the pandemic, despite national and international supply-chain issues. Tiller & Rye opened six years ago with a mission to offer a shopping experience for customers that supported local vendors. Morneault said, “We were thinking something along the lines of the Belfast Coop meets Whole Foods (only before Whole Foods was bought by Amazon).” Their company is woman owned, and their managers are women as well. Together, the Tiller & Rye team has created a model that has worked well in keeping local customers supplied while many grocery stores are facing shortages. From the beginning, Tiller & Rye’s model made the small business highly prepared for the supply chain shortages that have plagued others during the pandemic. Co-owner Sarah Morneault said their store has certainly had struggles with items that come from “away,” such as packaging, but that, at the core, their local supply chain has not been interrupted. “When everyone was out of the major items like eggs and grains, we were fine because we get these things from local farmers,” Morneault said. Morneault said when they first opened their doors, they found their local supply chain by going to the Maine Harvest Festival and taking a card from every vendor. Now, the vendors tend to come to them. Morneault said now she struggles when their store can only carry so much variety of the same item, as they want to make sure they support their current vendors well. “Once we have a relationship with a

local supplier, we try to make it permanent—unless they are offering a seasonal product,” she said. Morneault emphasized that they have had a lot of support from the community and state. “Maine does a great job of marketing local,” she said. “Maine is also great at supporting its famers and helping them stay in business.” Even with this support, Morneault marvels at how adaptive Maine farmers have been during the pandemic, how they have adjusted creatively to the rising costs in their supplies in an effort to keep costs down for customers. Because of everyone’s adaptability at the local level, costs at Tiller & Rye have been able to remain fairly consistent while grocery items at the big box stores have gone up. The reduced gap in costs may explain why business continues to grow at Tiller & Rye, but the company’s growth could also be related, in part, to more people becoming aware, thanks to the pandemic, of just how important a local supply chain is when it comes to our most important commodity—the food we eat. “The pandemic has definitely brought and helped us keep new customers,” Morneault said. “We’ve been so busy.” She emphasized that, for a long time, it was difficult to talk about the success of Tiller & Rye while other small businesses have struggled, but Morneault said she is glad to see many small businesses in the Bangor area find creative ways to survive a really tough period. Keeping it local has been a positive strategy for Tiller & Rye and its customers. Tiller & Rye not only provides quality food and other goods from local farmers, it also has been able to keep the community supplied, even when supply-chain issues have plagued larger stores.

MAINE: A PLACE OF BUSINESS • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • January 28, 2022

Unique Reasons T

he numbers don’t lie. Locally owned businesses may be classified as “small,” but they have a big impact on the national economy. The U.S. Small Business Administration says $48 out of every $100 spent at a small business stays in the community. On the flip side, when a person spends $100 at a big-box store or a national chain, only $14 remains in the community. Local businesses are more likely to utilize other local businesses, such as banks, service providers and even farms. Small businesses also pay employees, many of whom are local and shop local, thereby keeping even more dollars in their communities. Supporting locally owned businesses is a great way to support a neighbor, but that’s not the only attraction. Here are several reasons to shop small.


to shop at small businesses COURTESY OF METRO CREATIVE

The feel-good factor

Create job opportunities

Enjoy a more local flavor

Doing for others certainly has an impact on the person on the receiving end, but also benefits the do-gooders. A November 2020 survey by Union Bank found that 72 percent of Americans said supporting small businesses was more important than getting the best deals. That may be due to the feeling of helping out a fellow neighbor.

Shopping at small businesses keeps those establishments afloat, and it also keeps their employees afloat. Small businesses are the largest employers in the United States. That’s also true in Canada, where 68.8 percent of the total labor force works for a small business. A person may never know when he or she — or a relative — will need a job. Keeping small businesses viable provides a strong job market for locals.

National retailers and other businesses follow a global business model that may not allow for much customization, but small businesses can provide products or services that relate directly to the needs of the communities they serve. These same small businesses also may be more inclined to work with local vendors and start-ups than national companies that have global supply chains. These are just a few of the many reasons to seek out small businesses when in need of products or services.


100 Years

MAINE: A PLACE OF BUSINESS • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • January 28, 2022

W.S. Emerson Company:


t’s not very often that a local company has the honor of celebrating 100 years in business. W.S. Emerson is fortunate enough to be one of those businesses. Founded in 1921 by Walter Emerson, the company was acquired by John A. Vickery after the passing of Walter Emerson in 1952. Winslow Vickery, the brother of John A. Vickery, moved his family back to Maine to join the company in 1967 and eventually became President. After the passing of John A. Vickery, Winslow’s son, John Vickery Sr., was voted in as President in 1981. His brother Russ entered back into the company in 1992 and eventually became Vice President. In 2012, John Vickery Jr. took over as President and Betsy Vickery as Vice President. Russ became Senior Vice President and is still active in the company. After an Urban Renewal push moved W.S. Emerson from the original Exchange Street location in Bangor, the Vickery family used this as an opportunity and a new warehouse facility was built across the river. Currently located at 15 Acme Road, in the Brewer ware-


Looking at the Past, Present and Future

house that was built in 1965, more than 40,000 square feet of space is utilized daily with the whir of embroidery, laser and screen-printing machines running throughout the day. The business has continued to grow over the years, upgrading equipment and techniques as new technologies are introduced. W.S. Emerson are branded product experts specializing in apparel decoration, branded promotional items and online stores for businesses and groups of all sizes. As the company continues to grow, they have begun to integrate all-inclusive branding solutions which includes custom tagging, multi-platform merchandising, and packaging. The branding solutions that W.S. Emerson offer begins with full-color embroidery on a variety of shirts, jackets, sweatshirts and accessories such as blankets and a variety of bags. The Bridge Laser Machines create a raised, layered image giving a “pop” detail to any garment. Also prominent is the screen-printing department. With decades of experience and state-of-the-art equipment, they have moved far beyond the t-shirt and can print on nearly anything! The combination of automatic and manual presses offers clients the highest-quality product. Perfect for retail or any sized events, screenprinting is a cost-effective way to have your image worn and seen by many! W.S. Emerson recently upgraded their DTG (Direct to Garment) Printer to streamline the process of digitally printing full-color items. Eco-friend-

ly, water-based inks make DTG a preferred choice for many industries. Photo re-creation on fabric can be achieved with crisp, vibrant images, and custom art details can really bring any design to life! In addition to these amazing capabilities, they also offer a large array of products to showcase any logo. Whatever you imagine, W.S. Emerson can help create it! As W.S. Emerson continues to look to the future, they are committed to providing branding solutions by supplying high quality products to local and national customers while embracing the exciting future ahead.