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Pay It Forward Maine

As Maine businesses and their employees weather unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and the Retail Association of Maine are partnering with several organizations in our state to launch a campaign to support our community: #PayItForwardMaine.

“In this unprecedented time, we know everyone is feeling the financial impact, especially our small businesses
– who make up 99% of our business community in the state.” stated Quincy Hentzel, CEO of the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We want to make sure that when we get to the other side of this pandemic, our local businesses are still there for us. So, we need to be there for them now. This campaign will allow our community to rally, as they always do in times of crises and hardship, and discover ways they can still support their favorite establishments over the next few months.”

The #PayItForwardMaine campaign asks individuals, businesses and organizations to continue supporting local
businesses and their employees in our new world of closed storefronts and social distancing. Your favorite
local businesses have been there for you through thick and thin. Now it’s time for all of us to come together and return their service and support, with a new twist. This effort is supported by several Chambers of Commerce and community partners. Some of those partners offered their perspective on the need for #PayItForwardMaine: “The Department of Economic and Community Development and the entire Administration are continually working to ensure Maine businesses and employees have the resources they need as we all respond to the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic”, said Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner, Heather Johnson. “I am pleased to see the work being done by several partner organizations with the launch of the #PayItForwardMaine campaign – an effort that looks to Maine’s collaborative spirit to help your neighbor, friend, and local business owner. I hope to see Mainers participate in this effort and help to see our economy through this challenging time.”

“Maine’s retailers, restaurants and other small businesses have been hit with a once in a century economic
storm,” said Curtis Picard, President of the Retail Association of Maine. “But we are standing together with
chambers and business associations to help our local businesses survive. Let’s Pay It Forward, Maine.”
“Maine people count on small businesses every day, not just for goods and services, but for the contributions
they make to our economy and our communities,” said Dana Connors, President and CEO of the Maine State
Chamber of Commerce. “Our local businesses and their employees and families need our support now more
than ever. Think of the impact if we all take action to #PayItForwardMaine.”

#PayItForwardMaine is encouraging everyone to consider these ways to show your support (including through
simply spending your time and effort), and to share posts, photos, and actions with the hashtag #PayItForwardMaine. The campaign is also encouraging people to tag family, friends, and followers and challenge them to do the same.

Suggested ways to contribute:
• 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!
• Utilize take-out and curbside to-go services (websites like Portland Food Map are keeping updated lists
of restaurants offering these services).  Always call first and consider tipping more than usual!
• 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!
• See if your service providers offer virtual options: Tax accountants, business coaches, yoga instructors,
• If you can’t afford to show monetary support, share the website or social media account of your
favorite business or organization and encourage others to support them.
• Offer up to help in any way you can…
o Help deliver products to those in need
o Volunteer your time to help feed the hungry
o Put together packets for school children
o Provide child-care for those still working (especially those in health care and medical fields) and in
need of a helping hand
o Post a video of teaching others about a favorite skill or technique
Learn more about Pay It Forward Maine by visiting and [the latter will be up and running soon!]

Below is our list of initial partners – we anticipate others to join once campaign is launched:
Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce
Maine Department of Economic & Community Development
Maine State Chamber of Commerce
Retail Association of Maine
Bangor Chamber of Commerce
Bar Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce
Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce
Biddeford + Saco Chamber of Commerce and Industry
City of Portland
Damariscotta Region Chamber of Commerce
Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce
Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce
Franklin County Chamber of Commerce
Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau
Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce
Greater Portland Council of Governments
Institute for Family Owned Business
Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce
Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce
Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel Chamber of Commerce
Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce
Maine Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association
Mount Desert chamber of Commerce
Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce
Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce
Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce
Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce
Portland Buy Local
Portland Downtown
River Valley Chamber of Commerce
Scarborough Buy Local
Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce
Skowhegan Regional Chamber of Commerce
Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber
Visit Portland

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