FROM LEFT, Rosie Nelson, of Sen. Susan Collins’ office; Debora King, of the Brunswick Downtown Association; Gail Kezer, of Sen. Angus King’s office; The Little Dog Coffee Shop owner Paul Harrison, and Mark Delisle, of the Maine Small Business Development Centers, visit retailers along Maine Street in Brunswick.

FROM LEFT, Rosie Nelson, of Sen. Susan Collins’ office; Debora King, of the Brunswick Downtown Association; Gail Kezer, of Sen. Angus King’s office; The Little Dog Coffee Shop owner Paul Harrison, and Mark Delisle, of the Maine Small Business Development Centers, visit retailers along Maine Street in Brunswick.

BRUNSWICK

To promote Small Business Saturday, officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration joined the Brunswick Downtown Association and the state’s congressional staffers in visiting local retailers on Wednesday.

The tour was part of the SBA’s kick-off for the National Small Business Saturday Initiative.

“Small businesses here in Maine offer some of the most unique and high-quality products available,” said Amy Bassett of the Small Business Administration in a press release. “Shopping local ahead of the holiday season provides an opportunity to find a truly heartfelt gift for a loved one, which will be one of a kind.”

SBA officials were joined by representatives of Maine’s congressional delegation, Brunswick Downtown Association and Maine Small Business Development Centers.

The group visited businesses along Maine Street, including The Little Dog Coffee Shop. Gail Kezer, who lives in Brunswick and is the regional representative on Sen. Angus King’s staff, thanked owner Paul Harrison for being a Maine Street destination. “It’s a community gathering place,” Kezer said of the coffee shop.

Harrison has operated the cafe for 13 years this January, and said Brunswick is a great place for business but added he is hoping continued development in town will help with short-staffing issues he has experienced recently.

Also part of the tour was Gelato Fiasco, Wyler’s, Cool as a Moose and Fiore.

Brunswick Downtown Association Executive Director Debora King said she expects there will be

1,000 people attending the

tree lighting on the Mall on Saturday evening, and the idea is to make it an exciting all-day event in town, with shopping during the day and festivities at night.

“It’s important to have a strong, vibrant downtown. We’re an economic driver, an engine here,” King said, adding many people employed in larger nearby cities, like Portland, search for communities like Brunswick to settle in.

The BDA’s goal is to promote the attractive features of the downtown to draw new residents.

King said there are no empty storefronts in the Brunswick downtown, and said small business Saturday promotion does seem to positively impact sales, according to local retailers. She said Brunswick was also recently recognized as one of the best downtowns in the country, chosen to represent the entire state by the Main Streets Across America organization.

Mark Delisle is the state director for the Maine Small Business Development Centers.

He said data shows small businesses do have an increase in sales with the promotion of Small Business Saturday, which is wedged between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Small Business Saturday was created by and is promoted by credit card company American Express.

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