Award presented by South Portland’s Economic Development Department and Economic Development Committee

SOUTH PORTLAND — Legion Square Market, an 82-year-old stalwart of greater Portland’s business community, was honored for its efforts and diligence in safely serving its customers — and its employees — during the more than year-long pandemic. The city’s Economic Development Committee made the announcement as part of its 2020 Business Awards and noted that Legion Square is receiving the award for “creating safe ways to stay open during the pandemic for their employees and customers.”

Alan Cardinal of Scarborough, and his wife, Sylvia Most, have owned and operated Legion Square Market since 2012 but, as with the rest of the world, had never encountered anything like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alan Cardinal at the register of Legion Square Market in South Portland. Legion Square Market is the winner of the city’s 2020 Keeping US Safe Award for its efforts during the pandemic. The Economic Development Committee made the announcement Feb. 11 during its 2020 Business Awards. Courtesy photo

“We had to get smart very fast about the coronavirus and how to keep people safe,” said Cardinal in an email. “Despite the lockdown and other restrictions, people still needed to eat, and we still needed people to serve our customers. We immediately established and exceeded Maine CDC protocols that were necessary, but not onerous, and we had a really gratifying level of agreement from the public. Early last year, gloves, masks, physical distancing, and constant sanitizing was new to everyone, but we embraced all of it. Now, it’s routine, and compliance is still strong, I’m happy to say.”

As the owner of a neighborhood store, Cardinal is eager to help his neighbors. In addition to supporting both the South Portland and Westbrook food cupboards each week, Cardinal also has been known to personally deliver orders to customers who couldn’t get to the store.

“Older people, especially, who were fearful or who didn’t have reliable transportation, would call and ask if there was any way we could help,” Cardinal said. “In a crisis such as this one, we need to help each other. People need to feel safe in our store and safe in our neighborhood.”

The South Portland 2020 Business Awards ceremony was held virtually on Feb. 11.