- April 24, 2020
With Maine’s Stay Healthy at Home mandate and an executive order in place closing hotels except for a few very limited purposes, what do you do if you live on one of the offshore islands with limited ferry service and need to go to the mainland to get food or other supplies or visit a doctor? The co-chairs of the Maine Islands Coalition (MIC), the heads of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Mount Desert Chamber of Commerce, and the Island Institute recently sent a letter to Governor Mills requesting clarity on exceptions to the executive order's closing of lodging operations.
- April 23, 2020
For the fourth episode in our "Business in Uncertain Times" podcast series, we speak with Shannon Byers, a business advisor with the Maine Small Business Development Centers and the center director for the location at Coastal Enterprises, Inc. in Ellsworth. As a business advisor, Shannon has she been helping business owners navigate federal aid and also innovate and think creatively right now.
- April 15, 2020
For the third episode in our "Business in Uncertain Times" podcast series, we take a deeper look into the nuts and bolts of the CARES Act with Craig Olson, senior community development officer and head of the Small Business team at the Island Institute, and in the second part, we speak with Alison Thibault, owner of WindHorse Arts in downtown Vinalhaven, a jeweler of 20 years who has been working diligently to stay on top of the Small Business Administration's various disaster relief programs.
- April 7, 2020
To better understand how our local small businesses are doing during this time of change, we are making a series of pre-recorded interviews with some of Maine's island and coastal small businesses. These short conversations designed to check in with these businesses, understand their concerns, and hear what's working well. This week, we talk with Gabe Pendleton of Pendleton Yacht Yard on Islesboro as he navigates the SBA relief loans and the recent CARES Act.
- April 6, 2020
"I can help" is a phrase that the students and teachers of Maine's smallest and most remote island schools have been saying a lot lately. They are coming to the aid of frustrated parents and teachers as they sit in front of their computers feeling overwhelmed, maybe even in tears, trying to figure out Zoom or Google Classroom for the first time. These island helpers are experts in learning online, thanks in part to the Outer Islands Teaching and Learning Collaborative* (or TLC). That expertise has allowed them to more smoothly shift to the new educational reality that all schools and families are finding themselves in, and to provide assistance and reassurance to their mainland colleagues and family members.
- April 3, 2020
If we had lost sight of our sense of community during the digital age, perhaps a silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic may be that we are once again finding value in these connections. It’s ironic that this is happening during a time of forced or self-imposed social distancing, and yet our state’s artists and makers are just one example of a community of people stepping up to fulfill important needs during this uncertain time.
- April 2, 2020
Sixty-one percent of Maine’s population lives outside of an urban area. By this statistic (available with many more about the communities along the coast of Maine in Waypoints: Connect, Maine is the most rural state in the nation. In rural areas, accessing basic supplies and services can sometimes be a challenge. However, living on an island, accessibility takes on a whole new meaning. Maine’s unbridged islands rely on ferry services, water-taxis, and air service. These services are a vital resource; they are a lifeline to the mainland, providing a critical service for both medical emergencies and supply chains for island grocery stores.
- April 1, 2020
We live in new times. The recently approved $2.2 trillion aid package (CARES Act) is more than two and a half times the size of the 2008 stimulus package, the largest in history at that time. With money flowing out to communities hit by the pandemic at an unprecedented level, we are here to help make sense of how to access funding and do our best to connect you, your business, and your organization to those resources. We want Maine communities and businesses to get their fair share of these funds.
- March 31, 2020
Small businesses everywhere are struggling to make sense of the current world. To understand how these businesses are doing, we are launching a series of short conversations with Maine's island and coastal small businesses as a way to check in with local businesses and find out what's working well and where the bright spots are in this confusing world. In this first interview with Deer Isle-Stonington's 44 North Coffee, owners Melissa Raftery and Megan Wood talk about the changes they've made to keep business going.