BUCKSPORT, Maine — During the coronavirus pandemic, the town of Bucksport is rolling out a unique program to get residents to support local businesses and in turn provide those businesses with much-needed service.
COVID-19’s effect on local businesses influenced the community to create the Bucks’ Bucks program. The fund is endorsed by Main Street Bucksport, the Bucksport Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, and Bucksport Heart & Soul.
According to a press release from Main Street Bucksport, the idea behind this town funded relief program with support from Andy and Shelby Silvernail is that “we are all in this together.”
Brook Minner is the Executive Director at Main Street Bucksport.
“It’s a way to encourage local shopping when local businesses are taking a hit," Minner said. “We’ve been through a lot in the last couple of years and this is really hard on small businesses.”
The way the program works is 100% of donations to the fund will double the value of a $10 of Bucks’ Buck. The $20 worth of credit can be used for gift cards or local goods and services at participating Bucksport businesses or organizations affected by the state’s shut down.
The businesses accepting the $10 Bucks’ Bucks will be reimbursed $20 from the fund. The win-win scenario gives local stores business and gives the customer a great deal when money could be a little tight.
This program will help business owners like BookStacks owner Andy Lacher who said he is down 33% in sales from this time last year.
“Spend $10 for a $20 bill, do the math, it's not hard," Lacher added,
“We opened it up to any business in Bucksport who was impacted by the shutdown," Minner added. “We want them to be open when this is all over”
The town is trying to raise $10,000 for the fund. The fund started with $4,000 in private donations. Bucks’ Bucks can also be used at Bucksport Community Concerns.
The sense of community is a big reason for the program. Lacher said the community in Bucksport is everything.
“I’m impressed but I can’t say I’m surprised," Lacher said about the communities support of the program. “Its everything, it’s us, it’s us, it’s the greater good.”
Donations can be made directly at the Bucks’ Buck fund at Bangor Savings Bank, by mail, or at the drop box at the Main Street Bucksport Office located at 20 Central Street. Donations can also be made by debit or credit card through the Main Street Bucksport or Bucksport Area Chamber of Commerce website.
Bucks’ Bucks will be on sale starting May 7.