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Keep ME Open: Here's your reminder to shop local this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge hit on Maine's small businesses, which is why local owners are sounding the alarms on shopping local this holiday season.

BIDDEFORD, Maine — A business owner in Biddeford is urging people to shop local this holiday season.

Like other small business owners, Kyle Poissonnier was forced to close up his clothing shop, Catalyst for Change Wear, indefinitely earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic

"It's the last thing you think about when you go to sleep and it's the first thing you think about when you wake up... if you were lucky enough to actually sleep," Poissonnier said.

Luckily for them, CFC Wear was able to transition to online sales only, which allowed them to stay open virtually. This saved Poissonnier from facing major deficits like so many other businesses did. 

"A lot of small businesses are not Amazon, they're not Walmart," Poissonnier said. "You know, they need that human interaction."

Last month, more than 2,300 small businesses and non-profits were awarded a total of $105 million in Federal CARES Act dollars through the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program. This provided small business owners a temporary financial lifeline.

It's why Poissonnier is reminding everyone to shop local this holiday season. 

"It helps us provide for our families and our loved ones," Poissonnier said. "It's not just this big giant corporation."

Bangor has already adopted this "shop local" mission. The city is celebrating "small business Saturday" every weekend leading up to the holidays, in hopes of boosting sales for folks downtown.

RELATED: This year, it's 'Small Business Saturday', every Saturday

Poissonnier and his three-man crew plan to open their doors for the first time since March on Black Friday. But if the foot traffic isn't there, it won't be happening again anytime soon.

RELATED: New 'swab and send' testing site at the University of Maine at Machias will be open to public

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