FALMOUTH, Maine — The pandemic has been difficult for a lot of small businesses in Maine. Many of them have had to get creative in order to survive.
Others are doing what they can to help each other out, including two unlikely businesses in Falmouth.
Gregin and Jeremy Doxsee are siblings and Bueno Loco's new owners. They started the process of buying the Mexican restaurant on Route One last November.
"Everything was smooth sailing until March and COVID hit and it hit kind of hard," said Gregin Doxsee.
When dining in the restaurant wasn't an option, take-out orders kept them going.
"So much of it is customer relations, it shows you interact with the consumer that chooses to visit you," said Gregin Doxsee.
Even when that customer isn't inquiring about the menu.
"Poor guy seemed a little beleaguered," said Jeremy Doxsee.
That guy was Randy Greason, the owner of Vacationland Driving Academy in Falmouth.
"I started a class March 9 and the end of that week got shut down," said Greason.
Greason who normally holds classes out of Falmouth High School decided to look for a place to meet once restrictions were loosened.
Bueno Loco was the 4th place he tried.
"I think he was expecting a no, but he was hopeful," said Jeremy Doxsee.
Greason got a resounding yes.
The students have had six classes at the restaurant, both inside, which is 4,100 square feet (perfect for social distancing) and outside on the patio. All held in the morning before the restaurant opens.
Sophomore Sam Belliveau turned 15 years old in December but because of hockey season waited to take drivers ed. Frustrated by the delay he's glad classes have resumed.
"It's much better than having a Zoom call. I'm just glad we've finally found somewhere we can do it in person," said Belliveau.
Fellow sophomore Caroline Rozan was excited to finally see her friends again and return to classes.
"When I found out we're doing it at a restaurant I was like 'really?' And now it's like 'oh great'," said Rozan who is excited to get her permit.
Greason couldn't be more grateful to the owners of Bueno Loco.
"Different times call for creative solutions. It certainly meant a lot to us that they would willingly take us in," said Greason.
"It really resonated with me. It was the perfect metaphor for these COVID times people are struggling to make things work. You have to be creative and think outside the box" said Jeremy Doxsee.
Gregin added, "You walk in every day and see a bunch of kids on track to be successful with something that COVID otherwise interrupted so you think ok this is really good."
As the name says...crazy good.
The arrangement was approved by the town's zoning board, fire department, and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Augusta.
Friday, July 10 will be the student's last day and they will have their permits.
Gleason is starting another class at Bueno Loco at the end of the month.