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We're Open!

What a whirlwind couple of months! This past Saturday we opened our newest retail locations in The Maine Mall. This beautiful store came together in less than 4 weeks! I have the perfect partner in my wonderful husband and dozens of our makers jumped right in to get this done.

We're now a community of almost 250 makers. By the time you read this it's likely we're leaving that number in the dust. It's mind-blowing to me how quickly this community can get things done! When I very first opened Maine Micro Artisans Vivien Leigh came to interview me. Flo Edwards was here. She was part of MMA at the very beginning when I was so green, I was practically neon. She gave this amazing interview to Vivien and she called MMA a movement. I wanted it to be a movement, but I didn't feel it then. I was still full of self-doubt. Over these last few months Flo's words have come back to me repeatedly. We are a movement.

We've spread out across Maine to now host 7,300 square feet of retail space dedicated to Maine makers and artists. When the Bangor expansion is complete that will increase to 11,600 square feet! That is a movement and now I feel it.

The expansion of MMA has also brought opportunities for new partnerships. This one is my favorite partnership yet. It's the connection I have longed to find. We are so proud to present the talented artists at YES Art Works. When you purchase a piece created by one of these artists 100% of your purchase goes to the program. Soon, you'll find their wonderful work in all three of our retail locations.

Let's talk about those locations for just a moment! The Maine Mall store is located in the Macy's wing. It's flanked by Banana Republic and Pottery Barn. We're open Monday through Saturday from 10-7 and Sunday 11-6. When you stop in, it's likely you'll find someone in our pop-up space! This space is dedicated to providing makers and shoppers the opportunity to connect. No one showcases and speaks about their work as well as the maker themselves. This past week we've already hosted 4 excellent makers and many more are on the calendar.

In our original home on South Street there is something really exciting happening. The South Street Cooperative is powered by Maine Micro Artisans with a select group of talented makers not only showcasing their work, but working the shop! You'll be able to meet and engage with more of the folks making the work you love. I love seeing the creative displays they are putting together. It's taking us a couple of weeks to work out the kinks, but we do our best to be open 10-4, 7 days a week. With the help of the cooperative members we are always open Thursday through Sunday. Our original home is located at 18 South Street in Gorham. We're tucked in right behind Amato's.

Last, but certainly not least there's our Bangor location. Last year we expanded to Bangor after being approached by a recruiter signing small businesses into spaces in the Bangor Mall. We knew there would be hurdles to overcome. We knew we'd need to drive foot traffic, find our market locally, all those things small businesses do. What we didn't anticipate was the building working against us at every turn. The mall is crumbling and the owners won't fix it. That's not an exaggeration. There are gaping holes and crumbling ceilings in the common areas, we have leaks in our ceiling every time it rains. Last month water bubbled up through the floor... They refuse to address these issues.

We have two options: close down Bangor or pivot. We love being part of the Bangor area community. We have found such a welcoming and supportive spirit here. That takes closing down Bangor off the table. We have found a partnership that allows us to move to a new retail home in Bangor. This new space will not only be owned by local folks, but by people who care that small businesses thrive here in Maine.

We're thankful for our patrons. Never underestimate the power of your purchases. The very future of small business depends on our communities seeking out and supporting us. Every single day you come out to you and you make a difference in ways that I don't know how to put to words. We have to get out of the Bangor Mall and your patronage and support makes this possible.


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