Governor visits two Maine businesses to hear how economic recovery grants are helping them recover from the pandemic and support their operations and employees
Gorham, MAINE – Governor Janet Mills today visited Sebago Brewing Company in Gorham and LaCasse and Weston in Portland to learn about how new economic recovery grants awarded to them through her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan will help them recover from the pandemic and support their operations and employees in the future.
Governor Mills at Sebago Brewing Company in Gorham.
Sebago Brewing Company received a $22,000 grant through the Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Small Business Grant Program. Through the program, the Mills Administration is awarding $5 million to more than 380 Maine small businesses across the state to help them with pandemic-related costs ranging from supply chain disruptions to infrastructure improvements.
LaCasse and Weston received a nearly $22,000 grant through the Forest Recovery Initiative, part of the Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan. Through the initiative, the Mills Administration, along with the Maine Technology Institute, is awarding $6 million to 224 Maine forestry companies, the vast majority of them with ten employees or less, to support Maine’s forest products industry and the people it employs. LaCasse and Weston designs and engineers innovative equipment for molded fiber packaging manufacturers across Maine and the country.
“Maine small businesses are the backbone of our economy, employing hundreds of thousands of people in good-paying jobs. There’s no question the pandemic has been tough on them, as it has been on everybody, but they have risen to the challenges, adapting business models, innovating, and being creative to survive and thrive. Sebago Brewing and LaCasse and Weston are extraordinary examples of that,” said Governor Janet Mills. “My Administration will continue to do all we can to support Maine’s small businesses and their hardworking employees as they recover from the pandemic and as we strengthen our economy.”
“Sebago Brewing Company was drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced us to shut our doors and temporarily lay off much of our staff for three months,” said Kai Adams, Vice President and co-owner of Sebago Brewing Company. “The economic impact was huge. Grants like this have helped us stay in business and remain strong for the future.”
“We thank Governor Mills for stopping by and spending some time with us today. For over thirty years, LaCasse & Weston, Inc. has prioritized the pulp and paper industry in Maine, and this type of support from the state keeps us excited for the future,” said Bill Kearns, Vice President of LaCasse & Weston, Inc. “We're excited to promote the growth of molded fiber as a reemerging industry in the state.”
Governor Mills at LaCasse and Weston in Portland.
Sebago Brewing Company told the Governor today that it plans to use the Maine Jobs and Recovery Small Business grant to support efforts to recruit and retain staff in preparation for what they are hoping will be a busy summer in Maine. LaCasse & Weston said it would apply it’s Forest Recovery Initiative grant directly to the development and fabrication of production equipment for the molded fiber industry in Maine.
“It’s clear that the economic recovery grants made available by the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan are not only a much-needed lifeline to Maine businesses, but support efforts to help Maine’s economy catalyze diversification and growth,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development.
The Mills Administration plans to continue to support Maine small businesses. Additional grants are expected from both the Maine Jobs & Recovery Small Business Grant Program and the Forestry Recovery Initiative later this year, with a particular focus on helping businesses innovation and expanding market opportunities.
These grant awards follow more than $273 million that the Mills Administration has delivered to Maine businesses and non-profits to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic, in addition to programs to help small businesses offer affordable health insurance to their employees, replenishing the state’s unemployment trust fund to prevent tax increases on employers, delivering funds for relief and infrastructure investments in Maine’s heritage industries – seafood, agriculture, and forestry – and more.
The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine people and families, help businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy poised for future prosperity. It draws heavily on recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the State’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy, transforming them into real action to improve the lives of Maine people and strengthen the economy.
For more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit maine.gov/jobsplan.