Expose Design LLC – Portland

Victor Rio, founder of Expose Design LLC loading a car with marketing materialsSince 2008, Victor Rios and his business Expose Design LLC has provided small businesses with customized marketing solutions that help them grow. Expose Design offers all things marketing including graphic design, logo creation, print work, embroidery, screen-printing, and promotional content creation. Like most small businesses, Expose Design took a financial hit during the pandemic. This in combination with some previous high-interest debt had Victor concerned about his future. He was referred to the Maine Small Business Development Centers for assistance understanding funding options to help in the recovery process.Read More

Better Living Center – Farmington

Better Living Center Logo - Purple tree with large canopy and roots overlaid with initials BLC and words Eat Well Live BetterWayne Drake had a unique opportunity, to purchase and take over the business where he began his professional career. When Wayne was a teenager, he worked at Better Living Center, an organic, whole food store located in Farmington Maine. He not only assisted with customer service duties but helped with bookkeeping, payroll, and ordering supplies. This experience sparked Wayne’s interest in pursuing a banking and law enforcement career. Years passed but Wayne never forgot the values he gained at Better Living Center. When the previous owners were ready to sell, Wayne jumped at the opportunity.

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Lessons Learned:  Weathering the Financial Storm

Skip Bates, of Bangor Savings Bank says "Everything that mattered before, matters more now."The first in a series of blog posts of what the small business community learned from Covid 19

Economic downturns have been a regular but painful part of small business ownership. Yet unlike other recessions, Covid 19 hit Main Street businesses first and hit them hardest. When it comes to financing your business, this advice from lenders and advisors will make a big difference when times are tough.

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Lessons Learned – A Series

Over the last 16 months, Maine small business owners were put to the test by a global pandemic. Over the next few months, the SBDC will offer a series of articles focused on the lessons learned from one of the most challenging years in our collective history. Look for posts on how to finance a new or expanding business in today’s market; what it means to pivot your business, things to consider when crafting a remote work policy, and more.

Part 1: Weathering the Financial Storm 

Part 2: What Does it Mean to “Pivot”

Lessons Learned

Live Life Family Practice – South Paris

After years of practicing in a large medical facility, Cortney struggled with the all-encompassing role the insurance industry played in providing care. To remove this from the equation and provide more direct care in addressing her patients’ needs, she launched her own private practice based on a Direct Primary Care Model, in which a subscription-based payment model provides all of the basic care needs for an individual or family.

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Why Customer Service Matters This Summer

After a trying year, tourists and locals alike are looking forward to enjoying all that Maine has to offer. Thankfully, things are looking up this summer tourism season and Maine is expected to have a bustling summer.  As we prepare, we have to keep in mind the individual struggles people have experienced over the past year. Here are some tips to make sure your customers have a positive and memorable experience that they are desperately seeking.

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Circle Two Disc Golf – Bradford

Circle Two Disc Golf Logo

Disc golf has been rapidly growing in popularity as both a recreational activity and a professional competitive sport. Andrew Kahl is an active member of Maine’s disc golf community and wanted to create his own course on his family’s land. He reached out to the Maine SBDC at CEI for assistance understanding what is involved in starting his own business.

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Maine SBDC Releases 2020 Results: Supporting more small businesses than ever before

The Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC), a statewide program that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, announces the annual results for 2020.

In 2020, business advisors across Maine provided virtual, no-cost business advising to 2,956 entrepreneurs and small businesses, nearly double the number of businesses assisted in the previous year. This support helped them to:

  • Access $38.3 million in capital to sustain, start or grow their businesses
  • Start 93 new businesses
  • Save and create 514 jobs

During an especially difficult year, Maine SBDC stepped up to support a record number of entrepreneurs and small business owners, including serving more women than ever before.

Maine SBDC business advisors helped 507 small businesses access a total of $17.9 million in pandemic relief loans and grants to help sustain their businesses.  In addition to advising services, Maine SBDC hosted 63 webinars and events which reached over 2,200 attendees.

Access the 2020 Digital Annual Report:

“Our team is dedicated to supporting Maine’s courageous business owners as they continue to respond and recover from a very difficult year. We want entrepreneurs and business owners to know they are not alone. We are here and we can help them navigate the next steps for their businesses,” commented Maine SBDC State Director Mark Delisle.

Trailside Gardens – Abbot


Display of Trailside Gardens flowers within a canopy

Trailside Gardens evolved from a lifelong interest in the natural world surrounding us, particularly plants and landscape design. For eight years, Trailside Gardens in Abbot has offered an impressive selection of healthy plant material. As a small nursery selling plants, business owner Pauline Eldredge was facing supply issues and decided she was ready and needed to expand her business. She was ready to increase her inventory and to purchase her own greenhouse where she would grow her own products. She had the vision and the skills, she just needed funding to support this growth. Read More