U.S. and Canada Border Closure Impacting Local Businesses

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 7:03 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - The U.S. Canada border has been closed since late March and has now been extended until at least August 21st. This closure has taken its toll on some businesses in Fort Kent. News Source 8′s Cam Smith has more on the overall impact on businesses near the border.

“We’ve lost 100% of our Canadian customers.”

Small businesses and family owned stores are feeling the effects of the border closure. The border has been closed since March and is expected to remain closed for non-essential travelers for at least another month. Suzie Paradis, the Town Manager in Fort Kent, says this will have a tremendous impact on businesses.

“We rely heavily on our Canadian customers. I believe most of our businesses have stated that they’ve lost a hundred percent of their Canadian customers. So, that’s probably a 40% drop in their total business on a daily basis.”

Right across the river here is the Canadian Border from Fort Kent. For Suzie Paradis, the effect on small businesses has hit close to home. Her husband Denis, owns Paradis Shop and Save right down the street and has been hit pretty hard.

“It’s been a little more difficult to operate. There’s a lot of lull time during the day. So, it’s costing us more because we’re not selling as many products and we’ve had to cut back on production.”

Denis also added that a hit to manufacturing has caused a chain reaction in terms of their product and has created a major setback.

“The manufacturing companies are not producing product. So we saw a lot of that fade away off the shelves which was a loss of sales as well.”

In order to cope with this, Denis says they’ve had to cut the hours of their associates and have also had to cut back the store hours. Suzie Paradis also adds that because of the border closure, these businesses become more reliant on local customers.

“I think our local customers and citizens are shopping more locally because of this whole pandemic. Traveling out of town is cautioned and people are being more aware and staying in town. So, there’s probably been an increase with some of our locals just staying in town and not traveling out of town for their supplies, their groceries, or whatever it may be.”

Both say that with time, everything will be back to business as usual.

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