SKOWHEGAN — When the pandemic hit in mid-March and panic sent shoppers rushing to the grocery store to buy flour, employees at Maine Grains buckled down, working to keep their products in stock and available to their distributors. Online retail sales have skyrocketed, and the flour mill’s business model has been praised in the New York Times recently as representing a “radical vision: the return of true agricultural localism.”
Since COVID-19 struck, Amber Lambke, the founder and CEO of Maine Grains and co-founder of the Maine Grain Alliance, said her business has seen a 4,000% increase in online sales. The spike turned the business on end for a few months. Workers adapted. They figured out how to have enough equipment and workers on hand to mill grain into flour and package it in retail-sized bags quickly enough to meet the demand.
Now, months later, sales have stabilized, but the business is still seeing an increase in sales as many have shifted their eating habits from mainly dining out to staying and eating at home.
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