Samuel Harris picks up one growler and two growlettes of beer as Matt Johannes processes Harris’ payment in New Gloucester on Wednesday. Johannes, the co-owner of Side By Each Brewing Co. in Auburn, has been delivering beer to customers after he had to temporarily close his tasting room because of the coronavirus pandemic. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Residents ordered to stay at home to halt the spread of COVID-19 are giving local businesses an opportunity to deliver their goods. 

And it’s not just pizzas and other foods.

For Wil Smith, delivery is his business. He owns Lewiston Courier Service and is the lone delivery person. 

“I’m in the right field, you know what I mean?” he said.

Business is picking up and he’s still “trying to get the word out.” 

The company’s website touts “We pick up and deliver from any restaurant and any store in Lewiston/Auburn.” Smith said he’s also delivered medication to the elderly. 

That’s the kind of service that is the forte of Bedard Pharmacy and Medical Supplies. 

Bedard’s director of business development, Ben Nadeau, said any increase in delivery for the company has been negligible, but they have been offering free delivery to five different counties “for years.” Delivery has gained some added importance with Bedard’s front stores being closed, though pharmacy drive-thrus and curbside pickup at medical supplies stores is still available. 

“We want people to know that anything health care-related, whether it be prescription medications, equipment, even if they just need Tylenol or whatever, we still have that available,” Nadeau said. “We can still get it to them. They don’t have to worry about fighting the lines at Wal-Mart and stuff for those things, we can definitely provide that service.” 

“We’re fortunate that we’re able to still provide all of our services to the community and make sure people are still getting what they need when they need it,” added Nadeau.

He said Bedard’s made its first batch of in-house hand sanitizer available to medical facilities on Wednesday, and the company is “hoping to make it available to the general public in the next week or so.” 

Delivery is a new venture for Northland True Value in Turner, according to store manager Brad Pratt. He said the store recently began the service “to help ease the burden on customers who didn’t feel comfortable (leaving home).” 

“The delivery service has been a great addition to our business,” Pratt said. “We have been doing a few a day to the most vulnerable people mostly. Curbside is definitely more popular at the current time but with the new stay-at-home order we expect to see that number go up.” 

Joline Dubuc of Lewiston picks up a growler of “You’re So Vain” at Side By Each Brewing Co. in Auburn on Wednesday. Brewery co-owner Ben Low has a 6-foot long table in front of his temporarily closed business for takeout orders. Side By Each is offering pickup and deliveries because the coronavirus pandemic forced the temporary closure of their tasting room. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Recent state orders have prevented people from going out to bars, so some local breweries have countered that by making deliveries to homes.

“We obviously started to do this under the umbrella of COVID-19,” Adam Platz of Baxter Brewing said. “You know, everyone’s looking for new ways to interact with customers, so delivery beer and keg service is something that we’re legally allowed to do, so we started doing it about a week ago.” 

Starting a delivery service has given Baxter another way to make money and “give our staff as many hours as possible to keep working.” 

Baxter has eight beers available in stores, according to Platz, but 16 others that are only available at the Pub at Baxter on Mill Street in Lewiston. 

“(Delivery) becomes the only way that we can get beer out to market and out to folks,” Platz said. 

Across the river in Auburn, Side by Each Brewing has started to deliver for similar reasons. 

“First and foremost, we planned to keep our full staff on and we needed to find a way to pay them and to be able to cover insurance,” co-owner Matt Johannes said. “We also had all this great beer in the tanks and couldn’t throw any ragers (parties) to move it all, so we had to find a way to get the beer to the masses. Oh yeah, bills too…” 

Side by Each’s delivery service, which includes coffee as well as beer, is available in a 10-mile radius of the Minot Avenue location, according to its website, but Johannes, who is the lone delivery person, said they have been talking about creating a Portland delivery day and maybe a Bangor delivery day. 

“We’re really trying to keep options open and discussing new possibilities daily, because that’s really how all of us are gonna figure this stuff out,” Johannes said. 

Lost Valley Brewing co-owner Darren Finnegan said he has delivered all over the Lewiston/Auburn area since he began the service, and he would go as far as Portland and Augusta if there was interest in those areas. 

Unlike Baxter and Side by Each, which have takeout available at their locations, Lost Valley Brewing is relying solely on its delivery service. 

“Beer delivery has been 100% of our sales for now, what with the social distancing and the (Lost Valley) lodge being closed due to COVID-19,” Finnegan said. “It’s helped bring in some revenue when otherwise we wouldn’t have any.” 

“Our customers are very supportive of our new canning and delivery feature,” Finnegan added. “We need to adapt to the current environment if we are going to survive.” 

Johannes said delivery has increased Side by Each’s sales by 15%, and he estimated that one-third of the deliveries have been new customers who heard about the service “and finally got to try us out.” 

Food from Boba restaurant on Lisbon Street in Lewiston has been available for delivery before, using GrubHub, but Zachary Pratt, Boba’s chef and managing partner, said the restaurant started its own delivery service due to the coronavirus. And, he said, the service has helped increase sales. 

“We average 10 in-house deliveries and 15 GrubHub deliveries (per day),” Pratt said. The restaurant will be temporarily closing soon because “for niche restaurants like myself, we are having a harder time to gather specialty goods from our Asian purveyors while maintaining the highest quality,” he said. 

Heathco’s Pizza and Variety in Auburn has been offering delivery since long before the coronavirus pandemic began, and has also utilized DoorDash for delivery, though owner Mary Nicholson said her drivers are doing more deliveries for the store than what DoorDash does. 

Business, she said, has stayed about the same. 

“Lunches are slower now that large businesses are not operating right now,” she said. “We are very steady throughout the day and very busy at night with deliveries and pickups.” 

Governor’s restaurant in Lewiston also advertises delivery through DoorDash on its website. 

Other delivery services include Uber Eats, which Cowbell Grill and Tap in Lewiston uses along with DoorDash — the company said it estimates those services account for 20 to 30% of its current business — and Downtown Delivery, used by Calzolaio Pasta Company in Wilton.

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