Four businesses in Androscoggin and Oxford counties are among 40 statewide that will receive a total of $3.1 million in grants from Gov. Janet Mills’ Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to help boost sales of Maine-made products.

More than $350,000 is designated for Grimburg Less Lethal in Fryeburg, Home Healing Foods Inc. in Oxford, Lights Out Gallery in Norway and Michael J. Murray Art in Lisbon.

This represents the first tranche of the initiative, which is modeled on a key recommendation of Maine’s 10-year economic development strategy to promote economic growth and strengthen Maine’s business climate for startups.

A statement from the governor’s office said the grants will help Maine companies expand domestic sales of Maine-made products ranging from blueberries and oysters to forest products and medical supplies.

A second round of grants will be awarded to Maine businesses later this year.

Home Healing Foods in Oxford was awarded $75,000 to help foster its business growth strategy. The wife-and-husband team of Shelley and John Schulz sells gluten-free, dairy-free, raw, vegan and organic granolas, chips, crackers and nuts via wholesale and e-commerce, and their products can be found in retail stores in at least 26 states, including Maine.


Shelley Schulz said the grant will help them grow the company, which she said is being held back by outdated technology. Because the company relies on its website heavily, it will get a needed update to help facilitate their e-commerce and wholesale business.

The second priority, according to Schulz, is to help rebrand their products, which are also using outdated materials and are less efficient. For example, they manually attach labels to product packaging. Plans are to design and purchase preprinted labels.

Any remaining money will be used toward expanding the company’s presence at major trade shows.

Co-directors Daniel Sipe, left, and Reed McLean stand Dec. 13, 2023, at Lights Out Gallery in a former snowshoe factory on Tannery Street in Norway. The business has been awarded $229,750 from Gov. Janet Mills’ Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to help boost sales of Maine-made products. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Lights Out Gallery in Norway was awarded $229,750 to expand its art market. It is money that Co-founder and Executive Director Daniel Sipe said is very welcome to help defray some of the operating costs of their multifaceted nonprofit.

Lights Out Gallery holds large pop-up art shows around the state, which Sipe describes as “unique, multimedia exhibits, featuring work of Maine artists.” The Presque Isle native said the money will pay for the promotion of Maine art and the operating costs of the pop-up shows.

Daniel Sipe, executive director of Lights Out Gallery in Norway, stands November 2023 inside the former snowshoe factory on Tannery Street. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

Seven more are on tap this year, ranging from one day to several months.


Lights Out Gallery was founded in 2021. In 2022 it purchased a former snowshoe factory at 10 Tannery St., which is being renovated to house a gallery, co-working space, dance studio, wood shop and botanical gardens.

The ambitious plans are far from founded, however, with Sipe focused on raising the estimated $100,000 to replace the roof on the 15,000-square-foot building.

The grant cannot be used for capital expenses.

Grimburg Less Lethal in Fryeburg, which was awarded $21,000, designs and manufactures launchers and projectiles that minimize the risk of causing severe injury or death. Its products are targeted primarily at military, law enforcement, municipalities, and organizations and individuals looking for an alternative to lethal force.

The company was founded in 2018 in Bridgton, has a few employees and sells its products globally. Founder Kurt Boeker said components are sourced in Maine and everything is manufactured in Bridgton and Fryeburg.

Boeker said the grant will help get the company certified with the General Services Administration, an agency established to help federal agencies procure the goods and services they need. He said it will give the company more exposure to customers who use the GSA to buy products and services through the agency, rather going through the lengthy and cumbersome procurement process.

Michael J. Murray Art in Lisbon was awarded $25,000 to upgrade and expand its art fair display and show. Murray is a Maine-based photographer known for what he calls his 360° panoramic spherescapes.

Applications are being accepted for a second round of domestic trade program grants. Eligible Maine-based businesses are invited to apply through April 12.

For detailed application and eligibility information, businesses and organizations are encouraged to visit

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