CEI Women’s Business Center client Mary Ellis Jamison always dreamed of opening a small restaurant with great food and drinks. With over two decades of experience in the food industry, Mary spent the last 11 years honing her pizza making skills at her family’s store and delicatessen in Western Maine. At the end of 2019 when a prime restaurant location opened up in downtown Farmington, she decided to take the plunge and go into business for herself, focusing on her favorite food – Pizza!
Mary worked closely with CEI’s Lorri Brown to help develop her business plan and start-up budget. “Lorri helped with all the steps I needed to take to get to opening day. She broke down the process and provided support and encouragement. She was always happy to meet and talk me through all of the questions I had as we got closer to opening day.”
As a new restaurant Mary Jane’s Slice of Heave had barely gotten the doors open when COVID-19 brought the Maine economy to a near standstill. Overnight Mary and her team were forced to pivot the way they did business, moving from mainly in-person sales to delivery and curbside pickup. Mary was quick to use social media as way to connect with her customers and keep them engaged during the Govenor’s stay-at-home order.
Passionate about giving back to the community, when Mary found herself sitting on more food in her walk-in than she could reasonably expect to sell through delivery and curbside sales, she reached out to the Mt. Blue Regional School District and the Franklin County Children’s Task Force to find out if there were any families in the area who were in need of meals. As a result, Mary was able to feed several local families in Franklin County.
As the State of Maine enters into the reopening phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mary made it a priority to bring back as much as her staff as possible, determined to keep jobs in the area. Mary remains optimistic about the future. “It’s been hard and it’s going be hard for a while, but we have great staff and customers. If we can get through this, we can get through anything.”
Located at 103 Narrow Gauge Square in Farmington, Mary Jane’s Slice of Heaven offers affordable, family friendly dining including fresh pizza, sandwiches and burgers. Along with delivery and pick-up, Mary Jane’s provides outside seating and a spacious dining room that allows for comfortable social distance dining.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MARY JANE’S SLICE OF HEAVEN
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CEI offers a wide range of assistance to emerging and existing business owners. Through one-on-one consultation, training, workshops, seminars, peer networks and other services, CEI helps individuals across the state get the information they need to start or expand their business. In addition to providing general business assistance, CEI has programs for women; marine-related businesses; farms; ag and food businesses; and refugees and immigrants.
Check out the full range of CEIs Business Advising offerings at https://www.ceimaine.org/advising