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Updated: March 16, 2023

Maine small businesses honored by SBA for big impact

Store interior Photo / Renee Cordes GoGo Refill, a South Portland-based plastic-free retailer whose products include reusable, washable toilet paper, was named the Maine Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year by the SBA Maine District Office.

From mission-based publishing to agriculture and manufacturing, the winners of the U.S. Small Business Administration Maine District Office annual awards encompass a wide range of industries and regions.

This year's winners, announced Wednesday, include Carolyn Delaney, founder and owner of Journey magazine. She has been selected to receive the SBA's Small Business Person of the Year Award for Maine and prefers the title chief inspiration officer to CEO.

Carolyn Delaney headshot
File photo Courtesy / Journey magazine
Carolyn Delaney of Journey Magazine

Delaney founded Journey in 2019 to amplify stories of hope for Mainers in recovery. The magazine, which comes out every other month, has a distribution of more than 15,000, and also has an online presence that it expanded during the pandemic. Including Delaney, the company employs a team of four people (three full time and one part time). 

“Every year when we take this opportunity to recognize the amazing work being done by small businesses in Maine, it’s a challenge to choose only a few," Diane Sturgeon, SBA Maine District director, said in Wednesday's announcement. "We’re thrilled to recognize Carolyn Delaney of Journey Magazine for the critical work she does in communities across Maine and the nation as our Small Business Person of the Year, and we can’t wait to recognize all of our fantastic award-winners at our awards ceremony in May."

Delaney told Mainebiz the award means a lot to her, and after crying for a bit when she found out about it she "did a happy dance."

"We started as a media company on a mission," she said. "With this award, our mission will get amplified." (Hear more about how Journey magazine started and evolved in an archived episode of the Mainebiz podcast, "The Day That Changed Everything.")

Other winners 

Nominated businesses selected as winners for the other categories are as follows: 

  • Maine and New England Jeffrey Butland Family Owned Business of the Year: Gwen Brodis, Brodis Blueberries of Hope
  • Maine and New England Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year: Michelle Goulet, Kidz Go Eco Nature School, Saco
  • Maine Home-Based Business of the Year: Kim Napolitano-Perry, Perry Home Naturals, Oxford
  • Maine Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year: Laura Marston, GoGo Refill, South Portland (which recently expanded to Brunswick)
  • Maine Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Elissa Nally, Something to Wag About, Ellsworth
  • Maine Minority Owned Small Business of the Year: Selina Chan, Tealight Studio of Portland
  • Maine Micro-Enterprise of the Year: Holly Arbuckle, Singing Pastures LLC, Newcastle
  • Maine Small Business Manufacturer of the Year: Betty Crush, Mom’s Organic Munchies, Freeport
  • Maine Financial Services Champion of the Year: Daniel Wallace, Coastal Enterprises Inc. 
Provided photo
Michelle Goulet

Michelle Goulet, head of Kids Go Eco Nature School and its education director, told Mainebiz that she was humbled by the award, adding, "I'm so grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

All winners will be recognized at a ceremony to be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport on May 24.

“Over the past two years, America has had a record-breaking 10.5 million people apply to start businesses nationally and 332,000 across New England. I’m thrilled to recognize the strong, resilient, and innovative small business award-winners leading the way from across Maine,” said Mike Vlacich, SBA's New England regional administrator. “Small businesses like these are the reason we are emerging from the pandemic stronger. I congratulate them on their achievements and their role in creating jobs and powering our nation’s historic economic comeback."

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