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TEST: 'A Strange Position' To Be In, For Maine Businesses Finding Success During Pandemic

beth in spice packing shop 02.jpg
Courtesy Gneiss Spice
Gneiss Spice owner Beth Weisberger with her baby at her workshop in Bethel.

Not all businesses have suffered during the pandemic — some in Maine are booming.

Gneiss Spice in Bethel – Gneiss as in the bedrock common in parts of Maine — sells spice jars and spice refills online, and is doing pretty well.

Beth Weisberger, the company’s owner, told Maine Public that feelings of success, at a time when others are hurting, is complicated.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Courtesy Gneiss Spice. Local credit.
A selection of Gneiss Spice spices. Local caption.

“Business for us, I would say, has sort of been like Christmas in April, which is kind of a weird way to feel right now when a lot of other people are out of work.

“My name is Beth Weisberger, and I am the owner of Gneiss Spice. We manufacture magnetic spice jars that stick to your fridge and we sell organic spice refills.

“Everybody’s cooking, everyone’s at home cooking three meals a day, eating all day long. And they actually need spices.

“Our business is a completely online business already. So, you know, we have no public facing office, store or anything like that. Probably I think the majority of our customers are people who shop at natural food stores or places like that, where now they can’t bring their own containers, and they’ve gone online to look for bulk spice refills. We manufacture the magnetic spice jars and that’s the focus of our company, but we’ve just been slammed with our spice refill orders.

“Personally, it has kind of been a strange position for me to be in. I feel like my customers are feeling good, they’re at home, they’re safe, they’re healthy. I’m home, safe and healthy. And we’re all getting to have this experience of making delicious meals and eating with family. And, you know, I think it makes it a little bit surreal when all these kinds of scary things are happening at the same time.

“I like that I’m able to send this amazing smelling package in the mail to someone who hasn’t seen anyone in a while, and it’s this fun experience. I think you feel good when you get a package from us in the mail, and so I like that I can provide that, but I do know in the big picture I’m not — I don’t know, I’m not a nurse, I’m not doing something that is saving anyone, but hopefully I’m helping people in a different way.”

If you or someone you know has something to share about life during the pandemic, write to Maine Public at TellMeMore@mainepublic.org and let us know the best way to reach you.