BANGOR, Maine — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday was shopping and eating in downtown Bangor to help kick off the national Small Business Saturday initiative.

Seth Goodall, New England regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, said the senator would spend much of Wednesday morning shopping at downtown businesses.

Goodall said the initiative started in 2010, and Collins herself is a former New England administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“When you look at the revitalization of Bangor and other downtowns throughout our state, it’s due to the entrepreneurs, the small businesses, the men and women who have taken the risk of opening up a new business,” Collins said Wednesday morning in front of Blaze restaurant.

Collins and Goodall were joined by city officials, the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Economic and Community Development, Eastern Maine Development Corporation and Maine’s Small Business Development Center.

Goodall said the average customer spends about $162 nationwide on Small Business Saturday, with over $14 billion having been spent across the country since the initiative kicked off.

Even as traditions such as lining up for Black Friday deals continue and consumers shop online from home, shopping local has become an alternative to the hustle and bustle of areas such as the Bangor Mall.

“Small Business Saturday is right between Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” Collins said. “It’s a reminder that as we shop in different ways and different venues, we can’t forget the small businesses that are key to vibrant downtowns.”

Collins was planning on stopping into multiple downtown shopping hubs, including The Rock & Art Shop, Rebecca’s, Central Street Farmhouse, Bangor Wine and Cheese, Valentine Footwear, Maine Cloth Diaper Co. and Verve restaurant.

The senator said that her father’s 90th birthday is soon, so she’ll be picking up some wine to bring to her family in Caribou.

Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective...