In this Oct. 15, 2020, file photo, Cara Stadler, who owns Tao Yuan in Brunswick and Bao Bao Dumpling House in Portland with her mother, Cecile, is seen in Portland. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

A Portland restaurant is one of 42 small businesses across the country that have been chosen by sneaker designer Vans to create a custom shoe to help their business weather the pandemic.

As part of Vans’ “Foot the Bill” campaign, BaoBao Dumpling House, located on Spring Street in Portland, will have a custom classic Vans slip-on for sale on the Vans website, along with specially designed T-shirts.

BaoBao, which opened in 2014, serves classic Chinese dumplings and Chinese cuisine. The 50-seat restaurant has been closed to indoor dining for nearly the entire pandemic, and while it has done a brisk takeout business, times have been tough, according to owner Cara Stadler. Stadler also owns Tao Yuan, another Chinese restaurant, in Brunswick.

“In this time, when all of our doors have been closed for almost a year, any amount of help we can get to get back up and running is a huge relief to us,” Stadler said.

The shoe was designed by Westbrook-based Wing Club Press in conjunction with Cara Stadler. All net proceeds from the sale will go to Stadler’s restaurant.

“We wanted to do something that was very true to us without being too much of an advertisement, so we designed our name in Chinese and stamped it in red, a way of signing a document in China,” Stadler said.

The other businesses and nonprofits selected for the promotion include a wide array of types and approaches, including a small cosmetics company in Kansas City, an independent music venue in Cleveland and a Black arts nonprofit in Baltimore.

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.