FARMINGTON — In an effort to combat Cyber Monday, Farmington downtown businesses will be holding “Cider Monday” today and giving customers an appreciative free cup of cider as thanks for shopping locally and in person, instead of online.

Event organizer Ken Brechner, owner of Devaney, Doak and Garrett Booksellers, said his bookstore and other downtown businesses want to say thanks to customers who realize shopping from home is not the same as shopping in person locally. At least eight downtown businesses planned to hand out cider as part of the effort.

“We want to thank people who choose to spend the day at actual area businesses instead of online at places where no tax dollars stay in Maine,” Brechner said.

Money spent at a locally owned business puts about 75 percent more money into the area economy than money spent at chain stores, according to a study by the Maine Center for Economic Policy. The study found that for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $58 goes back into the local economy. Only $33 stayed local when the same amount was spent at a chain store.

The idea of Cider Monday came from a smattering of independent bookstore operators in the Northeast who say they can’t compete with Amazon and chain stores in price but can provide a relationship with the customer not available online.

“Our middle name is community,” said Brechner. “As an independent bookseller, we put a lot of effort into community outreach.”

Industry organizations hypothesize this relationship with the community is what keeps booksellers in business.

Independent bookstores in the U.S. reported an 8 percent increase from 2011 to 2012 based on reports from about 500 bookstores, according to industry newsletter Shelf Awareness. Along with the sales increase, American Booksellers Association reported the number of members of independent booksellers increased to 2,000 independent bookstores, up 20 percent since 2009.

While the day was intended to promote independent bookstores, Brechner said he contacted other downtown area businesses to see if there was more interest in Farmington, and said so far other downtown businesses have joined on board including The Calico Patch, Everyday Music, Farmington Thrift Store, Mainestone Jewelry, Mooseville, Pins and Needles, SugarWood Gallery and Willy Whacks Shop.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 [email protected]

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