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Health & Human Services

Posted on: April 17, 2018

Age-Friendly Portland Launches Business Recognition Program

age friendly portland

The Age-Friendly Portland Steering Committee launched a new voluntary program this month to help local business owners become more sensitive to the needs of older customers and receive recognition for efforts to make their business more “age-friendly” and accessible to all. The first business that applied to the program, The Merchant Company at 656 Congress Street, has been inspected and is eligible to receive the very first age-friendly business designation. Linda Weare, the City’s Elder Advocate, will present The Merchant Company with this designation on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 18.

The Age-Friendly Business application contains a checklist of criteria that can earn a business points in different categories of “Age Friendliness”, including accessibility of interior and exterior spaces, customer service, marketing strategies, and general sensitivity to challenges that may affect the ability of older consumers to patronize a business or agency.

Companies that meet a minimum number of required criteria will receive an Age-Friendly Business Certificate of Award and a decal to display in the storefront window. The designation may also be published on company websites, in advertising, and in local guides for visitors. 

Maine has the oldest population in the nation, by median age. More than 41% of Mainers are currently over the age of 50. It is more important than ever for businesses and organizations to recognize and understand the needs of an aging customer base. An age-friendly business ensures a comfortable and accessible environment for older customers, and allows customers of all ages to visit, shop, dine, and fully participate in whatever the company has to offer. Older adults tend to be loyal customers with strong purchasing power. An Age-Friendly Designation can help businesses attract and retain new customers and increase business growth. 

An Age-Friendly designation shows that a business supports Portland’s vision for the creation of an age-friendly community; one that supports and values residents and visitors of all ages and promotes active participation and meaningful engagement in all aspects of community life.

For more information about Age Friendly Portland, or to apply for the Age-Friendly Business program, please email requests to or contact Linda Weare at 207-541-6620.