Which stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day in Maine?

Thanksgiving is traditionally the day the Christmas shopping season begins with the Black Friday sales. In most parts of the country it starts on Thanksgiving Day, but not here in Maine. Thanksgiving is one of three public holidays in Maine that some retailers are actually prohibited from opening.

But why?

Maine is one of many states, primarily New England, that still have blue laws that require retailers to close on Sundays and holidays. Have you ever tried to buy a car on a Sunday in Maine? Thanks to a blue law, you cannot. These laws were put in place a long time ago to prevent activities on Sundays and holidays, usually for religious reasons. Until the late 1980s, you couldn’t shop in a store that was 5,000 square feet or larger on Sundays.

A vestige of that law is still in effect today in Maine for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. State of Maine Title 17, §3204 (2) (HH), regarding Religious Assemblies, Holy Days and Sundays, reads as follows:

Under no circumstances, however, can a store having more than 5,000 square feet of indoor sales space for customers be open on Easter Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

This law requires retailers like these to close on Thanksgiving Day:

  • Hannaford
  • Shaw’s
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Maine Mall
  • Home deposit
  • Lowe’s
  • Kohl’s

So we’re talking about grocery stores and big box stores, most of which are closed on Thanksgiving Day. Here are some places that will be open.

  • Walgreens
  • Dunkin ‘
  • Some restaurant chains
  • Some local restaurants
  • Most convenience stores
  • LL Bean flagship store
  • Apple Cinemas

LL Bean is over 5,000 square feet, but they are the only exception in Maine to Blue Law.

This list does not apply to all locations in a business by any means, and there are many that we haven’t listed here, so it’s always best to call ahead to find out if a retailer particular is open or not.

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