A popular shop in mid-coast Maine is closing its doors by year's end.

Many Mainers remember the wild commercials featuring Big Al, and his gorilla shirts. Big Al's, an "odd" outlet shop, has been a roadside destination off Route 1 for over 35 years. Soon it will close permanently. According to the Bangor Daily News, owner Al Cohen made the difficult decision to close his store due to a pandemic-induced shortage of workers.

Cohen tells the BDN, "You’re competing with the government for employees, and they make a lot more working for the government than they do for me.” According to Al, his part-time workers were making about $240 a week pre-pandemic. With pandemic benefits, they're making about $715 per week.

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Big Al's will close by the end of 2021, with the building going up for lease in 2022. Big Al's Fireworks will remain open.

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