Portland’s dense concentration of the state’s population and accessibility to other markets in New England have made the city a focal point for development. About one third of all Portland businesses are service related, while 20 percent are retail, 10 percent government, and less than 10 percent manufacturing; the remaining few are miscellaneous businesses.
Portland’s industry caters mostly to pedestrian shoppers. The Old Port is a excellent example of this, a quaint walkable seaside community. The famous outdoor outfitter L. L. Bean can be found in nearby Freeport, Maine. Many businesses have opened stores in the area in recent decades, including independent boutiques in the Old Port and Arts District areas to the shops at South Portland’s Maine Mall. Services, especially health services, play a very important part in the Portland area’s economy; the Maine Medical Center, the largest hospital in the state, is one of the city’s largest employers. The finance industry also has a long tradition in Portland, and the third-largest banking and financial services company in New England—Bank North Group—is headquartered there.