2008 business in review – July through December

16 years ago


    The Aroostook Milling, a family owned business in Houlton for the last 60 years, has officially left the Callnan family. Mike Harris and his wife Stephanie, of Houlton, recently purchased the retail portion of Aroostook Milling from former owner of 23 years Doug Callnan. Harris worked in the logging business for 34 and a half years and decided he was looking for a change of scenery after a very serious injury last year.
The sale of Aroostook Milling came about because Callnan did not feel that he could continue running both the retail, and the combined grain elevator, transportation portions of the business.
Dunn Furniture Company of Houlton recently marked its 100th anniversary of doing business in the Shiretown and completion of their major showroom remodeling with a Grand Re-Opening Celebration.


Houlton’s downtown square will soon house its first movie rental and variety store of the decade, after Shiretown Video Variety makes its move to 41 Market Square. Shiretown Video Variety, originally located on Smyrna Street, has been a steady business in town for a year and a half. Owner Steve Rogers is hoping that the new location will in the middle of town will help to supplement the business that he already has.
Mountain Heights Health Care Facility received My InnerView’s Excellence in Action Award on June 11. This award is a national honor recognizing exemplary nursing home quality care and service.
Local farmers are partnering with the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians to upgrade silos, located on the B Road, to store their grain. The grain will be shipped by rail in the near future. Workers were on site painting, building and cleaning the area to prepare the silos.
Tony Guerriero has joined Katahdin Cedar Log Homes as regional sales manager for Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Well-known in the log home industry as “Tony G,” Guerriero has more than 30 years experience, working most recently at Lincoln Logs Ltd. as a regional dealer manager.
The Houlton Community Arts Center Council has been working diligently on grant writing and received good news from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation, as they have made a $2,500 contribution to the fine arts wing expansion project being planned at Houlton High School.
A longtime office supply store in downtown Houlton has closed, but company officials say the move is necessary to strengthen its core business in tough economic times. Netherland Office Products/Aroostook Internet closed and moved all inventory from the 5,500-square-foot Main Street store to the Presque Isle location. While the change did not affect outside sales staff, all three full-time in-store employees were offered positions in Presque Isle, said Dan Levesque, company president Friday.
Henry Gartley has been promoted to the position of associate supervisor at the United States Postal Service. Gartley has been with the Postal Service for five years and recently completed a four-month supervisory training program, graduating with 11 other management trainees.


Dick and Jerry York, owners of York’s of Houlton located in Houlton have received the 2007 Toyota Motor Sales President’s Award. The 22nd annual award was presented to a select group of dealerships across the country. It is the first time the York family has received the President’s Award. This is an honor given to those dealerships that have demonstrated a commitment to maintaining Toyota’s high standards for customer satisfaction and quality.
Chad Walton bought the former Houlton International building and one week prior to the purchase, part of the building caved in. The town had been considering tearing it down, making it a lower priority for maintenance. Two months into ownership, after having replaced 250 panes of glass and hiring a full-time employee for upkeep, Walton’s AKTEM Business Park focuses on filling the 77,000 square feet with potential employers, a welcome concept in Houlton.
Bangor Savings Bank was recently named one of the Best Places to Work in Maine for 2008. Last month, the Society for Human Resource Management’s Maine State Council announced 26 companies that have been named to this year’s list.
Houlton Water Company held its annual Customer Appreciation Day on August 29 in Market Square, serving up their traditional free hot dog barbecue. The event gives the Houlton Water Company staff and their customers an opportunity to meet-and-greet old friends and neighbors, as well as newcomers to the area.
Katahdin Valley Health Center (KVHC) officials have announced Health Services Foundation (HSF) of Houlton has fulfilled a, $11,717 grant request for clinical equipment.
Island Falls One Stop is up and running. Family means everything to Michael and Michelle Charette and their children, Brittany, 18, Vanessa, 13 and MJ Jr., 5. That’s why they recently decided to purchase and run the Island Falls One Stop. With them both being “County Kids”, he from Ft. Kent and Portage, and she from Presque Isle, they thought it only right to start their business right here.


Captain Steve Pearl and his wife Irma are anxiously awaiting the completion of renovations for the new Salvation Army Thrift Store in Houlton. Their organization has not had a thrift shop locally for several years and due to the need to generate more revenue, the thrift shop idea was revisited. The new shop will be located in the former McGillicuddy Furniture Store on Water Street.
Leonard Wilde opened his business “Bottoms Up Redemption” at 37 Townline Road in Hodgdon recently. Wilde offers a full service bottle and can redemption center. The frosting on the cake is that he offers pick-up service. Wilde will schedule your pick-up according to your needs. It can be weekly, monthly or just once in awhile, and of course you can drop your returnables off yourself.
Florence Avenue Redemption Center, operated by Kent Good and his son Barrett is open for business.
Greg Miller is an associate broker for RE/MAX Central, Houlton’s newest real estate brokerage firm. “We’re very happy to be located downtown. I invite everyone to stop by our new office at 76 Main Street to say hello,” said Miller. RE/MAX Central is owned by Jane Towle of Presque Isle and Lehrle Kieffer of Caribou. They are local county folks who very much appreciate the opportunity do business and be part of the community. The Houlton office is the third addition for Jane and Lehrle, joining Caribou and Presque Isle.
The Woodie Wheaton Land Trust has purchased scenic Greenland Island, in East Grand Lake. The purchase was undertaken for the benefit of the general public – the aesthetic and recreational enjoyment of all lake users. The land trust is committed to conserving the natural character of East Grand Lake for today’s and future generations. Located near the Greenland Point Landing in the Town of Danforth, Greenland Island has long served as a place where local residents and visitors can enjoy a quiet respite under its dense forest canopy, while enjoying the expansive view across the lake. Sporting over one-half mile of rugged, undeveloped, forested shoreline, the island also contributes greatly to the natural beauty of East Grand Lake.
Katahdin Cedar Log Homes has been awarded the Maine Forest Product Council’s annual Outstanding Manufacturing Award for 2008. The award recognizes companies, including manufacturers, loggers and distributors in the forest product industry that have been critical links in the chain of production from the Maine forest to consumers. MFPC members nominate companies and a committee reviews each company’s operations before selecting a winner.
Rainbarrow Studio flourishes in the country. Frank Sullivan creates colorful canvases from local landscapes. Local residents may even find their own home, farm or fields freshly painted on canvas. The studio is located on Route 1 in Littleton.
Machias Savings Bank and Bangor Savings Bank were recently named to the prestigious Best Places to Work in Maine list along with 24 other businesses in the state. The Best Places to Work in Maine Program was established two years ago to recognize employee focused businesses in Maine. One crucial step in the application process is a questionnaire employees complete regarding their employer; the second step is a benefits questionnaire completed by the employer.
The Shakaree Deer Farm in New Limerick is producing the largest antlered Red Stags available to the farming and hunting industry in North America. New techniques and refining bloodlines has led the red deer farm to the top of its game. Since the mid-1990s Gary L. Dwyer, owner of the Shakaree Deer Farm has researched the bloodlines of the red deer and improved his herd tremendously, through artificial insemination and embryo transfer. His farm is now considered to be the elite breeding facility for red deer in the United States.
Louisiana-Pacific Corporation announced that its laminated strand lumber mill in Houlton, was one of three LP mills selected as a winner in the company’s Best of the Best summer safety competition. The mill, which employs 160 people and produces LP SolidStart® Laminated Strand Lumber, was selected for the award based on working injury-free and for the safety program it developed around the theme of “All Hands on Board for Safety.” The effort included an intensive focus on the cause and prevention of hand injuries.
A six-year partnership between Northern Maine Community College and Houlton Regional Hospital to deliver associate degree nursing education in southern Aroostook County has taken a significant step forward, as high demand for the offering in the region has led officials to double the size of the program this fall. A total of 16 students, up from eight a year ago, are enrolled in the local nursing program, which features lecture courses originating on the NMCC campus that are broadcast live to the Houlton Higher Education Center using videoconferencing technology coupled with hands-on learning opportunities provided by Houlton Regional Hospital.


Cabin Stitches has just opened its doors to the public at 14 Main Street in Patten. Barbara Bartlett has a 40-year background in sewing. She does everything from sewing on a button, to making gowns for proms and weddings. She can tailor make what you want. For the campers she repairs tents, tarps and sleeping bags. Another of Bartlett’s talents is making Heritage embroidered dolls. These dolls have hand painted faces and the outfits can incorporate material from a baby outfit, a toddlers dress, baby blanket, decorative handkerchiefs, dresser scarves or linens you may have had in your family. They are original and can be personalized for a special person or event. These dolls are called shelf dolls and are usually made for display purposes. However, Bartlett also makes cloth dolls that are safe for children. They have no buttons, snaps or items that could harm even a toddler.
The Red Moose Gift Gallery in Patten is open for business and it is chock-full of new and old. Rhonda Brophy and Kim Rodriguez have two businesses within the shop. Brophy operates hers near the back of the showroom and Rodriguez uses the front part. They have a combination of gift ideas for the savvy shopper.
Hartley’s dance school has been a family effort since 1988. Hartley offers classes each week at the Houlton Lodge of Elks in tap, ballet, jazz and pointe largely due to the help of other local teachers she has contracted or taught. This year’s staff includes Sue Waite-York, a Boston native who has also danced in New York and California, former student Brandi Hill, and current student and Houlton High School senior Ashley Cleary.
The S.W. Collins family was welcomed to Houlton with a grand opening celebration on Nov. 13. A special guest for the event was Maine’s United States Senator Susan M. Collins, who joined with her brothers, Sam and Gregg for the opening ceremonies.
Energy Kinetics Territory Manager Jim Pike said his bragging about the caliber of work done by Mainers evolved into a real competition after saying “the boys in Maine can do that with one arm tied behind their back.” Harbison Plumbing & Heating’s team completed an EK System 2000 heat and hot water package installation in one day. d by the employees.
Houlton lost two businessmen this month. James F. McPartland owner of McPartland Plumbing and Heating passed away at the age of 84, November 7 and Ralph Longstaff, 78, former potato farmer and owner of Hogan-Smith Truck Garage passed away November 25.


Take a step back in time as you enter the doors of Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe, the former S.L.White Drug Store. Karen Keber, the owner is ready to meet your sweet cravings. She carries all the popular brands of candy new and old.
The state labor department recognized Madigan Health Care Services for its proactive approach to a secure professional environment with a Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) certificate. Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman presented the certificate saying “it represents Madigan Health Care Services’ high standards and employee involvement in creating a safe workplace.”
Making cheese at home launched a new business in Smyrna, the Sonnental Dairy, LLC.
The American Bankers Association (ABA) selected Jon J. Prescott, President & CEO of Katahdin Trust Company to serve on the ABA America’s Community Bankers Council.
York’s of Houlton completed
its two-year expansion.  The company employs nearly 50 people.
Officials with KeyBank have announced that Robert W. Faulkner, manager of KeyBank’s Houlton branch at 32 Market Square, has been promoted to vice president.