Houlton area Business Year in Review 2019 (Part 2)

Editor’s Note: The following is the second of two articles highlighting some of the top business stories from 2019.  This article highlights the events from July to December. 


The County Federal Credit Union recently awarded $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors within the credit union’s field of membership. (Courtesy of County Federal Credit Union)

Katahdin Trust held a company-wide employee appreciation event, which included recognition of those achieving milestone years of service. Throughout the evening, more than 155 employees enjoyed games, prizes, entertainment and a meal together. Employees with five to 40 years of service received honors.

The Aroostook County Committee of the Maine Community Foundation has awarded $67,369 in grants to 11 nonprofits throughout The County. One grant of $3,392 was awarded to Houlton Community Market  to increase the community’s access to farmers markets, especially families and low-income customers. 

Thanks to a generous grant from the Ronald McDonald House, the Northern Lighthouse will soon be able to combat childhood hunger in Aroostook County. The non-profit mental and behavioral health therapy clinic was presented with a check for $10,000 by the Ronald McDonald House to start a food program for the youths who receive its services.

Houlton Rotary Club met for its luncheon and meeting at Watson Hall. Becky Day hosted guest Mark Philips from the border patrol. Philips, who has been in the border patrol for 14 years, spoke about the Explorer Program. Guests with Philips were advisor Jason Beck, and Explorer of the Year CJ Violette. 

7/18/2019 1:44:07 PM
Blast from the Past, a 1950s-themed diner, celebrated its grand opening in downtown Houlton Thursday, July 11. The business is owned by Barb Ganem. Taking part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony are, from left Hailey Cropley, Monique Polchies, Miguel Jimenez, Hailey Hipsley, Victoria Forbush and Jane Torres, executive director for the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)


The Chiputneticook Lakes International Conservancy held its annual picnic on Half Moon Island on Grand Lake Saturday. A warm day brought a large turnout to the island for the annual event as about 90 people attended this year. 

“Just Breathe” was the message Kim Larkins expressed in her presentation to the Houlton Rotary Club. This element of everyday life is easily forgotten in our fast-paced world, but is an important part of her “Mindfulness Curriculum.” She recently published her first book, “Emma Lou, the Yorkie Poo, Breathing In The Calm,” and is working on her second book.

The town’s local grocery store is under new ownership as David and Billie-Jo Beals have purchased the popular business. 

The North Country Cruisers were out in force for a cruise-in and barbecue at Seiders Hilltop Lanes. More than 20 car owners turned out for the event, including Sheri Swimm and Kelly McLean, who ran the store for 14 years.

Riverfront Park in downtown Houlton was bustling with activity as the Community Living Association held its 3rd annual “Community Day” event. This year’s festivities included free nachos, ice cream sandwiches, balloons, bubbles and face painting courtesy of the Community Living Association staff. Tim “TheTuneman” Humphrey was also on hand to get people tapping their toes with music.

 Houlton’s drinking water is free of the harmful synthetic “forever” chemicals that have made headlines across the nation in recent months. Greg Sherman, general manager of Houlton Water Company, said his company recently had its water tested to see if there were any per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in the drinking water. Houlton Water Company passed the PFAS test.


The employees and customers of Houlton’s Machias Savings Bank collected back-to school items for classrooms and students for the new school year. Molly Cowan, RSU 29 educational tech, accepted the gifts on behalf of the staff at Houlton Elementary School.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Aroostook County’s Houlton office moved to the Houlton Higher Education Center at 18 Military St.

On her small farm in northern Maine, Tammy Kerekes taps into nature to help cure the ills of others. She has extended the farm into an herbal products business, Willow Wood Herbal Apothecary, which offers an extended variety of medicinal herbal, bath and body products, teas, tonics and seasonal fresh herbs.

Houlton rotarians Mac Randolph and Ryan Bushey highlighted the success of last Saturday’s E-Waste event hosted in the St. Mary’s parking lot. This was the fourth year for the event and rotarians collected 73,000 pounds of old electronics that often turn up in the woods or on side roads due to the expense of exposal through proper channels.

Vital Pathways Chairman Joe Fagnant presented a check to Tammy Goetsch, director of Adopt-A- Block of Aroostook, in the amount of $500 through Vital Pathways’ Mini Grant program. The money was used for playground updates including the purchase of another picnic table, heavy-duty rubber mats for the slide and tire swing area. Funds were also used to purchase a heavy-duty stain sealant for the playground log retaining wall along with a new tetherball.


The Bridge to Hope group received a donation of $3,500 from Farm Credit East as part of the Northern Maine Agricultural Foundation’s annual golf tournament. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

Farm Credit East hosted another successful golf tournament on behalf of its Northern Maine Agricultural Foundation. This annual event raises money for local charities, and thanks to the generosity of local farmers and agricultural business sponsors, this year’s tournament raised $12,000.

A sizable crowd packed into the Maliseet Rollerama on Friday evening for the grand reopening of the facility. The roller skating rink has been revamped by the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians to cater to both young and old. The tribe purchased 71 brand new pairs of skates for use by the public, which include the traditional and in-line designs. Representatives from the tribe, the skating rink and the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce were on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Katahdin Trust Company was named as one of the 2019 Best Places to Work in Maine. Once a month, the bank celebrates “Fun Friday” and rewards employees with various treats, logo gear or other surprises.

The Maliseet Rollerama held a grand opening on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. (Courtesy of Clarissa Sabattis)

TD Bank promoted Margaret Cook to small business specialist for the greater Maine region. She will be responsible for leading the small business efforts for TD Bank’s retail stores across a region that includes stores from Gray to Fort Kent.

Shirley Moll often dreamed of the day that her children’s book would get published. Now that dream has become a reality for the Cary author. Moll’s book “Terry No Tail” is a story about a bunny that is born without a tail.


The Pine Tree Society received $4,500 from funds raised by employees of a local community bank to benefit Pine Tree Camp. Katahdin Trust employees can dress casually every Friday in support of various non-profit organizations throughout Maine. Each employee that participates in Casual Because We Care donates a minimum of $1 in exchange for the privilege to dress casually and wear jeans.

Melissa Nataluk opened the Treasures of the Heart tea room bringing a touch of sophistication to the Shiretown. Her 97-year-old grandmother, Catherine Cellamare of Wells, was able to attend the grand opening and a photo of her hangs proudly in the establishment.

Katahdin Trust Company announced the promotion of Angela T. Butler to senior vice president, retail and business banking.

Aroostook Mental Health Center announced the addition of Suzanne Costallos, LCSW to its Houlton Outpatient office.

Jackie Morse, of Machias Savings Bank, presented a $500 check to Lori Lenentine to be used for the Mill Pond After School Program. 

Mothers looking for a quiet, comfortable space to nurse their children now have an option at Houlton Regional Hospital. A new lactation room was unveiled at the hospital thanks to the hard work of several departments. Deborah Ganzel, registered nurse at Houlton Regional Hospital, said the room came about thanks to the efforts of the OB/GYN (obstetrics and gynecology) department, particularly Cathy Blanchette, a former full-time nurse who now works per diem. 


Winners of the fall raffle at the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum met at Mac’s Trading Post in Houlton. (Photo courtesy of Karen Donato)

Katahdin Trust Company announced the promotion of Billi Griffeth to regional vice president.

Houlton Regional Hospital was recognized for meeting the Platinum Level in the 2019 Gold Star Standards of Excellence Program for efforts to prohibit smoke and tobacco use on campus and address client tobacco use. 

Smiling broadly in their new white coats, 15 of the newest nurses in Aroostook County were honored at a pinning ceremony on Saturday at the Houlton Community Arts Center.

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