Company News: Winter 2018
The Upper Valley’s in-plant rug cleaner, RealClean Rugs in Lebanon, has been acquired by Cara and John Eliason. The company’s longtime owner, 66-year-old Keith Beardslee, recently retired from the business he started in the early 2000s after previously working in the building and insurance industries. “I’ve been working here since last year, doing all the physical labor and learning from Keith,” said Cara Eliason, of White River Junction. Beardslee, a Cornish resident who co-ran the business with his daughter Katherine Beardslee, said he was ready to step aside from the physically demanding work and had been training the Eliasons in the business, which he said was a logical transition. Cara Eliason is no stranger to the cleaning business and working with customers. Her grandmother Lucy De Masse and uncle James Mayville owned the former College Cleaners in Hanover and White River Junction, and Eliason herself worked “off and on” for College Cleaners for 14 years before it closed. She went to work for RealClean Rugs last year after a stint as a hotel housekeeping department manager. “The family was closing the business down, but the minute I came in here it felt like home again,” Cara Eliason said, recalling her years working her grandmother’s and uncle’s dry-cleaning business. “It’s in my bloodline.” Beardslee previously had sold a related business, Elite Cleaning, which specializes in in-home and in-business wall-to-wall carpet cleaning, to current owner Penny Howlett a few years earlier. Both RealClean and Elite Cleaning operate out of the same building on Spencer Street.
Ledyard National Bank has moved staff into a new 8,500-square-foot space at Benning Street Square behind Shaw’s supermarket in West Lebanon, where it will bring together employees from several back-office functions into a single place. Located in the space formerly occupied by Visiting Nurse and Hospice for VT and NH, the new office space will accommodate bank employees who work in the consumer loan and mortgage processing, operations, information technology, compliance, finance and human resources departments. “The primary purpose of our new 8,500-square-foot site is primarily to bring six departments, which have worked in separate locations in the past, under one roof,” Kathy Underwood, chief executive of Ledyard, said in an email. Lebanon builder Trumbull-Nelson Construction Co. was the lead contractor on the $611,000 project, according to the building permit on file with the city Planning Department.
Propane and fuel oil distributor Dead River Co. has moved its West Lebanon walk-in office to Glen Road Plaza from Seminary Hill Plaza. Gary Haines, area director for Dead River, said the move would allow for more accessible parking space for Dead River’s customers.
Upper Valley attorney Pete Van Oot has left law firm Downs Rachlin Martin after 30 years to form a new corporate governance consulting firm with former Brattleboro Retreat CEO Rob Simpson. The new firm, The Difference Leadership Group, will advise for-profit and nonprofit organizations in leadership, corporate governance and best-practices issues, Van Oot said in an interview. “I’ve been a lawyer for 30 years and much of my work has been focused on environmental law, but starting about 20 years ago I was engaged to be the outside general counsel for a number of clients and I became in effect board counsel,” he said. “It exposed me to how boards work and the issues they were facing from legal and fiduciary perspective.” He said the need for expert corporate governance advise to boards and corporate leadership is highly sought now as companies and organizations are coming to grips with harassment issues in the workplace. Van Oot, who is married to former Windsor Central Superintendent Alice Worth and recently relocated to Orleans, Mass., from Norwich, said his office will primarily be “anywhere with my laptop.”
The Teago General Store in Pomfret has been sold to Kathleen Dolan, owner of the nonprofit ArtisTree. After 30 years at the helm, Chuck Gundersen has retired and sold his business. Like Gundersen, Dolan was a customer before she bought the store. A civic-minded philanthropist from New York City, Dolan moved to the area while pregnant with her daughter 15 years ago. In addition to buying the ArtisTree property, she renovated the adjacent Teago Grange Hall into an active performance hall and bought a lot across the street, where she knocked down a private residence to improve the view. She also purchased 36 acres on the far side of the store from the Woodstock Inn and Resort. The restoration of the grange, and the flow of traffic associated with ArtisTree have, Dolan said, helped to breathe life into the neighborhood. She said her acquisition of the Teago General Store will help her to continue that process.
North Hartland Tool Corp., a manufacturer of precision gauges and fixtures for aerospace and other industries is nearing completion on a 4,700-square-foot addition to its 8,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on Evarts Road in North Hartland. Ron Aldrich, operations manager at the company, said the 60 percent expansion in manufacturing space is being driven by the need for new tooling products used to manufacture of a new generation of turbine engines from clients Pratt & Whitney, General Electric and Rolls Royce. The privately owned North Hartland Tool Corp. has about 47 employees at its North Hartland facility and about another 43 who work at company facilities in Barnet, Vt., and Vernon, Conn. Aldrich said the plant expansion in North Hartland will accommodate the expected hiring of new workers at both the entry level and experienced computer numerically controlled programmer level, including machinists and automation specialists. Lowery Builders, of Lebanon, is overseeing the expansion project.
Veteran commercial real estate broker and investment adviser Chip Brown, who has been associated with Norton Asset Management for the past five years, has formed his own commercial brokerage and advisory firm, BCR Brown Commercial Realty LLC. Brown said in a news release that the coming retirement of Norton Asset principal Bill Norton led him to decide “it was the appropriate time to hang out my own flag.” Brown’s offices are located at 44 South Main St., the corner of South Main Street and Lebanon Street in Hanover. Other tenants include Starbucks, Citizens Bank and Market Table. Brown, of Etna, has been involved in several of the Upper Valley’s major commercial property transactions at Norton Asset Management in recent years, including representing Connecticut River Capital’s $8.2 million purchase of the Rivermill Commercial Center in Lebanon, The BaySon Co.’s purchase of the Lyme Inn and the sale of the former Eastman Pharmacy property on South Main Street in Hanover on behalf of the Edward M. Gherardi Revocable Trust in addition to the leasing of dozens of properties.
Loewen Window Center of Vermont & New Hampshire, located at 52 Bridge St. in White River Junction, has been recognized by Loewen Inc. as a “platinum dealership,” a designation awarded to the Canadian window manufacturer’s top 20 U.S. dealerships. The White River Junction Loewen dealership, opened in 2006, is co-owned by Steve Cary and his partner, Frank O’Donnell, and has an exclusive territory that covers all of Vermont and most of New Hampshire with the exception of the Seacoast region. The company has 175 total U.S. dealerships. While the “platinum” designation is typically only associated with urban areas such as Boston or San Francisco, Carey attributed the White River Junction dealership’s high sales volume to the concentration of home construction and refurbishment in wealthy vacation communities such as along Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire and in Stowe, Killington and Middlebury in Vermont. Cary said the special recognition by Loewen enables his dealership to get a break on pricing from the company in addition to marketing support that will “help us to be more competitive and maybe a little more profitable, too.
Springfield Printing Corp. has acquired West Chesterfield, N.H.-based Prospect Park Press from owners Anne and Mike Reed. “We had been looking for a quality printing and mailing company that could provide our existing customers with superior printing, as well as more options for growing their business. We found that with SPC … they can handle just about any size project from small run brochures to large run catalogs and books,” the Reeds said in the news release. Family-owned Springfield Printing is a digital and offset printing company with roots dating to 1878. The company is owned by brothers Mark Sanderson, the president, and Bruce Sanderson, the vice president of sales and marketing. They are the second generation of the Sanderson family to be involved with the printing company.
The Ink Factory, a custom printing and embroidering business that operates from a renovated mid-19th-century mill building on Water Street in Claremont, has been named the recipient of the 2018 Greater Claremont Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. Owners Jeff and Sarah Barrette purchased the equipment of a former sportswear printing business in 2009 and leased space on Pleasant Street until buying and restoring the brick mill building on Water Street in 2016. Jeff Barrette also is a county commissioner.
* * *
Items of interest to the local business community are published in the Business & Money section of the Sunday Valley News and also are collected in Enterprise. Submissions may be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.