SKOWHEGAN — Business leaders and volunteers will be honored for their service to the community Tuesday night during the annual Skowhegan Chamber of Commerce awards banquet.

Former Skowhegan Savings Bank President Mickey Powers will receive the Alton W. Whittemore Award for outstanding service, according to Chamber Executive Director Cory King.

Northeast Coffee Co., owned by the Davis family since 1960, is to receive the Chamber’s large business of the year award; Stanley McGray, owner of Stan’s French Fries, is the winner of the small business of the year award; and Nonie Schmand, the volunteer of the year award, King said.

The banquet begins at 5:30 p.m. at T&B Celebration Center on Madison Avenue. Tickets cost $30 for Chamber members and $35 for nonmembers and are available at the door.

“The awards is a night to recognize different businesses for outstanding service to the Chamber, outstanding service to the communities that the Chamber serves,” King said.

He said four awards are given each year.

King said the Chamber’s “most dignified” award is the Alton W. Whittemore Award, named for a man who dedicated much of his life in service to the community.

“Alton Whittemore was a great proponent for our whole region and to our Chamber,” he said. “He really believed in the Chamber, and the award goes to someone who has given a lifetime’s worth of work to it.”

King said Powers, 80, was the nominating committee’s clear choice this year. Powers is still active in the Chamber and the Rotary Club.

He said Schmand lives in Pittsfield and works in Hampden but is active in the Skowhegan Area Chamber through her connection with her friend Donald Plante, the chamber’s incoming president . Plante also is a past chamber president and a member of the board of directors.

King said Schmand has helped him with every event the Chamber has held since King came on board in 2007.

“Every time an event comes up, she’s one of our most active, extremely reliable,” he said.

Northeast Coffee Co., the large business of the year, was started more than 50 years ago by the late John Davis Sr., selling coffee from the back of his station wagon, according to King. The family has grown the business since then and moved into the Southgate Business Park on Waterville Road in Skowhegan.

“It’s a story of success. It’s a family business. There’s still at least nine Davis family members still working for the company, with 35 employees overall,” King said.

The company provided Skowhegan with the first place to get a cup of coffee to go, at Dick’s Market on North Avenue in the 1970s, he said.

King said Stan’s French Fries, recipient of the small business chamber award, is another success story, but with a twist. He said McGray lost all his equipment, his trailers and truck in the fire that destroyed the grandstand at Skowhegan Fairgrounds in 1999.

McGray secured some financing for a couple of local businesses and a loan from Skowhegan Savings to rebuild his business and went back to work the next year. He celebrated 25 years in business during the last fair.

“He’s so supportive of everything that’s going on,” King said. “Stan’s Fries’ presence at an event almost legitimizes it. It’s what people look for. For some people, his fries are a rite of summer.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
[email protected]

 

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