Commitment to community, excellence in service and entrepreneurship earned three local companies awards from the Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber. The chamber honored Knowles Lumber, D. R. Struck Landscape Nursery and the Community Advertiser during its recent annual meeting, according to a news release from the chamber.

“This year’s award winners are dedicated to their community and customers,” said Barbara Walsh, Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber executive director, in the news release. “They are respected for their integrity, ingenuity and endless hours of hard work. Our chamber was honored to recognize them.”

The Monmouth company, Knowles Lumber, received the Dynasty Award for its longevity and quality service. First opened as a sawmill in 1950 by Ken Knowles, the company was later bought by Bill Abbott and Paul King in 2012.
Customer service is key to the business’s success, said Abbott, according to the release. “Seventy percent of this business is standing around talking to people,” explained Abbott, according to the release. “You figure out what project they’re working on and find them what product best suits them.”

Abbott and King take pride in running a small local business. “We’re an old school lumber yard, tending to the people in the area,” said King, according to the release. “How many times have you walked into the box stores and there is no one there to help you? We take pride here that it’s a little place, and we help one customer at a time no matter how long it takes.”

Monmouth contractor Mark Burgess and other local builders appreciate Knowles personal service and competitive prices. “They’ve got access to all the same materials as the bigger stores, but they don’t have a lot of overhead, so they can stay competitive on pricing,” said Burgess, according to the release. “And, they care about you beyond your wallet.”

D.R. Struck Landscape Nursery was recognized for its ingenuity and received the Entrepreneurship Award. Located in Winthrop, the company is owned by David Struck and Robin Struck.

When David Struck started the business in 1978, he didn’t have any money, but he had a horticultural degree, a pickup truck and a lawn mower. For the next few years, he mowed a lot of lawns, working for more than 200 customers and businesses. With the money he earned and a bank loan, he opened D. R. Struck Landscape Nursery on U.S. Route 202, according to the release.

Today, D.R. Struck has thousands of clients and is one of the most respected landscaping companies in Maine.

Every job is inspected by either Robin or himself, Struck said, according to the release. Their plants, shrubs and flowers also come with a money back guarantee.

“Plants don’t go out on the job unless they’re absolutely perfect,” said Sue Neal, longtime nursery manager at Struck’s, according to the release. “And when the job is done, driveways are swept, every little speck is cleaned up. Robin and David know their reputation is at stake, and word of mouth is the best advertising anyone can have.”

Struck’s gift shop also is known for its wonderful array of products and the store’s gorgeous holiday decorations.

Owned by Publisher Keith Peters, the Community Advertiser received the Chamber’s Community Service Award. The paper first began publishing 82 years ago in 1938 in Winthrop. Peters purchased the paper in 1990 from the estate of Mary Lovell of Gardiner. Lovell had published the paper since 1942. When she died at age of 84, Peters put in a bid for the paper.

For the past 29 years, Peters has worked 50 to 60 hours a week to gather news about everything from the pancake breakfast at the Grange, to children’s activities at local libraries, to what’s happening at town hall.

“Keith serves a crucial role as a community hub,” said Sen. Shenna Bellows, according to the release. “He helps neighbors know what neighbors are doing. He monitors what’s going on, and he shares it in a way that is truly unique and serves everyone.”

Each week, the free newspaper is mailed to more than 13,000 households in Winthrop, Monmouth, Manchester, Readfield, Mount Vernon, Wayne and Leeds.

“He goes out of his way to publish community announcements and he does it for free,” said Tim McDonald, a Monmouth Lions Club member, according to the release. “Every week, he works overtime to get the paper out. The Advertiser is his livelihood, but he really cares about the communities he delivers his paper to.”

For more information about the Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber, which includes businesses from the Winthrop, Monmouth, Manchester, Readfield, Wayne, Fayette and Mount Vernon communities, email [email protected] or call 377-8020.

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