FirstPark in Oakland welcomed its newest tenant, Maine Eye Doctors, to the business park.

Maine Eye Doctors is the third company to purchase property at the business park in 2020. A team of local optometrists recently purchased the 6,000-square-foot location at 25 FirstPark Drive in a transaction brokered by Bruce Holmes of Century 21 Venture Ltd. and commercial real estate broker Don Plourde of Coldwell Banker Plourde Real Estate, according to a news release from FirstPark.

The building was customized for Maine Eye Doctors and includes seven eye care lanes, eye care equipment and technology. Partners for the practice include Lorie Lepley Parks, doctor of optometry, Helen L. Bell-Necevski, doctor of optometry, and Zlatko Necevski.

“During COVID-19, we have seen a lot of interest from businesses of all sizes that are evaluating their options because of the coronavirus. Many are attracted to FirstPark because of our location off Interstate 95 and the fiber Internet, the fastest speed available for video conferencing, telehealth and remote work for employees during the pandemic. How companies do business is changing. Businesses around the world are evaluating their location to see how it impacts their bottom line and quality of life for their employees,” said Jim Dinkle, executive director of FirstPark.

Earlier this year, J.B. Brown & Sons purchased the current T-Mobile building at 133 FirstPark. J.B. Brown & Sons, a commercial property management and development company in Portland, paid $10.7 million for the 78,610-square-foot Class A, single-story office building located on 26 acres. The building is occupied by T-Mobile’s customer care center under a lease that expires in August 2027.

T-Mobile is the anchor tenant and largest building in the park. Other businesses with property in the park include Bioenergetic Healing, Gateway Financial Partners, Inland Foot & Ankle, L.L.Bean, MaineGeneral, Maine Medical Partners, One River CPAs, Waterville Community Dental Center and SurgiCare.


The business park has experienced growth in the past two years with a new marketing plan that has attracted new businesses and attention of site selectors around the world, including a visit from Kim Yonghyon, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Boston.


Dr. Joseph Caruso joins Franklin Health Surgery

Dr. Joseph Caruso Photo courtesy Franklin Memorial Hospital

Dr. Joseph Caruso has joined Franklin Health Surgery and Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, according to a news release from the hospital.

Caruso most recently provided care at Evans Army Community Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Besides general surgery, his professional interests include hernia and breast surgery. While a major in the U.S. Army, he also provided patient care that included trauma, major trauma, and surgery in Germany, England and Afghanistan.

Caruso received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, followed by a year-long research residency and a five-year general surgery residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Dr. Caruso is board certified by the American Board of Surgery.


Franklin Health Surgery is located in the Franklin Health Medical Arts Center where he will join colleagues Dr. Eric Gunther; Dr. Stacey Gutman; Dr. R. Bradley Hayward; and Betsy Norton, physician’s assistant-certified.


Paramedic Scott Nile earns flight certificate

NorthStar Paramedic Scott Nile, who already has Wilderness National Registry Paramedic, Flight Paramedic Certification, recently received certification as a Flight Paramedic, according to a news release from Franklin Memorial Hospital.

Scott Nile Photo courtesy of Franklin Memorial Hospital

The certification is focused on the knowledge level of accomplished, experienced master-level paramedics currently working with a flight or critical care transport team. To become certified, Nile completed a 40-hour course over four days and successfully passed a rigorous exam. Certification demonstrates that paramedics possess a mastery of skills and knowledge of current critical care transport medicine standards to treat critically ill and injured patients while in transport to a qualified medical facility.

Nile, who is a resident of Farmington, has worked for NorthStar for six years.


NorthStar is the regional ambulance service for Greater Franklin County with five bases in Farmington, Rangeley, Carrabassett Valley, Phillips and Livermore. NorthStar is a program of Franklin Memorial Hospital.


New Dimensions Federal Credit Union named one of Forbes’ Best-In-State Credit Unions in 2020

New Dimensions FCU in Waterville has been ranked No. 1 as part of Forbes’ annual list of America’s Best-In-State Credit Unions in 2020. The awards list was announced on June 25, and can be viewed on the Forbes website, according to a news release from the credit union.

Forbes Best-In-State Credit Unions 2020 is comprised of the top credit unions based on the results of independent surveys involving approximately 25,000 U.S. consumers who were asked to rate the financial institutions at which they have or have had checking accounts.

Participants made recommendations regarding overall satisfaction; they also assessed banks and credit unions in the following areas: “Trust,” “Terms & Conditions,” “Branch Services,” “Digital Services,” and “Financial Advice.”


“On behalf of the credit union, I am both humbled and honored to be part of such a great organization that does so much for its members and community,” said CEO Ryan Poulin. “Being recognized for this award confirms the accuracy of our mission by demonstrating that our financial standards and practices are exactly what our members are looking for when choosing a financial institution.”


Northern Light Inland Hospital staff win ice cream naming contest

Northern Light Inland Hospital’s staff has named a new Gifford’s ice cream. Northern Light Delight is the winning name chosen for a chocolate and toasted coconut ice cream flavor just released by Gifford’s, according to a news release from the Waterville hospital.

Northern Light Inland Hospital staff members won the ice cream naming contest conducted by Gifford’s. From left are Cathy Russell, Chris Kinney, Gifford’s general manager, and Sandra Porter. Photo courtesy of Northern Light Inland Hospital

The ice cream naming contest is the kick-off to a summertime fundraising collaboration with Gifford’s and the hospital, located on Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville. Gifford’s will donate a portion of the sale of Northern Light Delight at its Waterville Stand for new cardiac monitoring equipment at Inland, which will be used for new moms and babies with possible heart conditions.

Gifford’s leaders presented thank you gifts to the two employees who submitted the new ice cream name. Sandra Porter, a pharmacy technician, and Cathy Russell, a respiratory therapist, were two of more than a 100 Inland and Lakewood staff who participated in the naming contest.


Chris Kinney, Gifford’s general manager, said, “We’d like to thank Inland and Lakewood employees for suggesting names for the new ice cream. All the submissions were wonderful and they all showed great creativity. But Northern Light Delight stood out because it paid tribute to you as our local healthcare provider and our region. It also has the perfect word to describe how you feel when you eat the ice cream. We are certainly delighted with the new name and know that other ice cream lovers will be too!”

Northern Light Delight is a limited-edition flavor and will be sold at all five Gifford’s locations in Waterville, Skowhegan, Auburn, Bangor and Farmington through the summer.

In addition to the ice cream sales, Gifford’s will hold a miniature golf tournament on Aug. 22 and 23 at its Waterville location, with proceeds to benefit Inland’s cardiac monitoring equipment campaign. Preregistration is recommended. To register or learn more, visit

“We are very grateful for Gifford’s fundraising support during these tough times,” said Terri Vieira, president of Inland Hospital. “We value our partnership and thank them for their amazing community spirit!”


Franklin Savings Bank promotes Heidi Lee


Heidi Lee Photo courtesy of Franklin Savings Bank

Franklin Savings Bank has strengthened its robust mortgage team by promoting Heidi Lee to mortgage underwriting officer. Lee has been an integral part of the back-office residential lending team, balancing her time between loan processing and assisting existing underwriters. Lee has demonstrated commitment to learning the underwriting function, supporting the lending team in various roles. These factors as well as the steady growth in mortgage volume, warrant for another underwriter in the department, according to a news release from the Farmington-based bank.

“Heidi has always shown great initiative to learn and develop” said Assistant Vice President Bett Hardy. With her wealth of knowledge and talent, combined with her dedication and commitment to Franklin Savings Bank, our customers and our community, she will be an invaluable asset to the banks residential underwriting team.”

Lee joined the bank in 2006 and has displayed a desire to excel within her career. She portrays professionalism and leadership qualities. Lee holds a business certificate from Central Maine Community College and has completed numerous classes and trainings pertinent to her position. Lee lives in Jay with her husband, Justin, and their daughter.


Skowhegan Savings Charitable Foundation donates $25,000 to the Somerset County Business COVID Relief Fund

Skowhegan Savings Charitable Foundation has donated $25,000 to the Somerset County Business COVID Relief Fund bringing the fund to a current total of $75,000 in available grants for businesses in Somerset County that have been negatively affected by COVID-19, according to a news release from the foundation.


The Community Economic Resource Council was formed by regional economic development leaders in Somerset County who recognize the need for collaboration to assist local businesses during this time of need. The program was started with a $25,000 grant from Somerset Economic Development and a $25,000 matching grant from Somerset County Commissioners. The program offers up to $5,000 grants to businesses within Somerset County to assist with payroll, utilities, rent, mortgage payments, insurance, inventory, production and other needs.

“We are pleased to support CERC and their COVID Relief Fund,” said David Cyr, president and CEO of Skowhegan Savings. “Many businesses are experiencing hardship due to COVID and this was just one more way that Skowhegan Savings could help our local communities during these difficult times.”

CERC includes representatives from Somerset Economic Development Corporation, Main Street Skowhegan, Skowhegan Economic Development Corp., Skowhegan Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Skowhegan. The partnership continues the mission of these organizations to strengthen economic development initiatives within the region, promote Somerset County as the ideal rural Maine location to start a business and to be a one-stop resource for business owners and new entrepreneurs.

“Our small businesses are the key to making our communities a great place to live and work,” said Vicki Alward, president of the Somerset Economic Development Council.

Skowhegan Savings is committed to supporting local businesses and the well-being of Maine communities during these challenging times. The bank’s foundation recently donated $30,000 to 28 local food cupboards.

CERC is still accepting donations for the program. Donations can be made to Somerset Economic Development Corp., RE: COVID-19 Relief Fund, 41 Court St., Skowhegan, ME 04976; or by contacting Christian Savage, executive director, at or 207-474-0166.



Hannaford partners with summer feeding sites to distribute fresh fruit to kids

Hannaford Supermarkets has embarked on a nine-town tour to distribute fresh fruit packs to children and families at more than 20 summer feeding sites across Maine. The month-long tour began in mid-July and expects to go through mid-August, according to a news release from Ericka Dodge, a manager at Hannaford, based in Portland.

“Supporting the health of kids and providing access to nutritious food is important to all of us at Hannaford. It’s one way we can live our commitment to help nourish the communities in which we serve,” said Kim Kuusela, Hannaford’s local merchandising specialist.

Hannaford made a Snack Pals stops at Farrington School in Augusta. Photo courtesy of Hannaford

Hannaford partnered with Full Plates Full Potential to identify summer feeding sites and areas of need. To date, Hannaford’s kid-oriented SnackPals truck has made stops in Kittery, York, Old Orchard Beach, Portland, Auburn, Lewiston and Augusta — and expects stops in Farmington and Strong along with a second round of return stops in the coming weeks.

Hannaford directly donated more than 24.4 million pounds of food to pantries, meal programs and food banks in 2019, including more than 9.7 million pounds of food in Maine. And, since March 2020, Hannaford has donated $1.25 million to COVID-19 relief efforts including to local farmers and hunger relief and homeless outreach organizations.

Compiled from submitted news releases. For more business briefs, visit