Jason Robie: Stack it, Stow it, Store it

While living in Ogunquit, Maine, for a summer, I occupied one of the smaller residences I’ve ever lived in. Were it not for the second floor where the bedroom was, it would have been smaller than my cabin in Lincoln of 300 square feet! One of the more impressive parts about this place, besides being walking distance to Marginal Way, was the creative and effective use of every nook and cranny for storage. I later learned the builder was a ship builder. He used his experiences on small boats to incorporate storage into shelves, drawers and cabinets throughout the home.

If you’ve been following along for the past few years you know I’m not a fan of clutter or unnecessary “stuff.” That said, we still do need places to keep our stuff, especially in the kitchen. You will want storage for spices, pots and pans, plates, utensils, etc. All of these things need to have their place, and most of them need to be easily accessible. Let’s take a look at a few sneaky spots to store your kitchen stuff all while staying organized and being ready for that next meal or dinner party.

The good folks I house/dog-sit for just had their kitchen redone. The home is not huge, so it was important to make use of all the space available. One of my favorite things they did was incorporate their spices into one of the drawers. This allows for easy access, you can see all of the labels since they’re not stacked in front of one another and it keeps them out of the pantry, cabinets or (worse) the counter. If you head down this route, consider buying or building a “tray” of some sort for the spices to lie. This keeps them in place, organized and easier to read.

A trend we have all seen growing over the past few years is pullout sections of drawers and cabinets. These are brilliant ways to store pots and pans (under the counter), and I’ve even seen them used for hanging wine glasses and other stemmed glassware in above the counter locations.

My favorite place for this is the pantry though. If your pantry is shallow like mine, you have no trouble seeing and accessing everything in there. But for those who have pantries alongside the fridge or in other “deep” pockets around the kitchen, pullouts can be a lifesaver.

One kitchen trend I have never really liked is the pot racks in plain sight. I find it “messy” looking, and it tweaks my little brain a bit since it looks disorganized. That said, hanging pot racks are a brilliant way to save counter/cabinet space. Considering the area above your kitchen bar or island is wasted anyway, put up an attractive pot rack and hang away. These can also be incorporated into walls around the stove or any other seemingly wasted space throughout the kitchen. The only caution here is you kind of need to have decent quality pots and pans and they need to be clean. Rusty pans with flaking non-stick surfaces will likely be an eyesore and (more likely) encourage your guests to suggest ordering pizza!

I don’t know if you are the same way, but every time we eat out at a restaurant our first choice is always to sit in a booth. Many folks have incorporated these into their kitchens especially those who have families and / or small children. It’s a great way to keep everyone corralled at dinnertime and allows for more seating when friends visit with just a little squishing.

These bench seats (or “banquets” as I’m told they are called) are another fantastic place for storage. If you are building your own you can incorporate drawers into the bottom and the sides for a myriad of storage options. Depending on how creative or industrious you want to get, you could even reverse engineer the ones you have in place to add some storage to them. I think we all have those items in the kitchen that we only use (after searching for an hour) when we have company or for other special occasions. Consider those items for these less accessible storage locations. You certainly don’t want to have to dig past four hungry teenagers every time you need a cookie sheet!

“I think a home’s storage is one of those top five factors buyers scrutinize when evaluating a home,” notes Badger Realty agent, Deirdre Lorway. She continued, “Kitchen storage is paramount on that list as well. The buyers need to know there will be a place for all of the tools they use when creating everything from a cup of coffee to Thanksgiving dinner.”

Deirdre is right on that storage notion. Throughout the home, storage is important in nearly every room. The kitchen takes the cake though (see what I did there?). Look around your kitchen (and other rooms) this weekend and come up with at least one creative way to store something that will free up space, make you more organized and tidy up the area a bit. You will appreciate the extra space and work room on the counters for sure. Now if you can just remember where you stored it!


Trividia Manufacturing Solutions has job opening at all levels

By Edith Tucker

The Berlin Sun

LANCASTER — Three key players in Trividia’s leadership team at its upgraded manufacturing plant on Bridge Street emphasized that opportunities abound for workers to secure jobs at all levels.

“We have 82 employees — 68 full-time and 14 part-time or per diem,” explained Human Resources Specialist Anne Paquin in an Aug. 8 interview. “We have two full shifts: a regular 40-hour, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., five-day a week one, plus a 40-hour, 3:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., 10-hour-shift Monday-to-Thursday, that includes a night differential. A four-day work day means less travel if you drive a distance, such as from Berlin-Gorham.”

“The job categories divide more or less into thirds: production, support positions and administration and management. We’ve recruited professional people from Chicago as well as Ohio.

“Production workers have a clean environment in which to work with steady employment and almost always a chance to learn more,” Paquin explained. “It would take five years to learn all the machinery here; you have to be a problem-solver — able to take machines apart and to make repairs and adjustments.

Trividia, which ran as P.J. Noyes for close to 150 years, is owned by a Chinese corporation — Sinocare, Inc. of Changsha, China — that is investing capital to form a true American-Chinese partnership. Our international salesmen are in Florida, and we’re selling American products in China, Singapore and South Korea.

“Trividia has the plus of still having the feel of a small privately owned company, as in the past; but we all interact with everybody here,” Paquin continued. “We offer stable, 40-hours-a-week work and make American-made products. We’d like to get the word out into Coos that we offer consistently good work.

“Production is hard work, requiring workers to be on their feet eight hours a day,” conceded Dennis Wogaman, senior director of operations. “There’s paper work and documentation to complete, that calls for math and computer skills. Production workers here have the challenge of doing their own set-ups. These jobs, however, are interesting and rewarding enough that 48 percent of our employees have been here 15 years or longer.

Trividia Manufacturing Solutions makes lotions, creams, liquids, gels, tablets and capsules and puts them in jars, bottles, pouches and tubes, Sales and Marketing Supervisor Jane Penney Legere explained. “We’re a state-of-the-art contract manufacturer of over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, homeopathics, cosmetics, animal feed “pet-vet” supplements and energy shots and plus medical device. “We ship 2 million bottles of Vitamin E oil a year that’s made on our newest and most automated line.

“We’re a highly regulated industry by the Federal Drug Administration,” Wogaman added. “Just this week we’ve had a three-day visit from an FDA inspector. Inquiries from customers and potential costumers come in to us; we don’t make calls. We’re all about customer service.”

Sinocare’s access to capital has also allowed Trividia to install a brand-new state-of-the-art, quality-testing lab, to replace the warehouse roof, to continue to develop its second building on Main Street behind MOM’s powersports, formerly P.J. Spaulding.

“We’re looking to attract workers — professional, technical and production — who want a career based on 40-hours of work each week,” said Paquin (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..) Legere, Wogaman and she all agree that when most Coos mills making pulp, paper and furniture were shuttered in the early part of this century and workers had to scramble to survive financially, the majority in the younger generation had to adapt to making a living from part-time, seasonal and on-again-off-again hospitality jobs.

“There are now full-time jobs here at Trividia, and we’d like to show those thinking of making a change what we have to offer, whether they’re looking for their first full-time job or are considering transitioning to full-time work.”

Trividia has a number of aspirational statements posted on bulletin boards. Most notable were these two: “1) We foster an environment which inspires innovation and personal growth; and 2) We are dedicated to our craft and sparked by a passion to do more and be more for our customers.”


Megan Nile joins Badger Realty as newest agent

Badger Realty would like to introduce its newest broker and agent, Megan Nile.

Nile has lived in the Whitefield area all of her life. She has always had an interest in real estate and got her license in 2000, when she joined her mother at the family real estate office, Presidential Properties, where she obtained her broker’s license in 2007. She worked there until the office closed in 2013.

She then partnered with her mother and opened a consignment shop, but kept an active real estate license because she never felt like she was done with that part of her life.

Now in 2017, she is going back to real estate full time, joining Badger Realty North and is happy to be returning to her passion. She finds it especially gratifying working with first time home buyers.

When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children. They find themselves exploring all day by the river, collecting cool rocks together and appreciating the beauty and peacefulness of this little corner of New Hampshire.

Megan Nile can be reached at (603) 259-6993 as well as at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and on Facebook.

Megan NileMegan Nile is newest agent at Badger Reality. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Attorney Andrew Dean joins Cooper Cargill Chant


CONWAY — Cooper Cargill Chant is pleased to announce that Attorney Andrew Dean has joined the firm. Andy has spent the past decade practicing commercial law with Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo in Boston, where he concentrated his practice in real estate acquisition, disposition, leasing, development and financing.

He has represented national and regional businesses in sophisticated commercial transactions. While in Boston, Deany was recognized by Massachusetts SuperLawyers as a Rising Star — Real Estate (2013-16).

Dean is a graduate of George Washington University and the University of Connecticut School of Law. He lives in Kearsarge with his wife, Jessica, and their two children.

Eager to join the Mount Washington Valley community, Dean is already a member of the Board of the Mount Washington Valley Housing Coalition.

Cooper Cargill Chant partner Ken Cargill is pleased to welcome Dean: "He brings a wealth of solid, practical experience as a commercial attorney. We are thrilled to have him at our firm."

Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm north of the lakes region in New Hampshire. The firm's attorneys are recognized leaders of the New Hampshire Bar Association, have chaired the Boards of the New Hampshire Bar Association, the New Hampshire Association for Justice, and the New Hampshire Bar Foundation. Lawyers have won numerous awards for their representation of clients throughout New Hampshire, including awards for legal service to the poor, for work in domestic violence cases, in helping form and develop businesses, and in personal injury work.

With offices in North Conway and Berlin, Cooper Cargill Chant is counsel to hundreds of small businesses and associations, and thousands of individual clients throughout northern NH and western Maine.

For more information on Andrew Dean and Cooper Cargill Chant, call (603) 356-5439 or go to coopercargillchant.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/coopercargillchant.

Dean 2Ken Cargill (left) and Andy Dean. (COUNTRYPOLITAN STUDIOS PHOTO)