Quebec Businessman Chooses Littleton to Launch New Company

A Quebec businessman chose northern New Hampshire to launch his new company, which he expects to grow over the next few years to include up to 50 employees.

Steve Malenfant, CEO and founder of Groupe Industriel Interprovincial Inc. of Magog, QC, led the ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 26 for his new venture, Inter USA Industrial Group, in Littleton.

The company offers a service, providing teams trained for industrial equipment installation, planned machine maintenance, relocation, re-shoring and outage/shutdown services to a variety of industries such as pulp and paper; wood processing; rubber and plastics; steel and metal; food processing and more.

The company’s success is based on its mission of helping clients and the guiding principle of building the trust that is essential between the client’s in-house teams and the teams from Inter USA.

Inter USA’s employees go through a thorough technical program before working on job sites, said Malenfont, “to make sure our employees are the best millwrights available and that they are skilled at developing strong relationships with our client’s in-house teams.

Founded in 2003, its Quebec counterpart employs more than 140 employees, and the long term plan for the new U.S.-based company is to hire and train between 25 and 50 employees in Littleton, most of them millwrights, engineering technicians and welders.

“We chose northern New Hampshire because we know that labor is available and because of the close proximity to sawmills, pulp and paper, steel and metal fabricators,” said Malenfant. “We will hire locally and pair the U.S. employees with experienced Quebec millwrights from our head office until they are trained and have integrated the Inter USA business model. We will train them so that they can take over and start doing jobs quickly in New England.”

Beno Lamontagne and Michael Bergeron of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs first connected with the company at a dinner in Quebec hosted by the state Division of Economic Development several years ago. Over that time, they worked with Malenfant to help him with the process of searching for a location, obtaining visas, hiring employees and incorporating the business.

 

Cutline: Pierre Harvey of Harvey International, left, with Steve Malenfant, founder and CEO, Inter USA Industrial Group. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Sununu, state officials promote fall tourism

By Edith Tucker
The Berlin Sun

CONCORD — Tourism is the state’s second largest tax revenue generator, and fall draws the second largest number of visitors among the state’s four distinct seasons.

Standing in bright sunshine at a podium labeled “Live Free,” Gov. Chris Sununu touted the state’s autumn season on Thursday in front of the granite State House steps where corn stalks and hay bales, plus colorful pumpkins, chrysanthemums, apples and peaches were artfully displayed.

Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the newly created state Department of Business and Economic Affairs, joined Sununu, along with Amy Bassett, deputy director of the state Division of Travel and Tourism Development, and Agriculture Commissioner Lorraine Merrill, now completing her final three months in office. All four discussed the importance and the impact of tourism on New Hampshire’s economy.

The Granite State’s beauty is unmatched, the governor said, pointing out that he had attended the four-day Deerfield Fair. “Fall tourism statistics on average have stays of 2.6 nights and number 3.2 people — however that works — and on-average spending of $803 per trip,” said Sununu. Gas prices are low now, he said.

Caswell, a Littleton native, reported that tourism has been strong across the state, with the 9 percent rooms and meals tax up by 5 percent in Fiscal Year 2017 and strong road toll collections in the second half of the summer. New Hampshire’s natural landscapes draw people here and some people decide to move here to make a living, he said.

“Coming off a summer of limitless adventures, our fall marketing campaign is based on the same theme,” explained Bassett, a Franconia native. “The campaign highlights the pick-your-own experience, scenic drives, and outdoor adventure. The fall effort targets millennials all the way through boomers and beyond who are interested in exploring the great outdoors and autumn scenery. The department’s focus is in the Boston, New York, Montreal and Toronto markets.

“The campaign uses digital media outlets and a variety of social channels to deliver the ‘limitless’ message, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and our own Live Free with Kris blog.

“The goal is to position New Hampshire as a premiere year-round vacation destination and to drive potential visitors to our website visitnh.gov. In fact, VisitNH.gov’s summer site was recognized by Skift, the travel industry’s largest intelligence platform, as one of the top 25 tourism board websites in the world. The website was highlighted for its captivating photos and video as well as its trip inspiration generator function.

“For fall on visitnh.gov we launched a more interactive foliage tracker that enables visitors to get current reports, be inspired with photo op locations, discover scenic drives and view Instagram images by region,” Bassett explained. “New Hampshire delivers limitless adventure, limitless color and limitless memories — like no other state.”

Merrill thanked Carter Hall Orchard for generously providing apples, donuts, cider, and other seasonal treats from its pick-your-own farm. Apple and pumpkin picking plus corn mazes and hay rides have grown exponentially in the last 15 or 20 years, the dairy farmer said. She said, “Agritourism on working farms has added some $3.8 million to farmers’ income in recent years,” she said.

Sununu concluded the promotion by saying that nowhere on the planet is there a better place than New Hampshire for families, friends and couples to come than to the state’s welcoming farms to enjoy what they and the whole state has to offer.

 

New company rehabilating rental properties in Berlin

BERLIN — An open house last Thursday for a newly renovated six-unit apartment building at 225 Blanchard St. marked the first rehabilitation project for NEMSI Properties.

But Company President Mark Cohenno said he expects it will be the first of many properties NEMSI will rehabilitate and convert into rental units. He said NEMSI now owns four or five buildings in Berlin.

“I believe in this town,” said Cohenno.

Based in Carver, Mass., Cohenno said his director of business development Vicky McMorrow introduced him to Berlin, McMorrow and her husband had come to Berlin to ride their ATVs and she persuade him to join them one weekend. He loved it and loved that the city allows ATVs to ride on city streets. He purchased a house as a second home for him to stay when ATVing here.

The head of National EMS Institute, an EMS training school with seven locations throughout Massachusetts, Cohenno said he has always been interested in real estate. With the help of Exit Realty, McMorrow said they looked at property values in the city. Finding property values very reasonable and believing that motorized recreation is still in the early stages here, he formed a capital investment group, NEMSI Properties, to rehabilitate rental properties.

The plan is to invest in luxury rentals and the Blanchard Street apartments are an example. The building has been renovated from top to bottom. The six two-bedroom apartments have new kitchens with stainless steel appliances, new flooring and custom-tiled showers with water jet inserts. Cohenno said rental fees for the apartments start at $900 a month. Rentals are on both monthly or yearly basis.

The company has set up an office in another building it owns — the former Coloumbe Real Estate office — at 181 Cole St.

Jason Robie: Getting your home ready for showing

Don’t kid yourself. If you think I’m crazy enough to write an article about what women want, you must think I either (a) have a death wish, or (b) don’t want my job writing this article anymore. The truth is I thoroughly enjoyed that movie with Mel Gibson back in 2000. I believe that any guy would love to have that power if only for a few days. But what about today’s sellers? I know there are a ton of agents out there who would love to educate their buyers on a few things. None of these are earth-shattering revelations, but most are tough to hear, easy to fix and a little dose of reality. All of them are things I believe most sellers would want you to know as well. Let’s dig in.

As most of you know by now I can’t stand clutter. Your agent will agree with me on this one and would love to encourage you to get rid of some (lots) of your “stuff.” The basic rule of selling a home is to allow the buyers to see it as their own. Your family pictures, electric bills, unread copies of the Sun and other clutter lying around are going to hurt that process immensely. You don’t necessarily need to pay the money to have your home professionally staged, but a tattoo of “erom si ssel” on your forehead is a step in the right direction, even if it’s only a temporary one. (Did you figure that out yet?)

While we’re being honest with one another, I would encourage you to stop hiding things from your agent. Now, there are laws surrounding “material defects” and other malicious deceit, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. In general it is always a good idea to let your agent know about all the “issues” with your home right up front. If the air conditioner is long past its usable lifespan, the dishwasher doesn’t clean plates any better than your Labrador, or your basement takes on water like the titanic, let your agent know. Putting yourself in the shoes of the buyer, you would feel much better about the sale (and the seller) if you knew about these things up front and could plan for them in the future. Honesty really is the best policy.

Right along that train of thought, why don’t you go ahead and take care of a few of those items so you have less to disclose to your agent! The goofball that built our house did some really “creative” things with the electrical work. For example, the GFI outlet in our master bathroom (on the 3rd floor) is connected to the outlet in the front of the house (on the basement level). This outlet (and its touchy breaker) also controls the floodlights in the front of the house. So when that thing triggers, a slew of outlets and lights across the whole house stop working. This is an example of one of those things sellers should fix before listing the house. The buyers will inevitably learn about them sooner or later, and if they happen to “fail” during a showing, you look dishonest and as though you were hiding something (because you were). The obvious next question is: What else are you hiding?

“Disclosure at the outset of a listing agreement is always the path of least resistance and trouble,” notes Badger Realty agent, Jerry Hamanne. “Having all the information up front allows the agent and the seller to have more open and honest communication about the home, the ideal seller and the listing price,” he continued. Just like you would want to know the full history of a used car you are interested in, the buyers would certainly love to know all of the pertinent history of your house before they make an offer. Treat your buyers (and your agent) as you would like to be treated were the shoe on the other foot.

Moving on. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, right? OK, that might be a bit of a stretch, but a clean home goes a long way to keep buyers’ eyes on the prize. Unless the home is vacant (and has been for a long time) dust bunnies, filthy bathroom fixtures and even dirty dishes in the sink are all huge turn-offs for buyers. If you can’t manage to clean your home before a showing, which is entirely understandable for those of us with crazy schedules right now, hire someone to clean it for you. Your agent will be grateful, the buyers will be much less distracted, and you can have the peace of mind that a couple of folks in town don’t know what a “Messy Marvin” you really are! (Your secret is safe with me.)

Lastly, don’t ever forget the fact that the sale of your home is a team effort. This may vary a bit with a vacation home if you don’t live in the area, but even then you can make a trip to the home and handle a few of these tips in a weekend. For the folks who are selling a home they live in, you have to be part of the process and help out your agent in any way you can. A quality real estate professional will handle the marketing of your home and ensure that it is published on every available real estate platform. But the other pieces of the puzzle, including those mentioned above, are better done with a group mentality. If you have to hire a cleaner or even a staging professional to make your home shine for those potential buyers, do it.

Keeping your home clean and clutter-free, finding someone to watch your pets during showings, and more importantly, making sure you are nowhere to be seen during the showing are all steps you can take to speed along the sale of your home and help your agent do his or her job. Take a cruise around your home today and target the things that need to be fixed, cleaned or replaced. Start picking off that list one-by-one, and the tasks will seem like less of a burden. You may not know exactly what your buyers want, but the above suggestions might encourage them to think that what they want is your home!