One year later, Gorham Corner Market owners continue improvements

By Edith Tucker
The Berlin Sun

GORHAM — In a little over a year, Christina “Tina” and Allen Binette have signed up 31 local product vendors to the Gorham Corner Market at the corner of Routes 16 and 2.

“We have local area owners providing local products from certified kitchens, vegetable gardens and workshops, such as Scarinza’s Sugarhouse, Mount Cabot Maple, Six Acre Farm, Stonefish Bakery, Saladino’s, Sister’s Candy Shop, Corrigan Screen Printing and Swain Family and Middle Intervale Farms,” Allen explained.

“When we bought the place from 35-plus-year-owner Moe Champoux, Tina was going to run it day-to-day, and I planned to stay on as general sales manager at Berlin City, where worked for 24 years, six days a week. I was only going to help out when needed.

“Now we’ve reversed roles: Tina accepted the post of elementary principal at the Ed Fenn School, so she’s the one working outside the store, and I’m the one who’s in charge day-to-day,” Allen said. “Tina has a really great marketing eye, and she checks out the inventory on Sunday nights and places our vendor orders.

“We’ve added a variety of specialty cheeses, wines, and high-end crackers, and we built a brand-new 10- by 12-foot kitchen where we prepare seasonal food: pizza, hot dogs, cold sandwiches and chicken fingers; plus soup, American chop suey and Chinese pie (corn, ground beef and potatoes).

“We plan to add an office this coming year plus space for more coolers and freezers,” he said. “We’ve replaced the roof and brightened the color scheme. We’re aiming to carry a wide variety of products and not just what all the name-brand chains do: beer, cigarettes and gasoline.”

“We’ve added a new roof and plan to install new lighting."

Allen pointed out that it’s truly taken a village to make the Gorham Corner Market such a great success.

“Ron Dagesse, who now owns both the Mount Madison Inn & Suites and the Top Notch Inn on Main Street, regularly sends business our way,” he said. “We have some 20 businesses here in town that are vacant; we very much want to succeed collectively.

“Friday, Aug. 5, the first day of the ATV Festival, was the biggest day since we bought the store on July 15, 2016,” Allen continued. “We’re pretty excited; even though it’s a lot of work.

“Our sons — Tyler a senior at Keene State, and Brady, a junior — are working here this summer,” he said. “We going to install a new floor, new shelving, new lighting and continue to improve the Market’s appearance. We want to thank everyone for all their support.”

The couple will celebrate their 25th anniversary this coming year.

As part of this very busy year, they sold their houses in both Randolph and Maidstone, Vt., and bought Tina’s mother’s house in Gorham, making it possible for this new principal to walk to work. She is already making plans to earn a doctorate in education.

 

Jason Robie: Undoing the ugly

We’ve all see the billboards screaming “We Buy Ugly Houses.” For the sellers in the crowd, today’s lesson is about ignoring those billboards and focusing on making your home the opposite of ugly.

The first home I purchased was a bit on the ugly side, but in that case it was exactly what I was looking for. For some buyers, the lack of attention to the home’s aesthetics can be an attraction. Many buyers are looking for a fixer-upper and the sellers don’t need to do anything to attract them. For the rest of the buyers in the market, this is a big mistake. Let’s look at some of the more obvious areas that you can ensure that your potential buyers won’t do a 180 the second they walk through the front door.

First impressions are key to the buyer’s initial “feel” for the home. Once they cross that threshold, if the first thing they see is the wallpaper from the late '60s, chances are you have already lost them. If you (or they) have ever gone through the process of removing that wallpaper, you know the exhausting process that is in your future. Buyers will also likely see that as a big turn-off and have noted that in their attraction to the home, the amount they are willing to offer and the potential future headache.

As we have noted multiple times before, as a buyer your job is to remove any possible roadblocks towards getting to the closing table. Big repairs are an obvious no-no, but wallpaper should not fall into that category. There are lots of projects that take loads of time and money and most real estate professionals will dissuade you from tackling them before listing the home. Anything that could cost you money and add a significant “taste” to the home should be avoided. In the case of wallpaper, take the time to remove it and replace it with a nice, neutral-color paint. This eliminates that initial shock for the buyers and allows them to “see” the home with their own tastes much more easily.

The next most obvious “gotcha” is the kitchen cabinets. While replacing them is most certainly a big undertaking and expense, you can paint them, replace the hardware or even replace the doors. This allows for a neutral re-facing of the kitchen and is a lot easier on the wallet. It also gives the look of an updated kitchen which we all know helps to sell the home. Take the time to be sure your kitchen is modernized and the buyers will more likely pass right through without a glance.

We mentioned replacing the wallpaper with a neutral color and this goes for those funky colors you may have added to indulge your teenagers while they were growing up. It’s OK to indulge your creative fancies while you are living in the home, and I always actually encourage getting a little wild when you are painting a room or hallway. But if you are heading down the road of selling, get the paintbrushes out and tone down your funk. Your real estate agent will thank you and your buyers will again pass right through without a comment.

Whether you are aware of it or not, your home smells. No, not necessarily in a bad way but we do all have our own distinct “brand.” Add pets or kitchen “hiccups” to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster. Invite a friend over after you have had the house closed up for a day or two and implore them to be brutally honest with you about their first “nasal” impressions. It is much easier hearing this from a friend than learning, after a dozen showings, that the smell of your home is turning folks away.

“Masking smells with cookies or candles is typically a sign of trouble for our more educated and experienced buyers,” notes Badger Realty agent, Debi Davis. She continued, “I always educate my buyers on strategies to eliminate those odors rather than masking them to ensure the home is fresh. As we head into the cooler months, open windows are no longer going to be an option.”

Right along the same lines as wallpaper and funky colored paint is the carpet. If your floors have seen better days and no amount of carpet cleaner is going to do the trick, talk to a professional about the most popular options for flooring and see if it fits the budget. Again, you don’t want to install something that the buyers are simply going to want to remove, but you can put down something that won’t break the bank and will satisfy the buyers for the first months or years they own the home.

Lastly, take a hard look at your light fixtures throughout the home. These are another of those options that are easy to replace, won’t break the bank and will make a world of difference during those showings. The presence of outdated fixtures is another of those turn-offs for buyers that are easily avoided. You can swap them out in a weekend and enjoy the updated look for as long as you live in the home. If you are careful with how much you spend, the buyers will also not feel so bad about replacing them when they move in.

Removing roadblocks for buyers is your No. 1 priority when selling a home. You are certainly not trying to be sneaky and “mask” the issues with the home. You are simply doing some relatively quick and easy updates that will help the buyers feel at home and avoid any conversations about contingencies and money-back at closing because you were being lazy. Get you home in the best shape you can and go easy on the wallet. You’ll find the whole process will be easier on you, your agent and the buyers.

 

New, Convenient two-Way Texting Option Now Available for Eversource Customers

Eversource customers can now report a power outage and get updates on that outage through text messages, thanks to the energy company's latest two-way text option.

"We are always working to enhance the ways we interact with our customers and want to make it as easy as possible for them to reach us," said Eversource Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Penni Conner. "Many people rely on text messages for updates from family, friends and others, so giving our customers the option to get updates on their energy service is a natural fit. We're encouraged by the positive response so far — with hundreds of people signing up each week in the short time since we launched this new service."

"It was fast and easy," said Eversource customer Frank Summa. "Texting is usually how I connect with people, so for me this was great. It's much easier than getting on the phone or logging onto the computer to report my outage."

Customers who want to take advantage of this convenient two-way texting option must first register their mobile device online at Eversource.com, or directly from their mobile phone by texting "REG" to 23129. Once registered, Eversource recommends customers add the outage text number to their contacts for quick access. Then, it's easy — text "OUT" to that number when the power goes out and "STAT" to that number for updates.

Customers who already receive outage alerts from Eversource via text will automatically be enrolled in the new two-way texting feature. As always, customers can also report outages online or by calling 1-800-662-7764. To learn more about outage alerts and text reporting, visit Eversource.com.

Eversource  is New Hampshire's largest electric utility, serving more than 500,000 homes and businesses in 211 cities and towns. For more information, visit the website www.eversource.com.

 

Citizens Bank and New Hampshire Union Leader now accepting applications for Champions in Action program

Citizens Bank and the New Hampshire Union Leader are now accepting applications for the first Champions in Action of 2018, this time in the community arts category. The Champions in Action program provides financial, volunteer and public relations support to local nonprofits.

Nonprofit organizations focused on solving a social need through community-based artistic activity in the community are invited to apply for the Champions award to be announced in January 2018. Applications can be completed online at www.citizensbank.com/community/champions and must be submitted by Aug. 18, at midnight EDT.

Champions in Action is part of Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities, the bank’s program designed to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in local communities. It provides support for small nonprofit organizations to recognize their contributions to communities throughout New Hampshire.

The selected Champion in Action will receive:

• A $35,000 contribution in unrestricted funds from Citizens Bank.
• Media coverage from the New Hampshire Union Leader, including advertising and editorial support.
• Volunteer support from Citizens and New Hampshire Union Leader colleagues during the nonprofit’s programs.
• The opportunity for the organization’s executive director to participate in a “executive-to-executive” mentorship with a Citizens Bank executive.
• Promotional support highlighting the Champion in Action in Citizens Bank branches.
• Exposure on the Citizens Bank and New Hampshire Union Leader websites.

To be eligible for consideration, an organization must:

• Be a New Hampshire-based nonprofit organization that serves New Hampshire and addresses the designated social concern.
• Provide verification of tax-exempt status under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.
• Have a total operating budget of $5 million or less.

Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities is part of the bank’s broader Citizens Helping Citizens program addressing four key areas: hunger, strengthening communities, financial education and volunteerism. Get more information about Citizens Bank’s community initiatives online.