Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 19:21
Written by Barbara Tetreault
Lee Coulombe was an Air Force veteran and had owned and operated a photography studio, a bank, and the first Dunkin Donuts in Coos County. He had also worked as a correspondent and photographer for
both major wire services and for a while owned his own newspaper. Ramsey said Coulombe decided to go into the real estate business after buying a couple of apartment buildings. At that time, getting a real estate license involved traveling to the University of New Hampshire in Durham to take the necessary courses.
Coulombe started the Berlin Travel Bureau with Paul Lessard. His wife Dawn initially served as secretary but within a few years, she also became a licensed agent.
"Lee loved a challenge," said associate broker Roland Turgeon, who has been with the firm for 29 years.
Dawn Coulombe said the early years building the business were fun with fewer rules and regulations and less red tape. For example, a purchase and sales agreement was a one-page document compared to the five pages
required today. Turgeon said most of the business then was local buyers dealing with local financing.
In the 1980s, recognizing a need for new homes, Coulombe teamed with Dave Lauze to create Grand View Meadows housing development on Cates Hill. The high-end housing complex is still some of the city's most desirable real estate.
It would be about 20 years before the city saw another major housing development. Coulombe Real Estate is the selling agent for Riverside Heights – the new energy efficient manufactured home park on Riverside Drive.
The firm's single largest project was working with Rite Aid Corporation in 1997 to acquire the block of six downtown buildings that the chain planned to turn into a new drugstore.
Coulombe Real Estate has also worked with a number of other businesses including Bond Auto, Walmart, Top Furniture, and Gorham Subway.
But while the big commissions are appreciated, the agents say the best part of the job is the relationships they develop with the customers and the satisfaction of helping someone achieve their dream.
"When you find something a buyer gets really excited about that's the fun part," Ramsey said.
Turgeon said it is hard to describe the feeling of helping an 87-year old man buy his first home after decades living in a mobile home.
The members of the firm say they strive to carry on the sense of community and caring that Lee Coulombe brought to the business. Randy Stiles said Coulombe purchased stacks and stacks of cards and
any occasion, from the death of a loved one to an anniversary, would bring a handwritten card from him. Agent Don Lapointe said even on vacation, Coulombe would check in regularly with the home office.
Dawn Coulombe said her husband loved when kids would stop at the firm selling items. She said he would always make a point of sitting down and talking to the kid and then making a purchase.
Debra Davis, the newest member of the firm, said she decided to join three years ago because of the family atmosphere that exists.
"Everybody just works together so nicely," she said.
Ramsey said he remains optimistic about the future of the region and the firm. He said there are new people moving to the area with the opening of the federal prison. The Gorham Paper and Tissue mill has added a new tissue machine and the biomass plant will be operating this fall. And at three percent, interest rates are at an all-time
low, making it an attractive market for buyers.
Ramsay said he is also looking to expand his staff, seeking to recruit people interested in being self-employed and working a flexible schedule.
To commemorate Coulombe Real Estate's 40 years in business, the company is making donations to 40 local non-profit organizations. The firm is also hosting a Business After Hours from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 18:35
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Last Updated on Monday, 28 January 2013 18:08
Written by Barbara Tetreault
by Gail Scott
GORHAM—With a grant from the Tillotson Foundation and sponsor and advertiser revenue totaling $10,750 in matchable funds, the Gorham Development Committee is moving ahead in the preparation of an area-wide tourism brochure.
The committee met earlier this month at the Gorham Public Library and considered a letter that was expected to be sent to area businesses immediately, describing the brochure.
The goal for the brochure is to have a free listing for all businesses in Gorham, Berlin, Jefferson, Randolph, Shelburne, Dummer and Milan and to offer expanded listings for $35, plus ads for those businesses that would like an even greater exposure in the brochure.
The brochure will be distributed in potential markets for the hospitality options and many attractions offered in this area. It will feature the region as a lively destination for families and those who love the kinds of pristine outdoor opportunities that exist in the North Country.
The cover and sections inside the brochure will depict those varied opportunities. The committee came up with a long list of pictures it will seek in the next few weeks as it prepares the design of the brochure. Among other things mentioned at the meeting that could be featured on the cover and inside in photo images were skiing, ATVing, snowmobiling, river rafting, sled dog driving, family camping, hiking, canoeing/kayaking, Shelburne's Old Man of the Valley, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, moose touring, natural sights such as Glen Ellis Falls, swimming (at the spring-fed LIbby pool), bicycling, small town events such as Gorham's Fourth of July and Milan's Old Home Days, Berlin's farmers market, antique and boutique shops, fishing, eagle sighting, Gorham's train exhibit, the Gorham Common playground/tennis/basketball courts, summer band concerts, Gorham's town hall theater, Six Gun City and Santa's Village.
According to materials available at the meeting, ads in the brochure are expected to be priced as follows: $160 for an eighth of a page (1.8 inches wide by 1.91 inches deep), $290 for a fourth page ad (3.35 inches wide by 3.2 inches deep), a half panel ad for $525 (3.35 wide by 4 inches deep), a full panel ad at $945 (3.35 inches wide and 8 inches deep), or the inside back cover at $1580 (eight by nine inch trim size). Moriah Design can prepare an ad set-up at a flat rate of $75.
Feb. 1 is the expected deadline for reservation, payment and ad material.
Makaitis can also be reached at 781-367-4449. Committee co-chair
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 January 2013 23:53