LIVERMORE FALLS — Developers Collaborative of Portland announced Friday that Bessey Designs is the winner of a storefront business contest to set up shop in the Lamb Block.
The business, now in a smaller space in town, will fill the 2,200-square-foot storefront in the historical Depot Street building.
Five applicants applied for the opportunity to pitch their business ideas and receive up to three years of free rent, among other incentives, said Kevin Bunker, owner of the Lamb Block and founding principal of Developers Collaborative.
The contest was designed to bring businesses and services to the area while supporting a new or expanding local business.
This will give Bessey Designs, a family business, an opportunity to include a retail operation. The company specializes in screen-printing, heat-transfer technology and embroidery, from concept design to delivery.
The review process involved a committee of professionals, including representatives of Coastal Enterprises, Greater Franklin Development Corp., Livermore Falls Downtown Betterment Group, HealthReach Community Healthcare and Bangor Savings Bank.
“Through the review process, one business stood out as being a good fit for this opportunity — Bessey Designs,” Bunker said.
The business will receive three years of free rent but will be responsible for utilities, sharing the cost of common space and other costs.
Bessey Designs is owned by Scott Bessey of Jay, who is president of the company. He works with his brothers, Skip, Brian and Chris, who all have a stake in the business.
The Besseys will be earning sweat-equity by doing their own renovations, Bunker said.
Lamb Block is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bunker bought the building in 2012 and renovated and restored it. His plan was to invest about $2 million in the project, including the purchase of the building. Renovations were completed in January 2013. The building also houses HealthReach’s Western Maine Family Health Center and H&R Block.
With the assistance of the Lamb Block Storefront Contest, Bessey Designs will have a stronger presence in the downtown community and will be able to expand services, offer destination shopping, employ local people and give back to the community in which they were raised and continue to live and work, Bunker said.
Scott Bessey said he was excited and looking forward to moving from a smaller space on Main Street to the larger space. He signed a five-year lease.
“It’s just going to be a better fit for us,” he said.
His company is the designer and maker of the Phoenix mascot for Spruce Mountain high and middle schools. He designed it when students from schools in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls chose to go with the name, mascot and logo in 2011, prior to the consolidation of Jay and RSU 36 schools.
The company has done a lot of work for school systems, businesses and organizations around the state.
“Our plan is to have an active sportswear clothing store,” Bessey said, though he does not know how quickly they will get it going. They will continue the other aspects of the business as well.