The Buzz: Auburn Kmart lives — the store isn’t on the nationwide chopping block

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KMart in Auburn has escaped another round of closing. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

This week the Buzz is starting off on a positive negative note.

Or a negative positive note?

Either way, the Auburn Kmart isn’t closing, which seems like good news.

USA Today published a full list of Sears and Kmart closings late Thursday that doesn’t include the Auburn store, but does include the Bangor Mall Sears.

Corporate parent Sears Holdings is closing 103 stores nationwide between March and April.

At least locally, the Blue Light Specials will go on.

Opening a business in 2018?

The Gray-New Gloucester Development Corp. is looking for its next Grow GNG winner.

The three-phase competition is designed to encourage businesses to open in or expand to the two towns. Last year’s winner, Empower Chiropractic and Acupuncture, received a $10,000 forgivable loan and $7,000 in in-kind business help such as free rent and legal advice. The loan will be forgiven after hitting contest criteria for three years.

President Tracy Scheckel said Phase 1, a basic application, is due by March 1. Phase 2 requires an in-depth business plan, with a SCORE volunteer available to help.

A panel of judges winnows the pack to Phase 3, “what I call a friendly ‘Shark Tank,'” Scheckel said.

The winner will be named in late June and the business has to open by Sept. 19.

In 2017, the first year of Grow GNG, more than half a dozen businesses started the competition. Three squared off at the finals.

“This is a pretty easy way for us to encourage new businesses to come here,” Scheckel said.

She’s hoping to see it continue and grow.

For contest guidelines and details to go gngdc.com

From classes to croissants

Adam and Kelly Johnson of Lewiston have bought the well-known European Bakery and Tea Room in Falmouth.

In an interview with The Forecaster this week, Adam Johnson said his wife was diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago. A healthy one-year checkup led to talk about how short life can be.

He’d been a high school teacher and wanted a career change. The bakery opportunity came along this summer.

He’s spent the past three months there learning the ropes.

“It’s been exciting when I wake up in the morning,” he said Friday. “It’s a new change, a new challenge.”

The bakery, which makes cookies, cakes, breads, tortes, tarts and all manner of pastries, reopens Monday after a two-week holiday break.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or [email protected]

(Google Street View image)

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