The Buzz: New restaurants and a new deal for a Bates entrepreneur

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This week in the Buzz: A Bates senior is growing his chilly business, a new art/manufacturing lecture series and new restaurants for Lewiston … eventually.

Mitch Newlin’s Re-Fridge has struck a deal with Goodwill Industries of Northern New England to buy its unwanted mini-fridges and, Newlin hopes, find them good college homes.

Re-Fridge is on 25 college campuses. Newlin buys used, unwanted fridges from students leaving school in May, fixes or cleans them up and sells them to incoming college students in the fall, undercutting big-box store prices.

Goodwill doesn’t officially take in refrigerators, Newlin said.

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“They suggested it was a problem for them (and) we can help solve one of their problems, it’s awesome,” he said.

Newlin will buy them at a flat fee from Goodwill and hopes that most can be cleaned and resold.

“We’ve agreed to take the risk,” he said. “Any that don’t work, that’s on us.” 

He expects it’ll add a few hundred fridges to his inventory in a year.

The place is here

Missed Mike Rancourt of Rancourt & Co. Shoecrafters last week in L/A Arts’ inaugural “A Place for Makers” series?

More makers are coming.

The series of discussions that highlight arts and economic development and the future of arts-related manufacturing here kicked off last Wednesday.

Jess Lauren Lipton, L/A Arts’ program and event coordinator, said more evenings have been lined up with an additional one or two to follow:

• Thos. Moser CEO Aaron Moser, “Value of Producing Artisan Products,” at Thos. Moser, April 26;

• American Roots founder and co-owner Ben Waxman, “New Mainer Populations as a Key to Restoring Manufacturing to the Region,” at Munka, May 10; and

• L.L.Bean innovation specialist Chad Leeder, “Innovation, Experimentation, and Business Development Support,” at Rinck Advertising, May 17.

Waxman’s Portland-based clothes company works a lot with the immigrant community.

“It’s a model that we think would work in Lewiston,” Lipton said. That talk will be about “how their business has grown and how they’ve done things interacting with the immigrant and New Mainer community in Portland and how it could be scale-able to Lewiston-Auburn.”

Coming soon

Xin’s Restaurant is moving into the former Edward’s Restaurant space by Marden’s.

Owner Xin Di Lee said she’s working to get 760 Main St. ready and hopes to open in a month or two. The Chinese restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It’s Lee’s second restaurant venture. She said she used to own China Wok in Auburn.

Coming after?

As of last week, C&J Buddha Asian Bistro, the new restaurant headed into the former Tim Hortons on Sabattus Street in Lewiston, has new signs but hasn’t yet received city permits to open, according to city staff.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or kskelton@sunjournal.com.

Mitch Newlin, the founder of Re-Fridge and a senior at Bates College in Lewiston, signed a deal this month to buy donated refrigerators from Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, getting used fridges off their hands and, he hopes, growing his business.

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