This week in the Buzz: Sad news for Avant-Garde paint bar, good news for Saddleback ski resort, uncertain news for employers (and employees) and have no fear — Wal-Mart’s gas station is coming back.

Back in August, attorney Michael Malloy of The Malloy Firm in Auburn gave chamber members a primer on why they ought to be paying attention to the new federal overtime rules coming in December.

After those were temporarily blocked this week, he said there’s still reason to pay attention, even if employers and nonprofits are feeling a bit of (perhaps temporary) relief.

“It gives them more time to prepare and to wait and see what the new administration is going to do,” Malloy said Wednesday. On the other hand, “Employers who had already decided to boost pay and told their employees about it will have a hard time putting the genie back in the bottle.”

He spelled out more ins and outs and what’s next on his blog.

Reopening

Of all the things people line up for at the Auburn Wal-Mart on Black Friday, it won’t be for gas.

Several readers pointed out the abrupt closure of the gas station there this fall. An assistant store manager said it had been owned by an outside company.

“Wal-Mart is purchasing it and then they’re remodeling it and making it a Wal-Mart gas station,” he said. “We get calls constantly.”

There’s no word yet on a reopening date.

Closing

After thousands of customers and paintings, paint party pros Avant-Garde announced earlier this month plans to close its year-old shop at 182 Lisbon St. in Lewiston.

“In some ways, we have fallen to our own success,” owners Nichole and Corey Bouyea wrote on Facebook. “The pressures and time required to run this business have impacted our ability to spend as much time as possible together as a family. As a result, we have decided that we are ‘hanging up our aprons’ on December 23rd. As we give thanks this Thanksgiving holiday and celebrate the Christmas season, it felt like the right time for us to close this chapter and start a new one. Not an easy decision but the right one for us.”

They haven’t ruled out the possibility of another entrepreneur picking up their paint brushes and continuing the business, but in the meantime, there are six events left at the store.

“Business is good and . . . anyone interested in a purchase should contact us,” Nichole Bouyea said Wednesday. “That would be ideal since we are really just closing to spend more time with our kids.”

Reopening?

The latest news out of Saddleback is promising, according to a fundraising letter this week from Peter Stein, who is leading the effort to create the Saddleback Mountain Foundation and reopen the ski mountain.

Stein wrote that in the past month, the effort had raised $400,000 in membership sales and lined up $600,000 in matching donations. When sales hit $600,000, that match kicks in for a total of $1.2 million raised.

“We are speaking with many other potential donors and are very optimistic about finding more matching funds,” he wrote. “I have no doubt whatsoever that we will be successful in reopening Saddleback.” 

He also said Saddleback Mountain Foundation is pursuing nonprofit status and that the foundation hopes to release its business plan soon.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzz-worthy tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 207-689-2844 or [email protected]


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