Merchants in downtown Lewiston and Auburn will be handing out treats for the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s Downtown Trick or Treat 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27.

This week the Buzz is ready to be scared (for a good cause) and ready to shop and store (eventually).

First up: Mechanic Falls is getting a Hannaford.

The company announced its 63rd location on Thursday. The 20,000-square-foot grocery store at the corner of Routes 11 and 26 is slated to open in late 2018, pending local approval.

An early estimate is that it will employ about 80 people in a mix of full- and part-time jobs, according to a spokesman.

And speaking of 2018

Sabattus Street Storage at 1434 Sabattus St. in Lewiston is more than doubling in size next year.

In the spring, it will break ground on 144 storage units, a mix of climate-controlled and not, adding to the 139 non-climate controlled units already there.

“Lewiston-Auburn has huge demand,” said Facility Manager Linda Flagg. “We’re pretty much at 100 percent capacity now, and climate control is the future of self-storage.” 

The new space is going to the left of the existing building.

Flagg said they see lots of business from college students and senior citizens. 

“Lewiston-Auburn has high traffic for people moving in and out of apartments, so a lot of it’s short-term,” Flagg said. “We don’t have very many big units, but the big units are used for winter storage, typically vehicles. A lot of people store motorcycles, too, in our smaller units.”

But before winter’s grip, let’s talk about …

Things that go bump in the mill

Museum L-A is hosting its first-ever “Behind-the-Scenes Scary Mill Tours” at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20.

Groups will leave every few minutes to get a peek at parts of Bates Mill No. 1 that aren’t typically open to the public.

“We’re focusing in on the kind of eerie and gruesome aspects of the mill stories, really setting the scene,” said Kate Webber, the museum’s director of education and outreach. “I think people won’t be disappointed.”

At 8 p.m., tour-goers will converge for a performance by Buckfield actor Mike Miclon doing a dramatic reading of Stephen King’s “Graveyard Shift,” which is set in a mill.

Webber said they hope to make it an annual event.

Tickets are $15 each. It’s designed as a fundraiser for the museum’s new Kids’ Innovation Station, a hands-on learning and exploring area.

“It’s a great program that the American Textile Museum had and we’re adapting it here,” said Executive Director Rachel Desgrosseilliers.

About $5,000 is needed to renovate space, install the new exhibit and develop programming. She’s shooting for a first quarter of 2018 opening.

“It’s a way for us to be able to kind of pull things out of the kids, to show them that they still have imaginations and they can use them,” Desgrosseilliers said, “so don’t be afraid to be creative and innovative.”

Being afraid of what you discover in the mill in the dark? Perfectly OK.

Since we’re in the spirit

Mark your calendars for Friday, Oct. 27, when the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce will host a Downtown Trick or Treat event with trolley rides between the two downtowns from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The chamber will hand out maps of participating businesses at Dufresne Plaza on Lisbon Street in Lewiston and Festival Plaza on Main Street in Auburn.

It’s the first year for the trolley rides, courtesy of Northeast Charter and Tours.

From the official chamber news release: “We will also have a Zamboni parked in Dufresne Plaza along with Scrubby the mascot from Spectrum Healthcare Partners.”

Scrubby the mascot? Like, a walking set of scrubs?

So many questions, so much candy.

And, finally, speaking of health care 

Kevin Lewis, president & CEO of Community Health Options, said Thursday morning at the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce breakfast, that 2015 and 2016 were tough years for the state’s only health insurance co-op.

The non-profit has roughly 145 employees in the Bates Mill in Lewiston and the Key Bank building in Auburn. In the past 3½ years, it has made more than $1 billion in payments to providers.

Lewis said CHO is in the black in 2017. Expecting health care news to drop any day out of the Trump administration, he added that it’s an ever-changing financial and regulatory landscape.

“This is a really dynamic time and we’re all reacting as well as trying to be leaders in this arena,” Lewis said. “And we’re dedicated to reducing the total cost of care.”

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

What’ll you see in Bates Mill No. 1? Museum L-A is putting on its firs-ever “Behind-the-Scenes Scary Mill Tours” next Friday as a fundraiser for a new children’s exhibit. The tours will focus on the mill’s eerie history and will be followed by a dramatic reading of Stephen King’s “Graveyard Shift” by Buckfield actor Mike Miclon.

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