Workers from Carrier Lawn & Landscaping build a new, covered patio in front of Fish Bones American Grill on Lincoln Street in Lewiston Tuesday afternoon. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

This week the Buzz is busting out: A job fair, a mystery, dueling entrepreneurs and Frostys are nearly back. Pull up a seat, because now you can almost do that outdoors too …

Fish Bones American Grill to add outdoor seating

Fish Bones owner Paul Landry said the time was right — with the city of Lewiston recently taking over the canals — to offer canal-side dining at his restaurant. He’ll have about nine tables on the new patio, which is under construction. It will have the coverage of a 16- by 24-foot canopy.

One traditional parking spot and two service parking spots were taken up to create the space. A black aluminum safety fence and new shrubbery are being added.

“We’re right here on the canal, why not take advantage of it?” Landry said. “I think it’s going to really transform the space quite nicely.”

He’s hoping for a late May/early June patio opening.

Wendy’s returns

Jeff Marshall is hoping for a reopening early next week.

He is the director of operations at Restwend LLC and overseeing the massive remodeling of the Wendy’s on Center Street in Auburn.

The reopened restaurant will have less seating but more booth space, two pickup windows, bigger, newer bathrooms with baby-changing stations added and a vastly updated kitchen, he said.

“It’s called the NGK, which is ‘new-generation kitchen,'” Marshall said. “Much more energy-efficient. We use less shortening in our fryers than we used to have to, we have a double-oven instead of cooking everything in one oven. We have a dedicated potato oven and then we have an oven for the cookies and the bacon.”

All of the employees, some of whom worked temporarily at other Wendy’s, are coming back and he’s added 10 more jobs.

“It’ll look much crisper than the old place, although the old place looked great back in 1977 when we opened it,” Marshall said. “I know because I opened it myself.”

Now for the mystery of the week …

Wondered what was up with all of those FedEx trucks parked around Bellegarde Avenue in Lewiston?

We asked and got a partial answer.

From one corporate spokesperson: “FedEx Ground is constantly reviewing the configuration of its network to best serve the evolving needs of our customers. Details regarding network adjustments and discussions with contracted service providers are confidential.”

And from another: “I can confirm that our station in Lewiston will remain operational. We have contingency plans in place to address any service delays during this period as quickly as possible. Customers with questions about their shipments can track their packages on http://fedex.com or call 1-800-GO-FEDEX.”

So there you have it, then?

Auburn hits the gas for businesses

The city of Auburn announced Tuesday that it’s streamlining its business license renewal process in response to some frustrated business owners complaining that it’s taking too long, City Manager Peter Crichton said in a news release.

“Our goal is to make Auburn as business-friendly as possible, so our team has put procedures in place that will make the whole process smoother and more efficient,” Crichton wrote. “It’s important for our city to support and encourage an environment where local business can thrive.”

Starting Tuesday, businesses will be told within seven days whether renewals have been approved or denied. If they’ve been denied, they’ll get the reason in writing.

Over in Lewiston, City Clerk Kathy Montejo said they typically tell businesses renewals will take seven days, a process that can move faster or slower depending on any back taxes and which departments need to weigh in.

Which feels more lucky, the red tie or the yellow? 

The Lewiston CareerCenter is hosting its annual spring job fair on Monday from 10 a.m. to noon at the CareerCenter on Mollison Way.

Career consultant Linda Roberts said 40-plus employers have signed up for tables in fields as diverse as health, finance, manufacturing, retail, transportation and social services.

“We recommend dress for success, like you’re going to an interview,” Roberts said. “It’s a great opportunity that you get a chance to meet face to face with HR personnel, because normally it’s online job applications.”

She also suggests hitting Google: Check out the list of companies coming, see what jobs they have posted and read up about their corporate culture to craft the best pitch.

If you’re in the market for a job or a move up, the time is now.

“In previous years, with the recession and everything, we had almost 400 job seekers coming through,” Roberts said. “With unemployment right now, with it being so low, we average about 125 to 130.”

Batter up!

And then there were four, and then they were facing off.

Top Gun LA’s regional pitch-off is planned for next Wednesday, May 9, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ramada Inn & Conference Center. The event is free, but people are asked to register in advance to come and watch.

It’s only the region’s second class to graduate from the Top Gun program, a statewide effort out of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs designed to grow companies through mentorships and intensive workshops.

Scott Benson, director of economic and business development for the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, acted as program coordinator for the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which this year took over Top Gun LA.

Though seven were accepted into the class, only four are pitching next week:

• Wily Desert Labs, West Gardiner, developing conflict-resolution software;

• Planet Botanicals, Westbrook, making all-natural skin-care products;

• BackLot Software Co., Brunswick, developing software for the film and entertainment industry; and

• Healing Harbors, Harpswell, developing topicals infused with CBD, aka cannabidiol, oil derived from hemp.

A panel of judges will pick two as pitch winners, sending them to the state finals in Portland, where they’ll compete for a $25,000 grand prize against other regional winners.

“The No. 1 takeaway for me is there are other people in the area that are passionate about finding this entrepreneurial spirit in this community and nurturing it,” Benson said.

Those people, as did some SCORE volunteers, really got involved, he said.

“It’s a small group; we’re looking for a group twice that size, and we’re looking to get a lot more people from LA involved in this program,” Benson said. “This event next week is important because it’s a little bit of a showcase for the program, so we’re hopeful some people come out and support the idea of the program” and the entrepreneurs.

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


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