This week the Buzz is building, buying and new businessing.

Liberty Mutual at 1775 Lisbon St. is undergoing a $1.1 million renovation described as a “tenant fit-out” that includes “demolition, new partitions, doors, millwork finishes (and) lighting,” according to the city permit.

The permit was taken out by Hellyer Lewis Inc., a corporate architecture and interior design firm out of Philadelphia.

No one could be reached at Liberty Mutual for additional details.

Make that three

The Maine Small Business Development Center released its annual report Monday with numbers galore on its last year: 1,528 clients advised, 810 jobs created or saved, 136 businesses started and $38.7 million in capital generated.

One of The Village Woodworker’s handmade stools. The Oxford shop was bought by the owner’s son-in-law who is happy to keep the now-third generation business going. (Photo courtesy The Village Woodworker)

The center, a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maine Economic and Community Development and the University of Southern Maine, offers free business coaching and advice.

Locally, it counted 99 jobs created or saved in Androscoggin County, with 11 businesses also started here, 12 jobs created or saved in Oxford County with four businesses started and 32 jobs created or saved in Franklin County with four businesses started.

Brian Warren used the program for advice and linking with the capital to buy his father-in-law Robert Roakes’ shop, The Village Woodworker, in Oxford.

Warren, who lives in Newburgh, said Monday he will dive into the business full time in four months, when he retires from the U.S. Air Force. He said he is happy to take the businesses into the third generation in the family.

The SBCD staff, he said, helped him establish a business plan and goals. Currently, the business’s main focus is handcrafted stools. He said he might add tables and benches to go with them, and he is hoping to hire employees.

“It’s a fulfilling product to make and share with people, I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s a very enjoyable craft.”

Investing in Lewiston

In a three-week span, two buyers spent more than $4 million on Lewiston properties as investment purchases, buying them and then leasing them back, keeping tenants the same.

F-PAK ME LLC bought 777-785 Main St. from Bell Manufacturing for $1.55 million in late December, according to Mainebiz.

Tim Millett of The Boulos Co. and Josh Soley of Maine Realty Advisors brokered the sale. A monthly sales letter by Boulos said the new owner would “lease the space back to SML, which manufactures clothing tags.”

Bell has been doing business as SML.

Downtown, The Gnecco Group Inc. bought 64 Lisbon St. from 64 Lisbon St. LLC for $2.8 million on Jan. 15, according to Mainebiz.

Mackenzie Simpson of Porta & Co. and John Doyon of Malone Commercial Brokers brokered the sale. Doyon confirmed all the tenants would be staying the same. The building houses Complete Labor & Staffing and Argo Contact Center.

Lincoln Jeffers, Lewiston’s economic and community development director, said it was a sign the city’s real estate market is maturing.

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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