Dana Bourgeois listens to the tone of a piece of wood before determining if it’s right for a guitar. Bourgeois last week announced a new partnership to grow Bourgeois Guitars, which has been in Lewiston since 1993. Photo courtesy Bourgeois Guitars

Some weeks, there’s too much new and news to keep to one Buzz.

Bourgeois Guitars has partnered with Eastman Music and it means good things for Lewiston.

In an open letter to customers last week, founder Dana Bourgeois, who is staying on as CEO, said growing the company in the world market meant finding a strategic partner with proven international distribution and manufacturing, and he found that in the Pamona, California, company.

Bourgeois Guitars specializes in high-end, handmade six-string flat top acoustic guitars. Eastman Music makes archtop, steel-string, classical and electric guitars, violins, woodwinds and brasswind instruments.

In addition to expanding market reach, there are plans to expand offerings for both of them, he said.

“We have always held great concern that, at an average street price of about $6,500, a Bourgeois guitar is beyond the reach of 95% of all guitar players,” Bourgeois wrote. “Plans are underway to remedy this situation with the introduction of a new series of acoustic guitars co-produced by Bourgeois and Eastman.”

Sales Manager James Cook said Tuesday that the hope is for the line to debut next year.

“As far as pricing goes, we’re hoping the new guitars will come in somewhere in between the high end of the Eastman line and the lower end of the Bourgeois, to fill that space in between,” Cook said, likely somewhere between $2,500 and $3,500.

“Right now the plan is there will be co-branded products produced at both locations,” he added. “There will be guitars made here in Lewiston bearing the Eastman name — so we’ll be the USA custom shop for Eastman guitars — and then the opposite also, guitars that are parts and everything are kitted up, we make the kits here and then send them to their facility. They assemble the guitar, return it to us and we complete the guitar.”

Bourgeois Guitars has a loyal, famous following that include Ricky Skaggs, Ray LaMontagne and Donal Clancy.

The company, with about 20 employees, has been based out of the Hill Mill for the past two-and-a-half years.

“We do plan to grow our team here and expand here in Lewiston just as soon as possible,” Cook said. “We just signed a new lease (with the mill), so we are going to be here for just as long as possible. The mill owners have really been instrumental in this whole thing. We’ll be able to expand right here within this same unit we already rent.”

A backhoe digs up the lot at Routes 126 and 9 in Sabattus on Tuesday morning, preparing for a Rusty Lantern gas station and convenience store.  Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Welcome to Sabattus

What’s happening at Routes 126 and 9, across from the Sabattus Regional Credit Union and next to Family Dollar?

The trees started coming down this week. It’s going to be a Rusty Lantern gas station and convenience store.

Town Manager Tony Ward said Sabattus Capital Partners of Topsham has developed several Rusty Lanterns. They hope that the 3,850-square-foot building will be finished at the end of the year, weather permitting. Project costs weren’t available Tuesday.

Ward said it’s the first development in that area since it was zoned for commercial use at town meeting in 2018.

And welcome to Lewiston

New signs are up for ABC Antiques & Collectibles at 1065 Sabattus St., the former home of Barnie’s Wholesale Outlet and Barnie’s Bar and Grill before that.

The shop is moving from Brunswick to Lewiston, according to its Facebook page, and plans a grand opening in mid-November.

More details to come.

Feeling entrepreneurial?

The monthlong application period for Top Gun LA’s fourth class opened Tuesday. It’s part of a statewide effort by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs to grow young businesses in Maine through mentoring and intensive lessons in marketing, law and other specialties.

“We’re looking to create more energy and more interest every year,” said Scott Benson, the local organizer at the Lewiston Area Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “Every year we grow our list of experts and our list of mentors.”

Last year’s class had seven participants. Benson said he’s met with three people in just the last month interested in applying this time.

The application window is open until Nov. 15, the new class will be picked by mid-December and classes start in February 2020.

Most of the 10 learning sessions will be held at the chamber, he said, and they’ll all lead up to a regional breakfast pitch-off in May. Two regional winners will head to a statewide pitch-off competing for a $25,000 prize.

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

This story was updated 9:19 a.m. Wednesday.

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