Auburn mayor Jason Levesque is one of the first customers in line to pick up his pre-ordered pizza Tuesday night from OTTO Pizza of Portland at Side by Each Brewing Company in Auburn. Director of Sales at OTTO Erik Maas talks with Levesque about how best to finish cooking the pizza when he gets home, as OTTO Catering Manager Benjamin Cooper, center left, talks with another customer. The Portland-based restaurant is testing the L-A market. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

This week the Buzz is wooing, welcoming and way too hot to cook at home.

Hello, takeout and more local options.

Portland’s OTTO Pizza is testing the Lewiston-Auburn market starting this week with a new Tuesday evening delivery drop-off at Side By Each Brewing Co. at 1110 Minot Ave. Orders have to be placed by 1 p.m. and the pies are delivered partially baked, ready to be popped in an oven.

Director of Sales Erik Maas said it’s an approach the company started after the onset of the pandemic. L-A is the 10th site (five are islands).

“Since COVID, a lot of communities didn’t have access to great food, so we started to service the Casco Bay islands,” said Maas. “As soon as we started doing that, in large, it became a big hit. Different communities up north started asking us, ‘Hey, can you do the same thing for us?’ It’s a great opportunity to test the market for any future investments. Once the dust settles, this might be a great way to gauge whether the market is happy to have OTTO in the community.”

He said they’ll be looking at sales volume, feedback and local opportunities for partnership.

OTTO Pizza started in Portland in 2009. Its best seller, according to Maas, is The Masher with mashed potatoes, bacon and scallions.

Say what?

Orbit Hair Styling owner Richard Stone is hoping to catch at least two stylists’ attention by offering a $3,000 sign-on bonus at his Lewiston salon. He says it’s an especially tight market for attracting new employees. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal file photo Buy this Photo

The owner of Orbit Hair Styling in Lewiston is offering a $300 interview bonus and $3,000 hiring bonus in the quest for two new hairdressers, and yes, Richard Stone says, they are that hard to come by.

“We’ve always been very busy,” he said, with a dedicated customer base and more work than his 10 current stylists can fit in.

But since Mr. Bernard’s School of Hair Fashion abruptly closed in 2015, the area’s seen fewer new cosmetology grads, Stone said, “and the beauty schools in Maine report that there’s a lot fewer students going to school to be cosmetologists. A lot are signing up for smaller, less expensive classes like nail tech or estheticians to start in the field and they never go back for hair stylist.”

He’s planning to start a new trainee program at the salon, taking one new person on every six months, and crossing his fingers that the $3,000 bonus, to be paid out over time, catches enough interested eyes.

“I’m hoping it makes lots of people do a double-take,” Stone said.

Building on

Lewiston-Auburn closed Fiscal Year 2020 with more than $33 million in new commercial development on the books and they’re kicking off FY 2021 strong.

Among the new commercial building permits issued last month in Lewiston:

New, expanded drive-thrus for the Dunkin’ Donuts at 1124 Lisbon St., by Lisbon Donuts Inc., $230,000

• New 7,500-square foot office space and warehouse at 1222 Sabattus St., Roland’s Drywall, $350,000

•  New addition for 33 Mollison Way, home to Pediatric Associates of Lewiston, by Joyce-Holt, LLC, $369,278

And in Auburn:

• Office remodel at 220 Main St. for Meservier & Associates, $100,000

• Front office renovations at 38 Falcon Dr. for the City of Auburn, $150,000

• And at 10 Gracelawn Road, two $650,000 buildings for Millbran LLC with 12 new units each

And speaking of 2021 . . .

The Lewiston Planning Board on Monday night approved a new housing plan for the former Martel School in a 5-2 vote.

Avesta Housing Development Officer Catherine Elliott said Tuesday that Lewiston Housing Authority will own and manage the project and have retained Avesta to oversee and consult on the development process.

The $10.4 million project will develop 44 senior housing units, renovating the 1922 building and constructing a new three-story wing, according to the application.

Elliott said she expects the project to be fully funded in early 2021, “which would mean a summer/fall 2021 construction start with completion 12 months after that.”

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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