This week the Buzz is forecasting 2021, moving to town and using a lot less lipstick — and it turns out you are, too, fellow Mainers.

East Coast Flooring and Window Treatments’s new Commercial Street warehouse in Lewiston. Submitted photo

First up: East Coast Flooring and Window Treatments, a Connecticut-based company that works on Lowe’s Home Improvement home flooring installations, has leased 5,000 square feet at 71 Commercial St. in Lewiston to create a new, central warehouse to serve Maine.

Daniel Bush, East Coast’s director of services and development, said Tuesday that the company has worked with Lowe’s for two decades and only expanded into Maine last September.

“Looking at the geography and the main routes running through there, definitely it’s going to provide a really good seamless experience for our installers to get in and out of there,” he said. “We did our research and Lewiston seemed to be the perfect fit for us.”

The warehouse opened last week for dispatching orders. Eventual plans call for a small shop at the location selling business-to-business flooring supplies and offering a carpet binding service.

Bush said East Coast is hiring for one warehouse lead to oversee the facility. For installations, the company works with local subcontractors.

Carpet has always been Lowe’s most popular flooring purchase, he said, but homeowners have been very hot of late for floating, or vinyl plank, floors.

“Consumers are stuck in their houses, they’re looking at their floors and they’re saying to themselves, we’re going to take that extra income that we would use for vacations and whatnot and we’re going to put it into our home, we’re going to increase our value,” Bush said. “Especially in our northern area, with New Hampshire and Maine, we’ve seen such a lift in project counts.”

Lewiston-Auburn: Ready for liftoff in 2021?

Office space pricing is looking flat, multifamily development is seeing growth and cannabis is buying big.

Frank Carr Submitted photo

Frank Carr, a broker at Maine Realty Advisors, offered that 2021 forecast for local development last month at the annual Maine Real Estate and Development Association forecasting conference.

Carr, in an interview this week, said a lot of large companies haven’t returned to their offices or solidified future plans, leading to the flat lease pricing.

“What you’re seeing are the smaller tenants that are driving the deal flow out in the market,” he said. “They’re much more nimble and able to make decisions.”

The two of the largest real estate purchases in the Twin Cities last year were both marijuana operations, $1.2 million at 16 Bridge St. and $3.2 million at 75 Westminster St., both in Lewiston.

“Cannabis is really the word right now in industrial,” Carr said. “Right now, the larger players that are taking down industrial space have pretty much grabbed the space that they wanted — they’re growing their business model from the medical space into the recreational.”

Housing projects announced in the last year look to be moving ahead and have a lot of potential to “bring life and vitality,” particularly to New Auburn and Lewiston’s riverfront.

“That’s the reason developers exist because they take risks,” Carr said. “They’re taking risks knowing the economy moves in cycles and they’re playing one end of the cycle right now.”

His overall message to MEREDA developers: Give this area a hard look. Planning boards here are friendly. The commute to Portland is easy.

“The metrics of the data are there — it might not be there today, but it’s pointing in the direction for that growth to occur, but you should be looking at Lewiston-Auburn now,” he said.

Let’s face it

Ibotta’s map comparing makeup sales from June-December in 2019 and 2020. Pink states spent more in 2020, black states less. Courtesy Ibotta

In figures released Tuesday, the website Ibotta compared makeup purchases at big-box stores from June to December of 2019 and June to December of 2020 and found Mainers spent 23% less last year than the year before.

Because we’re all home, staring at our flooring and saying to heck with it, right?

Well, no.

Turns out, while national makeup spending was down 5% overall, it was actually up 89% in Washington, D.C., 58% in Kansas and 35% in Texas. Spending was up in more than half of the country.

Mainers, in applying less, were in the minority, which is nothing to blush about. Vermont had the sharpest spending decrease in the country at 35%.

The Buzz was updated at 9:18 a.m.

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


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: