This week the Buzz is smelling the roses, getting ready for class and awash in random statistics.

For instance, how many shelter animals are we adopting in Maine? SO MANY. Aww.

First up: The Roak the Florist building at 793 Main St. in Lewiston came down in May and “closed for renovation” signs popped up at the edge of the new dirt lot.

Going up in its place? A new Roak the Florist/Urban Garden Center combo.

Karen Smith, who has worked at Roak for two years, said Monday that the businesses, which have a common owner, will share one building.

“We will be at one end and Urban Garden Center will be at the other end,” Smith said. “As far as I’ve been told, Roak’s will continue to be Roak’s, a full-service florist and all the outdoor annuals, perennials, shrubs — we want to grow that department, actually, quite a bit, the nursery side of things.”

The former building needed to come down, she said, because it “was in pretty bad shape.”

Longtime owner Mike Small put Roak’s, which has local roots back to 1846, up for sale in 2018.

Owner Gary Howard received a city permit for a new $600,000, 40- by 80-foot building last month.

They’re looking to reopen this fall.

Construction has begun on Dana Chemistry Hall at Bates College as seen on Monday. With the new Bonney Science Center ready to open in the fall, this building will be undergoing a $11.5 million renovation to convert it into classrooms and support spaces. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal


Turns out there are lots of hammers swinging around the city this July.

Among the other permits on Lewiston’s monthly building report:

• A $3.8 million addition for Valley Beverage Distributors at 2019 Lisbon St. with the new 32,568 square feet used for office space. The company announced a several-year expansion plan in 2020.

• An $11.5 million project at Bates College, renovating the science building at 5 Andrews Road into new classrooms and support spaces.

• A $52,400 interior renovation at 1128 Lisbon St. turning it into a new Subway.

• A $2.1 million project by NextGrid Inc. for a 13-acre solar array at 1875 Lisbon St. It’s one of several projects planned by NextGrid locally.

• A $139,721 project renovating the MRI suite at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center at 95 Campus Ave.

• A $90,000 project by The Treehouse at 1891 Lisbon St. retrofitting a garage into a marijuana cultivation facility.


A slew of random stats and surveys have hit the Buzz inbox in the past few weeks. In no particular order:

According to, Maine has the third-highest five-year adoption rate in the country for shelter animals. At 137.8%, demand was well above supply, which in this case, is a purrrr-ty good thing. ranked Maine the third-best state overall in its “States Recovering the Quickest from COVID-19.” The ranking was based on measures like vaccination rates, hospitals having enough supplies and total weekly job postings now versus pre-COVID.

Lastly, a survey by found “the average Mainer would be prepared to pay $4,230 for an aesthetically ‘perfect’ set of teeth.”

That’s below the national average and less than half of what Floridians would pay ($9,970) and well above what Alaskans would pay ($1,700.)

Just something to chew over.

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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