George Kimball of Gray, longtime volunteer mentor with the Service Corps of Retired Executives, works March 1 in his office on Lowell Street in Rumford. For more than 20 years, the retired Rumford paper mill chemical engineer has been assisting aspiring small business owners. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — George Kimball travels from his home in Gray to Rumford most weeks to mentor aspiring small business owners as a volunteer with the Service Corps of Retired Executives.

His favorite part is the personal relationships developed “with people who have dreams and want to make plans to get ahead. In their own mind, they want to be successful in doing something a little different, a little challenging.”

SCORE, which partners with the Small Business Administration, offers mentoring and resources, seminars and workshops to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners. Mentors offer advice in financing, human resources and business planning at no cost via email, telephone and video.

Kimball said the first thing a lending institution will ask about is a business plan.

“We say that a business plan is a living document, and if you find things changing, you adjust your business plan,” he said. A business plan is needed, even without a lending institution “because it allows you to focus on a number of important parts of doing business in Maine. You need to know what your competition is.”

Kimball said, “We let the client, after their own analysis of the situation, decide. You just encourage people to think about the possibility of success and the pitfalls out there that are waiting to gobble them up. Lots of people have great ideas, but executing them has some hurdles, and it costs money.”


He said one of the first things SCORE does is encourage clients to not face their business proposition alone by lining up an accountant, a lawyer, an insurance person and a counselor. It also encourages them to establish relationships in the community by talking to the town manager, building inspectors and others.

People wanting to get out of their eight-hour-a-day job so they don’t have to report to a boss, he said, are advised that when you are in a business for yourself, it’s a lot more than an eight-hour day.

Among the successes Kimball cited was Scot Grassette, owner of 49 Franklin in Rumford.

In his 21st year as a SCORE mentor, Kimball said he was recruited by longtime SCORE mentor Harrison Burns, who remains an emeritus member.

“He knew that I was retiring, and it was just before I did retire,” he said.

Kimball worked as a chemical engineer in the Rumford paper mill for 38 years. He never ran a business, he said, but earned a masters degree in business administration at the University of Maine.

The SCORE office is in the River Valley Technology Center at 60 Lowell St., Suite 205. Hours are Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon, but appointments are requested by calling 207-743-0499. For more information visit

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