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October 1, 2018
Next 2018

Next 2018: Tobias Parkhurst is a catalyst for downtown Augusta's resurgence

PHOTo / Tim Greenway
PHOTo / Tim Greenway
Tobias Parkhurst, president of O&P Glass in Augusta, is leading several efforts at the forefront of downtown Augusta's resurgence.

Tobias Parkhurst

President, O&P Glass, Augusta

O&P Glass

140 Capitol St., Augusta

Founded: 1979

What the company does: Full-service glazing company, specializing in large commercial projects

Contact: 207-622-3448 www.opglass.com

Tobias Parkhurst, president of O&P Glass in Augusta and a former pro skateboarder, is one of the catalysts of downtown Augusta development — buying and renovating three buildings, opening a brew pub with three partners and heading the nonprofit that's restoring the historic Colonial Theater.

Mainebiz: What spurred your focus on downtown Augusta?

Tobias Parkhurst: I moved back to Maine in 2008 because my dad wanted to retire and I didn't have much of a plan after skateboarding. I knew it was a permanent move. My mom always told [us] that if you make a living in a community, you have a responsibility to participate in it. Most of my activities outside my day job are driven by personal desire. I wanted a skatepark, so I worked on that; I wanted a nice apartment and couldn't find one, and real estate downtown was cheap enough that I could make that happen. I thought Augusta needed a brewery — when I couldn't get anyone to open one, I pulled some people together and we did it ourselves. The volunteer [roles are] things that are important to me and a result of the way I was raised.

MB: Are there lessons as a pro skateboarder that helped you in business?

TP: Yes, 100%. I've been skateboarding for almost 30 years and I look at the world through a skateboarder's eyes. We were in the streets every day [interacting] with lots of different types of people. Dealing with different types of people from different walks of life, in wildly varying situations, has taught me a lot about communicating. Other than that, falling down is humbling, and a lot of people are scared of it … knowing success comes with hard work and lots of falls is a valuable thing.

MB: You have a lot going on — is there an over-arching theme?

TP: I just want to live in an awesome place and if I see an opportunity to make something happen, why wouldn't I? I moved away from Maine because I couldn't live my dreams here — how cool will it be if my kids don't feel like that? Opening a brewery or renovating an old building isn't going to solve the world's problems, but things happen because people make them happen. Augusta is an awesome community to work and live in. Things are possible here that aren't in other places in Maine. I'm really happy to have the opportunity to be part of [the city's revitalization].

MB: Where do you see your 10-years-older self?

TP: O&P Glass is a great company, and my sister [Soo Parkhurst, vice president] and I are lucky to have the opportunity to own it. Cushnoc Brewing Co. is in its first year, and I'm excited to see what my partners and I are going to be able to do. I'd love to grab another building or two downtown, there's so much opportunity there.

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