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October 19, 2023

Institute for Family-Owned Business honors 7 Maine companies and an individual leader

Photo / Dave Dostie Winners of the 23rd Maine Family Business Awards at Wednesday night's gala in Freeport.

From blueberries to cranes and rigging, companies from a range of sectors were honored for going above and beyond in the 23rd Maine Family Business Awards announced on Wednesday.

Presented by the Institute for Family-Owned Business in partnership with workers’ compensation insurer MEMIC, the awards recognize exemplary Maine firms that demonstrate excellence in family involvement, business success and commitment to their employees, customers and community.

The evening gala was held at L.L.Bean’s revamped Freeport corporate headquarters. Winners in seven categories were selected from a record 500-plus nominations, which were whittled down to 35 semifinalists and 26 finalists to keep the suspense going until the big event. An independent panel of judges selected the winners. Nearly 600 people attended Wednesday's event. 

woman with a hat
File photo / Fred Field
Polly Mahoney

Newry-based Mahoosuc Guide Services, whose co-founder Polly Mahoney was honored as a Mainebiz Woman to Watch in 2021, received the Geiger Environmental Leadership Award. Judges highlighted Mahoosuc’s work with indigenous communities in Maine and Canada, as well as the organization’s conservation practices, buying local and using renewable energy.

Hancock Lumber, of Casco, won the M&T Bank Innovation & Technology Award for technological innovations, including the use of artificial intelligence and grade-scanning technology in sawmills to maximize log yields, and for developing proprietary tools such as the Yard Pro app.

Maine Med Cleaning Service, founded in 2017 in South Portland by an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, received the Horch Roofing First Generation Award. The startup provided cleaning services to Maine Medical Center and other businesses during COVID.

Cote Corp., of Auburn, took home the Chalmers Insurance Group Customer Service Award in acknowledgment of the company’s focus on providing exceptional service to customers across Maine and New Hampshire. Cote is Maine’s largest family-run crane and rigging company, with high-profile clients including the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Shep Lee Community Service Award, named for one of the founders of IFOB, went to Buxton-based Gorham Sand & Gravel in recognition of the company’s support of local businesses and nonprofits via donations of services, materials and money.

Brodis Blueberries, of Hope, received the Maddy Corson Small Business Award, presented to an exemplary business with fewer than 25 employees. The judges were impressed that the business is nine generations strong, still farming on land purchased in 1757. Judges noted that the business continues to innovate and lead Maine's wild blueberry industry.

Pratt Abbott Garment Care was named the Renys Large Business of the Year, designated for companies with more than 25 employees. The Westbrook-based company is recognized regionally and nationally as an industry leader, revitalizing home and office delivery and introducing the first counter-less, 24/7 store in New England. The firm was also honored for its community service, including its annual Coats for Kids drive.

IFOB presented the BerryDunn Lifetime Achievement Award to Janet Cole Cross of Cole Cross Connections LLC.

Cross, a third-generation family member with Coles Express Trucking Co. before starting her own business, has been a leader for women in family business for decades, according to IFOB. A founding board member of the IFOB, she launched the organization's Women in Family Business and Next Generation groups.

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