February 2020 Edition
Sponsored by People's United Bank
5 Qs with Henry Gilbert
Founder of Back40
1. You've built a product that makes it easier for consumers to get oudoors. How does Back40 differ from other gear rental companies? 
[Henry Gilbert]: The key differentiators for Back40 are our online rental platform, which makes reserving equipment a breeze, and our forthcoming subscription membership program that provides individuals, families, businesses and organizations access to equipment all year long for a set annual price. Our goal is to provide unparalleled access to the outdoors through simple, affordable, efficient services .

2. In a state as rich in natural resources as Maine, it would seem easy to get outdoors. What are your customers' main pain points in accessing Maine's and New England's wilderness?
[HG]: We've identified 3 major pain points in accessing the outdoors: time, money and experience, with a major common denominator being equipment . It's expensive, it takes up space, it's a hassle to maintain and you need to know how to use it. At Back40, we are addressing all of these pain points through our rental operation, and will continue to build tools and solutions to address these pain points from other angles.

3. What is the origin of the name "Back40"?
[HG]: In the Homestead Acts of the 1860's, farmers were granted 160 acre sections of land, which was then often divided into 40 acre quarters, with the most remote quarter, often completely uncultivated, referred to as the back 40. Over time, the term was adopted to refer to any remote, uncultivated piece of land; the backcountry, aka our happy place .

4. Not only do you operate the online rental site, but you also fulfill and deliver gear. How do you execute a logistics chain as widespread and remote as New England's outdoor recreation sites?
[HG]: In the beginning, we offered delivery anywhere in New England and fulfilled the deliveries ourselves. This was essential to proving our market, but it was extremely time consuming. With the launch of our new membership model, we're shifting our focus to the local market, establishing a permanent pickup site in Portland. While we will still be offering a delivery option, we'll be limiting deliveries to partner campgrounds and offices.

5. In your Tech Talk at Central Maine Tech Night this month, you'll be speaking about how you founded Back40. Can you give us a preview of your plans for growth within the next few years?
[AS]: We're currently moving away from the traditional direct-to-consumer rental model with the impending launch of our Gear Closet Membership program (don't worry, you will always be able to place one-time rental orders). Gear Closet members will have nearly unlimited access to equipment all year long, in addition to exclusive partner discounts (campsites, recreation providers, etc.) and access to member-only events and outings, all for a set annual price. Furthermore, members will have access at all Back40 distribution sites, with the first few sites being established in major East Coast destinations.

You can follow Back40 on Facebook , LinkedIn , Instagram , and via an e-mail newsletter .
Small Business K now-How
Getting Ready for Tax Season
In its first two years, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been good for small businesses. According to a National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Research survey, 67% of small business owners reported that the tax law had a “positive” or “very positive” impact on their business , while 65% said it has positively impacted their personal taxes. However, many business owners are discovering how much more complex their tax filing has become , which is all the more reason to prepare early. Click here for your tax preparation checklist .
Business Investment
Welcome Verna's All Day to downtown Waterville
Opening in late 2020 at 150 Main Street in downtown Waterville, Verna's All Day is a casual, classic American chop house offering locally-sourced food, cocktails, a cafe-deli and small market. Owned by restaurateurs Andrew (a Colby College alumni) and Briana Volk, Verna's All Day will honor Briana's grandmother Verna by creating a warm, inviting atmosphere with friendly service.
Welcome Portland Pie Co. as a new CMGC investor
Founded in 1997, Portland Pie Co. grew from a small pizzeria on India Street in Portland to a successful brand with eight locations, ranging from Portsmouth, NH to Waterville, ME, and a specialty pizza dough product line. The Waterville location represented the first Main Street-level tenant of the newly-renovated Haines Building owned by Colby College.
Top Stories of January 2020
CMGC Picked for Nationwide Innovation Initiative - as part of a nationally competitive application, CMGC will receive technical assistance from the Rural Innovation Initiative in order to create and execute a strategy to build a digital ecosystem in Waterville and the mid-Maine region.

Meeting Sparks Interest in Educational Opportunities in Waterville - a coalition of educational institutions, including Waterville Public Schools, Educare, Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education, Colby College, Kennebec Valley Community College, and Thomas College, as well as business leaders and residents are strategizing on how to best leverage the city's educational assets to become a nationally-recognized model community.

Lockwood Hotel Construction in Waterville on Schedule - slated to open in October 2020, the $26 million hotel will offer 53 rooms and a restaurant and bar named "Front & Main". Located in downtown Waterville on the site of the former Crescent Hotel, the Lockwood Hotel honors the engineering innovation of Amos Lockwood, who pioneered production and safety measures at Waterville's Lockwood Mills.
Contact : Don Plourde
207-660-4000 dplourde@cbplourde.com
Central Maine Real Estate Spotlight
Featured Commercial Property Location :
Building Size: 3,116 sq.ft.
Sale Price: $279,900
Property Features:
  • Office building with ample parking
  • Excellent visibilty from I-95 exit 132
  • Municipal water and sewer
  • High-traffic area on Rt. 139
  • Close proximity to Interstate-95 interchange
Workforce Investment
CMGC Hosts 2nd Maine Virtual Job Fair
In 2019, CMGC piloted the first-of-its-kind Maine Virtual Job Fair (MVJF) and succeeded in connecting Maine employers with over 200 job candidates .
This year, MVJF will be held on February 26, 2020 in order to take advantage of Maine's large university student population - connecting with these highly-qualified job candidates before graduation is a crucial recruitment strategy.

Save the date for Wednesday, February 26 and indicate your interest in this recruitment event by e-mailing Elaine at etcurrier@centralmaine.org for more details.
We hope you enjoy learning about local talent recruitment and retention strategies, and if your business has an innovative strategy or unique culture, please share with us!
The need to lower heating bills and create quality jobs are statewide issues and Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) is moving forward to help address these challenges. KVCC offers heat pump training (Ductless Mini Split Heat Pump) and has recently doubled the number of program offerings and increased classroom capacity to meet the growing demand for heat pump technicians. KVCC offers the following courses to support energy services:
  • Ductless Mini Split Heat Pump This 40-hour course will provide professionals with the basics of refrigerant cycle theory and explain how the cycle produces heating and cooling. Other topics covered in the course include: basic electrical theory, control theory, mechanical operation of system components, and safe work practices involved in the installation of these units. Students will experience a hands-on lab component involving the installation and troubleshooting of these state-of-the-art mini-split heat pump systems. (EPA 608 required for heat pump installers). Class dates: March 9, 2020 – March 13, 2020; ($995.00)
  • EPA 608 Refrigerant Certification, Small Appliances (Self-Study) - This course is designed to prepare technicians for the EPA 608 certification exam: 1) Core Certification (general knowledge of refrigerants), and 2) Type 1 (repair and service of small appliances using refrigerant). It is not intended to be formal refrigeration training course. Technicians who take this course should be familiar with basic vapor – compression refrigeration cycle and common service equipment and procedures. Class date: March 14, 2020; ($195.00)
Quality of Place
Sponsored by MaineGeneral Health
Meet the Millennials: David Gulak & Josh Sullivan, Meridians
David Gulak and Josh Sullivan have proven that specialty, high-quality, locally-sourced product is just as in-demand in small towns as it is in big cities. In fact, towns like Fairfield, where the Meridians specialty market and Meridians Kitchen & Bar are located, are ideal centers of local culinary renaissance. " We know farmers who drive to Portland or Boston, where the farms aren’t, to deliver their goods. We can source the produce we need within 20 miles of the restaurant ,” David explains.

Read about why David & Josh chose Fairfield as their HQ and what their plans are for future growth.
Lung Cancer is the Leading Cancer in Maine
Lung cancer usually doesn't have symptoms until it has advanced, but there are tools to catch lung cancer early. Early detection and treatment can save your life .

MaineGeneral meets all national quality benchmarks for lobectomy surgery for lung cancer (The Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ recent data analyses), earning the hospital the same quality rating as such well-known institutions as Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston! This means patients and families do not have to travel to get high-quality care for lung cancer .

Learn more about lung cancer prevention, detection and treatment. 
Stay connected with CMGC:
If you are an investor in CMGC and would like to submit content to CMGC Intelligence , simply reply to this e-mail to speak with Elaine Theriault-Currier.
Board of Directors:

Chris Gaunce, chair – Central Maine Motors Auto Group
Michael Heavener, vice chair – Town of Winslow
Beth Gibbs, treasurer – Thomas College
Lucille Zelenkewich, secretary – Bar Harbor Bank & Trust
John Dalton, past chair – Northern Light Health - Inland Hospital
Elizabeth Fortin – Kennebec Valley Community College
Paul Stein – MaineGeneral Health
Darlene Ratte – Best Western Plus
Michael Roy – City of Waterville
Gary Bowman – Town of Oakland
Michelle Flewelling – Town of Fairfield
Brian Clark – Colby College
Michael Runser – Valley Beverage
Allan Rancourt – Kennebec Federal Savings
Lisa Hallee – Bill & Joan Alfond Foundation
Donald Plourde – Coldwell Banker Plourde Real Estate
Tom Meucci - Huhtamaki

 Ex-Officio Board Members:
Laura Cyr – Kennebec Valley Council of Governments
Christian Savage - Somerset Economic Development Corporation
James Dinkle – Kennebec Regional Dev. Authority / FirstPark