Discover: Hermon 2021

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HERMON January 15, 2021


A GROWING ECONOMY A Special Advertising Section by The Bangor Daily News



DISCOVER HERMON • January 15, 2021



ho doesn’t want to close (and lock) the door on 2020 and open a new one to 2021? Creating new doors to walk through and windows with unforgettable views is a specialty for Mathews Brothers. The Belfast-based company expanded its business to Hermon two years ago, completely transforming a cold storage warehouse on Logistics Lane into what is now a fully functioning, climate controlled, manufacturing facility for patio doors and windows. There are 15 people working in the new building and another 10 Hermon residents currently being trained in Belfast who will soon transfer their skills to the new site.

John Magri is the company president. Brothers Alex and Kyle Hawthorne are part of the management team and the third generation of Hawthornes to work for Mathews Brothers. Their dad and grandfather helped shape the business into what it is today. “People used to ask Alex and Kyle’s father what we do; instead of saying windows he’d say, ‘We create opportunities for families in the Belfast area, we just do it through making windows,’ and I feel the same way in Hermon. We’re creating new opportunities there,” said Magri. With over 160 years of experience carefully crafting windows and doors, Mathews Brothers has become a big name in the industry and now Hermon gets to be part of that legacy. “We make a lot of promises and through our facilities

we keep those promises,” explained Kyle Hawthorne. “We brought one of our patio door production lines to Hermon. We have new machinery being installed and we are increasing our glass capabilities and continuing to move forward.” “Some of the functions happening in Hermon are some of the higher skilled functions, and we have established our own bending lab to make geometric and radius shapes,” added Magri. “We are doing a lot of things in Hermon now that we might have contracted out in the past.” There’s no denying COVID has affected businesses and communities in many different ways. However, despite the downturn the pandemic has caused, Hermon has been fortunate to see both business and residential growth through it all according to Hermon’s Economic

and Community Development Director Scott Perkins. “There are a couple things going on in Hermon that we really love and that’s businesses expanding in place, businesses moving from lease to ownership, and new businesses moving here. Right now we’re fortunate enough to be experiencing all three things,” Perkins explained. The Shop is one of the many Hermon businesses that is busier than ever. The automotive repair company located on Route 2, is owned by husband and wife Frankie and Kristin Noyes. “We have a good percentage of fleet work. We have a lot of utility trucks that have to stay running so that’s kept us going, and snow tire season has helped our business too. We do anything from basic service needs to alignments and diagnostics and the whole range of

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what can go wrong with these vehicles that are all computerized today,” explained Kristin Noyes. The Shop is adding on to its building in 2021 in order to create storage for more parts on site. “Hermon is really business-friendly and the business taxes are affordable, but we chose Hermon because raising my son in Bangor just felt a little too big for me,” said Noyes. “It’s nice that Hermon is close to everything we could want or need but still has that small town feel. All of our staff are Hermon residents and we all have kids in the school system. Everyone knows everyone, and it’s worked out great for us.” That neighborly vibe and tight-knit community feel that Hermon so strongly represents is what attracts residents and businesses alike to this town just beyond the Bangor city line. “We had over 30 million dollars worth of residential and commercial growth in 2020; that’s probably a record for a

community our size. It’s absolutely fantastic,” Perkins said. “Our low taxes, the convenience of being close to central and eastern Maine, our readily available workforce, and all the transportation businesses and options we have are why people are coming to Hermon to live and work here and enjoy our school systems.” The town was an attractive location for physical therapist Ann Covey, owner of Covey Physical Therapy. “When I first went into business for myself I wanted to fill the niche of physical therapy from home care to outpatient. Hermon was and continues to be a growing community, so I felt like it was the perfect place for us to grow our business as well,” explained Covey. Originally located in the Danforth’s Supermarket Plaza, Covey’s business thrived and within three years she outgrew the space. So, she decided to break ground on her own building on Route 2 that has been every bit as successful


as the first location. “Physical therapy and my business are my passion. I strive to create an environment that will help patients feel at ease and properly cared for. Our patients are not numbers to us. We do everything we can to help them meet their goals,” she shared. “We provide outpatient physical therapy and occupational therapy. We also provide home, office, and school visits as needed without the need for patients to be homebound and we provide aquatic therapy as well. We are extremely proud to be a part of this community.” Hermon is helping numerous businesses like Covey’s Physical Therapy, The Shop and Mathews Brothers embark, open the door, and cross the threshold to all the opportunities that Hermon has to offer, no key required. “It’s exciting watching the town grow,” Perkins said. “I couldn’t be more happy or more busy in this position I am in. There’s a lot of good work being done.”


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ermon Mountain has offered local skiing adventures to the greater Bangor community since the 1960s, when it was first opened by Barbara and Elbert Jackson and their son Bernie. It began as a family business and continues to be family-run today. The mountain was once used for wood cutting and the Jackson family used the wood roads for skiing. This evolved into a ski area. Of course, back in the 1960s it was just one of many skiing venues in the greater Bangor area. The mountain continued to grow in popularity over the years, and in 1986 switched hands to a new family to operate and own the business. Bill Whitcomb Jr. and his family rented the mountain for a year while legal matters were attended to and then purchased it to run. Whitcomb, a national ski patroller, loved the mountain and jumped at the chance for ownership. “The legal team took care of us,” said Whitcomb. “They wanted the community to have [the mountain].” A lot has changed at Hermon Mountain since the Whitcombs took over the establishment in 1986. At first, the mountain just offered skiing, but one of the things that Hermon Mountain is known for among a younger generation today is snow tubing. The addition of tubing is one of the many changes that have occurred over the years. One of the major improvements added in the late 1990s was a chair lift to the top of the mountain for skiers. They’ve also cut new trails and expanded on the mountain. “We’re about as big as we can go,” said Whitcomb. “There’s boundaries on the hill.” The Whitcomb family has also been able to invest in some snowmobiles to get around the area more efficiently. “Used to be, you were running up the mountain,” Whitcomb said. Technology has improved significantly over the years and this has helped the mountain expand as well. New grooming equipment helps keep the trails maintained for patrons. In addition, there’s been a significant change in the snow-making process. The newer snow-making guns make the process more of a babysitting endeavor instead of a more

make their way down the Skiers and snowboarders ntain ski area. trail at New Hermon Mou PHOTO: BDN FILE PHOTO

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A line of skiers n waiting their tur at the chairlift in a previous year. E PHOTO PHOTO: BDN FIL

A young sn ow Hermon Mou boarder hits a jump at nt PHOTO: BD ain. N FILE PHO TO

involved project. “You’d come home soaked,” Whitcomb added. While Hermon Mountain can’t physically expand anymore due to space restraints, they fully intend to continually upgrade their equipment. “We want upgrades for the things we have to make them bigger [and] nice and comfortable for people,” said Whitcomb. One of the constants over the years is the family atmosphere the mountain thrives on. “It’s grown. We count on being a local business that locals want to go to versus one that counts on out-of-state business,” said Whitcomb. “Local communities have to feel like they own it.” Despite the challenges that surround this year due to the pandemic, Whitcomb remains very optimistic about this year’s business. “[It’s the] most challenging thing we’ve ever dealt with,” he said. “Everybody has every intention of following the state rules regardless of what they are. We are going to do everything as close to the book as possible. It won’t be like it was but it could be not at all.” Whitcomb went on to explain that hopefully the normal we were familiar with will be back in due time but for now we need to follow the guidelines and treat current times as a temporary normal.

Hermon Mountain is now open to the public and snow-making is happening to ensure you have the best experience with your family. Be sure to check their website or Facebook page for hours of operation and updates.



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aine has a long history of plucky inventors. When times get tough, Mainers don’t give up, and out of that resolve has come many famous solutions. Take for instance, Bakewell Cream. During WWII there was a cream of tartar shortage so an industrious Bangor-based chemist, Byron H. Smith, figured out that if he mixed sodium acid pyrophosphate with re-dried starch he could easily replace cream of tartar and bakers could get back to making breads and cakes. Smith called it Bakewell Cream and it has become a staple in kitchens across the country ever since. Nowadays, you can pick up several iconic Maine brands including Bakewell Cream at the New England Food Cupboard, right in Hermon. “We’re a family-owned company, we make everything here from scratch and in small batches,” said Jim Collins, the owner and operator of the New England Food Cupboard. “We try our best to buy as much as we can locally and we make everything right here in Hermon.” Collins and his small team work hard to produce five different iconic Maine specialty food brands, the Bakewell Cream line, Winterport Company Dips and Mixes, Jimbo’s Seasonings, Jakes Treats, and Cooks In The Kitchen. The small company might have some big name power when it comes to their wellknown products but they’ve never let it go to their heads. During the early months of the Covid crisis when grocery stores began to experience food shortages, New England Food Cupboard stepped up to help out. “I had a friend who was telling me how hard it was to find flour and sugar,” Collins said. “The grocery stores couldn’t get it in,


but I could order it in large batches, so that’s what I did.” Collins and his small staff worked fast to get more than 5,000 pounds of flour and sugar and several hundred pounds of yeast broken down into small packages to sell to the public. “We don’t use dry yeast here at the New England Food Cupboard but I could get it. It came in two-pound packages so we broke those down into four-ounce packages and sold those,” Collins explains. “I did some research on pricing to see what local grocery stores sold it for because I didn’t want to price gouge, I just wanted to help out.” The New England Food Cupboard has a wide variety of tasty treats, and Collins and his team have created some new offerings recently including Everything Bagel Seasoning Blend and Chocolate Scones. The scone mix is especially great because all you have to add is heavy cream and then bake. Folks can also buy New England Food Company’s popular mixes, including Lemon Poppy Muffin and Scone Mix, Blueberry Oat Muffin and Scone Mix, and plenty of gluten-free options as well. If you’re thinking of party food then don’t miss their dips, a perennial crowd favorite. And those Jimbo’s Seasonings? Not only do people love them but you might be curious to know that the caricature on the package is Jim Collins. All of the products by New England Food Company are available to purchase on their website. However, if you’d like to stop by to shop in person, Collins says it is important to call first and make an appointment since the brick and mortar side of the business is not a storefront, it is a manufacturing facility. Nevertheless, the Collins family will welcome you in.

New England Food Company is located at 30 Liberty Drive in Hermon. For more information, call 207-848-4900 or visit

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cotat Gardens and Arboretum is a 91-acre property in Hermon that’s owned and managed by the nonprofit Ecotat Trust, which was formed in 1995. The property is home to 55 gardens, and the forest surrounding the gardens features a network of intersecting trails. It’s a great place to enjoy and learn about a wide variety of plants, both native and nonnative. According to the trust, there are 280 types of trees on the property, and more than 1,500 varieties of perennials. This floral diversity attracts an abundance of insects, birds and other wild animals. The Ecotat Trust asks visitors to register by signing a log book, which can be found in a cubby in a kiosk near the parking area. The kiosk also features trail maps, guides and announcements. Beside the kiosk is an educational display about the Ecotat Native Tree

Trail, which is a route that follows a number of trails on the property to form a 0.75-mile loop. This route is marked with wooden posts that sport a brown “Tree Trail” sign. All along this trail are matching brown signs identifying various native trees. These signs also offer a wealth of information in one succinct bundle, such as how people use the tree and how it helps wildlife. The trails in the network are all named. For example, starting to the right of the kiosk is the Carr Trail (which is also a part of the Tree Trail route), which soon leads to the Moose Trial, Jewett Trail and Deer Trail. At trail intersections, wooden signs display the trail names. Some natural features visited by the trails include a cedar marsh and a stand of tall white pines. An abundance of understory plants can also be found, including a variety of ferns, berry bushes and wildflowers. Also — CONTINUED ON PAGE 8

at Ecotat a flower on Sept. 1, A monarch rests on Hermon. in tum ore Arb and Gardens RNACKI SA N LIN AIS O: OT PH



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of special interest to children — a landmark called “Medusa’s Chair” can be found on the Serpent Trail. It’s a simple seat that’s been created in the arms of a large white pine tree. From the trail network, there are many access points to the open green space that contains the gardens, which are tended by volunteers. This lawn filled with gardens includes a peony bed, a bird and butterfly garden, arbors, some interesting non-native and native trees, an herb garden, an English-style garden, benches, bird houses and much more.

The property is open year round, sunrise to sunset. Dogs are not permitted. Access is free, though donations are welcome and Ecotat Trust is always looking for more volunteers to help tend the gardens and maintain the trails. Events on the property are currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, during a normal year, the Ecotat Trust usually hosts multiple events involving local bands, free to the public. The organization also allows small private gatherings such as weddings and birthday parties for a small fee.

Signs mark a route called the Ecotat Native Tree Trail. PHOTO: AISLINN SARNACKI


AT THE ECOTAT GARDENS AND ARBORETUM... DIFFICULTY: EASY Ecotat Gardens and Arboretum features a small network of intersecting forest paths that total about 1.5 miles. These trails surround and connect to an open lawn space, where visitors can visit dozens of gardens in warmer months. Several benches are located throughout this area, offering comfortable places to sit and rest.

For more information, visit email or visit the “Ecotat Gardens and Trails” Facebook page.

A landmark ca woods of Ec lled “Medusa’s Chair” is lo ot PHOTO: AIS at Gardens and Arbore cated in the tum. LINN SARN ACKI

Originally published in the Bangor Daily News on Sept. 3, 2020.


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Matthew Murphy, James Beaupre and Larry Murphy founded Devil’s Half Acre Distillery in Hermon. PHOTO: DEVIL’S HALF ACRE DISTILLERY




he juniper trees that grow on the 160-acre Hermon farm that’s been in Matthew Murphy’s wife’s family for six generations have run wild for decades, and are among the few stands of wild juniper in Maine. Those trees are one of the reasons why Murphy, his father, Larry, and fellow business partner, James Beaupre, decided that they not only wanted to start a distillery, but that their main product would be gin flavored with their Maine-grown wild juniper berries. Nearly five years after the idea for the distillery was conceived, Devil’s Half Acre Distillery’s first product, Jigger & Jones American Gin, hit shelves at liquor stores across Maine this week. The gin, flavored with juniper, coriander, citrus peel and other spices, herbs and botanicals, is made on site at the farm in Hermon. “I’ve always had a passion for really good spirits, and I’ve

always loved chemistry, and I’m also really into Maine’s farms and Maine-made products, so this hits all of that,” said Matthew Murphy, a U.S. Army veteran who is still in the National Guard. “And entrepreneurship really fits in with my military background. It all kind of comes together.”

If you like gin, you’ll love it. If you don’t love gin, this could definitely be the one to make you feel otherwise. JAMES BEAUPRE

Murphy met Beaupre, a Madawaska native and the University of Maine’s director of industrial cooperation at the Foster Center for Student Innovation, when he was in the French class Beaupre’s wife taught at UMaine. Though Beaupre’s background is in papermaking chemical

processes, he has, like many Mainers, always had a side hustle — working as a chemistry consultant to distilleries across North America and Europe. When Murphy mentioned his idea for a distillery, Beaupre jumped at the chance to stay in the spirits business but not have to hop on a plane every weekend to fly to his latest consulting gig. Murphy enlisted his New Hampshire-based father Larry, also a military veteran, who has more than 40 years’ experience in sales, marketing and advertising, as their marketing director, and the business was born. “The market in Maine is ripe for a great gin,” Beaupre said. “We spent a lot of time blending all these different herbs and spices and botanicals until we got just the right well-balanced spirit. If you like gin, you’ll love it. If you don’t love gin, this could definitely be the one to make you feel otherwise.”


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Baltimore area. With so many changes happening so rapidly at all levels of society, he felt that it was now or never when it came to launching their business. This time, however, approvals and finances came together much more easily, and by October, they were getting ready to bottle their first gin. “This time, the three of us working together really made it all happen in a very synergistic way,” Larry Murphy said. “The fact that we were able to get our product on shelves before the holidays was incredibly important, and we managed to pull it off.” The name Jigger & Jones refers to two iconic Bangor-area historical figures: the lumberjack Albert “Jigger” Johnson, and Fan Jones, a legendary madam who operated a brothel during Bangor’s more salacious, freewheeling past. Both were known figures in the Devil’s Half Acre, Bangor’s red light district in the late 19th century, the namesake lf Acre was Ha vil’s De the in for the distillery. fé at 157 Broad Street in the first decade of the The Metropolitan Ca holes ng teri wa st fine to. ’s pho Johnson, a real-life one of Bangor right in this Jones can be seen at RY CENTER twentieth century. Fan SEUM AND HISTO MU lumberman, fur trapper and OR NG BA O: PHOT fire warden, made a name for

Starting a distillery wasn’t easy, however. The team first tried to get Devil’s Half Acre off the ground back in 2017 and 2018, but found that getting both the finances together and approvals at the municipal, state and federal levels was challenging. They shelved the idea for about two years — until the pandemic struck. Murphy was called up by the National Guard to serve in a COVID-19 response unit in the

himself in the late 19th century as a hard-drinking, womanizing outdoorsman, felling trees and spitting tobacco all across Maine and New Hampshire. Though he was very much a real person, his exploits were often wildly embellished — that he was born with a peavey in his hand, for example, or that he could catch a bobcat with his bare hands. There’s a campground named for him in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest. Jones, also a real person, in the 1860s and 70s operated arguably the most famous brothel in Bangor — the Sky Blue House of Pleasure, sonamed for its chimney painted baby blue, so visiting lumbermen would know where to look when coming into town and looking for a certain type of companionship. The history-referencing name — and the fact that the family farm where the distillery is located has been in the family for six generations, originally as a woodlot — speaks to the team’s emphasis on doing as much as possible locally. “We’re the only distillery in the country that is using our own juniper berries to make gin, and we might be the only one in the world,” Matthew Murphy said. “The idea of revitalizing this farm is something that is really important to me. And I think we’ve made a gin that can compete with anything else on the market.”

Jigger & Jones American Gin is now available at more than 40 liquor stores across Maine, with more being added every day. A list of where to buy it will be available on the Devil’s Half Acre Distillery website at

Bottles of Hermon-made Jigger & Jones American Gin are seen on store shelves. PHOTO: DEVIL’S HALF ACRE DISTILLERY

Originally published in the Bangor Daily News on Dec. 12, 2020.


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n the heart of every small town lies a business that supports the community far beyond their mission statement. Since 2008, Seaboard Federal Credit Union in Hermon has not only honored its goal of being “committed to meeting the financial needs� of its members, but has situated itself as an integral component of Hermon’s overall growth. Year after year, Seaboard FCU supports local schools through a financial literacy program while advertising for various sports and arts programs. They’ve also sponsored recreational soccer and Little League teams as well as the Hermon Summer Sizzler. In 2020, a donation of $2,397.91 was made to the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Community Food Pantry, located in Hermon. Kyle Casburn, who is the President and CEO of Seaboard FCU, credits the stability of his longstanding staff who have been able to create genuine relationships with the members, thus, understanding where there’s a need in the community. Of course, having employees with 15-plus years of service also allows for true product knowledge with every transaction. “All loan decisions are made in-house by the loan officer you’re sitting across from,� said Casburn. “If a loan could be ‘hand-crafted,’ then our lending model would fit that description.� Further, a quick turnaround on the loan decision is made with reasonable rates and low fees.

To help members of the community understand more about rates, fees and overall financial literacy, Seaboard FCU has invested in providing financial literacy through their Banzai program, where there are three different levels of learning, based on age. Adults can tackle topics such as maintaining good credit, buying insurance, understanding taxes and qualifying for a mortgage. “We also sponsor Banzai’s online financial literacy program, which is free to teachers and students at 17 area schools,� said Casburn, noting Hermon High School and Middle School both use the program. With so many schools doing remote learning this year, the Banzai program has helped greatly for educators, parents and students with new topics to encourage financial wellbeing. For younger kids, a new youth savings program called Zoe’s Club is a fun way to get children excited about having their own bank account. Zoe is an actual 3-pound Yorkshire Terrier who serves as the credit union’s mascot. While Zoe’s cute appearance gains a lot of attention, more importantly, she teaches respect, responsibility, the importance of being kind-hearted and making wise financial decisions. The cost to open this account is a balance of $5. “Seaboard is pretty nimble at adopting new technology and adding features to existing services,� said Casburn. “We’re not burdened with layers upon layers of bureaucracy so we can react to our members’ needs fairly quickly.�

Another celebrated perk is Seaboard’s participation in Maine’s SurF ATM network, where members can use 250 ATMs in Maine surcharge free. Through the shared branching network with other credit unions, members can also enter 175 branches across the state or 5,400 nationally and perform deposits, withdrawals, make loan payments and transfer funds as if they were at their own Seaboard branch. Results have shown a savings of $300 a year in ATM fees. Since Hermon has seen tremendous growth over the past 20 years, Seaboard aligns itself with the vision of the many small businesses that make up the surrounding area by providing loans for equipment, vehicles, lines of credit and investment property and commercial real-estate. “Like our consumer loans,� said Casburn, “we offer low rates and fees, personalized service and quick turnaround on underwriting decisions.� Since the members own the credit union and elect the board of directors, who are volunteers, there’s a sense of ownership and pride that runs deep from the first moment you walk through the doors.

For more information, visit or check out their Facebook page to learn more about Seaboard FCU and how you can become a member.


DISCOVER HERMON • January 15, 2021