nine generations strong

Midcoast company among winners of 23rd Maine Family Business Awards

Fri, 10/20/2023 - 5:00pm

FREEPORT — A diverse group of companies from across the state was honored last night at the 23rd Maine Family Business Awards gala hosted by Amanda Hill, weeknight anchor for NewsCenter Maine. The event took place at L.L.Bean’s new headquarters building in Freeport.

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

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 the land that was purchased by the family in 1757. A large number of Brodis family members are actively involved in the business, which continues to innovate and lead the Maine wild blueberry industry.

From a record 500+ nominations, 35 semi-finalists competed to receive seven awards. An independent panel of judges, facilitated by Anne Hussey, Partner at The Quad Group, selected the winners from among 26 finalists representing large and small family-owned businesses from all across Maine.

This year’s other winners are: 

Mahoosuc Guide Services of Newry received the Geiger Environmental Leadership Award for their commitment to instill in their guests the desire to become actively involved in protecting the wild areas of Maine from development and to make meaningful changes in their lives to address the issue of climate change. The judges also noted Mahoosuc’s work with indigenous communities in Maine and Canada, as well as their conservation practices, buying local and using renewable energy.

Hancock Lumber of Casco won the M&T Bank Innovation & Technology Award in recognition of the ways in which the company has leveraged technology, including the use of artificial intelligence and grade-scanning technology in its sawmills to maximize the yield of each log, as well as for developing proprietary tools like their Yard Pro app and the Hancock Online experience.

The Horch Roofing First Generation Award was presented to Maine Med Cleaning Service of South Portland. This company was started just prior to the pandemic by a New Mainer originally from DR Congo, and grew exponentially by providing crucial cleaning services to Maine Medical Center and other businesses during the pandemic. 

The Cote Corporation of Auburn took home the Chalmers Insurance Group Customer Service Award in acknowledgment of their focus on providing exceptional service to their customers throughout Maine and New Hampshire. The Cote Corp. is the largest family-run crane and rigging company in Maine and are renowned as industry experts named as the exclusive crane and rigging company for The U.S. Department of Defense, Emergency Management agencies and many other companies around the world. 

The Shep Lee Community Service Award, named for one of the founders of IFOB, went to Gorham Sand & Gravel of Buxton in recognition of their generous support of the community through their financial support to The Buxton Toy Box. Southern Maine Community College, Camp Sunshine, Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Reed Allen Community Fund, Maine Medical Center and more. The company donates services, materials and financial support to a number of local organizations each year. 

Pratt Abbott Garment Care of Westbrook was named the Renys Large Business of the Year, designated for companies with more than 25 employees. The company is recognized regionally and nationally as an industry leader, revitalizing home and office delivery and introducing the first counterless, 24/7 store in New England. They were also honored for their generous community service, including their flagship initiative, Coats for Kids, through which they have cleaned and distributed nearly one million winter coats to kids in need since 1982.

IFOB also presented the BerryDunn Lifetime Achievement Award to Janet Cole Cross of Cole Cross Connections, LLC. Cross, a third-generation member of the family behind Coles Express Trucking Company before starting her own business, has been a leader for women in family business for decades. A founding board member of the IFOB, she has served the organization in many capacities, including starting the Women in Family Business and Next Generation groups.

Sponsors of the Maine Family Business Awards include title sponsor MEMIC, L.L.Bean, Machias Savings Bank, Renys, Family Enterprise USA, Chalmers Insurance Group, BerryDunn, Capozza Floor Covering Center, Old Port Specialty Tile Co., M&T Bank, Horch Roofing, Geiger, Lee Auto Malls, Oakhurst, Skowhegan Savings Bank, Pine State Trading Company, Bangor Savings Bank, Hammond Lumber, Cross Insurance, Volk Packaging Corporation, The Cote Corporation, Norway Savings Bank, Down East, Camden National Bank, Zachau Construction, AV Technik, Mainebiz, flyte new media and Maine Trust for Local News.


About the Institute for Family-Owned Business:

Now in its 29th year, the Institute for Family-Owned Business (IFOB) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to supporting family-owned businesses, which represent about 80 percent of all businesses in Maine. Through consulting, seminars, workshops, and networking, the Institute assists family-owned firms in meeting the unique managerial challenges associated with operating and sustaining a successful family enterprise. Additional information is available on the Institute’s new website,