Mon, Jul 28, 2014 ●
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Falmouth looks good to marketing firm, banks

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Falmouth looks good to marketing firm, banks

FALMOUTH — Several businesses are breaking ground, opening and moving in Falmouth.

TideSmart, which includes emg3, is owned by Yarmouth resident Steve Woods, who hopes a new eight-acre corporate headquarters will employ 400 people in the next two to three years.

"To have an economic push like this in southern Maine is huge," said Gov. John Baldacci, who participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for TideSmart on June 4.

The company has a long list of clients, including Olympus, Levi Strauss and Ace Hardware, and more locally, the Cumberland County Civic Center, for which it develops marketing plans that focus on customer interaction.

"All the marketing here is event marketing," Woods said. "Advertising deals with impressions, all our business is about interactions."

Woods said he has 3,000 independent contractors throughout the country handing out samples and engaging the public with the products and services of the company's clients. The company's focus is on experiential marketing, or getting products into the customers' hands and giving them the opportunity to experience a product before they purchase it.

"The industry has gone through some major changes recently. A lot of businesses have gone to event marketing," Woods said. "You need to use experience to create brand empathy."

The new "business garden" proposed for the plot at 380 Route 1 will include the company's logistics center, which Woods said would employ computer programmers, IT specialists and experts in environmental marketing.

"I think this area of Falmouth is ripe for significant and positive development," Woods said.

He said he worked closely with the town and the U.S. Small Business Administration to create a building that met Falmouth's design guidelines and integrated the surrounding rock and forest into the building design.

Banking on business

Gorham Savings Bank opened its newest office June 8 on Route 1 at Clearwater Drive. The branch offers a full array of banking products to retail and business customers, and created five new jobs.

The building is going for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

"We're focused on being an energy-efficient building," branch Manager Ann Armstrong said.

The bank will hold a number of events and give-aways during its first month in business, including free coffee and pastries for morning commuter customers from June 14 through June 19, a home composting demonstration June 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and an ice cream truck serving free ice cream at 1 p.m. on July 1.

Across the street, The Waldron Group is currently going through the Planning Board and Maine Department of Transportation approval process for a proposed Bangor Savings Bank branch in the former Portland Saab dealership.

The bank would lease a section of the building from The Waldron Group, leaving space for one or two more retail stores and an auto service provider.

"This is part of our overall expansion into the Portland area," Bangor Savings Bank Senior Vice President Yellow Light Breen said.

Bangor Savings opened three branches in greater Portland in 2007. Three more are being added this year, including one in the Old Port, one at Northgate Plaza and the one in Falmouth.

"We are a Maine bank, our business is 100 percent in Maine," Breen said. "Because of that, we are able to be responsive to every customer individually."

He added that the bank makes more than $1 million in charitable contributions per year, and that the company's partnership with the community is what sets it apart from other similar businesses.

Norway Savings Bank closed last week on the acquisition of the old Mobil station property near the corner of Route 1 and Bucknam Road. The bank plans to move its current Falmouth branch, next to Stonewall Cafe, to the new location.

"This new location will allow us to put a sign up on Route 1," said Senior Vice President Karen Hakala. "It gives a lot more convenience for customers. They will be able to get in and out easier."

Hakala said the new Falmouth branch will be one of the bank's "open hybrid" designs, which include individual service stations where customers can complete teller transactions and conduct their banking.

Norway Savings Bank recently opened a similarly designed branch on Route 1 in Yarmouth.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net