Busy Corner building being renovated by Smokers Haven

LACONIA — The Lefebrve Building at 245 Union Avenue will soon become the fourth outlet of Smokers Haven, a group of stores with an extensive inventory catering to the diverse tastes of those who smoke or vape.

The 3,129-square-foot building at the corner of Winter Street, with an unfinished upper story of 2,340-square-feet, was constructed in 1935 and was last home to Rent-A-Cente, which moved downtown four years ago. It was recently purchased by Brett Scott, a 22 year old entrepreneur, for $130,000 and is undergoing a thorough renovation and remodeling in anticipation of the business opening in November. The store will join outlets in Manchester, Nashua and Epsom, all owned an operated by Scott, who also in the principal of Excel Realty Investments, LLC. .

The inventory of what might be described as a "head shop" will range from the conventional to the exotic to include tobacco, cigarettes, rolling papers, pipes, water pipes, vaporizers, electric cigarettes, incense and various other accessories. The store will also house a hookah lounge, or shisha bar, where patrons can enjoy as many as 100 flavors of mu'assel or shisha, a syrupy tobacco mix laced with molasses and flavored with fruits, herbs an even gummy bears.

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VNA & Hospice is latest beneficiary of Paugus Bzay Marina golf tournaments

LACONIA — Paugus Bay Marina's 4th annual charity golf tournament, which was held at Laconia Country Club on August 31, raised $16,000 for Central New Hampshire VNA and Hospice.
It brought the total raised in golf tournaments sponsored by the business over the last four years to $56,000.
"We decided to hold our first tournament in 2012 as a way of thanking the Laconia Fire Department for the great job they did in putting out a fire on Memorial Day that year that could have destroyed the entire marina,'' says Paugus Bay owner Kevin Keenan.
That tournament was held at Lochmere Country Club and raised $10,000, according to Laurie Fox, general manager of the marina.
Since then the Paugus Bay Marina tournaments have been held at Laconia Country Club and raised $15,000 for the Laconia Police Department in 2013 and $15,000 for Lakes Region Disabled Sports last year.
This year it was the loss of their mothers by both Keenan and Fox that led to the decision to support Central New Hampshire VNA and Hospice.
''We both lost our mothers around the same time and both them were taken care of by hospice workers in the final stages. The hospice volunteers were such a big help to our families that we wanted to show our support for this great organization,'' said Keenan.
He expressed special gratitude to Fox, whom he said goes above and beyond to help make the golf tournaments successful.
Fox said that there is a core group of supporters who help her with the tournaments and thanked Linda Knott and Kendra Deal of LPL Financial for their support.
The Bank of New Hampshire and Meredith Village Savings Bank are major sponsors for the tournament, according to Fox.

CAPTION for cut slugged hospice check

Paugus Bay Marina's 4th annual charity golf tournament which was held at Laconia Country Club on August 31 raised $16,000 for Central New Hampshire VNA and Hospice. Shown at check presentation are Kevin Keenan, Paugus Bay Marine owner; Kory Keenan, marina manager; Laurie Fox, general manger of the marina; Kendra Deal of LPL Financial, a sponsor of the tournament; Margaret Franckhauser, executive director of Central New Hampshire VNA and Hospice; Linda Knott, owner of LPL Financial; and Rita Pascoe and Bill Schwidder, members of the the board of directors of Central New Hampshire VNA and Hospice. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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'OLT': downtown merchant encouraging others to stay open a little later on Thursdays

LACONIA — The aqua-blue signs bearing the letters "O, L, T" displayed in the windows of some downtown businesses do not signal "out to lunch," but instead announce "open late Thursday".

Jeanne Compton of New England Porch Rockers created the signs to encourage her fellow downtown merchants to remain open until 6 p.m. on Thursday evenings. She explained that the Laconia Main Street Outdoor Marketplace operates on Thursdays between 3 and 6 p.m. and a number of downtown retailers chose to follow suit. But, since there will be no outdoor market after the end of September. Compton is concerned that many will revert to their earlier closing time. "The goal is for all of us to stay open till six and make Laconia a bustling place," she said.

John Moriarty , president of the Main Street Initiative, acknowledged that Compton has a point. He said that 80 percent of all retail shopping occurs after 5 p.m.. "We are aware of Jean's initiative and are supportive," he said.

However, Moriarty noted that many shops are open until 5:30 p.m. and the extra half-hour yields marginal returns. He suggested that many patrons of stores downtown shop earlier in the day, often during their lunch hour. Around the loop described by Beacon Street East, Veterans Square and Beacon Street West, he counted some 300 offices and businesses. And the radius of the loop measures approximately 250 footsteps.

"Downtown is very compact," Moriarty said, explaining that foot traffic is heaviest when people are at work and during the lunch hour. While applauding Compton's initiative, he considered it "premature", suggesting that when the Colonial Theatre reopens more people will be drawn downtown to performances and restaurants during the evening hours, which may prompt merchants to keep later hours.

In the meantime, Compton will encourage her counterparts to display her sign and she has an ally in Charlie St. Clair of the Laconia Antique Center, which is always open until 6 p.m. "I don't understand how they think people are going to shop when they're leaving work when they're closing up," he remarked.

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