Community support, not profit, is new business's main goal


LACONIA – A new sole proprietorship, based in Laconia, has been formed as an option for smaller businesses and non-profits.

Taic III Strategies,headed by Rob Aitcheson, will now work with organizations to develop new websites, locate and submit grants and provide marketing services. The organization also provides support in other diverse areas which are tailored to meet the needs of other programs, institutions and businesses.

The main difference between Taic III Strategies and other businesses is that the organization will operate under one idea, community support. “Rather than open this business solely to make a profit, we want to provide the resources and backing to organizations and local businesses in order to support their goals” said Aitcheson, the company's founding principal. “We don’t care about money, that’s not what this is about,” Aitcheson added. “My associates and I will work to benefit anyone who needs our assistance.”

In keeping with its core values, Taic III Strategies will work with organizations based off of their own project budget, with much of the associated cost being limited to support structure as opposed to an hourly fee. Additionally, the organization will only seek payment once a project is completed and with no commitment required on the part of the client.

“This is certainly unconventional, and while I support a profit oriented economy, we feel it’s important that a business exists for the sole benefit of its customers,” Aitcheson said.

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  • Written by Mike Mortensen
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Dental practice goes green with solar panels

TILTON -- Winnisquam Dental, a family dental practice, recently installed 49 solar panels on the practice roof, and a large pivoting ground transformer, launching a clean-energy initiative.

“We'll be able to produce about 80 percent of our electricity, which is huge because, like most medical practices, we use a tremendous amount to power equipment and servers,” said Kris Blackwelder, co-owner of Winnisquam Dental, located at 944 Laconia Road (Route 3), near the Winnisquam Bridge. "Adhering to infection control standards takes a lot of waste, and I’m excited that this endeavor will offset our carbon footprint significantly.”

The solar energy is collected through two main parts: “AllEarth Solar Tracker” ground-mount tracking system and 49 “Q Cells” solar panels. The “AllEarth Solar Tracker,” which is designed, tested and engineered in Vermont, pivots on a hydraulic base to follow the sun’s path throughout the day, collecting 45 percent more energy than fixed solar panels. The “Q Cells” solar panels, installed on the roof of Winnisquam Dental, boast an efficiency rate of up to 18.6 percent, weigh approximately 41 pounds each, and are certified for high snow and wind loads.

The complete system, installed by Granite State Solar, will produce an estimated 18,877 kilowatt hours annually for Winnisquam Dental. The 2016 annual usage for Winnisquam Dental was 23,301 kWh, thus offsetting the practice’s electrical consumption by 81 percent annually.

“As a community member and business owner in the Lakes Region, we are mindful of our carbon footprint,” said Derek Blackwelder, co-owner of Winnisquam Dental, “this is something we have been thinking about for a while, and we hope that other businesses or home owners who have been thinking about it, will see our project, hear about what we’re doing, and be inspired to take this step with us.”

In addition to “going green,” the solar panel system installed on Winnisquam Dental provides a worthy cost savings after initial installation. As energy needs increase and reserves of fossil fuels shrink, the result is a dramatic increase in electricity prices. “From a financial perspective, this initiative will provide us with a positive return on our investment,” said Michael Grenier, practice manager of Winnisquam Dental, “The annualized rate of return for our system is 10.18 percent. So this is definitely a win for us, our patients, and the environment."

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A worker from Granite State Solar installs solar panels on the roof of Winnisquam Dental's building in Tilton, near the Winnisquam Bridge. (Courtsy photo)

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Mill Falls' McLear named Master of New England Innkeeping

MEREDITH -- Hotelier Rusty McLear, owner of Mill Falls at the Lake, has been awarded the honorary title of Masters of New England Innkeeping by New England Inns & Resorts Association. The honor was bestowed at the association's Annual Meeting held recently in Newport, Rhode Island.

In 2003, NEIRA began its goal of awarding only 25 Innkeepers the title of Master of New England Innkeeper. Dedicated to preserving the level of prestige of this title, NEIRA only selects the most outstanding individuals or families who have proven to make a lasting contribution and impact on New England hospitality.

McLear has been a hospitality visionary for more than 40 years. He had the foresight to acquire and develop critical pieces of property as they became available in Meredith to build what is now Mill Falls at the Lake, New Hampshire’s premier destination on Lake Winnipesaukee. He also is a founder of the Greater Meredith Program (GMP), a non-profit community economic development organization dedicated to enhancing economic vitality, historical and cultural heritage, and town-wide beautification. GMP is the epitome of a public/private relationship that truly works to bring the community and guests of Meredith together.

In 2015 Rusty and his longtime business partner and friend, Alex Ray, joined forces to build two of the most unique Interstate Highway rest areas in the country, the Hooksett Welcome Centers on the north- and Southbound sides of I-93. McLear and Ray broke the traditional mold and furnished the centers with New Hampshire brands instead of chains. The Common Man family of restaurants runs the food service and the Country Stores. They didn’t just create a rest area they created a destination for travelers to embrace and explore everything New Hampshire has to offer.

McLear’s hands-on, team approach develops and inspires his staff. This practice is a staple of his organizational culture that has helped to create well-rounded, loyal and invested employees who embrace his vision which inevitably transfers to our guests and their experience.

McLear credited much of his success to surrounding himself with good people, noting that he would not have been able to accomplish his numerous projects, simultaneously without the help of Gail Batstone, general manager of Mill Falls at the Lake, and most importantly his wife, Jodie Herbert. “NEIRA is a great operation and is a true asset to the industry. I am humbled, proud and surprised to be chosen for this honor”.

McLear has also had the good fortune of being recognized by his peers on several occasions: The Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (2015), The Mildred Beech Travel Person of the Year, New Hampshire Travel Council (2008) Greater Meredith Program “Visionary ” Award (2008), New Hampshire Main Street Hero (2005), Innkeeper of the Year, New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (2006), Hospitality Business of the Year, Business New Hampshire Magazine (2005).

Batstone nominated Rusty for the award and was thrilled with the outcome. “Rusty is so deserving of this prestigious recognition. His entrepreneurial spirit, high regard for his employees and guests, and love of the Lakes Region and New Hampshire are unmatched. Many of us are proud to call him our mentor. “

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Hotelier Rusty McLear, above, owner of Mill Falls at the Lake, has been awarded the honorary title of Masters of New England Innkeeping by New England Inns & Resorts Association. (Courtesy photo)

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Belknap EDC helps fund Hermit Woods' expansion

MEREDITH -- Working with the Belknap EDC, Hermit Woods Winery recently received the support and funding needed to expand its customer offerings at its Meredith location. Belknap EDC contributed funds toward the purchase of new equipment and other fixtures to expand Hermit Woods into new lines of business including deli products and other food items.

Bob Manley, owner/partner at Hermit Woods, said, “Working with Ken Wilson from BEDC, has been a pleasure, we have found the perfect solution for our expansion and cannot thank everyone enough for helping us make this happen.” “This is our second project with the support of BEDC and we have enjoyed our collaborations with BEDC, in particular, its’ business revolving loan programs.”

Ken Wilson, BEDC loan officer, added, “We couldn’t be prouder to work with Hermit Woods Winery and assist their team as they continue to grow and expand in Meredith.” “Hermit Woods is a community and business leader in Meredith and we greatly appreciate their support of our Lakes Region community. Their commitment to grow their business and create jobs here is commendable and we look forward to their continued progress.”


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Ken Wilson, right, loan officer for Belknap EDS, stands with Hermit Woods Winery wwners, from left, Ken Hardcastle, Bob Manley, and Charles Lawrence. (Courtesy photo)

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Franklin Savings offering no-fee checking account for vets

FRANKLIN -- Franklin Savings Bank has launched a new checking account for veterans as a way to acknowledge and express gratitude to both active and inactive military service men and women for their commitment to preserving the nation's freedom.

The checking account earns monthly interest and offers unlimited transactions with no monthly service charge or fees. In addition, customers will receive a special gift at account opening and Franklin Savings Bank will make an annual donation for each new account to a local Veterans organization.

“We recently completed a restructuring of our checking accounts to better align with the needs of our customers,” said Joe Thornton, senior vice president, retail banking officer. “We wanted to create a checking account exclusively for our veterans as a way to thank the service men and women for their sacrifice in protecting our country.”


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