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I was asked to speak on behalf of the Ricker Memorial Library at the grand opening of Square Root Natural Foods on Saturday, March 20, 2010. My remarks are below:

When my family moved to Poland 20 years ago, we came from a town with a library that was staffed by a group of committed volunteers, but that was peripheral to the community. It was little more than a place to borrow books. One of the things that stood out the most for my family was how central Ricker Library was to the town of Poland. It was, and continues to be, a bright, cheerful place that is truly the hub of our community and is vital to our town’s prosperity. That’s why I was so excited when Zakk Maher approached the library about Square Root Natural Foods donating a portion of today’s profits to the library and about working with the library to bring programming related to health and natural and organic foods to Poland. Square Root Natural Foods and the library have similar qualities. Both are committed to fostering community here in Poland. While the library provides the community house, with many community events taking place within our building’s walls, and serves as the town’s warming and cooling centers, Square Root Natural Foods provides its community lounge and promotes products grown and created within our community. Also, while Square Root Natural Foods serves our physical needs by providing nutrition for the body, the library provides nutrition for the mind and soul. Now more than ever it is important to support our local economy and that’s what Square Root Natural Foods is dedicated to doing by providing local products. The library is committed to boosting the local economy by providing resources for job seekers and small businesses. As Anne Herbert once said, “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.” We are honored to have the opportunity to work with Square Root Natural Foods to support our local economy and to promote healthy habits and we thank Zakk and Emmy for their support of the library. We look forward to using their donation to improve our ecology and agriculture sections and also look forward to working with them in the future to bring quality programming on related topics to the town. If you would like more information about the Alvan Bolster Ricker Memorial Library and Community House, including our upcoming programs and fundraisers, please come to the library or visit our web site at

Hello to my friends in Central Maine (especially Poland, Maine)! This Saturday (March 20) we have an awesome opportunity to support a great new local business and also support our favorite public library! Square Root Natural Foods is a new natural food store opening at Poland Crossing, where Poland’s Dunkin Donuts is located (the store is between Northeast Bank and Family Dollar). Being very community-minded, the owners have chosen to donate a portion of the opening day’s profits to the library, to be used to improve the library’s ecology and agriculture sections. As a library trustee and friend of the library, I’m excited about what this means for the library. As a lover of my hometown, I’m excited about what this means for Poland. As someone who supports the local economy by purchasing locally-grown foods, I’m excited about this great new place to get local and natural goods. Please join me in helping to make their opening day a huge success while also supporting Ricker Library! The store had its soft open a few weeks ago, so I’ve had the opportunity to visit and I can tell you that they have a great selection. Also, I had a long talk with the owners and am very impressed with their attitude regarding the business and the community. For more information about the event, visit the Friends of Ricker Library web site at

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Everyone wants a handout

By Nate LaClaire —  November 6, 2008 — Leave a comment

Browsing on today, I found an article from last December about the fact that today’s luxury retailers are placing a greater emphasis on customer service than they have before.


The staff is friendly and eager to educate any customer about the store’s wares regardless if they are an A-list celebrity or an everyday shopper.

From Top Shops 2006 –


This got me to thinking: what happened to customer service? These retailers are charging enough to cover their extravagant customer service policies, but it seems like even low-price retailers used to focus more on customer service than they do today. Have we gotten to the point as a country where we are willing to sacrifice personal contact and pride in products to save money? I think we have and that’s sad. We care so much about getting a deal that we tell the retailers (by our purchasing decisions) that we don’t care about helpful customer service as long as the price is low. Consequently, stores cut customer service to cut prices. They also cut quality to cut prices, and since there’s no customer service, no one cares.


It seems I’ve heard this same complaint coming from people I know who hate the lack of customer service but won’t pay more to send a message. Maybe I’m a hypocrite, too. It’s time I put my money where my mouth is. It’s time I start shopping places where I’ll be asked, "Can I help you find something?" Will you join me?