Shirley Mills, Maine. Where’s that, you ask? From the Bangor area, RT 15 North through Dover-Foxcroft, Guilford, Abbot, and Monson will get you there, just shy of Greenville. There, I had the pleasure of meeting up with a couple who run a family owned business (actually, two businesses), and after my meeting, I wanted my readers to know how impressed I was.
First off, let me say that as the Executive Director of the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce, I encourage “shopping local” everywhere I go. Sounds a bit cliché to some, but statistically, keeping money circulating through the county you live in makes a huge impact on its local economy. We hear about “buying American” often, whether it be an automobile or a recreational vehicle, household appliances, or electronics. Thankfully, many Americans understand the importance of buying American -made products and keeping our dollars here in the U.S. Sadly, however, most folks do not realize the impact that same mentality can have on a county like Piscataquis when her residents and business owners make a focused effort to buy anything they can locally. From produce, to farm equipment & hardware, to groceries, to automobiles, to services; every purchase matters, every dollar counts, every patron makes a difference to the businesses throughout Piscataquis.
I have seen our residents endeavor to do this on a regular basis. I realize there are some items that are simply not available locally, leaving us no choice but to venture out-of-town. I fully understand that. But when I see new families pulling into their driveways with moving trucks in tow only to find a delivery truck in that same driveway a couple of days later, unloading new appliances or furniture from a box-store in Bangor or Portland, I cannot help but feel a bit disappointed. OK, a lot disappointed.
Recently, on my way through Monson, I saw such a truck unloading a new refrigerator and washer/ dryer for a resident, so I did what any normal Chamber director would do; I pulled over and got out of my car. After the Mrs. signed for her new appliances and thanked the delivery man in the blue shirt, I approached her and introduced myself. She explained she had just moved to the area. I asked her why she opted not to do business with a local company for her appliances, and her response was typical: she was simply unaware of what was available in our area, and thought that if there was a major appliance store locally, it would probably be more expensive vs. Bangor or Augusta.
I gave her my card and asked her to give me call before making any future large purchases or having any work done so I could refer her to a local reputable business. She was appreciative, and I was glad to have heard her perspective. I wondered that day how many others had that misconception. She provided me some added motivation to “shine the light” on the local companies who provide the “larger-purchase” products and services our residents would normally drive to Bangor for.
So, back to Shirley. Before you get to Greenville, you’ll be in Shirley. While driving through this stretch of RT 15, you will see a log cabin showroom with a well-manicured lawn and lovely landscaping. The business, called Designed Living, is VERY difficult to miss. Here, Paul & Theresa Lancisi have been operating a successful, reputable business for nearly twenty years! They design, build and install custom kitchens and bathrooms, including all cabinets, hardware, flooring, tile, lighting, and more. Driving up to the building, my first thought was “cha-ching, cha-ching, this is going to be expensive”. It was just beautiful, very professional, and “high-end” looking.
I suppose that is a typical perception. When you walk into Lowes you are fairly certain you are going to “get a deal”. But when you walk into a place like this, you can’t help but think you will pay top dollar for the project. After sitting down with Theresa and learning about their product, their process and their pricing, I realized how wrong I was.
First and foremost, let’s talk about the product. These are NOT your typical stock, mass-produced cabinets. These cabinets are solid wood, with many species to choose from, constructed by the owner himself (and his employees), custom to your specific design. Paul takes pride in his work, every cabinet or piece of furniture is a reflection of his craftsmanship. What I find so amazing is that Paul installs the cabinets himself, and brings the project to completion; his top priority is the satisfaction of his customer. The price presented to the customer for the total project is all-inclusive, no gimmicks.
When you are quoted a price for your cabinets, the install is included in that price. There’s no red tape to go through if you have a question or concern once it’s complete. No assistant manager, district supervisor, or installation office. You walk right into the showroom and talk to the owner. An owner who wants to make sure you leave happy, and completely satisfied.
From Dover-Foxcroft, Shirley Mills is about 5.5 miles closer than Bangor. It’s in Piscataquis County. If all of the reasons above are not enough to convince you to do your next project with Designed Living, let’s talk price one more time. I DARE YOU to do a price comparison. Compare a kitchen with Designed Living with any other company outside of the county. Understand what you are comparing. Is the other company offering you a stock cabinet or a custom cabinet? What materials are being used? How do the two projects really compare? The Lancisis’ customers are surprised and pleased to learn that from design to completion, Designed Living comes in lower, every time, with better quality and a personal touch.
Once everything is said and done, you will have a magnificent new kitchen, bath, or entertainment center in your home, AND you will also have established a relationship you can come back to every time you need anything for your home, from floor to ceiling, cabinet to counter top, and lighting to hardware… everything; including the kitchen sink!
Next time you’re headed into Greenville, stop in to Designed Living. Take a few minutes to browse, and dream a little about that new kitchen or master bath you’ve been wanting. It may not be as out of reach as you thought. In fact, it might be right in your own backyard.
Please tell Paul & Theresa the Chamber sent you; and until next time, thank you for taking a Peek into Piscataquis!
155 Greenville Rd. Shirley Mills, ME (207)695-4663
For more information on the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce, call Denise at (207)564-7533 or visit us online here.