Maine Attractions, Part 2

Brothers celebrate 70 years at Maine shop

Two brothers at a Maine electric motor repair shop are celebrating 70 years of family-operated business. Scott and Mike Adams, who own and operate Skowhegan Electric Motors, are the third generation of ownership for the shop residing in the Maine town of the same name.

Skowhegan Electric began with the brother’s grandfather, Harold, who started the business—which is set up garage-style, right beside Scott’s house at the back of his driveway—in 1946 and ran it until his death in 1974. Following that, Lawrence Adams (Scott and Mike’s father) took over for the next 47 years of operations.

“It’s been a family business, we’ve celebrated 70 years and it’s been a good living,” Scott Adams told WABI TV5, a local Maine station, who’s Zachary Warren first reported on the shop September 21. The television interview with both brothers is available after following the link above; that’s Scott on the left and Mike on the right in the video.

skowhegan

Scott told Warren he’s been present at the shop for 38 years, while Mike has put in 33. Through three generations, 2016 marks 70 consecutive years of Adams ownership at Skowhegan Electric.

Their grandfather started out fixing motors for American Woolen Mills before starting a company of his own. The family has been able to keep their business running despite changes to the industry.

“You got to adapt,” Mike Adams told Warren. “Stuff comes in all the time that we normally wouldn’t have done but you’ve got to go where the market it. You got to do what you can to survive.” He adds that they place a guarantee on all their work. The two pride themselves on being owner-operator-workers, with Mike saying “there’s a lot to be said for the hands on.” To top things off, the shop retains much of the original equipment and machinery. This type of practice will ring a bell with anyone who has operated a family-owned shop of the same likeness. Not only does certain equipment possess sentimental value, but it’s the most reliable to the sons who now do the work. Some of the machinery still in use is up to 50 or 60 years old, according to the Adams brothers, while other pieces are kept around as relics, or to pay homage. Mike Adams stresses that any of that machinery that is still in use still works, regardless of its age tag.

A unique aspect of this operation is that both brothers both work for separate companies when they aren’t in the motor shop. This is one way to elude financial uncertainties often encountered at small electric motor repair shops in the changing technological age of today.

Will a fourth generation of Adams proceed with the shop? That remains to be seen. Scott and Mike both appreciate the rarity of what they have, and all they’ve accomplished. “Not everybody can work with their brother and their father. It takes someone special. We have our moments but, hey, you’re family so you got to do what you can do.”

The Skowhegan sign, pictured above, has been there since day one. And yes, day one was in 1946…during the Truman presidency.

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