Haven’s Candies. DeLorme. Kate’s Creamery. Minuteman Signs. Lucy’s Granola. Cross Insurance. These are but a few of the 32 Maine family businesses recognized at the 16th annual Maine Family Business Awards held recently at the Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks in South Portland.

“One of the great things about Maine is there are a lot of family-owned businesses here,” explained Michael Cianchette, who works with his father Eric, owner of The Portland Regency Hotel & Spa in Portland’s Old Port. “It’s these kinds of businesses that really hold up the community.”

Cianchette attended the awards ceremony with his wife, Michelle Cianchette, and his cousin David Tamulevich, general manager of The Regency.

“It’s a hard place to make a living,” said Eric Cianchette, who knows a thing or two about family business. “But Maine is a great state and it’s home for us.”

Hosted by the Institute for Family-Owned Business, more than 360 guests mingled over cocktails before sitting down to a dinner and awards presentation.

Cameron Jordan and her husband, Adam Reny, of Round Pond attended with family members Faustine Reny and her husband, Nicholas Plumer, of New Harbor. Bob and Mary Kate Reny chatted with friends Susan and Bryan Dench, who is board chairman at Skelton, Taintor & Abbott in Auburn.

“I know I’m from away and I’m OK with that,” said native New Yorker Alex Fisher, who attended with his wife, Brianne. He started Planet Dog in Portland 18 years ago and it’s now an international company. “Our home base of Portland is what’s most important to us. I love Maine and I know we are living the life.”

Before the 2015 award winners were announced, journalist Gregg Lagerquist of WGME 13 moderated a panel from the stage entitled, “The Family Element,” featuring Lindsay Gifford Skilling of Gifford’s Ice Cream, Alan MacEwan of Verrill Dana, Casey Prentice of Prentice Hospitality Group and Meredith Strang Burgess of Burgess Advertising & Marketing.

Geraldine Brewer of Portland attended to show support for her son Rusty, founder of M.R. Brewer, a millwork and construction company in Portland.

“We’ve been in business for 28 years,” said Rusty Brewer, who attended with his wife, Patricia. “We’ve got old-school kind of values, and I’m only as good as my guys. We’ve got good people. I’ve got two boys in the business. Makes it go a little easier.”

For more information about the Institute for Family-Owned Business and the recipients of the 2015 awards, please visit www.fambusiness.org.

Margaret Logan is a freelance writer who lives in Scarborough. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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