Barber Foods commemorated its 65th anniversary by donating products to local first responders and the medical community. At left is Bruce Tuner, director of food service at Northern Light Mercy Hospital with Chaplain John Haslam of Barber Foods. Contributed

Barber Foods marks 65th year in business

Portland-based Barber Foods recently celebrated its 65th anniversary by donating products to team members at the plant as well as to local first responders and the medical community.

Gus Barber started Barber Beef in 1955, a journey that would lead to Barber Beef and Poultry and what’s known today as Barber Foods.

With a sharp knife, a pickup truck and one employee, Barber became a trustworthy supplier to local businesses in the Portland community. Always looking for new ideas, he began dividing up whole chickens, something new at the time. Soon Barber was deboning and trimming chicken breasts to size for food service operators. In the 1970s, the first stuffed chicken breast was created to become the cornerstone of the Barber Foods brand today. By the early ’90s, the company distributed its products coast to coast in the U.S. and Canada. In 2017, the parent company of Barber Foods, AdvancePierre Foods, was acquired by Tyson Foods but still hails from Portland.

Barber truly lived his dream and often commented that Barber Foods “could only happen in America.” As a first-generation American, his parents had difficulty with English. He saw the struggle of others who made the United States their new home and vowed one day to make a difference. He did just that, setting up training at the workplace for English skills, citizenship classes, classes on basic computer skills and opportunities for cultural interaction. Many of those new arrivals went on to leadership positions to support the state-of-the-art facility in Portland.

Spectrum computes

Spectrum donated 25 new laptop computers to Portland Adult Education and $2,500 to the Foundation for Portland Public Schools on Oct. 6. Shown from left are Violette Zola (PAE student), Melinda Kinney (Regional Senior Director of Charter Communications) and Portland Mayor Kate Snyder. Contributed

Giving back

Scarborough Assisted Living conducted its annual Classic Car Show Back to School Drive for students at Reiche Elementary School in Portland earlier this month with a drive-by event and scarecrow contest. Residents Gerry Bosse, Carole Reid, Barbara Schermerhorn, Marianne Corley and Jackie Hayes took a cruise with all the donations received and special treat baskets for teachers. Several classrooms came outside to greet residents with posters they had decorated.

Hires, promotions, appointments

The Scarborough Kiwanis Club announced the election of officers the 2020-21 club year: president, Glen Cefalo of Wells; president-elect, Janet Kelewae of North Berwick; immediate past president, Neil Jamieson of Scarborough; treasurer, Melanie Lee of Saco; secretary, Emma Clark of Saco; and assistant secretary, Sherry Forest of Dayton.

Krott

WordLab, an apprenticeship program and sister company to strategic communications firm Broadreach Public Relations, announced the hiring of Brunswick resident Katie Krott.

The Maine Crafts Association has bid farewell to Board President Tyler Gulden and welcomes Shannon Richards into the organizational leadership role. Richards joined the MCA Board two years ago. Richards owns Hay Runner real estate service company in Scarborough, where she designs and manufactures custom furniture and fixtures, along with interior design, architectural design services and general contracting.

Pratt

Clark Insurance has welcomed Curtis Pratt, the new Safety & Risk Consultant, to its Safety & Risk Consulting Team. Pratt has 10 years of safety and health experience in the defense, heavy industrial and construction markets.