Thursday, January 15, 2009

Skillin's "Basics" Comments by Customers

Hello again,

Just yesterday I sent out an article called Skillin’s Basics which provides some history of Skillin’s. We received some very nice responses to the article. Here are some of the responses that mention some very nice people who have been a big help to us and some nice additional tales. Thanks to everyone who shared their comments!

Abigail L. writes:

“Loved it.
I grew up nearby and Grampa Skillin, Young Alex and Florence were part of our universe. I remember marching as a Brownie Scout in Falmouth's Memorial Day parade from Skillins to Pine Grove, watching the big boys playing baseball on the opposite corner, the huge blanket of flowers over Young Alex's grave. Then there was Johnny (John Skillin and company) building the aster house, Sadie Lunt transplanting seedlings, the Skillin's guys (around 1955 or 1956) rescuing my mother prized orchids collection during a house fire one winter night. They kept their vehicles running with the orchids inside to keep them warm.”

Chris B writes:

“Thank you Mike for the heart warming history. Skillin's is a wonderful place. I do all of my shopping for my garden and house plants etc. there. I don't expect you to know me but I do say hello often times when I see you there. I've mentioned this before and I' m always happy to mention that from the moment I enter your business I find the staff to be the most helpful and hospitable than any other business I go into. They are amazing! I also want to mention Mary who is so knowledgeable and helpful with a nice smile and pleasant conversations.Thanks to all of you and give yourselves a pat on the back, you deserve it! Thanks Mike for your emails I do enjoy reading them. Great job!”

Linda S. chimes in:

“Hi Mike, Once again, I've loved reading the history of the Skillin family and business enterprise. I am your most loyal customer and sing your praises to who ever will listen. And I agree with you about Gordie in Brunswick. He is a gem!!!And yes, we'll get through this economic crisis - we always do!”

Barbara Gardener adds:

Thank you, Mike. I have been looking forward to another chapter in the history of the Skillins family. I thoroughly enjoyed last year's story and was happy that you promised to write more. Thanks again for a promise fulfilled. You certainly have an amazing family! You all must be so very proud of all that the Skillins family has achieved! I'm feeling proud to even know you! I don't know your dad but I sure loved and miss John along with hundreds of other people.

Helen K tell us:
"Thanks for this wonderful history of Skillins. I have frequented your wonderful store and garden center many times in the 18 hears that I have lived in Maine. I grew up on a farm in Texas and I know what hard work the agricultural world poses for us. My dear mother always had the most beautiful vegetable and flower gardens. I can still see her walking behind the plow creating furrows for planting the potatoes! We are all much better for those years of work - I was born in 1926. I believe that the current crisis will make us better people that appreciate the simple life of gardening and enjoying the beautiful nature that God has provided for us - we need to care for it and relish it every day. Thank you again for my favorite place in Falmouth. I live in Gorham. "

From Lynn T:

"Your history brings back many favorite memories of growing up in Bath. My Grandmother was an active participant in the garden club and a judge in the exhibition building at Topsham fair. Thank you so much for sharing! "

To Lynn T (from Mike S.):

"The Topsham Fair!

My first real job for Skillin’s was selling apples, cider, peanut butter and peanuts, oh—and pickles—in the hallway under the grandstand at the Topsham Fair. This would have been around 1970 and 1971. I was about 8 or 9 and a little scared but it gave me chance to spend some time with my Dad Dave Skillin and that was a very good thing for this young boy!"

Lynn T:

"I remember the pickles. I use to love hanging in the garden with my dad. One year I got a blue ribbon at the Topsham fair for my potatoes. My brother always had ribbon winning pop corn."

Pat F tells about some great gardening events, etc:
Well, I've heard your history several times, but I read it again today. Thank you. It was important to many of us who are getting very down about what is happening world-wide to hear inspiring stories. And yours was.My Grampa "Nick" ("Joe" Nickerson) of Lincolnville would have liked that story. He and my Grandmother Elsie farmed their land from 1920 until he died in 1982. And we have continued to have smaller gardens there still, until my grandmother went into a nursing home, then through several temporary occupancies of nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. And my mother of 82 years is still gardening, after she returned 10 years ago to the home where she was literally born. And she's still canning, pickling, etc.I garden on my small lot in nearby Belfast, am a Master Gardener of 7 years, and visit your Brunswick store perhaps twice a season while helping a gardening-challenged retired friend in Brunswick. I am retired and volunteer at the Troy Howard Middle School's award-winning garden project which operates all year long. They have a great website at and they love volunteers to work with them, and welcome visitors (call ahead). I know you have garden programs in your nearby schools, but you should really visit Steve Tanguay or Jon Thurston sometime and see the fine work this school does -- in a community not known for top-of-the-line school programs. [We DO, however, have top-of-the-line flower gardens in downtown Belfast, thanks to our volunteers of the Belfast Garden Club and others.Again, thanks. You made my day. Now, if the next 5 weeks would just rush by so we could truly look forward to Spring and gardening for real!!!OH . . . I almost forgot. You didn't mention anything about Roger Doiron's work on promoting a Victory Garden at the White House. We in Belfast think it is a no-brainer to do this, for lots of good reasons. I hope you might share some of your thoughts on that idea sometime this Spring.

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