Whiting cannery owner takes top SBA award in Maine

The U.S. Small Business Administration has named its 2012 Business Person of the Year for Maine – Michael Cote, president and CEO of Look’s Gourmet Food Co. in Whiting.

Look’s Gourmet produces the Bar Harbor Foods brands of goods out of its Whiting cannery – reputed to be the last such operation in Maine.

Products include Indian pudding, clam chowder, clam juice, lobster chowder, crab bisque and many more. Cote was at the Boston Seafood Show Monday and couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

According to the company’s website, “Willard M. Look founded the original East Machias Canning Company (now Look’s Gourmet Food Company) in 1917, on a wharf at the head of Holmes Bay.”

Cote bought the company in 2003, according to the site.

“Growing up in Maine, Mike was a fan of the cannery and the company’s products, and has always loved fresh Maine seafood and simple natural ingredients,” the site said.

Mike Cote, owner of Look's Gourmet Food Co.

Other SBA awardees in Maine include:

  • Small Business Exporter Award — Howell Laboratories & Division Shively Labs, Bridgton.
  • Home-Based Small Business Champions — Kate & Steve Shaffer, chief operating officer and CEO of Black Dinah Chocolatiers, Isle Au Haut.
  • Financial Services Champion for Maine & New England — Harold W. Clossey, executive director, Sunrise County Economic Council, Machias.
  • Veteran Small Business Champion — Scott Robinett, Maine Small Business Development Centers, Portland.
  • Maine Women in Business Champions — Key4Women, Sherry Brown, Susan Pope, Jane Harmon, and Bonita Pothier
  • Minority Small Business Champion — Patricia Rice, SCORE/Volunteer, Veazie.

In addition, District Director’s Awards for FY 2011 will be presented to: Bangor Savings Bank, Granite State Economic Development Corp., Atlantic Regional FCU , and Coastal Enterprises Inc.

The awards will be presented in Augusta on May 17.