Milford and Amherst host tours of vacant commercial buildings

MILFORD – The Ericson family makes and sells air-lock containers for pickling vegetables out of their Amherst home, and Mark Ericson said they are “bursting at the seams” and looking for larger quarters.

But they have never leased or purchased commercial space before, and that’s why Ericson and his daughter, Sarah, were in the Chappell Tractor building Saturday, March 29, at the start of the Amherst-Milford Vacant Space Tour.

The self-guided tour began with a breakfast and panel discussion with Milford and Amherst town officials who answered questions about the process of opening or relocating a business.

Afterwards, the Ericsons said they planned to tour about a half dozen sites, which included the big purple house on Elm Street in Milford, a vacant building that was most recently the home of The Rustic Leaf restaurant.

Useful information

Mark Ericson said he acquired a lot of useful information about the building approval process, and the self-guided tour made viewing propertiesvery convenient.

“There were things I didn’t know about engaging with the town, and I learned things that will help us,” he said.

About a dozen people attended the program, put on by the Milford Improvement Team and the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce.

It was the first of its kind around here, and participants received maps and information sheets about the individual properties – 13 in Milford and five in Amherst – and discounts on lunch at several Milford restaurants.

On the panel were Bill Parker and Sarah Marchant, from the Milford and Amherst Community Development offices, Dana McAllister and Tim Herlihy from the Milford Building Department, Amherst Assistant Fire Chief Matt Conley and commercial lender Ed Killam from Lake Sunapee Bank.

Properties ranged from rental self-storage units to Milford Oval storefronts to a 5,800-square-foot office/retail building for sale on Route 101 in Amherst.

The Vacant Space Tour will be followed by another new initiative from MIT and the chamber – Milford Pride Day on Saturday, May 3, when volunteers, with the help of the Public Works Department and the Masons, will clean up around town and then enjoy a barbecue.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at or 673-3100, ext. 304.