“My dad used to carry my baby sister in a backpack while he worked on patients, when she wasn’t napping in the back room,” said Lisa Liberatore as she shared memories of growing up in her dad’s business.
Lisa’s dad, Albert “Lib” Liberatore, was an orthodontist with an office in Brewer for 37 years before he retired in 2010. His wife, Jeanne, managed the business side of the practice. Together they raised four children.
Lisa Liberatore and her older brother, Anthony, along with younger sisters Anna and Maria, grew up in the business.
“We were always there as kids and we were expected to pitch in. We did everything from talking with patients to photocopying, cleaning and taking payments,” recalled Lisa Liberatore.
That experience helped prepare Liberatore to own a business of her own. She owns Lisa’s Legit Burritos, with locations in Gardiner and Augusta.
Liberatore opened her Gardiner location in 2011 after she identified the need for a good, healthy burrito eatery in the area. She opened her Augusta location in 2013.
One might be surprised to find chili dogs and hot dogs in her burrito restaurant.
“My dad insisted that I sell those, too,” Liberatore said. She added, “They are super popular. Dad always has good ideas.”
Liberatore is the only one of her siblings who started a new business. Her brother, Anthony, is an orthodontist and took over the family practice when their dad retired. Her sister Anna is an emergency room doctor and her sister Maria has a doctorate in physical therapy.
“Our dad is so proud of all of his kids,” Liberatore said.
In addition to operating her business, Liberatore is very involved in her community.
“Dad taught us that you help out, you give more than your money — you give your time. Community service was the culture in our house.”
Liberatore has given time serving as president of Gardiner Main Street and on the City Council, among other volunteer activities.
“I learned so much from my dad that I apply to my business and my life every day,” she said. “Taking care of customers, persevering through the tough times and showing generosity towards others are some of those lessons.”
She added, “Dad reminded us that no one makes it alone. There are many people along our path who help us find our way. We need to show gratitude and stay humble.”
Finding time to be a family was a priority for Liberatore’s parents.
“When we were home we were all about family. Dad was really committed to striking that balance between our business and home life,” she said.
Today, Liberatore is a parent herself trying to find her own balance as she raises her 2-year-old son, Dorian, as a single mom while running her business.
“It’s not easy being a full-time mom with a full-time business. My staff helps out a lot and Dorian hangs out in my business just like I hung out in my dad’s business,” she said.
“I remember as a kid when my dad would be recognized when we were out in public. Now my son is recognized whenever we go out. He has his own fans,” she said proudly.
She added, “I hope I can pass on to my son the many lessons our Dad taught us as he grows up in my business.”