The Maine Wood Products Association presented its annual Pine Tree Award to Maine Wood Concepts of New Vineyard, Maine, a family owned-and-operated custom wood products company for its contributions to innovation in the local forest-based economy.
The Maine Wood Products Association seeks to improve the competitive position of its members and build quality employment in the state by sharing technical, marketing and business expertise, using this annual award as one of its incentives. Its members believe that the owners of the winning company, the Fletcher family, have guided the business since it started 40 years ago, right through their recent acquisition of a line of gourmet kitchen products.
“The Fletchers have used entrepreneurship, calculated risk-taking and perseverance to keep their company competitive,” Maine Wood Products Association executive director Dan Crowley says. “They have secured local markets for Maine’s high-quality hardwoods and created good jobs in Maine while facing down foreign competition.”
Last fall, Maine Wood Concepts began negotiating a purchase agreement with the Vic Firth Co. of Newport, Maine, for its line of wooden pepper mills, muddlers and rolling pins for the gourmet kitchen market. Vic Firth, a manufacturer of drumsticks and percussion accessories, was interested in seeing its line of gourmet kitchen products stay in Maine.
“When we started looking at Vic Firth’s kitchen products business, we knew it would require a radical transformation of our approach,” Maine Wood Concepts president Doug Fletcher says. “We’re accustomed to producing many thousands of pieces per day, such as wooden nickels, tool handles, toy parts and other components from several specialized machines. Taking on this type of high-end product and dealing with a wholly different customer base was a steep learning curve for us.”
The Fletchers responded to the challenge by expanding their facility and hiring and training more than 40 new employees, growing their workforce by more than 30 percent in nine months.
The company now operates the new gourmet kitchen products division under the name Fletcher’s Mill, found online at www.fletchersmill.com.
Contact: Maine Wood Products Association, P.O. Box 401, Belfast, ME 04915. Tel: 207-338-2883. www.mwpa.org
This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue.