GUILFORD, Maine — The Pride Manufacturing plant in Guilford, which has been vacant for nearly four years, has been sold to a Corinth business that sells baked goods worldwide.
Larry Fleming, the owner of Little Lad’s Bakery, plans on moving his Corinth bakery into the former Pride Manufacturing Co. plant as soon as the renovations are completed on the building.
The sale closed June 16 and now Fleming is working with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to renovate the facility into a safe environment for making baked goods.
He purchased the Guilford plant — which once produced golf tees and other wood products — to expand his bakery operation, whose products include popcorn, granola, cookies, crackers and almond butter.
“We’re going to meet with state officials to see what needs to be done. I’m not sure when it will be ready, but when it does it should produce more jobs in the area,” Fleming said. “In this economy every day is a challenge. We are looking to grow because there has been such a good response from our customers and the larger facility in Guilford should help us meet the growing demand for our products.”
Fleming also owns the Little Lad’s restaurants in Portland and New York City, which serve a menu consisting of foods not produced from animal products.
Fleming said his products are both delicious and healthy, and are purchased by vegans and nonvegans alike.
He said his baked goods are having a positive effect on his customers’ health. He pointed toward medical research published in several publications indicating a vegan diet helps counteract health ailments. The company motto is “Solving America’s health problems one customer at a time.”
“There are still people out there who want to destroy themselves, but more and more people are looking to eat something that they enjoy and actually makes them healthier rather than sicker,” Fleming said.
The Corinth bakery has 12 employees, who work both on a full-time and part-time basis. Fleming decided to open the Little Lad’s Bakery in eastern Maine because he believed the region’s people have an outstanding work ethic.
“We moved here from Washington state because Maine has so many people who are honest and hardworking. We wanted to be surrounded by people with those qualities so we decided to open the Corinth bakery,” he said. “We hope our operation continues to grow and provides work for people in the Guilford area.”
Fleming named his bakery and two restaurants after a young boy in a biblical story. One of Christ’s disciples was looking to feed a community during a scarcity of food. Christ pointed toward a little lad with a lunch basket. The food was given to Christ, who fed all the people from the little lad’s basket.