Millinocket flooring maker named to top 100 by This Old House magazine

Steve Sanders, co-owner of West Branch Heritage Timber LLC., stands by finished flooring at his mill off Golden Road in 2011.
Steve Sanders, co-owner of West Branch Heritage Timber LLC., stands by finished flooring at his mill off Golden Road in 2011.
Posted Nov. 30, 2013, at 2:39 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 01, 2013, at 5:09 p.m.

MILLINOCKET, Maine — A town business that pulls river drivers’ wood from Quakish Lake provides American homebuilders with one of 2013’s most innovative products, according to the editors of This Old House magazine.

The third annual This Old House Top 100 ranked Maine Heritage Timber’s architectural millwork — typically wainscoting, trim and flooring — 97th out of 100 for its “unique pickled patina” in a listing published in the November-December edition of the magazine and on its website, thisoldhouse.com.

Used for wainscoting, trim and flooring, Maine Heritage’s timber is among the products that This Old House Editor Scott Omelianuk said “showcase originality, wow us with their functionality, and of course, mark breakthroughs in their categories.”

“However, the true test for any item on this list is simple: Is it useful and relevant to our readers? We agree that all these new products, in ways large and small, will improve the lives of our readers,” Omelianuk added in a statement.

Maine Heritage Timber co-owner Tom Shafer said he was thrilled to get the award.

“We had sent them samples not even knowing about the award. We did a pretty big mailing to the top 100 media outlets and they were really interested in our wainscoting,” Shafer said Friday of the magazine.

“Reclaimed flooring is not something new, but they were really interested in our wainscoting. They just thought it was just such a unique look. The way the wood gets pickled makes it look like nothing they have ever seen,” Shafer added.

Maine Heritage’s success “just shows you the willingness of this area to continue with forest industry products. Millinocket is slowly starting to build on its base again,” Millinocket Town Council Chairman Richard Angotti Jr. said.

Besides selling products through its website, maineheritagetimber.com, the company sells through several retailers and a number of area businesses have purchased its products, Shafer said.

River Driver’s Restaurant outside Millinocket, the soon-to-open Bangor Blaze at the former Whig and Courier restaurant in downtown Bangor, 45 North restaurant and the retail store at Sugarloaf Mountain Ski & Golf resort, and Sunday River’s ski mountain resort are among the businesses that feature Maine Heritage products, Shafer said.

The company, which has increased its number of employees since it started in 2010 from 11 to 15 full- and part-time workers, also makes furniture. It is constantly searching for new uses for its wood to broaden its customer base, Shafer said.

Maine Heritage’s flooring sells for $10 to $12 per unfinished square foot, Shafer said.

The largest single job the company has done was for a restaurant in Jacksonville, Fla., called Moxie Kitchen and Cocktails. The establishment features Maine Heritage wallboard, ceilings, beams, bar tops and interior tables, Shafer said.

Aspects of Millinocket have won recognition before. The Magic City was ranked sixth among the Top 10 Hot U.S. Travel Destinations for 2007 by the travel website TripAdvisor.com.

The town’s proximity to Baxter State Park, Mount Katahdin, its extensive snowmobile trail system, and exceptional sportsmen’s offerings account for its making the Top 10, the website’s editors said.

In June, Millinocket became the third Maine municipality named an Appalachian Trail Community, garnering mention on all Appalachian Trail Conservancy maps, the ATC website and in many advertisements issued by the 40,000-member international organization.

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