HERMON, Maine — Ntension, a manufacturer of tension-fabric structures based here, is expanding its space and workforce early next year.
Gov. Paul LePage’s office first announced the company’s expansion plans in a news release Monday. Scott Bienh, the company’s owner and president, confirmed the news for the Bangor Daily News on Tuesday morning.
The company, which builds fabric structures for the trade show industry, plans to construct a new 40,000-square-foot facility in Hermon’s Pinewood Business Park to accommodate the growth it has experienced during the last few years, Biehn told the Bangor Daily News. He said the company employs 44 people and that the new space will allow the company to increase that number to 80 or 90 people within the next four years.
“We’re on pace of adding 10 jobs a year and this new facility will allow us to keep doing that,” said Biehn, who founded the company in 2006.
Bienh said almost all the pieces are in place to allow the company to begin the expansion process. The final necessary piece is final approval of the company’s business loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration, which is backing the loan from Katahdin Trust.
Though final approval hasn’t been received, Bienh said he’s confident the paperwork will be complete.
“It could come tomorrow. It could come two weeks from now,” he said. “We’re not expecting any hiccups … we’re excited.”
The company operates from an 18,000-square-foot facility in the same business park and has for the past year leased nearly 10,000 square feet in Bangor to give it more room.
Ntension expects to have the new facility complete by May 2014 and already has begun advertising new jobs, according to Bienh. The jobs will run the gamut from welders and fabric stitchers to graphic designers and administrative positions, Bienh said.
Despite the recession, the trade show industry has grown over the past several years, fueling “steady” growth at the company of 15 percent to 20 percent a year, he said.
The company worked closely with the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to access incentives. It qualified for the Pine Tree Development Zone program, which exempts eligible companies from certain state taxes for up to 10 years.
LePage commended the company “on its continued growth and commitment to providing additional quality jobs to Maine people.”