ASHLAND, Maine — The reopening of the J.D. Irving facility in Nashville Plantation and the addition of the Ecoshel mill in Ashland are good news for the area’s job market, with nearly 100 jobs created between the two businesses this year.
“Ecoshel, which is owned by Bryan Kirkey and located near the former Fraser facility, has hired 11 people. They’re currently working on the interior of the building and plan to start up sometime this summer,” Town Manager Ralph Dwyer said recently.
The Ecoshel facility will measure several thousand square feet, according to Dwyer. According to the company website, www.ecoshel.com, the company produces “premium quality cedar shingle panels for roofing and siding.”
Dwyer said plans are to eventually run multiple shifts.
“They’re looking to go to 25-30 for one shift on one line. As things go, they’d like to go to three shifts a day,” Dwyer said. “If demand is there, they’d put in another line to accommodate. If that happens, I’ll be very happy.”
Irving also has created a number of jobs at their facility located off Route 11 north of Ashland.
“They’ve hired about 60 people. The last I heard they were looking to start in June,” he said.
It’s all about jobs and what they mean to the area, according to the town manager.
“The biggest thing is they’ve brought jobs to the Ashland area. It will eventually boil down to an increased need for housing. It helps local vendors, as workers gas up their vehicles, buy groceries and other goods. These companies’ jobs are an answer to our economic problems,” said Dwyer.
Dwyer said more jobs could be in the works, once E.J. Carrier Inc., a Jackman-based company that purchased the former Fraser mill about a year ago, decided what to do with the Ashland site.
“Carrier’s working on some project but haven’t released any details for now. I’m sure it will be something interesting and create much-needed jobs,” said Dwyer.