WALDOBORO, Maine — The Science Source, a manufacturer of science education equipment, was sold earlier this month to a Florida company, displacing 22 employees.
Less than three weeks after purchasing The Science Source, the company’s new owner, Science First, has moved the inventory and assets to its headquarters in Yulee, Florida.
Nearly all of the company’s 25 employees were offered jobs in Florida with the new owner, according to former Science Source CEO Paul Rogers. Maine workers offered a chance to stay employed would need to relocate to keep their jobs.
In early August, company officials told the Maine Department of Labor the company was being sold and was moving. The Rockland Career Center held an onsite rapid response session for 22 employees Aug. 14, according to Maine Department of Labor spokeswoman Julie Rabinowitz. Employees were told how to file for unemployment benefits and were given information about searching for new jobs and retraining.
Rabinowitz said employee information was shared with the Bureau of Unemployment prior to the closure to facilitate processing their unemployment claims.
The occupations affected, including electronics technicians, machinists, CNC operators, production/assembly workers, packing and shipping, “are somewhat in demand in the area,” according to Rabinowitz.
The Science Source was moved to Florida because “it would prove too difficult to operate in two such widely separated locations,” according to a news release from Science First.
“We offered the people in Maine jobs in Florida,” Science First President Nancy Bell said in the release. “The problem is, of course, that people in Maine tend to love where they are living. The team in Maine was truly remarkable in terms of skill and work ethic. Several are coming to train us and may consider moving permanently when they see the fine quality of life we enjoy in Nassau County. We are also extending consulting agreements to key Science Source people and hope to benefit from an ongoing relationship with them.”
Bell declined to answer questions about the sale earlier this month and did not return a call for comment Aug. 25.
The Science Source was sold to Science First by Anania & Associates, a Windham-based investment company that purchased it from longtime owner Rudy Graf in 2011.
According to Rogers, The Science Source employees still were employed by Anania & Associates until Aug. 22. Anania & Associates paid two weeks severance or “roughly one week for each year they owned the company.”
Graf still owns the 18,000- to 19,000-square-foot building and roughly 20 acres where The Science Source was located, but he has not yet settled on a plan for its future.
Graf, who built up the company over 25 years after he purchased it as Bond Manufacturing in 1986, said he was “very upset” to learn the company was being taken out of state.
Graf said he had an agreement with Anania that The Science Source would stay in Waldoboro and the roughly 30 positions at the time would be maintained, according to The Lincoln County News archives. But Graf said he recognized the agreement was not binding.
Peter Anania, chairman and founder of Anania & Associates, said in 2012 his company planned to grow The Science Source and make it available for sale, hoping either its management team or another local company would purchase it.
“There [are] no guarantees in business,” Anania said at the time. “We’d like to see it stay in local control.”
Attempts to reach Peter Anania for comment on the sale were unsuccessful.