LINCOLN, Maine — A fifth-generation Aroostook County lumber and building supply franchise has bought out the retail arm of Haskell Lumber Inc. of 431 Main St.
With the transaction finalized on Friday, S.W. Collins Co. made its first foray out of The County in the company’s retail history, president Sam Collins said.
The company eventually will set up shop at a new facility on West Broadway and Penobscot Valley Avenue near The Bank of Maine, Collins said Monday.
S.W. Collins Co. will maintain the Main Street storefront of Haskell Lumber until it builds an approximately 43,000-square-foot warehouse, storefront and storage area on land it bought from Thomas and Scott Gardner of Lincoln for $40,000 in November, according to property transfer documents town officials provided.
Under the new ownership, the Haskell retail store will continue to employ a half dozen workers.
Haskell Lumber, meanwhile, will continue to own and operate its sawmill on Main Street, producing wood shavings for animal bedding, said Collins, brother of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
Town Economic Development Assistant Ruth Birtz said the purchase was good for the local economy, helping Haskell to survive while opening a new economic development site near West Broadway.
Lincoln has a very competitive hardware market. Besides Walmart, the town has Aubuchon Hardware and Benjamin Tibbetts Inc. on West Broadway and Marden’s and Smart’s True Value Hardware on Main Street. Rogers Small Engine Repair also sells hardware goods on Main Street.
Haskell has been easing into wood-shavings manufacturing, primarily with livestock bedding, for the past two years as the company looked to diversify in the face of competition.
The nationwide downturn in the housing market that began in the mid-2000s hasn’t shown many signs of letting up in Maine even as growth is occurring nationwide, Collins said.
But as a service hub to the Lincoln Lakes region, Lincoln provides a good steady base of customers, Collins said. The new site near West Broadway will also be advantageous.
“It is immediately accessible off I-95. It is in close proximity to the other retail sectors in Lincoln and it has good access to Route 2 and West Broadway,” Collins said. “An awful lot of traffic goes through there.”
Eventually the site will employ 12 to 15 workers, Collins said. If the Planning Board approves the project, construction will begin later this year and finish in 2014.
S.W. Collins Co. has stores in Caribou, Houlton and Presque Isle.