DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A Scarborough firm wants to locate a facility that produces wood fiber-based cleaning cloth at a Route 7 industrial park, but it needs a $450,000 state grant to make it happen, officials said Tuesday.
If the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development awards the community development block grant to GLOBEco Maine LLC and all else goes well, the $900,000 manufacturing plant eventually would employ as many as 100 people, said Ken Woodbury, community development director for the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council.
“I think it is an exciting project. They would like to locate in the former Creative Apparel site. Hopefully they will be able to utilize the same workforce that had been there as well as many more employees,” Dover-Foxcroft Town Manager Jack Clukey said Tuesday. “The idea that they would be using a natural resource local to us is exciting. It is very encouraging to have the business interested in this area.
“It certainly supports other aspects of the economy,” he added.
The company’s website, GLOBEcoMAINE.com, touts the DuraFresh cloth it proposes to make as “an affordable, reusable antimicrobial cleansing tool that maintains key consumer properties” that will compete in the $5 billion cleaning cloth market and the $2 billion disinfectant wipe sector.
The cloth “is made from the same raw material as paper towels, but its woven construction and proprietary technology allow it to outperform and outlast roughly 20 rolls of paper towels — saving consumers money and reducing waste,” according to the website.
The company claims that the cloth rinses 99.9 percent germ-free after running it under tap water, compared to traditional or microfiber cloths and sponges, which generally rinse 20 to 45 percent germ-free.
GLOBEco Maine CEO Phil Pastore did not immediately return email and telephone messages left Tuesday.
Workers would operate looms and other equipment weaving the cloth from pulped wood chips produced by local suppliers, Woodbury said.
Such manufacturing facilities typically create at least four jobs indirectly for every job directly created, according to various government and manufacturing industry surveys.
The grant application would be due in May, with results announced by late June. The grant would require the company to provide at least $450,000 in matching funds or collateral and to begin manufacturing within a year of the awarding of the grant, Woodbury said.
The grant would help pay startup and equipment costs, including a minor reconfiguration of the building. The Passamaquoddy Tribe leases the building from the town and would allow the company to use the building free for the first five years, he said.
Creative Apparel sewed military uniforms at the facility for several years before closing a few months ago, Woodbury noted. He will meet with Pastore to review the grant application at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. He said he hopes to submit it to state officials within a few weeks.