FORT KENT, Maine — A fifth generation family-owned lumber business from Caribou is expanding north after Thursday’s announcement that S.W. Collins Co. has purchased Quigley’s Building Supply in Fort Kent.

The S.W. Collins company is taking over the 72-year-old Quigley’s Building Supply, which opened in 1944 after the Quigley family purchased H.W. Coffin Lumber & Building Materials, according to a Thursday afternoon press release.

Samuel Wilson Collins started his business a century ago when he built a sawmill in Caribou.

“We believe all current [Quigley’s] employees will be staying,” Justin Dubois, the Fort Kent store manager, said Thursday afternoon “The goal is to keep everyone.”

Dubois said representatives from Quigley’s and S.W. Collins have been working on the deal for about 18 months. The idea, he said, began with mutual discussions between the two business owners.

“It was just a great opportunity,” Leslie Jackson, S.W. Collins marketing and advertising manager, said Thursday. “The timing was right, and we are set up and ready to assist our customers as best as possible.”

Jackson and Dubois said Quigley’s customers will see little difference in day to day operations once the sale is final.

“We are super excited,” Dubois said. “It’s been a long process, and we are eager to get the ball rolling.”

He said current Fort Kent employees will begin training on computers and related S.W. Collins’ business and marketing procedures in the coming weeks.

The Quigley’s Outdoors Store next door to the building supply store also has been purchased by S.W. Collins and will continue operating, but with a name change to the Up North Outdoors Store, Dubois said.

S.W. Collins employs about 70 full-time workers among its stores in Caribou, Presque Isle, Houlton and Lincoln, according to Jackson. There are about 20 employees at Quigley’s in Fort Kent, she said.

“I am looking forward to retirement while the crew [at Quigley’s] will remain,” Karen Ouellette, the immediate previous owner, said. “Under the new ownership, Quigley’s will not only grow and prosper, it will give customers a wider selection of products [and] continued great service.”

Over the years, Quigley’s has been involved in major building projects around Aroostook County including Fort Kent Community High School, the Pinkham Lumber Mill in Ashland and the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

Jackson said that level of community commitment and support will continue under S.W. Collins ownership.

“My brother Gregg [Collins] and I have always had a friendly and competitive relationship with the Quigley company,” Sam Collins, president of S.W. Collins, said. “We welcome Quigley’s into the S.W. Collins fold and are invigorated by the new opportunities, [and] we are excited about becoming a part of the fabric of the local community and playing an active and positive role.”

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.