December 12, 2019

Lobster trap firm expanding

COLUMBIA FALLS — Maine’s lobster industry isn’t drying up, according to representatives of Friendship Trap Co. of Friendship. The local trap manufacturing shop is relocating and expanding its wire trap business in Columbia Falls.

Earlier this week, a new and larger all-metal shop was erected on a 60-by-60-foot concrete foundation that was built by Dale Richardson of East Machias. The foundation included a four-foot deep frost wall and a concrete slab.

The 60-foot steel beam rafters and other heavy frames were lifted into position by a crane operated by Timothy Look of the C.F. & D.W. Look Construction Co. of Jonesboro. General contractor for the project was Michael Church of Jonesport.

James Emerson of Addison, manager of the shop, said Thursday that his three-member crew “just outgrew the place we were working in.” The new shop was built on Friendship property a few feet south of the present trap shop. It is expected to be ready for occupancy on Sunday, Dec. 1.

Although the shop is 30 feet high, it will not feature a complete second floor. A second-floor loft was included in the design plan.

Emerson and other company representatives intend to expand the shop’s labor force in proportion to the amount of labor needed to keep up with production. He said he did not know how many people will eventually be employed at the shop. But he did say that the shop’s work load had increased substantially during the last several months.

The manager indicated that many people in the Down East area were ready to work, although the seasonal 1991 evergreen decorations industry is not officially completed.

“You wouldn’t believe the response we got from our newspaper advertisement that we had published this week,” he said. The stack of applications will be placed on file and used as the need for labor becomes more apparent.

The smaller wood-framed building, located at the intersection of Routes 1 and 187 (Jonesport road), was reported for sale. He said the company hopes to sell the building to someone who needs the exposure to Route 1 traffic. The older shop was a service station before Friendship purchased the entire lot, including that part of the property on which the new metal building now stands.

Friendship, the largest wire trap company in New England, will continue to sell wholesale materials at the new location to smaller trap building shops in the Down East area. Bouys, rope and other materials are available. All of the company’s traps are made in their own shops.

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