December 12, 2019

Greenville goes after hardwood panel mill

GREENVILLE — The start-up of an edge-glued hardwood panel mill in Greenville is being pursued by the Greenville Economic Development Committee, its subcommittees and the Economic Development Office.

Strategies completed by town officials and consultants have identified the need for such a business in this forest resources-oriented community, both in the availability of materials and workers.

Tim Washburn, economic development director of the town, said the results of a mailing to 250 users of hardwood panels throughout the country was encouraging. Although only about 30 of the 250 users responded to a questionnaire, most of the casket, cabinet and furniture makers indicated a need for additional suppliers. This week, request for proposals were sent to four Maine consulting firms to solicit a pragmatic plan for action to locate a hardwood secondary processing mill in the town. Up to $25,000 in USDA Rural Diversification funds has been earmarked for the plan.

By soliciting consultants for the study, Washburn said, the town hopes to provide the final framework “to entice someone to invest, build and operate a viable, long-term source of additional employment opportunities for the Greenville labor market.”

The initial premise of the panel mill is starting at the kiln level, using lumber produced from the Greenville Junction primary processing mill or other local saw mills, Washburn said.

The request for proposals were sent to the James W. Sewall Co., Market Decisions, the Martin Group, and to Enterprise Resources, which did the initial strategy for the town. Representatives of these firms attended a “pre-bid” meeting on the project in early May.

The final plan will provide individuals all the information they need for start-up of the business, with the exception of funding, according to Washburn. The study will include marketing; raw materials; potential end-user markets; descriptions of ways to enter the markets; and a full business plan outlining land, plant and equipment costs and mill production, he said.

Washburn said the selected consultant would need to assess and document the domestic and export market opportunities for the edge-glued hardwood panels.

The final selection of a consultant will be presented to the Greenville Board of Selectmen for its approval by Friday, June 12. The completed plan will be available by Friday, Sept. 4.

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