BANGOR – Sky Burrill’s Majesty Hardwood Floors of Bangor is teaming with Michael J. Brown Cabinet Makers LLC of Millinocket to create a new line of kitchens and furniture that should double the Millinocket factory’s work force within three years, its owners said Tuesday.
Brown, who is planning to hire a total of 12 to 20 workers, could eventually double that number. The operation will be housed in a former Ford dealership building on Central Street in Millinocket when it becomes a factory and showroom for Majesty custom-made kitchens, kitchen cabinets, furniture and fireplace mantels, he said.
Burrill’s Majesty Hardwood Floors at 1209 Broadway in Bangor and his other flooring, carpet and lighting showroom in Watertown, N.Y., will also carry Majesty kitchens and furniture.
“If his business plan flies, we will be producing two full kitchens a week,” Brown said Tuesday of Burrill’s operation. “If that happens, we’re going to have to hire a lot more workers.”
Brown’s hiring plans are good news for the Katahdin region, a rural area that typically suffers unemployment that is twice the state average and has about half its population at or below the poverty line.
Brown Cabinet Makers LLC creates high-end cherry, ash, maple and oak consignment- and custom-built woodwork, including kitchens, cabinets and furniture – everything from dressers and entertainment centers to bookshelves and fireplace mantels.
Brown’s company will produce about 35 percent of the total $500,000 inventory Burrill will showcase after continuing construction eventually doubles the size of his 5,000-square-foot showroom on Bangor’s Broadway, he said.
Located in the space of the former Top Spot billiards, Majesty Style & Living Center will open Nov. 1.
With Burrill’s business contributing hardwood flooring and refinishing, tiling, lighting and carpeting services, the new retail center will offer stronger customer service and better-quality custom-made furnishings than those found at Home Depot and other larger, big-box competitors, Burrill said.
“The idea is that customers can make one stop and fabricate their whole home right from here,” Burrill said Tuesday.
“Another big point is that instead of buying furniture or fixtures at a store and then dealing with subcontractors, like you get when you go to Home Depot, customers will deal with us directly through the entire job,” he added. “That’s a huge advantage.”
The small size of Brown Cabinet Makers, its use of excellent Maine wood and commitment to craftsmanship drew Burrill to the Millinocket company when he first heard of them about a month ago, Burrill said.
“A big key to that,” said Burrill, who has been in business on Broadway for seven years and in the flooring business for almost 40, “is that we have the same business ethic that they do. They want to do it right. They are very meticulous.”
Burrill’s 18-member staff sealed the deal when it visited Brown Cabinet Makers on Bates Street in Millinocket a few weeks ago and gave Brown and his partner, Ronald Preo, very favorable reviews, he said.
Brown and Preo have a lot of work to do. They plan to move into the new storefront on Central Street in Millinocket, buy new machinery and ramp up production at that facility, continue to hire new workers, and build the showroom pieces that will go into their new store and Burrill’s shops.
One snag so far: Brown and Preo are still waiting for word on a bank loan and a loan from the Maine Rural Development Authority of Auburn that are part of their $500,000 plan to upgrade and move to Central Street. They hope to be fully operational in six weeks.
As someone who started his business in his garage several years ago, Brown is optimistic.
“He [Burrill] has an excellent reputation as somebody who sells and makes good quality product,” Brown said. “He is going to be marketing our stuff at a very, very high-end store, and the demand that he will draw for us will be much greater than we could have gotten on our own.”