(Post # 2,641)
“It IS bittersweet,” said Dan LaBrie wistfully this afternoon in his office on Commercial Street. Labrie, VP of Rufus Deering Lumber, has been with this162 year old company for thirty-four (34) years. That’s because the roughly three (3) acres of prime real estate overlooking the waterfront was recently placed under contract to an out-of-state condo developer, Reger Dasco Properties, who has developed condos in the East End of Portland. The sale is contingent upon receipt of permits for the development from the city.
The business (customer base and inventory) was sold to Eldredge Lumber, a Maine company, with yards in York and Portland.
“I got my first full night’s sleep when Eldredge told me they were hiring twenty (20) of our twenty-six (26) employees,” LaBrie said sighing as though a heavy weight had been removed from his shoulders. Several others will continue to work with him through December and others will look for employment on their own.
LaBrie first learned of the sale back in April and has held it “close to my vest” since that time. “I couldn’t even tell my employees,” he said. “It was such a relief when I could finally talk about it.”
Tomorrow all of the items in the hardware store are on a 50% “gratitude” sale off retail prices that will last through December. That includes building supplies and all manner of tools said LaBrie. Eldredge will be moving yard items – lumber – out of the lot starting on Thursday December 1st to one of their other stores in Maine.
Jon Lynch, who works for Peter Taggart Construction, Freeport, said he’d just learned of the plans to sell the lumber company. “What I will miss about this place is that we did not have to place special orders here. They had a big inventory of material for older New England homes.. If we want to keep these old homes in good shape, this was the best place to come for that.”