DECEMBER 2 - HISTORY OF MAINE LINE PRODUCTS
Guest: Ellen Whitney (Whitney)
Members We Missed: Blair, Cole, Dennis, Fraher, Griffin, Hart, McGrew, Murphy, Zinchuk
The program was by Rick Whitney, assisted by Ellen, covering the origins and evolvement of Maine Line Products, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Rick was a sophomore at the Univ. of Maine when he took the first step, putting $350 together with $350 from his older brother as the initial investment. Their initial foray into the market was a trip to display lamps at a flea market in Revere, MA, netting a sale of one lamp. After starting in a barn on lower Main St. in Bethel, Rick and Ellen in 1983 purchased their current property on upper Main St., serving as both residence and store. As the business expanded, he recalled working frantically to fill an order for 35,000 small wooden crates, filling 4 large tractor trailers. The difficulty of handling large trucks and the need for larger manufacturing space, led to acquiring the Locke Mills building with retail space in front and manufacturing space in back. Among the many interesting episodes Rick recalled, the nation-wide celebrity from moose-drop jewelry was a highlight -- triggered by an Associated Press release and leading to radio interviews, calls from DJ's, you name it. Rick and Ellen concluded by giving everyone a weather stick, a product which has had long-standing appeal both in the U.S. and in other countries.