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CDBG funds help get cleaning cloth manufacturer off the ground

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — Two years ago a $240,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the state was awarded to establish a facility in town, located in the Save-A-Lot building, for GLOBEcoMaine to manufacture its multi-use DuraFresh wood fiber cleaning cloths. With the grant closing at the end of the year, the selectmen heard from GlobecoMaine Found and CEO Phil Pastore during a meeting on Dec. 12.
“As you are all aware we were successful in applying for the Community Development Block Grant program, I believe in 2014,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said. “A lot of work has gone into the Globeco project on Phil’s end of things to bring in this business and to bring in these jobs. The grant is now closing and the funds have been utilized.”
“One of the things the CDBG did was allow us to turn the idea into a reality,” Pastore said, mentioning he worked in aerospace composites for about a quarter century before founding GlobecoMaine. “We are in 800 stores between here and Oregon,” with more retailers looking to stock DuraFresh cloths.
“The feedback we heard from consumers is one cloth outlasts 26 rolls of paper towels,” Pastore said.”You are going to be saving hundreds of dollars a year based on this little product, and think of the trees saved.”
Pastore said in addition to the $240,000, $725,000 from Coastal Enterprises, Inc. and private equity was leveraged by the grant which created eight positions at the company. In the first year the site was set up, equipment was procured, employees were trained, raw materials were purchased, inventory was built, subcontractors were established and sales and distribution began locally, regionally and across the country.
“The CDBG is a great tool, we would not be here in business without it,” Pastore said.
According to the product website, DuraFresh cloths are made from natural wood fiber in an open-weave design that allows germs to be easily washed away to keep the item fresh and free of odors. DuraFresh is partnering with True Textiles in Guilford to create the fabric and ship it to Dover-Foxcroft to be cut into squares, serged and packaged.
“The end goal is we use Maine trees,” Pastore said, with the cut trees then pulped locally to go to True Textiles to be made into the fabric to go to the GlobecoMaine facility on West Main Street.
In other business, the selectmen signed a letter of interest and commitment for the AARP/World Health Organization Network of Age-Friendly Communities.
“Basically it’s recognition by AARP and the ability to utilize their resources,” Clukey said about achieving age-friendly community status.
“We are excited about this because as you know we are an aging and a very old community,” Dr. Lesley Fernow said. She added, “Every benefit we have for an aging community will be a benefit for everybody else,” such as sidewalks and green spaces.
“I think this will be a pretty easy thing to move into and be successful in,” Dr. Fernow said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for us, I don’t think there’s any downside.”
Clukey said a committee would be formed to work with the AARP, as the organization will conduct a base assessment of Dover-Foxcroft’s age-friendliness and develop a community action plan based on the findings of the assessment.
“These would be the immediate next steps and that would be a significant part of 2017,” the town manager said. He said there would be no cost for the AARP/World Health Organization Network of Age-Friendly Communities status application.
In his report, Clukey said the charter commission met the previous Wednesday and the next session will be on Wednesday, Jan. 18. “I think the plan is to have it in plenty of time for a June vote,” he said about the town charter.

Photo courtesy of GlobecoMaine
DURAFRESH CLOTHS — DuraFresh cloths are now being made by GlobecoMaine in Dover-Foxcroft at the company’s facility on West Main Street next to Save-A-Lot. A $240,000 Community Development Block Grant helped get the GlobecoMaine operations up and running, as the DuraFresh cloths are today carried in hundreds of stores across the country.

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