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August 4, 2017

Ashland manufacturer moving red cedar shingle production to British Columbia

Ecoshel, the Ashland-based maker of cedar shingles, plans to move its red cedar shingle production to British Columbia.

The County, the website for three Aroostook County newspapers owned by the Bangor Daily News, reported today that delays in starting an automated production line and new duties on imported red cedar from Canada were the chief reasons for moving the production of red cedar shingles to the northwestern Canadian province.

Production at the Ashland plant stopped in late July and the company has kept on only two employees since then, The County reported.

Ecoshel founder and CEO Bryan Kirkey told The County that the Ashland plant, which opened in 2014, and its facility in Portland, will both remain open. He said the company has entered into a partnership with a British Columbia-based firm to assemble, finish and distribute the Canadian company's exported red cedar shingles at Ecoshel's Portland facility. The Ashland plant would be used to make white cedar shingles from local lumber, with Kirkey estimating it will take about a year to get set up to do so.

Prior to the late July shutdown of the Ashland plant, the company had about 30 employees at its two Maine facilities.

"There is potential for the white cedar production in Ashland to provide even more jobs, if plans to market the white cedar version of the product through a major DIY retailer are successful," Kirkey told The County.

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