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August 14, 2017

A bootstrap tale: From backyard roots, contractor buys industrial site in Biddeford

Courtesy / Cardente Real Estate
Courtesy / Cardente Real Estate
The purchase of industrial property at 66 Andrews Road in Biddeford is a much-needed step up for A to Z Enterprises Inc., which has grown rapidly in recent years.

BIDDEFORD — The purchase of an 11,700-square-foot industrial building on 51 acres is the much-needed next step for a Biddeford contractor who has grown considerably since his first taste of entrepreneurship 17 years ago as a teen offering a lawn mowing service.

A to Z Enterprises Inc., owned by Adam Harmon, purchased the property at 66 Andrews Road in Biddeford from Global Environmental Solutions Inc. for $450,000. The transaction, which closed July 19, was brokered on behalf of the buyer by Mark Sandler of Cardente Real Estate and on behalf of the seller by Justin Lamontagne of NAI The Dunham Group.

A to Z Enterprises is a full-service landscape contractor offering complete installation and property maintenance for commercial, industrial and residential customers. Harmon employs a dozen people and has a fleet of more than 30 vehicles and heavy equipment.

He's been running the business out of his home, also in Biddeford — keeping equipment and vehicles in his backyard.

"We've grown so much that we needed a bigger place," said Harmon's business manager, Nicole Allaire, reached separately.

From snowplowing to excavation

Harmon developed his work ethic growing up on small dairy farm in Scarborough, helping with chores like caring for the cows and getting in the hay.

"But when I got to high school, I realized there's no money in farming anymore," said Harmon, reached briefly by phone on a busy workday. "So I went a different avenue."

He started a mowing and yard work business while still in high school, and continued to run it through his time at Southern Maine Community College. After college, he worked up to landscaping, then added hardscaping — lots of patios, walkways, retaining walls — light earthwork, and now heavy construction as well, he said.

Harmon had his eyes out for about five years for a new property, and began actively looking two year ago, she said.

"We looked at buying land and building our own shop," she said. "We looked at facilities that were already built. We looked at four or five different options."

The Andrews Road property was one of the first he looked at.

"At the time, he wasn't in a position to purchase this size of property," she said. "But in that couple of years, the company has grown immensely. We looked at the property again and decided to go forward with it. This property has everything we would ever need. The building is 100% move-in ready and perfect. And there's enough land" to grow the business and also build a new house.

The building will be used to store trucks and equipment and for dry storage. It also will have a maintenance bay for the company's vehicles. The company is eyeing further expansion, with the possible roll-out of one or possibly two new divisions in the coming months.

Most of the company's work occurs in the Saco-Biddeford area, going as far north as Yarmouth, as far south as the New Hampshire border. The business has been in growth mode since the beginning, even through the recession, Harmon said.

"We were diversified enough, where we did property maintenance, hardscaping, snowplowing and some excavation," he said. "The maintenance always has to be done, so that kept us going."

Major jobs include utility and infrastructure work as well as excavation, foundation, site and landscaping work for major developers in Yarmouth, Falmouth and Cumberland. A big job recently is the site and infrastructure work at a Yarmouth housing development, McKearney Village.

Harmon get customers through his relationships.

"In my entire 17 years in business, I've done maybe $3,000 to $4,000 in advertising," he said. "It's mostly word of mouth."

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