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May 24, 2018

American Roots to expand space, workforce with move to Westbrook

Photo / Jim Neuger
Photo / Jim Neuger
Whitney and Ben Waxman, pictured with son Arlo last fall, employ new Mainers at their Portland textile startup, American Roots. Anaam Jabbir, at left, is the union leader at the factory. The company is planning to move into larger space at the Dana Warp Mill in Westbrook, noting that it will enable them to add up to 10 new employees.

The Portland apparel company American Roots has signed a lease to move to a 14,000-square-foot space in the Dana Warp Mill in Westbrook and eventually add up to 10 new employees.

The Westbrook City Council Monday gave preliminary approval for the city to fund 66% of the cost of a 12-week workforce training program with the company, according to an American Journal story published in The Forecaster.

City Administrator Jerre Bryant told the paper that workforce training is an approved use of the tax increment financing funds.

At a workshop session before the May 21 council meeting, company co-founder Ben Waxman said the partnership with the city will help the company grow faster than it could on its own.

Waxman and his wife, Whitney Reynolds, were Mainebiz 2017 NEXT honorees. They founded the company in 2015, operating in a 4,000-square-foot former garage, making fleece apparel and blankets that would use materials sourced in the United States and employing a workforce comprised mostly of new Mainers. With Waxman's mother, Dory Waxman, a long-time manufacturer of fine woolen goods, they started a training program for stitchers that benefits not only their company but others.

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