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October 4, 2018

Flowfold acquires Gorham building, plans November move

Courtesy / Flowfold
Courtesy / Flowfold
James Morin, COO and president of sales at Flowfold, left, joins other members of the company's team at the newly purchased location in Gorham now undergoing renovations.

Flowfold, a rapidly growing outdoor and lifestyle brand currently based in Scarborough, announced Wednesday it has acquired a 7,500-square-foot multi-tenant industrial building in Gorham and will relocate its office and production there within the next two months.

The building purchase, made by Flowfold Real Estate LLC, officially closed on Oct. 2. Terms of the acquisition were not immediately available.

In a telephone interview with Mainebiz, James Morin, a Flowfold co-owner who serves as COO and president of sales, said the move to 16 Sanford Drive in Gorham is prompted by the company's need for additional space due to its consistent year-over-year growth. He said the company has eight full-time employees, yearly sales "in the low seven figures" and expects to hire a marketing manager, digital marketing analyst and production assistant as soon as its move to the new location is completed.

"This is the future of Flowfold," he said. "This is going to be where we take Flowfold to the next level … where we really put Flowfold on the map."

Morin said Flowfold's launch this summer of a co-lab collection with L.L.Bean — involving a new collection of backpacks, totes and gear bags under the Freeport retailer's "Be an Outsider" brand — has been doing particularly well.

"Sales are continuing to go better than expected," he said, noting that the Flowfold Collection has sold briskly internationally, with strong sales in Japan and South Korea.

"We've seen growth in all of our channels," he said. "From flowfold.com, to small retail, even to rapid expansion internationally, specifically in Japan and South Korea" Morin continues. "We couldn't scale at our current location. We need more equipment and we need more people, and we needed more space to fit it all."

Renovations underway

Morin said Flowfold's management team looked at sales trends and the company's market forecast and realized the time was ripe to make the investment in a new space that could accommodate future growth.

"This is a 10-year investment for us," he said. "We have every intention to keep growing … Any growing business is going to run into this pivotal point where they have to decide whether they're ready to scale up or should stay put. It's really exciting for us to be moving into this new location."

Morin said the move to Gorham will more than double Flofold's office space — from 1,300 square feet in Scarborough to 3,000 square feet in Gorham. The remaining space will be leased to existing tenants, he said.

Renovations are underway, with the projected $30,000 to $50,000 cost being underwritten by more than a little sweat equity from Flowfold's management team. He said the goal is to get everything in place for the move to take place in November.

"We've gotten to this point through grit and hard work." Morin said. "And that doesn't stop now just because our address changes. We'll be in there nights and weekends doing as much of the work ourselves as possible. That's always been the Flowfold way. This is our new home, and it's time to roll up our sleeves and get our hands a little dirty".

Justin Lamontagne, a broker with NAI The Dunham Group, assisted in Flowfold's site search and brokered the sale of the property.

Morin said a grant from Maine Technology Institute enabled Flowfold to work with the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership on how to optimize its office and production area for top efficiency and workflow. Joe Hemes, an architect with HEMESphere Design LLC, will be doing the architectural work and Stephanie Brock with Re-Thread will be making recommendations on office layout and creating an innovative and collaborative work environment.

"We want to create the most sustainable, durable, and functional gear on the planet," he said. "We're that serious about our products, and we're that serious about this location. It's going to be beautiful."

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