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Updated: February 28, 2024

$2M in new financing will help Saco manufacturer Tanbark add equipment, grow staff

person in front of white tanks File PHOTO / TIM GREENWAY Melissa LaCasse, co-founder and CEO of Tanbark Molded Fiber Products, at the company’s factory in Saco.

As Saco packaging manufacturer Tanbark Molded Fiber Products gears up for growth, the company has gotten a boost from the Finance Authority of Maine and the Maine Technology Institute: approvals of more than $2 million in financing.

Tanbark, which began operations last summer, designs and makes molded fiber packaging products, using wood pulp largely sourced from the Maine woods.

FAME approved nearly $1.6 million in total financing, comprising a $1 million FAME Direct Loan and a $594,000 loan through the Grow Maine program.

Grow Maine is administered by FAME and funded through federal State Small Business Credit Initiative funds. The funds will assist the company in purchasing and installing equipment for its molded-fiber manufacturing operation. 

The Maine Technology Institute approved financing for the project totaling $500,000. The financing is expected to help create nine Maine jobs and retain 23 Maine jobs.

 “Utilizing Maine wood fiber for eco-friendly packaging is innovative and will help to support the forest products industry in Maine,” said Carlos Mello, FAME’s chief executive officer.

Courtesy / FAME, Tanbark
Tanbark, a Saco innovator of molded fiber food containers, received financing to add equipment and employees.

The wood-based products have a smooth finish and complex architecture with minimal draft angles. A draft angle is a taper applied to the design of a part to help it release from a mold.

Tanbark’s products are free of toxic per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. According to the company, its products can be used as a substitute for single-use plastic materials, which can damage oceans and landfills, among other things.

The financing helps the company to finalize its equipment purchases and installation and to begin operations, said LaCasse. 

Tanbark also recently received a $1.3 million grant from the Maine Jobs & Recovery program to upgrade power at its production facility.

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