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Updated: June 12, 2023 From the Editor

Editor's note: Growth abounds in L/A, western Maine

New Balance will invest $65 million to expand its Skowhegan factory, which makes many of the shoes worn by military members. For a manufacturer that touts “Made in the USA” products, having three Maine factories gives the Boston-based company a key “foothold” in the market.

It has other plants in Norridgewock and Norway.

Now the maker of athletic shoes and apparel will add 120,000 square feet to its Skowhegan plant, allowing the site to double production.

Once the factory is expanded, by the end of 2024, it will be on pace to make 1 million pairs of shoes a year. New Balance will add 200 employees, giving it nearly 1,000 statewide.

This kind of investment didn’t go unnoticed among elected officials.

At the New Balance groundbreaking in Skowhegan, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, Gov. Janet Mills and state Legislators for the area were present. They all had New Balance stories to tell. And most wore New Balance sneakers to the event.

Just as noteworthy, for our cover story, Senior Writer Renee Cordes talked to an array of small businesses with growth plans. They range from a spice company to a car-detailing operation to a self-defense firm. As one SCORE mentor said, “The communities in western Maine have been supportive of these new startups, and the entrepreneurs have been especially effective with their outreach.” See Renee’s story, “Maine’s Wild West,” which starts on Page 12.

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