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November 4, 2021

Farmington parcel fits Origin Labs’ 10-year plan for a destination location

woods with outline COURTESY / Malone Commercial Brokers At 70 acres, Parcel A is the largest section of land in a 100-acre package bought by Origin Labs founder and CEO Pete Roberts with the idea of expanding factory operations and building visitor amenities.

A Farmington-based manufacturer of energy drinks and nutritional supplements acquired two parcels totaling 100 acres with the idea of expanding factory operations and building visitor amenities.

Origin Holdings LLC bought about half of an approximately 200-acre listing from the McCleery Family LP for $1.1 million. 

The listing was divided into parcels and one of the parcels has the address of 338 Wilton Road, Farmington. The other parcels aren’t numbered.

John Doyon of Malone Commercial Brokers and Stew Durrell of CB Sandy River Realty brokered the transaction.

“I just thought Franklin County, Maine — Farmington Maine — is an incredible place to build a destination location,” said Origin’s founder, Pete Roberts.

Development opportunity

The original 200-acre property was once a working farm. It’s divided by Wilton Road, which also known as Route 2 and Route 4. 

aerial with info boxes
COURTESY / Malone Commercial Brokers
Roberts bought the parcels outlined on the east side of Wilton Road.

The acreage was marketed as a development opportunity south of Farmington’s historic downtown, north of Franklin Memorial Hospital and centrally located in the area’s heavily traveled commercial corridor, with over 31,000 vehicles per day.

The property, which went on the market about eight years ago, was divided into five potential development parcels, although none were cast in stone, said Doyon, who represented the seller.

Three parcels were on the east side of Wilton Road and two on the west side.

Early marketing drew the attention of the Mooresville, N.C.,-based retail chain Lowe's Companies Inc. One of the larger parcels went under contract to Lowe’s but, with the recession, the company pulled back, he said.

Other offers came along through the years, but no sale materialized until the Origin deal.

Origin’s parcels are those along the east side of the road. Remaining on the  market is about 92 acres on the west side.

“It’s probably one of the best commercial properties in the Farmington area for that size lot,” said Durrell, who represented the buyer. “I think he made a very wise business decision.”

Percolating idea

Origin is a manufacturer of apparel, boots, fitness gear and nutritional supplements. In 2020, it was ranked No. 362 on Inc. 500's fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. 

Its founder, Pete Roberts, is a Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast and a 2018 Mainebiz Next award honoree

The company grew out of Roberts’s business selling imported Jiu-Jitsu gear online in 2011. 

person looking away
Pete Roberts

Today, the company has apparel and footwear factories in Farmington and the headquarters for its nutritional products in Wilton.

Earlier this year, Roberts bought an industrial building on 33.9 acres in North Jay to expand warehouse and distribution capacity for the company’s line of drinks and supplements called Jocko Fuel. 

Roberts said he’s had his idea on the Farmington acreage for a decade.

“I remember saying to my wife, ‘One day we’ll have a factory on that land,’” he said. “I work in 10-year blocks. That sounds crazy to most people. But I think it’s forward-looking.”

Build a campus

The idea, he said, is to build a campus that would have a factory and would also be a destination location, with visitor attractions such as a store, museum and viewing area of the factory’s operations; and an indoor sports complex and community events venue, farm-to-table restaurant and perhaps a distillery and brewery.

“It’s always been part of the plan to build out a campus,” he said. “I knew we needed at least 100 acres for the full-blown plan.”

He continued, “Hopefully, in the next two to three years we can arrange enough capital to build America’s future factory, 100,000 to 150,000 square feet, probably a $20 million to $30 million build, keep it green, keep it solar,” he said. “It’s a 10-year plan. We want to build a sustainable manufacturing base.”

fields and woods
Screenshot Courtesy / Origin Labs
The farmland was marketed as a development opportunity.

The idea behind “America’s future factory,” he said, is to counteract negative connotations of yesteryear’s heavy labor. The future factory, he said, will be a place where people want to work and will have a culture centered on values such as employee engagement, energy sustainability, local supply chain, vertical integration and transparent operations that allow consumers to see the creation of products from seed to shelf. 

The land acquisition was financed through Roberts’ regular lender, Franklin Savings Bank.

There’s no estimate yet for the cost of development, which would occur in multiple phases, starting with construction of the factory, possibly within the next two to three years, he said. Roberts said he’s in the process of talking with potential architects.

The company currently has about 200 employees. The campus could mean hiring 300 to 500 more, he said. 

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