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May 26, 2023

Robbins Lumber acquires two Pleasant River sawmills, will retain employees

people standing on stack of lumber Courtesy / Robbins Lumber Inc. From left, Catherine Robbins-Halsted, Jim Robins Sr. (retired), Alden Robbins, Jenness Robbins (retired) and Jim Robbins.

Robbins Lumber Inc. in Searsmont said it acquired two sawmills, expanding the company’s footprint from two locations to four. 

The sawmills in Hancock and Sanford were previously owned by Pleasant River Lumber Co.

Robbins said it would retain all 74 employees across the two locations. 

The purchase price for the two acquired locations was not disclosed.

The acquisitions were financed through the Farm Credit System, a U.S. network of borrower-owned cooperative lending institutions and service organizations.

The acquisition will allow the company to build on its brand of Eastern white pine production, which the company already produces in its existing locations in Searsmont and East Baldwin.

aerial of mill
Courtesy / Robbins Lumber Inc.
The Hancock plant.

“The addition of these two sawmills along with more than 70 new members of the Robbins Lumber team will not only grow this company’s ability to produce, but it will also grow this company’s reputation throughout the region,” said co-owner Catherine Robbins-Halsted. 

Robbins Lumber is co-owned by Robbins-Halsted and her siblings, Jim and Alden Robbins. They are the fifth generation of the family to own and manage the operation, which has been in business for more than 140 years. 

“This acquisition is a game-changer,” said Jim Robbins. “We are now a four sawmill/planer mill, biomass power plant, and coatings facility company with an expanded customer base. Our geographic footprint now covers a larger area of our state, and we have a strategic plan to continue investing and growing this business.”

The two acquired sawmills have been renamed to reflect the purchase. The Hancock location will now be known as Robbins Lumber Downeast LLC and the Sanford location will be known as Robbins Lumber Sanford LLC. 


Frank and Otis Robbins opened the first Robbins Lumber stave mill in 1881 on the St. George River. Today, Robbins Lumber owns and manages 30,000 acres of forest land and buys logs from more than 150 independent loggers. Headquartered in Searsmont with a milling operation on a 40-acre site, Robbins Lumber’s main location includes an 8.5-megawatt cogeneration plant, a computerized sawmill, planing mills and 70,000 square feet of warehouse space.

Pleasant River bought the Sanford site from Lavalley Lumber Co. Inc. in 2012. The Lavalley family purchased it in 1942.  Albert Lavalley operated the family-run lumber mill, expanding the property over the years until portions of the mill were destroyed by fire in the mid-1970s. Lavalley rebuilt the mill in 1977, eventually adding the power plant, planing mill, distribution warehouses and storage areas.

aerial of buildings
Courtesy / Robbins Lumber Inc.
The Sanford plant.

The Sanford location is 33 acres. Production capacity is 15 million board feet.

Pleasant River purchased the Hancock site from Crobb Box in 2011. Crobb Box purchased it in 1954. The Hancock site is 98 acres. Production capacity is 13 million board feet.

Both sites have several buildings for milling, warehousing and operations.

With the 74 employees across the Sanford and Hancock sawmills, the Robbins Lumber team now numbers 250 people. 

“These two locations will help to make Robbins Lumber even better, and even stronger,” said Alden Robbins. 

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