A mail-order gift box company that sends quintessential Maine products to people across the nation has expanded into a new, larger location in Brewer six years after the enterprise launched in Orono.
Box of Maine needed to expand to the 7,000-square-foot location on Abbott Street after seeing about 200 percent growth annually between 2017 and 2021, said Bryon Boutot, Box of Maine’s operations manager. The space previously held the Geaghan Bros. Brewing tasting room before the company moved its brewing operations to a new production facility in Bangor.
The company’s expansion showcases the growth of a business that got its start in the Bangor area. Much of that growth came during the COVID-19 pandemic as tourism to Maine and in-person shopping were curtailed.
The new space is the company’s sole location after running out of a spot in Old Town for the past two years. It will hold storage and packaging facilities as well as a retail space where customers can come and build their own gift boxes of classic Maine items, which Box of Maine will then ship. Customers can also purchase individual products the company offers in its boxes, such as whoopie pies, Humpty Dumpty potato chips, Moxie soda and Marshmallow Fluff, Boutot said.
“We’ve found we’re a good resource for locals because we’re a one-stop shop for classic Maine products,” he said. “While you can get those products in other places, it’s easier than going to seven different stores to get the products.”
Customers ordering online can either choose from the company’s pre-made gift box sets, or select from the 100 Maine products the company offers to make their own combination.
Bangor native Daniel Finnemore, who serves as president of the company, created Box of Maine six years ago in his basement. At the time, Finnemore and his wife were the company’s only employees, but Box of Maine now has five full-time and two part-time employees.
The company’s mission was to “connect Mainers with their roots” after they moved away by bringing them products that reminded them of home, Boutot said.
The service has also proven popular among people who have visited the state and developed an affinity for products they’ve found here.
“Lots of people come in from out of state and fall in love with our products, our way of life, and the things we hold near and dear and sometimes take for granted,” he said.
Box of Maine’s first location was the Upstart Center for Entrepreneurship in Orono, which is available to startup businesses, but it soon graduated to an 800-square-foot location in Old Town. The company quickly outgrew its Old Town location as sales jumped during the COVID-19 pandemic when people canceled their vacations to Maine and turned to online shopping, Boutot said.
The company is planning a grand opening celebration at its new location at 34 Abbott St. at 12 p.m. on Aug. 2.
The company has pledged to donate $1 from every order in August, as well as 10 percent of in-person sales made during the grand opening, to the Durgin Center, a new community center in Brewer for older adults, caregivers and adults with disabilities overseen by the Eastern Area Agency on Aging.
“We spent two years in Old Town and everyone knew us as a company that cared about local programs and nonprofits,” he said. “Our goal is to target a nonprofit that’s close to people’s hearts to let the community know that’s what we’re all about.”