December 21, 2018

Origins Labs to add 25 jobs with new Wilton plant

Photo / Meagan Littlefield
Photo / Meagan Littlefield
Pete Roberts started selling imported jiu jitsu gear online in Franklin County in 2011. His Farmington-based company Origins USA and Origins Labs, is expanding with a new site in Wilton.

Origins USA and Origins Labs is expanding, adding a new site for its nutritional supplements arm, and 25 or more jobs in the coming year, owner and President Pete Roberts said.

The Farmington-based business bought two industrial mixed-use buildings in nearby Wilton in November for the expanded nutrition focus on the business, and is adding denim and leather goods, including boots, at its Farmington manufacturing plant, Roberts told Mainebiz Friday.

"The new Wilton facility is strictly our nutritional division, Origin Labs," he said.

The 6.94-acre Wilton site at 946 U.S. Route 2 has two buildings — 14,416 and 1,680 square feet — and had been owned by MJH LLC. Origin Labs LLC bought it for $425,000 in November, with Tom Dunham, NAI The Dunham Group, brokering the sale.

The property was previously owned by Hammond Lumber Co., which closed the store and lumber yard at the site in June, moving employees to Farmington after it acquired coastal EBS Building Supply.

Adding jobs in Franklin County

The Origins move comes a little more than a year after the company moved from Industry, north of Farmington, to a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Farmington.

At the time of the move, the company employed 15. Roberts said Friday it now employs 40.

The Farmington move came at the same time as a merger with Jocko Industries, which expanded its offerings, and offered an opportunity for future expansion, Roberts said.

Origins USA is Farmington's only manufacturing business.

Despite workforce shortages across the state, Roberts said he doesn't have a problem finding workers in the Farmington area.

Franklin County, in northwestern Maine and with a population of just above 30,000, has a 3.8% unemployment rate, according to the state Department of Labor, slightly higher than the state's 3.4% average, and 12 highest among the state's 16 counties. The lowest rates are in southern Maine's Sagadahoc and Cumberland counties, with 2.3%.

Factory to consumer

Roberts, a New Sharon native and jiu jitsu enthusiast, is a 2018 Mainebiz Next award winner.

He began the business in 2011, importing martial arts wear. In 2013, he opened the Industry manufacturing plant, opting to make the apparel rather than import it. In 2014, the company also began weaving the textiles it uses in manufacturing the apparel.

He told Mainebiz in September that the company has a vertical "factory to consumer" philosophy, and employees are cross-trained to not only produce products, but help get them to consumers.


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