April 13, 2011

Furniture company in Maryland rebuilding Maine Cottage brand

Russell & Mackenna buys the business this week in 'a friendly acquisition.'

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Maine Cottage Furniture's entire line of products could be available again in three months.

The company's brand name, customer list and furniture designs were sold this week to Russell & Mackenna, a Maryland-based furniture company.

Larry Strassner, president and CEO of Russell & Mackenna, said he expects to start taking online orders for Maine Cottage products within the next couple of days and delivering painted furniture in about two months.

Other products, including upholstered and wicker furniture, take about a month longer to make.

In 10 to 12 weeks, he said, "Maine Cottage will be fully back in business."

Around that time, the company may start selling Maine Cottage products through other stores, he said.

Maine Cottage Furniture, which opened in 1988, went out of business earlier this year and closed its stores in Yarmouth, Charleston, S.C., and West Palm Beach, Fla.

KeyBank, which had a lien on the company, took ownership of its intellectual property, which it sold to Russell & Mackenna, and assets, which it sold this week to Marden's Surplus and Salvage, a Maine-based discount chain.

Strassner said Tuesday that he plans to spend time today with David Peterson, the former president of Maine Cottage Furniture, to learn about the company's "inner workings."

"It's been a friendly acquisition," he said.

There are no plans to reopen Maine Cottage's retail locations, Strassner said, but he might open stores in the future. The first one could be in Annapolis, Md., near his company's flagship store.

Russell & Mackenna opened six years ago. It sells its cottage-style furniture to 33 dealers along the East Coast, from Bar Harbor to Miami, Strassner said. The company has nine employees and plans to add a few because of the acquisition.

Strassner said he's considering hiring former Maine Cottage employees.

"We had a lot of respect for the brand. They have really appealing products," Strassner said.

The Maine Cottage brand is more recognizable than Russell & Mackenna, said Strassner. The purchase, he said, "gives us a chance to accelerate our growth."


Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: lbridgers@mainetoday.com


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