Breaking ground on Monday for the new Hancock Lumber location at 941 Portland Road in Saco are, from left, Hancock Lumber owner Kevin Hancock, Saco Mayor Marston Lovell and Hancock Lumber Chief Operating Officer Mark Hopkins. The new lumberyard and kitchen design showroom is expected to open next spring. ED PIERCE/Journal Tribune

SACO — Out of all of the potential sites in New England to build a new lumberyard, Hancock Lumber chose Saco and city officials joined in a celebration Monday morning as ground was broken for the company’s newest location, set to open next spring.

This is the first new lumberyard project for Hancock Lumber since 2004 and the new facility at 941 Portland Road in Saco is expected to employ a staff of 30 once completed.

Owner Kevin Hancock and Chief Operating Officer Mark Hopkins attended the groundbreaking event, along with Saco Mayor Marston Lovell, Saco City Administrator Kevin Sutherland, Saco City Councilor Alan Minthorn, State Sen. Justin Chenette of Saco, Jim LaBelle, executive director of the Biddeford + Saco Chamber of Commerce + Industry, and Denise Clavette, Saco’s Planning and Development director.

“We’re super happy to be here,” Hancock said. “It’s not random that we ended up here.”

He said after searching for just the right location to build its 11th store, they decided that they wanted to be in Saco.

“We aren’t trying to be the biggest lumber company in the area,” Hancock said. “We love Southern Maine and Southern Maine is full of opportunities. It’s a big commitment for us and a big opportunity for us. We’re very excited.”

According to Hancock,  the company’s mission is to create a work environment that first and foremost recognizes employees as human beings and ultimately improves the lives of anyone who works for the organization.

“An organization’s true value is not defined by revenue growth or profitability,” he said. “Those are important metrics for our business, but they are outcomes of a higher purpose. The real mission is to enhance the lives of the people who work here.”

The new Saco location will present great new opportunities to form relationships with builders, remodelers, and homeowners in the community, Hancock said.

Hancock Lumber was established in 1848 and has 550 employees. A sixth generation, family-owned lumber company, the business features a timberland company, a sawmill division and a network of retail lumberyards, kitchen design showrooms and a truss manufacturing facility with company headquarters based in Casco.

It operates lumberyards in Maine in Brunswick, Casco, Damariscotta, Windham, Kennebunk, Pittsfield, Yarmouth, Bridgton and in North Conway, New Hampshire. The company also offers kitchen design showrooms in North Conway, Brunswick, Kennebunk, Bridgton, Damariscotta, Yarmouth and Windham with sawmills in Bethel, Casco and Pittsfield, manages a forest in Casco and has a truss location in Fairfield.

The company serves more than 10,000 customers annually and its sawmill division is the largest manufacturer of Eastern White Pine boards in the world with annual production of 80 million board feet. In 2008, the sawmill division was recognized with the Philip C. Hastings award for the company’s leadership in reducing energy usage as its energy efficiency upgrades reduced the kilowatt usage by almost 25 percent, saving nearly 800,000 kilowatt hours.

In 2011, Hancock Lumber was honored as the Maine International Trade Center’s “Exporter of the Year,” with nearly 25 percent of its production sold outside the United States. And for four years running, the company has been named a “Best Place to Work in Maine” by the Maine State Council of the Society for Human Resources Management.

Hopkins said Saco is an ideal location for the Hancock Lumber company.

“We’re really excited to be in Saco,” he said. “We feel this area will fill a void in this community and we’re hoping to grow a presence in this community.”

Clavette said the project did not happen overnight, but rather is a culmination of a long process to obtain all the necessary government approvals and meet all city regulations.

“Hancock Lumber will be joining the development surge happening along out Route 1 Opportunity Zone, joining business representing multiple industries and sectors,” she said. “The Cascade Road, Flag Pond and Route 1 area has sparked a new hub of economic development and we are thrilled that Hancock Lumber will be part of that momentum.”

The new Saco location for Hancock Lumber will include a 30,000-square-foot kitchen showroom and retail area and a 30,000-square-foot lumber yard, Clavette said.

“This location will enable Hancock Lumber to better serve customers in Saco and the neighboring communities in York County and Cumberland County,” she said.

Kristi Kenney of KW Architects designed the new building and TPD Construction of Sanford will build the facility.

Construction work for the new building is expected to last through the winter with a spring 2020 opening planned.

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 or by email at [email protected]

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