Saco-based Tanbark is to receive more than $2 million to finance new equipment. Pictured are molded fiber food containers which Tanbark produces. Courtesy photo

SACO — Tanbark Molded Fiber Products (Tanbark), a Saco-based manufacturer of molded fiber packaging products is slated to receive more than $2 millionin financing that is expected to help create nine Maine jobs and retain an additional 23 Maine jobs.

The Finance Authority of Maine approved on Feb. 15, $1,594,000 in total financing for Tanbark, which is comprised of a $1 million FAME Direct Loan and a $594,000 loan through the Grow Maine program. Grow Maine is administered by FAME and funded through federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funds. The funds will assist the company in purchasing and installing equipment for its micro-fiber manufacturing operation, which will in turn help the company grow. The Maine Technology Institute also has approved financing for the project totaling $500,000.

“We are pleased to provide support for Tanbark’s operations in York County,” stated FAME CEO Carlos Mello. “Utilizing Maine wood fiber for eco-friendly packaging is innovative and will help to support the forest products industry in Maine.”

Tanbark is a producer of high-end sustainable packaging made from Maine’s heritage wood products industry. The company manufactures molded fiber packaging using wood pulp largely sourced from the Maine woods. The wood-based products have a smooth finish and complex architecture with minimal draft angels. The wood products industry is a targeted sector in the state’s 10-year economic development strategy. Additionally, Tanbark’s products are free of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. Tanbark’s products can be used as a substitute for single-use plastic materials, which can damage oceans and landfills, among other things.

“We are grateful for FAME’s support, which will help us to finalize our equipment purchases and installation and enable us to begin operations,” said Melissa LaCasse, CEO and co-founder of Tanbark. “We are also appreciative of the support of MTI. The breadth and depth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Maine is impressive, and it is a great place to start and grow a business.”

Steve Femino, Tanbark Board xhair and CFO, said, “The support of FAME to complete this facility allows for future catalytic growth opportunities in Maine.”

FAME’s Direct Loan provides access to operating capital for startups and existing businesses for most business purposes. Loans up to $1 million may be available if substantial public benefit is demonstrated and sufficient funds are available.

FAME’s Grow Maine Program, administered by FAME in conjunction with various statewide lending partners, provides SSBCI funding to eligible Maine businesses. Funding is available through FAME and its intermediary partners across the state via loan guarantees, direct loans, and equity capital.

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