WILTON — Taking a sound idea and making it into something real is the basis on which Gregg Toothaker of Wilton plans to run his new welding and sheet metal fabricating business. His goal hinges on the Planning Board’s approval Thursday night.

New businesses are on the agenda when the Wilton Planning Board meets Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Town Office.

Toothaker is seeking a permit to start his business, GAT Multifab, in Western Maine Development LLC at 128 Weld Road. Jill Swett-Tibbetts wants to start an adult case management services office at 860 Route 2, and DMK Development officials are asking the board to amend their permit for Tractor Supply, allowing the store to include sales of ATVs, mini-bikes and small boats.

Toothaker could open the 30-foot by 60-foot space in the same space where he previously worked for Nichols Welding as early as next week following the board’s review. It depends on how soon materials arrive, he said. The shop is already filled with the necessary machinery and equipment, some left over from the Nichols operation and some of his own, he said.

Artistic but practical crafts made of sheet metal along with welding projects will be the focus, he said. He has designed his own ash bucket, a dust pan with a long handle and has made Hurricane lanterns out of black iron and solid brass. He’s also made a small grader fit to go behind a lawn mower for use on a gravel driveway.

Toothaker, who also likes to cook and bake, designed a sheet metal basket able to hold two 13-inch by 9-inch pans by which he can prepare and take Sunday dinners to his mother’s. Some people have already expressed interest in the basket, he said. He expects to design and produce other size baskets.

“I do almost everything except duct work, making an idea into something real,” he said, adding people can contact him at 779-6601.

Along with custom work orders, some of these items, already created, will be on display for purchase while he creates more between larger jobs, he said.

After surviving an August explosion at the pellet mill in Strong where he ran the machinery that produced pellets, Toothaker considered more intently his longtime desire to run his own business.

“What did I have to lose?” he asked.

He graduated from Central Maine Vocational Technical Institute in 1987 where he majored in sheet metal and then worked throughout the state and in several paper mills for subcontractors but chose to leave that work. He ended up as a master craftsman for Forsters in Strong. When that closed, he worked for Nichols Welding, he said.

Now he hopes to return to that same space but work for himself.

“The space was formerly set up for the type of manufacturing that he wants to do,” said Code Enforcement Officer Paul Montague who didn’t expect any problems granting the permit.

“We’re all pretty excited about the new business,” he said.

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