GREENWOOD — 2012 is looking great for the new Saunders Bros. dowel mill, a successful bare-bones start-up last year despite the country’s worst recession and an overly long Maine winter.

Owner Louise Jonaitis of Portland and Hanover told the Sun Journal in late May that Saunders had hired 24 workers in the eight months since she bought the plant and restarted it. They also made about $1 million from orders and landed a huge job from IKEA, a Scandinavian-based furniture company that sells globally.

Jonaitis is a former social worker turned Maine tourmaline miner turned owner of a Maine dowel mill and Moosehead Furniture.

On Thursday afternoon, Jonaitis was pleased to say they met their year-end goals.

“Besides our financial goal, one of our goals was to become primarily a domestic manufacturer, meaning we were going to eliminate imports from China, which we have done now,” she said. “So you won’t find a stick of anything from China in the mill. Every product now that we make originates in Maine.”

Their Maine birch comes from sawmills within 20 miles of the plant and they make their own dowels. The entirely American-made goal will continue for next year.


“It is big. I mean it’s bigger than people realize, because there’s a lot more profit by importing containers from other countries, but we’re not going to do it, because it doesn’t really help us in the long run,” she said. “We’re trying to create wealth, not just temporary profit, and the only way to create wealth in America is by being American-made.”

As a symbol of that commitment, they’ve added a large bald eagle carving to a handle on their giant wooden rolling pin display beside Route 26.

“The American eagle has landed on our rolling pin,” Jonaitis said.

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