PARIS — Bancroft Contracting Corp. has bought McLaughlin Signs, the local company that has lettered its trucks and equipment for years.

“This has been in the back of my mind for years,” said Mark Bancroft, president of the company. “For us we’ve never gone anywhere else.”

Bancroft learned about Mac McLaughlin’s plans to retire last week when he brought a truck to the High Street company to have lettering done. He immediately clinched the deal.

“I’m excited about continuing a good Oxford Hills business,” Bancroft said.

McLaughlin, who was taught at the age of 16 how to letter from his predecessor, Merle Glines, said he assumed the business would close when he and his wife, Esther, retired.

“I figured we’d just close down, that no one would be interested (in buying the company). I thought of a few people but no one responded,” he said.

Then Bancroft, who purchased his 35-year-old contracting company from his father and founder, Al Bancroft, in 2004, heard of the pending closure.

The transition is already happening as Bancroft crane operator Roger Robbins of New Sharon assumes the sign lettering duties. But first he must learn the art.

“I love it,” Robbins said as he and McLaughlin worked to letter a service truck in the shop this week.

The plan is to have Robbins up and running the sign shop at the Bancroft location on Phillips Road and to continue to service the scores of trucks, signs and other lettering jobs McLaughlin has done over the years.

McLaughlin said he will retire and paint. He is a graduate of the Portland School of Art with a degree in graphic arts and an accomplished artist. He currently has an exhibition at the West Paris Library.

He has been in the sign painting business for 40 years. His teacher, Merle Glines, ran Glines Signs on top of Paris Hill and sold it to McLaughlin 17 years ago. Back then, everything was done by hand, McLaughlin said.

Over the years, McLaughlin has been an illustrator for the U.S. Air Force and for newspapers. He has lettered signs for Perham’s of Maine, Oxford Hills Funeral Service, Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway, bank clocks and a 5- by 21-foot long sign for a paper mill in Jay. His longest surviving sign is probably the one for St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church in Norway, he said.

Now everything is computer generated, he said.

“I can’t tell you how many businesses I’ve done that are no longer in service,” he said.

Bancroft Contracting provides construction and industrial maintenance services to customers, including pulp and paper manufacturers, power generating facilities, state transportation departments, and cement and plastics manufacturers, according to its website. Projects include dams, bridges and large commercial foundations.

Bancroft, who said he was always intrigued by the recession-proof nature of the sign company, said he will continue to use the McLaughlin Sign name.

“I’m pleased to be able to continue something that’s been here all my 40 years,” he said.

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