John and Karen Bolduc of Auburn celebrate their purchase of 470 acres in Greenwood for a new tree house and cabin sanctuary with high-end culinary flare. Submitted photo

This week the Buzz is building and growing and measuring for treehouses.

Karen and John Bolduc’s big idea is now a little more woodland sanctuary than glampground and it’s got an official new home: 470 acres next to Mt. Abram in Greenwood.

After closing on the property earlier this month, work is underway on the Auburn couple’s new business, The Coal Burned Spoon Sanctuary, made up of 12 treehouses and 12 cabins with high-end culinary flare.

Karen Bolduc said the property sits on Tibbetts Mountain, Elwell Mountain and Mt. Abram.

They’re already talking with ownership at Mt. Abram resort about the possibility of ski-in, ski-out units.

Since announcing their business plan in January and setting off on a site search, Bolduc said they looked at about 50 properties, coming quite close a few times.


“I’m grateful for that now and the way that the process has evolved,” she said.

Views on the new land are beautiful, she said, and the terrain is a good mix of older trees for treehouses and more recently logged areas for cabins.

They’re currently turning a shell of a log cabin on the site into company headquarters and will work this winter on attracting investors. The hope is to next year start half of the buildings and open in November. John will act as general contractor and work alongside the builders.

“We’re probably on step 12 of a 50-step process,” Karen Bolduc said.

The name is a reference to making spoons with a slowly burning piece of coal — a process that takes time and requires a person to slow down.

The couple plan to sell their 10-acre South Auburn Organic Farm to focus on The Coal Burned Spoon Sanctuary.


Greenwood could not have been more welcoming, she said. “(It’s) kind of the talk of the town up here, I think, and we’re just having fun with that. I’m very, very quickly falling in love with Greenwood.”

Auburn growth

The Auburn Planning Board last week unanimously supported a pair of expansions: Petro’s Ace Hardware is looking to add an exit road, and Futureguard Holdings is adding building.

Petro’s owner John Petrocelli Jr. asked for a zoning change from Suburban Residential to General Business II for two acres of backyard at 965 Minot Ave. to build an exit road for delivery trucks to come in off Minot Avenue and exit via Garfield Road.

A report by city staff said the change would be safer, more efficient and create less noise from trucks’ backup alarms, which are now coming in and leaving via Minot Avenue.

“I essentially bought 44 acres to gain that 100 feet,” Petrocelli told the board. “That’s the whole purpose for buying it, that’s the only option for growth we have. … It would give us more room if we needed it down the road.”


That final decision heads next to the City Council.

The board also unanimously approved Futuregard Holdings’ fourth expansion in two years, this one adding 18,047 square feet for six new loading docks and workspace, and 18,047 square feet for product assembly and finish operations, according to an application filed with the city.

The company produces retractables, fixed awnings and screen products.

A letter from Mike Gotto of Stoneybrook Consultants said the $1.4 million project on Merrow Road will start immediately and finish in 2020. Futureguard has 90 employees. The expansion could add 10 to 20 more.

“Most of the space is for machinery because we can’t find the people to get the work done,” Gotto told the board last week.

Meanwhile in the Auburn code office . . . 


Among the building permits approved for September:

• $149,214 for baseball field dugouts at Central Maine Community College.

• $300,000 to fit-up space at 245 Center St. for an American Red Cross Donation Center.

• $650,000 to start the first of four planned buildings by Millbran LLC at 1048 Turner St. The first building has 12 apartments with decks and a utility room.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 207-689-2844 or

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