The former Stinson cannery in Gouldsboro has become a symbol of economic frustration for many on the Schoodic Peninsula. After the last remaining sardine factory in the United States closed in 2010, it was bought by the Live Lobster Company and converted to a lobster processing facility with the backing of some USD 400,000 in public funds. A little over a year after the plant reopened, the facility was again shuttered when after Live Lobster defaulted on its loans from TD Bank. Some 70 local residents lost their jobs with the closure.
But this September, the plant was sold at auction to two buyers, the Groton, Connecticut-based Garbo Lobster Company and East Coast Seafood, based in Lynn, Massachusetts. The sale holds promise for the local economy and the Maine lobster industry, say seafood analysts and local officials. Whereas concerns swirled around the 2011 sale of the facility, many view the two seafood companies’ purchase of the plant as a good omen for the future of seafood processing on the peninsula.
Gouldsboro selectman Roger Bowen is optimistic about the sale. He said the plant’s buyers have projected to process between three million and five million pounds of lobster and employ some 80 people in 2013. Bowen feels such a goal is realistic.
“That’s fairly aggressive, but I think it’s doable,” said Bowen. “Garbo Lobster and their partners have an outstanding reputation. They’re experienced, they’ve done this before and they come into this with their eyes wide open.”
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