Maple Landmark outgrowing its facility

MIDDLEBURY — Maple Landmark Inc. is proposing to build an 11,340-square-foot addition onto its Middlebury headquarters at 1297 Exchange St., a project that would create some much-needed, additional space for the growing manufacturer of eco-friendly, educational wooden toys, games and gifts.
It was in 1979 that Maple Landmark got its start under co-owner Mike Rainville. Demand for its products steadily blossomed, to the point when the company performed an initial expansion of its Exchange Street building in 1998 to include additional woodworking, shipping and receiving areas. That expansion envisioned an eventual employee base of 50. Maple Landmark currently employs around 40.
Meanwhile, Maple Landmark’s business has grown by 50 percent over the past five years, according to Rainville. That kind of growth has given Rainville an enviable problem.
“It puts stresses on the system,” he said.
Rainville had envisioned proposing a building addition two or three years from now. But that’s no longer possible.
“We just need more space options for our continued growth,” he said. “We ran out of space years ago, but keep shoehorning it in.”
So the company is proposing a two-story, pre-engineered addition to the north side of its building. It would be slightly taller than the existing 1.5-story structure. The exterior materials and finishes of the addition would be metal siding and roofing, which is similar to the current building, which encompasses 16,000 square feet.
“Current operations at Maple Landmark are not expected to change and vehicle traffic from employees, visitors and shipping/receiving is not expected to change as a result,” reads a project narrative submitted to the Middlebury Development Review Board Administrator Ted Dunakin.
Rainville said some renovations of the existing building would occur in concert with the addition, if the project is approved. The end result, he said, would provide more production space, more storage area, a bigger location for the graphics department, and a little more space for offices and retail operations.
Company officials said the addition would allow more growth for Maple Landmark’s employee base and some extra breathing room.
“It would give us a chance to exhale and an opportunity to grow for some years to come,” Rainville said.
Middlebury’s Design Advisory Committee is tentatively scheduled to look at the Maple Landmark application on Feb. 13, followed by a Development Review Board hearing on the proposal on Feb. 23.
The Maple Landmark headquarters represents a conditional use in the town’s industrial district, according to Dunakin. The proposed addition triggers a review by the DRB.
“In my initial review (of the plans), I don’t see any issues associated with the project,” Dunakin said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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