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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Business

Molly Line

Boston, MA

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Job Hunt: Whitney Wreath Expands, Hires

December 3, 2009 - 10:39 PM | by: Molly Line

Step through the doors of the Whitney Wreath company in Machias, Maine and you’ll be overwhelmed with the scent of the holidays.

“We all remember as a child the smell of Balsam. So when people receive that package and they open it up and they have the smell of Christmas it just starts off the Christmas season,” said David Whitney who founded the company in 1988.

Whitney first made and sold wreaths as a teenager from the back of a pick-up truck.  Today Whitney Wreath is he the biggest mail order Christmas wreath company in the country – shipping hundreds of thousands a year.

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Business this season will be even better thanks to a new contract with Maine’s own L.L. Bean. Whitney Wreath will make and mail wreaths sold in this year’s catalog, sending the holiday creations to all 50 states.

“Christmas wreaths have always been a part of L.L. Bean’s Christmas story and we’re really proud to be supporting the Balsam industry in Maine,” said L.L. Bean spokesperson Carolyn Beem.

“Whitney Wreath has done a great job ramping up this business. He hires a lot of local folks. It’s part of their culture. They love the jobs,” Beem said.

For the Washington County community the new agreement means more jobs- Whitney Wreath hired an additional 250 people over last year’s hiring.

“We operate out of 9 different facilities. We’re building a new facility which will give us much greater efficiency and capacity to be able to compete, not just on a local level but, throughout the country,” Whitney said.

The boost in jobs is significant for this rural pocket on Maine’s coast where many residents work a variety of seasonal jobs year round-
making wreaths in the winter, harvesting blueberries, fishing or lobstering in warmer months.

The unemployment rate is 10% in Washington County, up from 7.4 percent last year.

Jermar Inman was recently hired to be a plant manager after loosing her job at a dentist’s office in January.

“It was a fantastic opportunity because being unemployed for that long was a little frustrating and now being able to work gets things caught up a little bit and this job has just been probably the best job I’ve ever had,” said Inman.
“I also feel that having this opportunity is good for the whole community because you have so many people working, then they purchase products from other local people and it’s just a domino effect so it works out really well for everybody.”

And with Christmas right around the corner it couldn’t come at a better time.

Whitney Wreath also sells wares and wreaths on the home shopping channel “QVC” and via their own company catalog and website.

whitneywreath.com

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