For  over 15 years I have owned and managed Willard Square Home Repair.

It started out as just me. Then it was just me and Mario. Then it was just me, Mario and Ian.

Then is was me, Mario, Ian, Rodeo, Chun, Mark, Sean, Bob, Ryan, Jenn, Dustin, Erin, Rick and on and on. We became the #1 handyman service in the greater Portland area generating revenues of over $850,000 and having a great time.

But along the way there were unintended consequences that I was either not initially aware of or was able to turn a blind eye to. The waste we began to generate was enormous. Every week, especially in the busy season, we would fill a dumpster of debris to be hauled away and added to the landfills and floating trash barges. We did not have the facility, capability or manpower to sort and recycle.

And as I discovered the wood we were using had major social, economical and environmental impacts. At a store in Maine, the pine tree state, we were purchasing southern yellow pine that originates and is processed in Georgia. And fir studs we were purchasing arrived from Idaho although Maine woods are filled with fir and spruce. And the cedar we were using arrived from Oregon. This transport of wood from out of state coordinated by the big box stores and giant mills deprives local Maine mills and their communities of revenue.

Additionally the required fuel and emissions from the transport add unnecessary pollutants to our environment…not to mention the toll taken from not practicing sustainable forestry which is actually a requirement in the beautiful state of Maine.

I was tired of being part of the problem so I decided to become part of the solution. I began to educate myself on conservation, wood species and the chain of custody. I began to scale back WSHR and devote energy and resources to finding a location to open a new kind of store, the Lumbery; a wood store with a conscience that serves an actual need within the community.

I settled on the old Cumberland Farms in Cape Elizabeth. What a great location and what a great community. I then began to tour small mills throughout Maine and started to see and meet the people and the communities that would benefit from my store.

It is amazing to think that the cedar shavings from Yoder’s mill in Corinna, ME are given to Veazland farms to keep down mastitis in cows. And Veazland Farms, which originated in 1951 and is family owned and run, is currently milking 350 registered Holsteins and crop all of their own feed. This means that wood that I sell at my store will help support farmers and bring milk to your table. Incredible!

Currently we are pausing operations at WSHR but we hope, once the coronavirus is contained and once our store is open, that we will be able to successfully integrate a scaled down version of WSHR equipped with the ability to act environmentally and socially responsible while educating others on the impacts of simple choices such as buying one piece of wood.

We are hoping that our store will be open in mid July or early August and we hope to see you there. Until then follow our progress on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and sign up for our Lumbery newsletter. And please encourage your friends and family to follow as well. Help us reach our goal to have over 1000 followers prior to the opening date.

Until then stay safe and healthy.

Michael Friedland