Fort Fairfield, Maine hopeful to welcome a Potato Chip Plant, Awaiting Development Decision

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Newly hired Fort Fairfield Town Manager Tim Goff (left) listens as Dan Foster, outgoing interim town manager, address the council Wednesday, Sept. 20. (Courtesy: The Star-Herald)

Newly hired Fort Fairfield Town Manager Tim Goff (left) listens as Dan Foster, outgoing interim town manager, address the council Wednesday, Sept. 20. (Courtesy: The Star-Herald)

september 27, 2023
On September 20, Fort Fairfield - a small village in Maine, close to the border with Canada - had an important announcement to make as they potentially welcomed a new manager for a potato chip plant. The town may soon witness the establishment of a potato chip processing facility. Interim Town Manager Dan Foster, in collaboration with the newly appointed Town Manager Tim Goff, has been in discussions with Bruce Sargent from Presque Isle.

Sargent expresses his interest in constructing this plant within Fort Fairfield, reported The Country. This development holds promise for a town that has been grappling with financial difficulties. Fort Fairfield faced a substantial debt issue, amounting to around USD 1 million, which Foster played a pivotal role in resolving last year.

Through stringent budget cuts, the town has made commendable progress in stabilizing its financial situation. The prospect of a new industrial venture is not only uplifting for the town's spirits but also holds potential benefits for its economic standing, according to Foster. Foster cautiously emphasized that while this opportunity is promising, it is still in its infancy, marking the initial stages of a lengthy process for Fort Fairfield.

Five years ago, the town experienced a significant loss when the biomass electricity plant ReEnergy closed its operations. Additionally, businesses such as Boondock’s Grille restaurant have struggled with staffing issues in the wake of the pandemic, and both Walgreens and Family Dollar have closed their doors. Bruce Sargent, the owner of Falcon Transportation LLC in Presque Isle and its subsidiary Blue Diamond Transportation, has established a company named Taste of Maine.

He is actively exploring potential locations within Fort Fairfield for the proposed plant. Fort Fairfield's town councilors have given their approval for Foster and Goff to collaborate with Sargent on this proposal, which includes pursuing state and federal funding for the project. Given the early stage of the project, specifics such as the facility's size and the number of employees it would hire remain uncertain.

Foster underscored Sargent's seriousness about this endeavor, highlighting his local ties as a County businessman who is genuinely interested in the area's development. For Fort Fairfield's industrial landscape, the prospective plant would be a welcome addition.

The recent upgrade of the town's waste disposal system is positioned to accommodate Sargent's requirements. Unfortunately, Sargent was not available for immediate comment on the matter. The Taste of Maine Potato Chip Company Inc. took the step of filing for incorporation with the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions on August 4th, and it currently enjoys a status of good standing as a company.