MIDDLEBURY — Kids with toys need space to play with them. Now imagine not having enough space to make them.
That was the case at Maple Landmark in Middlebury, which has been operating in a newly expanded and renovated space since April.
“We couldn’t put it off any longer,” said Mike Rainville, who co-owns Maple Landmark, a manufacturer of eco-friendly, educational wooden toys, games and gifts.
Maple Landmark opened in 1979 and has been in business at 1297 Exchange St. for 20 years. Even since an addition in 1999, the company has grown — too much for the 16,000 square feet of space it was occupying on two floors.
The space was “too cramped” for Maple Landmark’s 40 employees, and the new equipment the company needed for its continued success. Plans for an expansion began in fall 2014. In June 2015, the company broke ground on 11,300 square feet of new ground-level space.
Maple Landmark is now renovating its existing space for new and streamlined uses, such as packaging and shipping. Rainville said the new space will accommodate Maple Landmark’s annual, incremental growth.
Maple Landmark sells products to more than 2,200 gift shops and toy stores throughout the U.S. and abroad.
“We’re growing a little bit all the time and adding new people,” he said. “This addition gives us more flexibility to do that and plan for the future.”
On April 21, Maple Landmark and Bread Loaf Corp., in Middlebury, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the new manufacturing floor.
Bread Loaf, which Rainville called “great to work with,” provided integrated project management services for design and construction of the new space. Maple Landmark is finishing the renovations inside — a process that could continue into next year.
“We’ll still be moving equipment and getting things where we want right up into the fall, and then we’ll get busy for the holidays, so we’ll probably finish our renovations early next year,” Rainville said.
He said funding from the Vermont Economic Development Authority provided some assistance for construction and new equipment that were tied to the $2 million project.
“We’re enjoying the new space,” Rainville said. “It’s nice to have room and not have to dodge everybody and everything.”