Brant & Cochran is the only company in the world hand-forging Maine wedge pattern axes anymore! With the once vibrant edge tool industry in Maine dwindling, their goal is to honor that heritage by bringing quality axe-making back to Maine and there’s certainly not a lack of demand! Mark Ferguson, one of the partners behind Brant & Cochran, approached the Maine SBDC for help putting together an expansion plan in order to keep up with the heavy demand.
He connected with Susan Desgrosseilliers, business advisor at the Maine SBDC at the University of Southern Maine (USM), and they began exploring financing options for the expansion. They went back and forth putting together financial projections based on market research and input from local resource partners. Susan helped connect Mark with several local organizations to explore his financing and production options, including Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and the Maine International Trade Center (MITC).
Expansion plans currently include doubling their shop space and consulting with MEP on new machines and processes which will allow them to increase production at least three-fold. This will help reduce customer wait time for axes, which currently is about 22 weeks.
Mark commented: “[The Maine] SBDC has given us insight into government, non-profit, and other programs in Maine that can help our business grow. [They’re] a great first stop for businesses trying to navigate their way through all the government programs in place to help small businesses.”