PITTSFIELD, Maine — 200 additional jobs will be coming to the Puritan Medical Products in Pittsfield. That was the announcement made at a ceremony that transferred the former San Antonio Shoe factory to Puritan on Monday.
Puritan officials say the new jobs, on top of the 400 currently at its other Pittsfield facility, will allow them to produce the additional medical swabs needed to combat the pandemic.
At Monday's ceremony, company officials said the new Puritan Medical Products factory, the second in Pittsfield, will increase Puritan’s production of flock tip testing swabs to 50 million per month.
John Cartwright, Puritan General Partner said, “The transfer of these buildings from the economic development corporation allows Puritan to quickly build and begin producing the additional medical swabs needed so urgently by our country.”
Everyone involved in the expansion says the project wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of the Armstrong family whose patriarch, Terry Armstrong was the co-owner of San Antonio Shoe. His daughters, Cheryl Remmert and Lisa Armstrong say this ceremony was very special to them.
“It means that the place that we watched our father go to work every morning the place that held all of the people that love their jobs and loved making shoes it means that that place will continue in just in a different way,” said Lisa Armstrong.
Officials in Pittsfield say the project has big implications for the town too. Pittsfield’s Mayor Heather Donahue says the project does more than just put an empty building that hasn’t been used in several years to good use.
“It’s a revitalization for the manufacturing in town that we have a long history of that.” Donahue said, “It’s going to increase our tax base for the community which we lost quite a bit when the other previous two businesses relocated.”
Senator Susan Collins was at Monday's event and said Puritan Medical Products is helping meet a national challenge by providing testing supplies to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cianbro is the contractor converting the old shoe factory into a high-tech swab maker.
The project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.