2015-09-17 / Front Page

Wilbur’s of Maine receives $100,000

Grant to Freeport business issued by Chase program
BY DOUGLAS MCINTIRE
Times Record Staff

FREEPORT

Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolate Confections is one of 20 companies nationwide to receive a $100,000 Mission Main Street Grant from Chase.

Of more than 30,000 small businesses across the country, Wilbur’s was chosen by the California-based small business lender.

“We’re overwhelmed — we’ve actually known for a while. They had come here to video probably over a month ago and we were sworn to secrecy,” Catherine Wilbur said. She said her employees were very excited, saying Wilbur’s has an incredible group of workers.

Wilbur’s began in 1983 with Catherine and her husband, Tom, operating a retail shop. Tom Wilbur began working with the chocolate and soon the store had its own line of sweets. Still a family business, son Andy has joined the crew, experimenting and expanding the line of chocolates.

Tom Wilbur said for five years the couple was making chocolate out of their basement and now that the company’s been in business for more than 32 years, they create more than 200 products including six to eight batches of fudge a day.

When the call came from Chase announcing they won the grant, Wilbur said he was “dumbfounded.”

Wilbur said his son Andy has been a major innovator for the business, constantly looking for new products to create.

Wilbur’s operates out of its Bow Street Freeport location, with another factory store on Lower Main Street and a retail store at the Tontine Mall in Brunswick.

“I had heard about the (Chase) program two years ago. Last year we had grandbabies and everything else going on, so I didn’t get to it,” Catherine said.

This year Wilbur said she was ready, filling out the application and gathering 250 people to vouch that Wilbur’s is a legitimate business. Wilbur also said she had to identify how the money would be spent if Wilbur’s won.

Wilbur said they plan on adding onto their building to accommodate an extra room where chocolate demonstrations and eventually a chocolate school can take place. Wilbur also said the business will need some machinery upgrades and shell molds.

“When it gets out how much money this grant is for, people are going to be asking left and right for more donations and I said well, we have to spend that money a certain way,” Wilbur said.

dmcintire@timesrecord.com

Wilbur’s where

WILBUR’S OF MAINE began in 1983 with Catherine and her husband, Tom. Now, Wilbur’s operates out of its Bow Street Freeport location, with another factory store on Lower Main Street and a retail store at the Tontine Mall in Brunswick.

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