|Twenty years ago, Wendy and Jack Newmeyer said
goodbye to New Jersey and headed north for the woods of Maine.
Settling in West Paris, the couple homesteaded a 114 acre parcel
of land. Jack bought a used bulldozer and cut spruce and fir for
pulp. Wendy collected balsam scraps to sell at nearby incense
factory inn Lewiston.
It was the sweet fragrance of balsam that inspired Wendy to
start Maine Balsam Fir Products, a company specializing in
everything balsam - from pillows to door stopper. A popular
memento of summers in Maine, balsam pillows still evoke the
smell of the north woods for visitors. Balsam is the most
abundant fir in the state and is favored for Christmas trees,
wreaths, and pulp. Today, the Newmeyers buy close to ninety tons
of balsam from local woodsmen, usually salvage from trees
already cut for the logging and paper industries.
Out of scraps from the forest floor, the Newmeyers make
balsam pillows of every color, size, and shape. An experienced
seamstress, Wendy sewed her first pillow in 1984. Today, the
company employs a crew of local seamstresses who sew and send
pillows around the world.