TEXT BY SARA ANNE DONNELLY
PHOTOGRAPHED BY JASON FRANK
Michael Friedland, manager and co-owner of Cape Elizabeth’s The Lumbery, calls his new shop a “micro lumberyard.” Come again? “I hope the terminology brings up images of a small grocery or brewery that has a more intimate feel,” he explains. Located in a former Cumberland Farms convenience store, now appropriately clad in eastern white cedar, the place does feel friendly and kind of hip, like your favorite third-wave coffee shop. Tidy rows of Mr. Fix-It essentials divide a cheery room with a vaulted, pearl-white tongue-in-groove ceiling and, almost grazing it, a pine-tree sculpture by Cape Elizabeth’s Campbell Iron & Metalworks in glossy black rebar. Along the walls, stacks of Maine-grown cedar, pine, spruce, and hemlock lumber are arranged beneath a chalkboard listing family-owned suppliers in Bradford, Corinna, Corinth, New Gloucester, and Portage.
ABOVE The Lumbery’s Ryan Holland, Michael Friedland, and Alex Bettigole listened to Kool & the Gang and Grandmaster Flash records on repeat while renovating the shop, now packed to the rafters with local timber whose origins are detailed on a chalkboard map.
Co-owned by employees Alex Bettigole, Ryan Holland, and (Friedland’s sister) Jennifer Stora, The Lumbery bills itself as the first lumberyard committed to local sourcing in the state (only the pressure-treated wood and plywood are from away, and the team is working on lining up Maine suppliers). Friedland, who previously ran a SoPo home repair business for 15 years, says that’s nuts. “There’s a local movement for everything, but somehow the synapses don’t connect when it comes to wood.” Even in the Pine Tree State (for heaven’s sake!), there has historically been no way for consumers to track where their lumber comes from, due to complex supply-chain models. Working with Lee Burnett, of Winthrop’s Local Wood Works, a nonprofit that promotes regional timber products, Friedland developed a list of mills to visit in a pre-pandemic “crazy tour of Maine” before contracting with the chalkboard five.
Part and parcel of The Lumbery’s buy-local ethos is community building, and, as such, there’s a tool-lending library here and Friedland is pursuing plans to host classes on basic reno skills, as well as a farmers’ market and food trucks in the parking lot. “My goal is to have a store that makes people’s lives better,” he says. “Where on warm evenings they can go to a food truck, maybe listen to some music. And, you know, maybe also pick up a shovel.”