PORTLAND — Deering Ice Cream, the oldest ice cream maker in New England, is being sold to an investor group that will try to lead the company out of financial trouble.
The $1 million deal, backed by the Finance Authority of Maine, ensures that the 106-year-old ice cream maker will remain in Portland during the restructuring.
“They have a long heritage. We wanted to keep the manufacturing here in Maine,” said Charles Mercer, FAME spokesman.
The new agreement settles a suit by First NH Bank, which claimed that Deering had defaulted on $1.9 million in loans, said Don Lavoie, the company’s new treasurer.
Andrew Stickney, former Deering president and owner, will be kept on as a sales executive, according to the new investor group.
“The ice cream business is very competitive and (Stickney) was over-leveraged with debt,” Lavoie said. “When you get overleveraged with debt, you lose flexibility. Equipment repairs get neglected, you don’t have money to do marketing. It’s hard to get out of that downward spiral.”
This year’s sales are projected at $6 million, up from $5.4 million in 1990, Lavoie said. He predicted sales of around $5.5 million next year.