CORINNA — Three days on the job, and Dalton Mullis is already having fun.
On Saturday, Mullis opened Mullis Equipment and Marketing in his hometown of Corinna. The business will cater to the unique and sometimes urgent needs of the forestry, construction and farming industries.
“I have a lot of faith in this community,” he said Tuesday, explaining why he chose to open his new business in Corinna. “I believe Corinna is on the rebound. We need to spruce up a bit. But there’s no reason we shouldn’t see a lot more business here.”
The town has fought economic decline since the loss of jobs when Eastland Woolen Mill closed in 1996 and the loss of convenience with the closing of a supermarket and hardware store in the same year.
Mullis’ enterprise is the second business to place faith in Corinna this month. Employees at the former Fernald’s Market are stocking shelves to be ready to reopen soon under new ownership. The new store as yet has no name or a specific date for opening.
Mullis moved into the space on Route 7 formerly occupied by Eastland Etc., a gift shop and source for Eastland blankets. Mullis still has some of the those blankets — and they’re selling.
“I need to find another place to get them when these are gone,” he said of the hometown woolens.
Mullis, a native of Corinna, smiles readily as he talks about the past few years. After working for a major equipment supplier for 16 years, he opted three years ago to become self-employed dealing in used equipment sales. Brokering used equipment will remain a part of his business, but the retail operation in Corinna will supplement it.
Before opening shop, Mullis did his research by visiting similar stores in Maine, most of them more than 40 miles from Corinna.
“It looked like fun,” he said of what he saw, explaining he always wanted to work in a hardware store. “I’ve never enjoyed anything so much.”
Mullis Equipment is located on the busy Route 7 corridor that winds through downtown Corinna.
“You just look at what has happened here [on Route 7] in just the last year,” he said about a variety of new businesses from Newport to Dexter. The daily traffic count averages 6,110 cars, and more in the summer, he said. “It [new business] has to happen here.”
Mullis’ business will carry a large inventory of equipment parts that can be difficult to find in a rural area. He also will carry safety clothing and footwear. A feature of the store will be the availability of custom-made hydraulic hoses, a service Mullis said is unique for the area.
The store is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.