The Sanborn Sun April - May 2000
A Company With a Mission
 Article by Keith Anderson
Webpage by Matt Giguere
     He wanted to move from the city and get back into the woods. He was tired of his job working for an insurance company, and wanted to do something different. He packed up his things and moved to Maine, working for his father, and he developed the first phosphate free laundry detergent. This was the first step into a company that in many peoples’ minds has revolutionized the way products can be developed. His name is Tom Chappell and he founded the company Tom’s of Maine.

    The laundry detergent that he developed was the first to be produced without the chemical phosphate. The neat thing about the detergent was when the user finished all of the liquid in the container, they could send the empty container back to the company, and it would be refilled and then sent back to them. This  was quite a revolutionary idea, particularly because it started in the mid 60’s and early 70’s before recycling was an issue. Then in 1970 Tom Chappell and his wife Kate founded Tom’s of Maine. Since then Tom’s of Maine has developed more products. They are now producing shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap, and hair rinse.

     The unique thing about all of these products is that they are being made with all natural products. No artificial chemicals or dyes are being substituted into the products. By 1975 Tom wanted to develop an all-natural toothpaste. Luck turned in his favor when a man’s car broke down out in front of the factory. This man turned out to be a scientist, a chemist, and he came to work for Tom’s of Maine and to help develop an all natural  toothpaste. The toothpaste was developed and was a success. 
 At this time the company was very, very small, however in 1982 things started to expand. CVS and some other larger stores started selling the products. Also new products were being developed which included mouthwash, cold reliefs, and Echinacea tonics. 

        Today the company has grown into a pretty large company. Tom’s of Maine has aproximatly 120 employees, thirty of whom are working in the factory, and about thirty sales rep’s across the country. The factory is definitly a busy place during the day. Over 70,000 tubes of toothpaste are produced a day, as well many of the other products. Consumer Dialogue Representative at Tom’s of Maine, Matt Mooney, said, "The company is busting at the seams." The factory is located in Kennebunk Maine, and almost all of the products from Tom’s of Maine are made there. The flossing ribbon is made in England, and another company in New England makes the bar soap. Products are shipped all over the country as well as to the United Kingdom, Israel, and Africa, Japan and into Canada. 

     Matt Mooney, when asked if he likes his job and feels that he is making a difference to benefit the environment, replied, "Yes, I really do", adding that Tom’s of Maine is "a wonderful place to work". Workers respect each other a great deal which is considered very important by all of the employees. Tom Chappell also allows the workers to donate 5% of their work time per week to the community. Many of the workers are also involved with outdoor type organizations to help to benefit the environment. They have been involved with projects for cleanups and other types of environmental issues. 

      The goal of Tom’s of Maine can be read in the mission statement. "We consider the mission statement our guiding light," says Matt Mooney. "We certainly want to make a profit, but we want to do so in a socially, environmentally and responsible manner. We want to produce safe and natural products."

      Upon walking into the corporate offices of Tom’s of Maine we found the overall atmosphere to be welcoming, and everyone there was extremely friendly. Everyone took a moment to look up and smile and say hello. To be a part of a company that makes natural products all while helping the environment and the people who live in it must be a great feeling. It seems that working for a company like Tom’s of Maine, a company that makes all-natural products while helping the environment and people, must be a meaningful place to work.