Longtime avocation forges Pownal metalworks business

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POWNAL — While searching for a place to settle down with his wife two years ago, Nicholas Cote focused on one thing – garages.

“The house was kind of on the back burner for me,” Cote said. “(And) I didn’t really care where the location was. I just wanted a large work space.”

The young couple envisioned owning property on a dead-end road and abutting protected land – which they found in 2012 on Minot Road, adjacent to Bradbury Mountain State Park.

This is where Nicholas Cote’s dream to own his own business began to take shape.

He and his wife, Heidi, renovated the property’s 550-square-foot garage into a small dwelling space and turned the second building – nearly three times the size and meant to be a home – into a work space.

In August, Cote opened the doors of the 1,600-square-foot shop, Bradbury Mountain Metalworks. He and Heidi will host an open house Oct. 14 to introduce his work to the community.

“I always enjoyed doing what I’m doing now on weekends and in free time,” he said. “I just never anticipated it being a full-time job.”

Cote specializes in metalwork, but also offers “low-impact forestry” services – such as lot clearing and trail building – and light excavation and tractor work.

“You have to have a creative mind, that’s for sure,” he said when asked about his process. “I can assemble things in my mind before I even build it.”

Although he’s only 30, Cote’s proficiency in the craft stems from several years of experience. He first took a liking to welding in 2003, he said, while building a trailer for his snowmobile. In 2008, he graduated from Eastern Maine Community College, where he spent three years mastering welding and pipe fitting. Most recently, he worked for Engineered Construction Services in Raymond.

“I really want to be focused on quality and keeping customers I have satisfied, so I don’t want (my business) to get huge,” Cote said. “… I like being my own boss and making my own decisions.”

But he has had some help.

Along with word-of-mouth, news of his business opening has been spread via Facebook and a web page – both of which are managed by Heidi.

“So far, the community feedback has been positive,” Cote said, noting that he receives an average of one inquiry a day from potential customers.

He also hopes to collaborate with nearby businesses – the closest being Cumberland Ironworks, owned by Matt St. Cyr at the opposite end of Minot Road.

“(Matt and I) kind of specialize in different things,” Cote said. “Hopefully we can kind of work together and bounce work back and forth. … I dont’t want us to feel like were competition to one another.”

While putting finishing touches to the shop’s interior in preparation of Oct. 14, Nicholas Cote said he felt optimistic about the start – and future – of the company.

“The nice thing about this trade is that there’s always a need for this,” he said. “Someone will always need something built or fixed.”

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or jvansaun@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

Nicholas Cote with an office desk he spent three days constructing at Bradbury Metalworks on Minot Road in Pownal.