FARMINGDALE — For a company that keeps a low profile, it’s not surprising that its philosophy is equally low-profile.

It is, Todd Mattson said, simply this: “Just coming in every day and working. It’s hard to distill it more than that.”

His parents, both from potato farming families in Aroostook County, taught him the value of work and doing a job well.

“My dad held up a hammer and nail,” he said. “He said if all you can do is hit this nail with this hammer, do it as best you can. If you can’t do it well, move on to do something else. I never felt I had to move on.”

That’s a part of the culture Mattson’s parents brought to C.B. Mattson Inc., and that Mattson continues to cultivate in the family business.

In its history, the company has done many things — construction and general contracting with forays into other ventures such as a paint store; decorating stores in Augusta, Gardiner and Waterville; and Gardiner Lumber.

“Now we primarily provide affordable housing for families and seniors from Damariscotta to Fort Kent,” Mattson said.

C.B. Mattson owns and manages about 625 residential units in the state in 28 locations, and it also has a small commercial portfolio in retail and professional office space.

For its work and accomplishments, the company is being honored as the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Large Business of the Year.

Ron Lachapelle has worked for the company for about 27 years. He’s currently a vice president and administrator, and he has found C.B. Mattson to be the kind of family business that values doing the right thing.

“It’s pretty empowering when you don’t have to worry about someone second-guessing you,” Lachapelle said. It’s not uncommon to see members of senior management take on grunt work so that others can do the jobs they are supposed to. The notion, he said, is that you clear the path for others rather than expecting others to clear the path for you.

“I’m not saying that would work at a company that’s on the scale of a General Motors or a General Electric,” he said. “There is a different dynamic at play.”

If there is a corollary philosophy, it’s taking care of customers.

The company employs 21 people full time and about a dozen part time; that includes its maintenance staff, which, Mattson said, allows the company to provide a good level of service that’s provided promptly.

“We think we can control things better if we have staff to take care of our customers’ needs,” he said.

The result is that a lot of the company’s employees have worked there for decades and many of the elderly who live in C.B. Mattson units have been tenants for decades.

That’s not to say that customers aren’t unhappy from time to time.

“Not everything we do is fun,” Lachapelle said. It’s the nature of the business that sometimes people are evicted or legal action is required. But he still looks forward to coming to work every day because of the people he works with.

Ross Cunningham, president and chief executive officer of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber wanted to recognize a company that provides outstanding service and much needed housing in communities across the region.

“We are always looking for businesses that are succeeding quietly in our communities and making a real difference, and C.B. Mattson does that,” Cunningham said.

Earlier this year, the company was thrust into the spotlight when a February fire in one of its buildings, Highland Terrace in Gardiner, left 30 residents homeless.

Without a lot of fanfare, the company found housing for many tenants in other company-owned properties and reached out to help find apartments for others.

“I was born and grew up in Gardiner,” Mattson said, “and I couldn’t believe the neighborhood outpouring.”

The company is rebuilding that property and expects to have it complete by April.

C.B. Mattson will be honored Jan. 22 at the Augusta Civic Center during the chamber’s annual awards ceremony.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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