SKOWHEGAN — Bill and Julie Swain have come a long way with their Stitching Specialties LLC and Dog Not Gone Visibility Products since they started operations in 2005 in their home in Kingfield. The couple bought the former Dirigo Stitching Co. factory in Skowhegan in 2014, and by last year, their products for pets and people were being shipped to Wal-Mart stores all across New England.

Citing walk-in demand for their product line — Dog Not Gone tick and mosquito-repelling outerwear for dogs and humans — the Swains last week opened a factory outlet store at the building on Dane Avenue across from North Elementary School.

“People are always coming in asking about the tick-repelling products and the American flags — that’s been a really big seller, especially lately with Memorial Day and the Fourth of July coming up next month,” Julie Swain said from the store Wednesday.

The ticks are really bad in Maine this year, she said, and people are worried. The store sells caps, hats, scarves, bandannas and vests — all treated with a special solution called Permethrin that is added during the manufacture of the fabric — and gaiters made of a socklike fabric with a Velcro closure that is worn over the pant leg to keep ticks from climbing in and up.

“It’s amazing how effective they are. It’s almost like it’s too good to be true,” she said of the bug repellent and visibility products for people, dogs, cats and horses. “The baseball hats have been huge. Not only do they repel ticks, but they repel mosquitoes and back flies. We do things for the top and the bottom — of you.”

Julie Swain said the prices at the factory outlet are lower than prices listed on their website and are currently 25 percent off. She said the Permethrin is woven into the fabric and is insoluble, so it doesn’t come off on a person or a pet. The store is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.


Bill Swain, speaking by cellphone Wednesday from the road, said Permethrin is safe for people and pets. He said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider the chemical to pose virtually no risk and recommends the products for pregnant women and children to avoid insect bites.

The new line of apparel under the brand name of No Fly Designs now will offer superior tick and insect protection for every outdoor activity, he said.

Bill Swain said that,with the manufacturing of the products in the factory space upstairs, they decided to use a vacant office on the ground floor as a retail store. He said the outlet store has all of the products that are carried at retail and big-box stores.

“We have a number of retailers who carry our products, but no single retailer carries them all,” he said. “They either have our pet line, or our people line, or parts of it, but never the whole thing. So we said we could display all of our products in our own store.”

Swain said local stores, including Campbell’s True Value, carry some of their products, as does Renys, Paris Farmers Union, Blue Seal Stores, some Tractor Supply stores and 19 Wal-Mart stores.

He said sales have increased at a pace reflecting the news that ticks have become a problem in Maine.


“We’ve seen a significant upturn, especially in our human apparel items. The increased presence of ticks virtually everywhere in Maine now has really got the interest growing in our products,” he said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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