RICHMOND — Linda Douglass recalled over the weekend when she worked about 45 years ago on the fourth floor at the Ames Mill in Richmond.

She and three others owned Richmond Contract Manufacturing Co., which vacated 20,000 square feet at the mill before a Pennsylvania company, Strube, bought the space and left it to the Acord Family.

“I had a desk in the corner,” she said. “It was so nice to sit and look out at the river. The mill is so light and bright, where so many other mills aren’t.”

Douglass, who has been retired with her husband for about four years, was asked by Chris and Therese Acord to help out this past weekend with a liquidation sale at the mill.

Collin Acord, left, helps customer Brandon Riva load a tool box Sunday into a truck after Riva bought the item at the Ames Mill in Richmond. At right: Acord’s father, Chris, and sister, Autumn. The Acord family owns the mill. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

The first floor and basement were filled with parts, metal shelving and 100-year-old equipment. Douglass said she figured she would help, including instructing visitors on how to use the items and give them ideas for how certain pieces might be used today.

The Acord family hoped to sell all of the equipment, shelving and tools left behind by the companies. By Sunday morning, Chris Acord estimated 25% of the items had been sold on what was a busy Saturday. The entire family helped run the sale, along with friends, including Douglass.


He said buyers included local folks and some who had traveled from as far as Portland or Scarborough.

By Sunday morning, some buyers had already come back twice to get more items. Acord said one man bought two steel bookcases and came back after realizing he could use more.

“I was so busy,” Acord said. “People use their imagination for what to use the stuff for. Lots of crafters came — antiquing people.”

Items sold for as little as a dollar to upwards of $500, and customers raved about the great prices. One man talked about how $30 was a great deal for the steal shelves. He said they would cost about $150 each at stores.

Buyers were responsible for moving what they bought, but Acord said he would be flexible if someone could not transport certain items right away.

Annika Hansen said she had traveled from Wiscasset with her husband, hoping to find some items she could use for steampunk art.


The couple are moving from Maine to Vermont within a year, and Hansen said she wanted to create some pieces for the new space.

“I love to make furniture using reimagined metal,” she said, adding she might buy some pieces just to look at.

Visitors browse items being sold Sunday at the Ames Mill in Richmond. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Richmond resident Sam Knight teaches a local robotics club and said he attended the liquidation sale on Saturday and Sunday. On the first day, he bought a binocular microscope, boxes of hardware and a press. He came back Sunday morning to find items he could use for the club.

“This year has been hard,” Knight said of the robotics team. “I can use the microscope with the kids. We can use it for sundering to see what we are working with.”

He also gathered tools for sharpening metal.

Acord said sales Sunday morning had slowed from Saturday, but he was hoping to sell much of what was left. He said he might consider another sale soon because he does not want any of the items to go to waste.


“Everyone was so nice. It’s fun seeing people out,” Acord said. “A lot haven’t been out because of COVID.”

Douglass, who began working at the mill right after high school, said she spoke to a couple who bought metal gears and planned on turning them into a picture frame. He said he enjoyed seeing people’s creativity as they discussed new uses for old items.

She said it has been bittersweet to see the area she once owned being emptied.

“It’s been fun,” she said. “I’m glad to see it go and I’m happy to see it move on.”

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