DC and Portland
In 2013, after spending 12 years in Washington, DC, founder and co-owner, Ben Waxman moved back to his hometown of Portland, Maine with a dream to create jobs in the place that he grew up and loved.
It took about a year contemplating how to make this happen and in what form this dream would come to fruition until one day, he realized that what he loved was what he grew up watching his mother create. A family of textiles and a business of manufacturing.
Dory Waxman, owner of Old Port Wool & Textile, had started a small woolen goods business in 1992, making wool capes, shawls and blankets in an effort to make a living while raising three children with her husband. The business, then called Casco Bay Wool Works, quickly grew from a small operation in her barn to a booming manufacturing company. Dory continued this company until the woolen mills in Maine began closing and she was unable to buy materials locally. She sold the business and did not return until 2013 when she re-opened the operation as Old Port Wool & Textile.
Ben & Whitney
In 2014, Ben and his wife, AR co-owner Whitney Reynolds, took a trip to Massachusetts to a woolen mill and it was then that Ben’s dream started to gain momentum. He had watched the highs and lows of manufacturing in America and thought; why not bring this incredible industry that essentially disappeared in the United States back to life?
From this vision, American Roots was born.
The idea was simple; take Ben and Whitney's rolodexes and make them the foundation of sales. Take from that the ability to reach additional sales models of a growing number of Americans who want and need American made products.
It was decided that the focus would be fleece products. By maximizing a national network of American companies, Unions, and institutions, the idea of creating a place where they could buy customized apparel came to be. AR soon created a partnership with Polartec out of Massachusetts and the business began with the attitude that AR would make the highest quality Polartec fleece into the best American made apparel.
The reality of a dying industry soon became a concern when looking to put together a workforce. It was then that they formed a relationship with CEI, Goodwill and Portland Adult Education to put together a training course for stitchers. From this program, the AR family began to grow and so did production! We are now at the forefront of American manufacturing and are proud to deliver 100% American-made, union-made products to our consumers.