Fiora Brand Paper Products Made Locally and Sold Nationally

Photo: Among the employees at St. Croix Tissue that participate in the production of the nationally-available Fiora brand tissue products are Gary Trafton (Warehouse Lead) and Stephen Garton (TM1 Crew Leader). (Submitted photo)

By Lura Jackson

In a time of prodigious importing – when the products that we buy on a daily basis here in Eastern Maine are made all over the world – there’s a feeling of pride that emerges whenever we come across a brand or item that is made locally. One such brand is Fiora, makers of bath tissue, paper towels, and facial tissues. The parent rolls that create Fiora’s wide range of nationally-available products are all produced at St. Croix Tissue in Baileyville. 

The Baileyville mill began producing tissue material in 2016 when it finished installing two LDC (Light, Dry, Crepe) machines, giving it the capability of producing upwards of 120,000 metric tons of tissue every year. The expansion into tissue production enabled the mill to diversify its product and operate under two sister companies, Woodland Pulp and St. Croix Tissue, both of which are owned by IGIC. The expansion also generated approximately 80 ongoing jobs for the region.

Now that production is fully underway, massive 112” rolls of tissue paper are being rolled out on a regular basis and sent to two manufacturing facilities, one of which is located in Virginia and one of which is located in California. According to Loreen Ferguson, Tissue Technical Manager for St. Croix Tissue, about 60 percent of the rolls are sent to Mercury Paper in Virginia. Once at Mercury Paper, the rolls are converted into what Ferguson refers to as the “away from home” market – utilized in the public restrooms of gas stations, retail stores, and airports – and the consumer market. The consumer market products in this case are sold under the brand name Fiora, available throughout the state of Maine at IGA foodliners and Hannaford stores, including Tradewinds in Calais, 4 Corners in Columbia, Bell’s IGA in Calais, and the Woodland Food Mart, among other locations. 

“We’re very pleased to see it come back around again and to be able to have it sold locally in stores,” said Ferguson, adding that every package parent roll produced at St Croix Tissue and sent out to customers to be converted is labeled with “Proudly Made in Maine” along with the initials of the person at St. Croix Tissue that produced the parent roll. “People purchasing the brand can know that it was probably made by a friend or colleague or someone that they’re familiar with.”

At present, Mercury Paper in Virginia only sources its tissue products from St. Croix Tissue as a result of its specific production of 112” rolls. There are very few mills in the country capable of producing rolls of that size, Ferguson explained. “So we do know that when you see Fiora brand, it was made here in part,” she said. 

A significant amount of quality control is conducted at St. Croix Tissue to ensure that all of its product complies with FDA standards. Since the paper towels come into contact with food items, no harmful chemicals are used, as is the case with facial and bath tissues. Ferguson said that she works closely with Mercury Paper to meet their requirements for multiple types of tissues to keep their customers satisfied and buying regularly. 

“All of us at St. Croix tissue are very proud of the product we make here in Baileyville, and it adds an extra source of pride to see the product we make available in stores locally and nationally,” said Ferguson. “Bath tissue, paper towels, facial tissue and napkins are basic products but goodness knows what we would do without them!  It is a good feeling to be part of making a product that people find essential and use in their everyday lives.”