June 24, 2018
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Old Town Canoe lags in finishing relocation

By Meg Haskell, BDN Staff

OLD TOWN, Maine — Old Town Canoe’s relocation from the downtown to its new Gilman Falls Avenue facility continues, but its anticipated completion date has been pushed back.

Cynthia Georgeson, a spokeswoman for Johnson Outdoors, the company’s corporate parent in Racine, Wis., said this week that it will be at least another year before all administrative and production operations join retail and distribution operations at the Gilman Falls Center. The move originally was expected to be accomplished by the end of this October.

Georgeson said the longer than expected timeline is related to the complexity of Old Town Canoe’s business and the need to set up appropriate production facilities at the Gilman Falls Center.

Old Town City Manager Peggy Daigle said the city is sponsoring an application for a $200,000 federal Community Development Block Grant to help the company complete the transition. She said Old Town Canoe has no plans to move beyond the city limits.

“There is no threat of that,” Daigle said. “What would Old Town be without Old Town Canoe?”

Old Town Canoe moved its retail store in 2006 to the former Kagan-Lown shoe factory on Gilman Falls Avenue. In 2008, the company celebrated the opening of the new, 144,000-square-foot Gilman Falls Center on the same site, housing distribution, storage and some production operations.

The last phase is expected to complete the transition, vacating remaining production and administrative areas still housed in the downtown location.

The fate of the rambling, multiera block of wood-frame, brick and steel buildings that has housed the company for more than 100 years is uncertain, but Daigle said the city could end up taking the buildings over, razing them and cleaning up the site for future development.



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