DAMARISCOTTA— Robert H. Reny Sr., who built a fledgling retail clothing business into a 14-store chain and Maine fixture, has died after a long illness. He was 83.
The Damariscotta resident, who sold shirts and other items door-to-door in the winter of 1949 to help keep his struggling first store going, later grew his business so that his stores sold clothing, shoes, food products and many other items.
Fortune Magazine praised Reny in 2004, saying his business, with its stores located mainly in Maine’s downtowns, had positioned itself shrewdly for competition against giant national retailers such as Wal-Mart.
He also won praise from Gov. John Baldacci and others for his long-standing efforts to promote Maine businesses at the Statehouse.