Lincoln Wal-Mart’s $300,000 renovation under way

Posted April 07, 2010, at 8:19 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:03 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — It won’t be a Supercenter, but Wal-Mart’s Lincoln store is undergoing a $300,000 remodeling to fall in line with the company’s renovation of 80 percent of its stores during the next five years, town and store officials said Wednesday.

Begun on March 28, the renovation will not expand the store past its 49,690 square feet of customer space, but it will feature more and wider aisles and expanded dairy, meats and electronics departments, plus more computerized cash registers, store officials said.

“There will be with the Wal-Mart expansion a lot more competition from Wal-Mart with Hannaford [Supermarkets] and local food retailers,” Jerry Davis, the town’s zoning enforcement officer, said Wednesday. “They [Wal-Mart officials] have said their goal is to beat Hannaford prices by 30 percent.”

Forty temporary new workers will work for Wal-Mart to help restock the new store. In addition, several contractors and subcontractors have begun tearing out old aisles, floor tiles and freezers, Davis and store workers said.

The existing Wal-Mart is the Lincoln Lakes’ and Katahdin region’s largest single retail outlet. The renovation is seen as the key to Lincoln becoming a more dominant retail center and also becoming a location for more large outlets, though no such retailers have yet announced plans to open in Lincoln.

Wal-Mart’s Brewer store got the same face-lift in 2009, store officials said.

Located at 250 West Broadway, the Lincoln store remains open during the renovation.

The announced renovation is the first sign of growth at the local Wal-Mart since a proposed expansion there was put on hold in June 2008 by a corporate restructuring at the massive retail chain.

Announced in December 2006, Wal-Mart’s original $2.07 million expansion plan called for tearing down the existing Wal-Mart and creating a 24-hour, 99,000-square-foot building on about 21 acres at the store’s location at 250 West Broadway.

Town Economic Development Director Ruth Birtz has said that the renovation doesn’t necessarily mean that the expansion plan is dead. A store official said Wednesday that she didn’t know when that expansion would occur, but doubted it would be anytime soon.

The renovation, which is due to finish in June, is among several fairly large projects under way in Lincoln.

Workers are finishing a 2,500-square-foot expansion to Steaks N’ Stuff, which, with Hannaford, is among the town and region’s largest food outlets.

While the town has about a dozen small grocers or convenience stores — with the surrounding towns, such as Burlington, Chester, Howland and Lee, also having their own general or convenience stores — only the Hannaford stores in Lincoln and Millinocket, and Pangburn Family IGA on Route 157 in Millinocket, offer large-scale food sales.

The largest ongoing project in the Lincoln Lakes region is the proposed senior citizen housing development at West Broadway and Main Street that began last winter. The $4.07 million, 24-unit senior housing complex will fill the crater left at the former Lake Mall site that was destroyed in an arson fire almost a decade ago.

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