HERMON, Maine — The Hermon Shopping Center expansion is nearing completion as Hermon True Value Hardware and Family Dollar approach their respective May 24 and July opening dates.
In the meantime, Subway is looking to get a spot in the strip mall on U.S. Route 2 across from Hermon High School. The three new tenants will add an estimated 58 full- and part-time jobs to the town.
The expansion of the shopping center, including the addition of the Family Dollar and Hermon True Value stores, was announced in October 2009. The shopping center’s owner, Tom Ellis, contacted Subway a few months ago about becoming a tenant. The three businesses will join Danforth’s Down Home Supermarket, Seaboard Federal Credit Union, Dunkin’ Donuts and Fresh Dough Pizza Co.
Hermon True Value is tentatively planning a soft opening for May 24 without any fanfare. The store’s official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be June 26. Hermon True Value is a partnership owned by businessmen Rich Pfirman and Tom Tillson, both of Tillson True Value, a fourth-generation, family-owned hardware store in Dexter.
Hermon True Value’s opening date, however, depends on when its new parking lot will be paved, which the town requires before the business can open its doors, according to Pfirman. He said he expects the lot to be finished in time for a May 24 opening.
“I think it’s ambitious to think that anyone’s going to be open really before July 1. But I could be wrong,” said Ron Harriman, Hermon’s economic development director.
Ellis said he expected the parking lot to be finished by the end of this week or the middle of next week if there is rain.
Subway will occupy about 1,000 square feet and open in two to three months, Ellis said, and Family Dollar will open around the same time. He said Subway was contacted to add diversity to the businesses there.
“We always look for tenants,” Ellis said. “If we see something missing in our tenant mix, we’ll try to pursue it.”
The expansion added 34,500 square feet to the shopping center, according to Ellis.
Hermon True Value paid for the new store’s inventory, furniture and fixtures through a loan from Merrill Bank, according to Pfirman. He declined to give details of the loan.
“It was enough to create a very nice new store,” he said.
Pfirman described the store as “very open, very well lit” and “female-friendly,” because half of True Value’s sales are made to women.
Ellis said he financed the expansion of the shopping center through a Seaboard Federal Credit Union loan. He declined to give details of the construction costs.
Hermon True Value already has hired five employees and expects to add the same number in part-time workers after the store opens. It will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be one third larger than its Dexter counterpart, according to Pfirman, at about 10,000 square feet.
“I think the community as a whole is very excited to see this project completed,” said Clinton Deschene, Hermon’s town manager.
Hermon True Value took possession of the store in April and planned for seven weeks to stock and prepare it for business, Pfirman said, but is close to being finished after only five weeks.
“Now we’re fine tuning,” he said.
The Hermon Shopping Center opened in 2007 initially with Danforth’s Down Home Supermarket. Ellis is a Bangor-based developer who owns property from Presque Isle to Fairfield.
The Family Dollar and Hermon True Value stores will provide an estimated 50 new full- and part-time jobs. Subway, expected to open in July, will add an estimated eight full- and part-time jobs.
The shopping center will have another 6,000 square feet left over from the expansion after the three businesses move in, according to Ellis.