BUSINESS

T.J. Maxx to open in Ellsworth, says owner of Maine Coast Mall

Posted Feb. 15, 2011, at 9:23 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 16, 2011, at 12:14 p.m.

ELLSWORTH — National retail clothing chain T.J. Maxx plans to expand to Hancock County by this summer, the owner of a local shopping mall said Tuesday.

Bar Harbor resident Paul MacQuinn, whose family owns Maine Coast Mall on High Street, said that the mall signed a lease with the retailer on Tuesday. He said T.J. Maxx will take up about 30,000 square feet of space formerly occupied first by Ames and then by Marden’s department stores.

MacQuinn declined to say exactly when T.J. Maxx plans to move in, but said T.J. Maxx planned to make its own announcement at some point about the new store. He said he did not know how many positions would be available at the new store.

MacQuinn said he expected T.J. Maxx to be open for business in Ellsworth by “late spring.”

Attempts Tuesday to contact T.J. Maxx representatives were unsuccessful. According to the retail chain’s website, T.J. Maxx has more than 900 stores nationwide, including one in Bangor and seven others in Maine.

The new store will take up slightly less than half of the space left empty at the mall last April when Marden’s moved about a mile south on Route 3 into a former Walmart, according to MacQuinn. He said three other national companies are developing plans to open stores in the mall, one of which is expected to occupy the rest of the former Marden’s space. He declined to identify the three other national retail companies.

MacQuinn said a local restaurant, which he also declined to identify, has plans to move to a new location at the mall.

MacQuinn said he and his family may decide to expand the mall, which currently has spaces for roughly 20 tenants, to accommodate the prospective new businesses. Besides the former Marden’s space, the mall currently has three vacant spaces while another tenant, a pet store, is moving this month to a new location on Route 1. Abutting the mall to the south is an empty former auto dealership building also owned by Union River Associates Realty, the same MacQuinn-owned firm that owns the mall, according to the city’s public online assessing database.

“We’re going to look at our options,” MacQuinn said.

Micki Sumpter, director of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday that the addition of T.J. Maxx to Ellsworth bodes well for the city’s economy and for the surrounding area.

“I think it’s very positive news, especially for that mall,” Sumpter said. “It’s a store that people love.”

Not only will it help fill an empty space, she said, but it will create new jobs and will help draw business to other stores in the mall. Other businesses in the main mall building include Hannaford, Mr. Paperback, Olympia Sports, Radio Shack, Maine Coast Mall Cinemas and Fashion Bug.

MacQuinn said he is happy to have the new tenant and is excited at the prospects of having more. He said it is a good feeling to be getting inquiries from retail businesses that are interested in opening locations at the mall.

“We haven’t seen that for quite some time,” he said.

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