ELLSWORTH, Maine —- Parking at the south end of Maine Coast Mall was pretty much maxed out Sunday morning.
Or, more accurately, it was maxxed out.
The cause of the congestion was the grand opening of the local T.J. Maxx store in a space formerly occupied by Marden’s and, before that, Ames. And like the parking lot, the store itself was jammed with people, both those looking to find some deals and others just interested in seeing what the fuss was all about.
According to the T.J. Maxx website, the store was one of seven new T.J. Maxx locations nationwide that held grand openings on Sunday. The retailer, which opened its first stores in 1977 in Auburn and Worcester, Mass., now has more than 900 stores throughout the United States.
The retail firm, which sells mostly clothes but also carries housewares and other similar items, has been renovating the space for several months. Hancock County residents first learned about the company expanding to Ellsworth last winter, when it signed a lease agreement with the mall owner.
Tim Bunker, the store’s manager, said he was limited in what he was allowed to say about the business, but said it occupies 21,000 square feet. He said T.J. Maxx made a $5,000 donation to Downeast Health Services at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, about 30 minutes before the doors were opened to customers.
“We’re very pleased to be here in Ellsworth, Maine,” Bunker said.
Attempts Sunday to contact T.J. Maxx media relations representatives were unsuccessful.
Local resident Jane Magiera was one of the store’s customers Sunday morning. As she came out clutching a red and white T.J. Maxx shopping bag, she said she wanted to buy some items and to be one of the first to see the business.
Magiera said she shops at the T.J. Maxx in Bangor, but is glad there is a location closer to home.
“It’s nice to have them here in Ellsworth,” she said.