June 23, 2018
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Mall officials announce first-in-Maine Bon-Ton department store

By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Mall officials announced Wednesday that the long vacant space formerly occupied by Filene’s will be the site of the state’s first Bon-Ton department store.

The news comes a day after Greater Portland shoppers learned the state’s only Chuck E. Cheese’s — also at The Maine Mall complex in South Portland — will close soon. Representatives of the children’s entertainment venue announced on Tuesday that they will move out of their Philbrook Avenue location by Dec. 16 after failing to reach terms on a new lease agreement with mall officials.

Bon-Ton is a new entry into the Maine retail scene, but the 114-year-old Pennsylvania department store chain has 273 locations in 23 states, and has been expanding rapidly over the past decade. According to the company website, the company doubled in size in 2003 by acquiring approximately 70 stores from the Ohio-based Elder-Beerman chain, and then again in 2005 by purchasing the 142 stores that made up the northern division of Saks.

Bon-Ton reportedly made its first foray into New England in 1998 with a store in Westfield, Mass.

“We are pleased to announce this transaction with [The Maine Mall management] which affords us entry into a new market and a new state,” said Bon-Ton President and CEO Brendan Hoffman in a statement. “We believe our new Bon-Ton store will enhance the total shopping experience for consumers in the Portland market.”

Bon-Ton will be the fourth department store in the mall, and Wednesday’s announcement by mall officials described the store as selling “a broad assortment of brand-name fashion apparel and accessories for women, men and children, as well as cosmetics.”

“We are thrilled to announce the opening of Bon-Ton at The Maine Mall,” said Craig Gorris, general manager of The Maine Mall, in a statement. “They have fantastic brands our shoppers want and the opening certainly will bring a new energy to the property and new jobs to South Portland.”

Remodeling of the former Filene’s space is expected to begin in early 2013, and the new Bon-Ton store is scheduled to open the following fall, according to Wednesday’s announcement.

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