Rockland sees wave of new, relocated businesses

Coastal Maine Popcorn opened Saturday on Main Street in Rockland. The new store is one of several that have opened in Rockland in the past few months along with other existing city businesses relocating to Main Street.
Stephen Betts | BDN
Coastal Maine Popcorn opened Saturday on Main Street in Rockland. The new store is one of several that have opened in Rockland in the past few months along with other existing city businesses relocating to Main Street. Buy Photo
Posted June 17, 2014, at 2:26 p.m.
Last modified June 17, 2014, at 5:17 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — This midcoast city is positioned to have a prosperous 2014, according to the executive director of the downtown association.

Gordon Page of Rockland Main Street Inc. issued his forecast this week, touting a list of businesses that have moved to downtown, as well as a flurry of relocations of existing companies.

“The stars seem to have aligned at the same time for businesses,” Page said. “Downtown Rockland continues to be an enviable place to be.”

Coastal Maine Popcorn Company opened Saturday at 371 Main St. This is the third store for the company — the other two stores are located in Boothbay Harbor and Portland.

Owners Paul and Julie Roberts said they are excited about expanding to Rockland.

They were looking for another location. In April, they were driving up the coast, and Paul’s wife spotted the for lease sign on the Main Street storefront in Rockland. They contacted the owner and decided Rockland would be home to their third shop.

He said Rockland has heavy foot traffic on its Main Street, which is not just limited to the summer months. He also said there appears to be an effort in Rockland to make its Main Street more diverse, and they are pleased to be part of that movement.

Next door to the popcorn store will be C’est La Vie, a men’s and women’s clothing consignment shop, which is planning to open later this month at 369 Main St.

Another close neighbor will be Snowdrop Confections, which plans to open in the next week at 375 Main St., offering homemade candy and fudge.

Beginning later this month, Clementine will offer fabric, notions and creative goods at 422 Main St., where Kenniston Realty was once located.

Bixby & Company moved in March from Belfast to One Sea Street Place, off Tillson Avenue in Rockland’s downtown. Bixby produces chocolate bars produced with organic or natural ingredients including nuts, dried fruit and spices.

Jonathan Frost Gallery moved last month from Winter Street to 279 Main St., which is located at the intersection of Park Drive.

Midcoast Blinds & Shades moved last month from Rockport to 279 Main St.

Midcoast Music Academy also moved from its upstairs 421 Main St. site to a retail storefront at 279 Main St.

The Lincoln Street Center has reopened after being closed for two years. The former school was renovated by a group headed by Mario Abaldo, who plans to lease space for art and cultural activities.

The Fisher Gallery opened two weeks ago, upstairs at 340 Main St.

The Gray Fox Gallery opened at 429 Main St., and On-Time Clock Repair moved from that Main Street site to the newly renovated 110 Union St. building owned by Richard Rockwell. Rockwell has purchased several downtown buildings over the past few years and renovated them. Rockwell also is close to purchasing 429 Main St. Rockwell’s Main Street Market, an indoor food market, is planned for 435 Main St., though a specific open date has not been set.

Sweet Pea Consignment is moving and changing its name. The consignment store, formerly known as Lil’ Sweet Peas, plans to open next month at 229 Park St. from its home of more than 25 years at 150 Union St.

The Blackboard Deli opened in April at 77 Park St. in the building that previously housed Amato’s and Slice.

Page pointed out that in a little more than a year the Center for Maine Contemporary Art will be moving into its new center that is planned for construction beginning later this year.

A five-story hotel to be built at the intersection of Main and Pleasant streets also will be an addition to the downtown, Page said. The hotel will have 26 suites. Construction is expected to begin in September and be completed next year.

This hotel is the second one planned for the downtown area. Stuart and Marianne Smith plan a 65-room hotel on the waterfront next to where Boston Financial operates. An application has yet to be filed with the city, though a pre-application meeting has been held.

Page said there also are a variety of fully renovated downtown second and third floor commercial and residential suites and studios available, plus just a couple street-level storefronts.

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