10 Stores That No Longer Exist in Maine But We Wish Still Did
Maine businesses come and go as the times change, but almost every one who grew up in this state has fond memories of stores they or their parents used to shop out that are no longer around. We asked people to name one of these places on our Facebook page and the response was overwhelming. Most people couldn't stop at just one and gave us an entire list.
Here are 10 of those stores you might remember along with the year that they went out of business.
1. Ames (2002)
By far, the store people remember the most is Ames department stores. Before Walmart become the behemoth it is today, there were 29 Ames stores in Maine. That's more than the 22 Walmart stores in Maine today. If you needed it, you could find it at Ames with locations in Augusta, Bangor, Belfast, Brunswick, Calais, Caribou, Dover-Foxcroft, Ellsworth, Falmouth, Farmington, Houlton, Jay, Lewiston, Madawaska, Millinocket, Newport, Orono, Oxford, Portland, Presque Isle, Rockland, Rumford, Saco, Sanford, Skowhegan, South Portland, Waterville, Wells and Wiscasset.
2. Fashion Bug (2013)
If your town had an Ames, there was a good chance a Fashion Bug was nearby. I remember the Oxford Plaza having a Fashion Bug move in a few doors down from Ames in the early 1980's. It sold women's clothing in all sizes and decent prices. They did well for quite some time until, like Ames, Walmart crushed them.
3. LaVerdiere's (1994)
For years, Waterville based LaVerdiere's Drug Store was one of the largest drug store chains in New England with 72 stores berween Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Id you were a kid in the 80's you knew it for two things. Their massive Halloween candy selection and Action Family Arcade, where you played Pac-Man for the first time while mom was shopping. They were bought out by Rite Aid in 1994 but the joke's on them. They were bought last year by Walgreens and are in the process becoming a relic like our beloved LaVerdiere's.
4. Woolworth (1997)
Thought not as big as Ames, Woolworth was older. It had only 5 locations in Maine: Bangor, Gardiner, Skowhegan, South Paris and South Portland; I remember Woolworth's department store well because it was close enough to be able to ride my bike to in South Paris growing up. It's where I bought Michael Jackson's Thriller album and the Nintendo. The real sized one, not the itty bitty NES Classic.
5. Deb (2015)
Deb women clothing stores were found across Maine in malls and shopping plazas and were a favorite of many people who commented on Facebook. Their stores may have closed, but the still exist today online only as Deb Shops.
6. Service Merchandise (2002)
Service Merchandise wasn't a store. It was a showroom. If you wanted something you saw on display you ordered it on a little clipboard and when it was ready it came out on a conveyor belt. Next to the Sears Wish Book, the Service Merchandise catalog was the second most flipped through book at Christmas for kids...and maybe even adults.
They were around until just after the turn of the century with a handful of stores in Maine including Lewiston and South Portland. It, like so many others in this list, was a victim of Walmart.
7. Toys R Us (2018)
And here's the most recent victim of Walmart that put Geoffrey out of a job. The two major stores in Maine were in Bangor and South Portland. There's not much else to say here you don't already know because we're all still Toys R Us kids.
8. Porteous (2003)
Porteous started out as the largest department store in Maine when it opened up on Congress Street in Portland in 1904. When malls became all the rage in the late 70s and early 80s, the flagship store moved to the Maine Mall and also opened stores at the Auburn Mall, Bangor Mall, Cook's Corner Shopping Mall and in Presque Isle. It became a thing of the past by 2003, but the plaque still remains mounted on the former downtown Portland store, now occupied by The Maine College of Art.
9. Bradlees (2001)
Bradlees was based out of Massachusetts and had 105 stores across New England at one point, with Maine stores in Lewiston, North Windham, Topsham, and Westbrook. The store at Lewiston's Promenade Mall became Flagship Cinema until they closed. The Bradlees at the Windham Mall was split up into several stores. Topham's store became Village Candle and Kohl's is now where Bradlees was in Westbrook.
10. Rich's (1997)
Another Massachusetts based department store that had stores in Auburn, Bangor, Biddeford, Calais, Falmouth and Waterville. The store in Auburn opened in 1990 in the then new Auburn Plaza. It closed less than seven years later when Rich's, like all the other regional department stores here, couldn't compete with Walmart.