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Maine Sport owners to buy, preserve downtown building

By Stephen Betts | Jan 04, 2021
Photo by: Stephen Betts The owners of Maine Sport are buying 279 Main St. in Rockland and will open a sport store once renovations are completed this year. From left are Maine Sport Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Troy Curtis, Rockland Main Street Executive Director David Gogel, Jeff Boggs of Maine Sport and Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tom Peaco.

Rockland — The owners of Maine Sport Outfitters, which operates two sporting goods stores in Rockport and Camden, announced they will buy the 279 Main St. building that had been set for demolition and will open a Maine Sport in the downtown Rockland location.

The announcement comes a day before the Rockland Planning Board was scheduled to hold its final review on a proposal by Crystal Darling and 279 Main LLC for a commercial parking lot that would have replaced the demolished structure. That review has been canceled with the withdrawal of the application Jan. 4.

While plans are still in the development phase, Maine Sport announced it plans to occupy approximately 12,000 square feet of the space, including the corner of the building currently leased by the Park Street Grille.

Park Street Grille plans to relocate to the neighboring Maine Lighthouse Museum building.

“We believe that there is a significant opportunity in the City of Rockland to provide the products and services that Maine Sport is well known for in our region,” said Troy Curtis, the chief executive officer and general manager of Maine Sport.

Renovations to the building will start right away, with plans to open in summer 2021.

Tom Peaco, President & CEO of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, said, “This is a terrific development for Rockland and our region. We’re excited about the possibilities that come from an expansion of Maine Sport into Rockland, a great new home for Park Street Grille, and re-purposing an historic building at the gateway to Rockland’s downtown."

Curtis said "Maine Sport was attracted to this location due to its proximity to both the Downtown Rockland area and seasonal festival activity in the area. Visitation rates to the City during the summer months, combined with the current business mix in the community really solidified our decision to explore this possibility."

Rockland City Manager Tom Luttrell said “The City of Rockland is excited to welcome Maine Sport Outfitters to Rockland’s downtown. It’s a great fit for our community and it supports the regions outdoor economy."

Stuart and Marianne Smith opened Maine Sport in a 250-square-foot Camden store front in 1976.

Maine Sport provides customers with a wide array of outdoor equipment and apparel, including products from brands such as Patagonia, The North Face, Trek Bicycles, Old Town Canoe and Merrill shoes. In addition, Maine Sport provides locals and visitors with numerous opportunities to take part in outdoor programs ranging from two-hour kayak tours to multi-day excursions through out the state.

“Our focus in Rockland will be on providing a great selection of high-quality apparel, footwear and outdoor gear. Customers can look forward to the opportunity to shop kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and camping equipment, in addition to apparel and footwear.” Curtis said.

When members of the community are asked what they would like to see in Rockland’s Downtown, it always comes back to more businesses where they can shop and Maine Sport Outfitters offers that and more, the company said.

The 15,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1953. The building was constructed several months after one of Rockland's worst fires destroyed several blocks Dec. 12, 1952.

279 Main St. LLC has owned the property since 2017. Before that, the late Frank Ferraiolo owned the property since 1995. Before 1995, the building was a Sears store.

At the Rockland City Council's Dec. 14 meeting, councilors rejected a prohibition on downtown parking lots and postponed a proposed law to place a six-month moratorium on demolishing downtown buildings. Those proposals were in response to the proposed demolition of most of 279 Main St.

City officials expressed hope that someone would buy the building and preserve it.

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Comments (15)
Posted by: DALE HAYWARD | Jan 05, 2021 16:45

Gerald: Great idea, that is why it will not be considered, you know how things work.

Posted by: Deborah A McKenney | Jan 05, 2021 14:37

This is great news. Now visitors and locals alike will not have to look at a parking lot when entering our downtown area.

Posted by: Jody Solow | Jan 05, 2021 11:54

Yaaaaayyy!!!!!!! TERRIFIC news!!  Welcome to Rockland!!

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jan 05, 2021 10:42

MS Damon....I think Gerald means where the old post office was located.

Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Jan 05, 2021 10:01

Ms Damon:


I have created a schematic design for a parking garage with retail/commercial space on the 1st floor for the lot across from the Post Office (between Limerock and School Streets).

Posted by: Debra Damon | Jan 05, 2021 09:17

Sumner you make a point. Why couldn't they take Harbor Park and move the fence back enough to add parking spaces there? Also there is a sitting area just down the road from the Lighthouse building, they could make parking there. Even better how about a Parking Garage somewhere in Rockland.

Posted by: Debra Damon | Jan 05, 2021 09:00

This is great news. Yeah.


Posted by: Valerie Wass | Jan 05, 2021 08:55

AWESOME NEWS!!!  A business going in and not a non profit!  This is great news.


Posted by: Jack S Copp | Jan 05, 2021 07:44

Great news! This type of store as an anchor, will hopefully bring even more follow on business (and jobs) to the area around it. Now lets try to promote business in the North end of town a bit more and not just use it as a dumping ground for cell towers and other undesirable and illegal uses.

Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Jan 04, 2021 23:44

Folks worry way too much about parking. Where does everyone park now (or before Covid) to eat at the Park Street Grille? Or the Brass Compass or Rock City a block away up Main Street?

Posted by: Linda Falkenmeyer | Jan 04, 2021 14:43

Great news Welcome to Rockland!

Posted by: Sumner Kinney | Jan 04, 2021 14:38

Where is anyone going to park?  LOL

The Smith's do it again!  Great news for the City of Rockland and for Crystal.

Posted by: Kate Miller | Jan 04, 2021 14:06

Great news for Rockland!!!

Posted by: Kate Miller | Jan 04, 2021 14:06

Great news for Rockland!!!

Posted by: Doug Curtis Jr. | Jan 04, 2021 13:31

This is good news.  I bought my first pair of skis there 55 years ago and I had my office there for 18 years.  It is interesting how things come back around.

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