RANDOLPH — Two stores opened recently in the town’s business district, both requiring special, more costly construction methods because much of the area falls in a federal flood zone.

Randolph Hardware, owned by two of the owners of Damariscotta Hardware, opened Friday, but not before constructing the building on more than 12 feet of fill in some places to raise it above the flood level. The other store, Damon’s Quick Stop, opened last month in the location of the former Webb’s Store, which burned down more than a year ago.

The recently built convenience store and gas station had to be floodproofed to a foot above the floodplain, the requirement in most Maine communities for new buildings or substantially rebuilt structures. That required a 30-inch-thick concrete foundation and 10-inch-thick concrete walls, as opposed to a typical 6-inch-thick slab and wood walls, according to Jeff Damon, one of the business owners.

Damon’s family also owns convenience stores in Augusta, Chelsea, Skowhegan and Waterville, but the Randolph store was the first one built in a floodplain, he said.

For the hardware store, the town had to approve a tax increment financing district and a credit enhancement agreement in order for the roughly $1.5 million project to be financially feasible, said Robert Gardiner, president of Damariscotta Hardware and owner of the Randoph store with his sister, Susan Geyer.

The tax district will capture the tax revenue from new value of the nearly 12,000-square-foot building and return all of it to the business for the first two years of the agreement. The percent of tax revenue returned to the store will decline by five percent every two years until it reaches zero after 20 years. Then all of the property taxes from the building will go to the town.


The tax increment financing and credit enhancement, approved by voters a year ago, is projected to return $248,000 of new tax revenue to the store and $232,000 to the town’s new development fund.

Mark Roberts, chairman of the Randolph Board of Selectmen, said the board supported the proposal and would like to see more development that will add to the town’s tax base. He said the flood zone is a challenge for business on that stretch of Route 27, but he hopes the opening of businesses encourage additional development in that area.

The new stores both fall in the federal 1 percent floodplain, meaning there’s a 1 percent chance in any given year that the river will flood that high.

For the hardware store, the fill needed to raise the building above the floodplain wasn’t even the difficult part of the construction, Gardiner said. Houses used to be located on that strip of Route 27, and excavators unearthed the foundation of a home that likely burned down more than a half a century ago, Gardiner said. That and other problems delayed the project from its original timeline.

Employees and vendors were filling the shelves with products just days before the opening.

Although there are three other hardware stores in the neighboring communities of Gardiner and Farmingdale, Gardiner said his store has a different mix of product lines, including Stihl power equipment, Milwaukee Tool and Pratt & Lambert Paints.


About six to seven full-time employees will be working at Randolph Hardware, which will also offer equipment rentals. Some larger equipment that’s available for rent at the owners’ Damariscotta store won’t immediately be available in Randolph, but the store may get more if demand warrants it, Gardiner said.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @pdkoenig

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