AUGUSTA — A pair of locally owned stores left the Turnpike Mall recently after their leases were not renewed, though representatives of both stores said they wanted to remain where they were, prompting speculation a national chain store might be moving in.

Maine Made and More and Beverly’s Card and Gift, which were neighbors in adjacent storefronts at the mall at the corner of Whitten Road and Western Avenue, were both advised their leases would not be renewed for the space their shops occupied there.

Mall officials, however, said they wanted the shops to remain at the mall, just not in the same spots.

Both businesses are owned locally and have other locations in central Maine that will remain open, but not in Augusta, where Maine Made and More closed at the Turnpike Mall after its lease expired in March, and Beverly’s Card and Gift closed June 21 — Father’s Day.

Beverly’s workers on Tuesday were packing things up to be out by July 1.

“Staying — that was my plan,” said Emilios Zirtidis, of Manchester, owner of Maine Made and More, which also has a location on Main Street in Waterville and a seasonal shop in Belgrade. “They didn’t want to renew our lease. I didn’t have a chance to negotiate. The person negotiating for the building said they were going to empty out the spots to put a big national company there, but wouldn’t tell me who.”


The mall, with anchor stores Christmas Tree Shops on one end and Sears on the other, has other relatively small, vacant storefronts — one between TJ Maxx and Bed, Bath & Beyond and another between TJ Maxx and Petco. Olympia Sports remains next to Sears.

The mall property, built in 1967, is divided into at least two parcels in city tax records, both with Taurus Augusta Mall LLC listed as the owner. One consists of the main part of the mall; the other includes the Christmas Tree Shop and Bed Bath & Beyond end. Together, the properties are assessed at $20.8 million.

The space of both Maine Made and More and Beverly’s is being advertised as available for lease by Massachusetts-based Atlantic Retail Properties. An online brochure advertising space at the Turnpike Mall indicates it has space available, which appears to include the former Maine Made and Beverly’s spots, ranging from shop spaces as small as 2,515 square feet up to 17,555 square feet of space for a “junior anchor” space to be created by combining now-subdivided space into one spot.

Maine Made and More has operated at the Turnpike Mall since the early 2000s. Bonnie Day, district manager for Beverly’s Card and Gift, said that shop has been at the Augusta location for more than 15 years.

“It has been a very good location for us. There is no reason to want to close,” Day said. “Our lease was not renewed. They want to tear down the walls and put a bigger store in these locations.”

Beverly’s Card and Gift’s two locations in Waterville on The Concourse and Elm Plaza and its shop in Topsham remain open. The stores are owned by Beverly and Paul Lessard, of Waterville.


Adam Clarke, asset manager of Massachusetts-based Taurus Investment Holdings, which owns the Turnpike Mall, said the company didn’t intend to oust the two shops from the mall and instead wanted to try to move them. Both tenants were offered space elsewhere in the building but declined the offer, Clarke said.

Clarke said the company wants to free up the retail space the shops occupied to have a larger block of space to offer other potential tenants. He said they’ve had some good interest in the space, but no company has committed itself to take it.

Zirtidis said the mall’s management company offered him a spot for the Maine Made and More shop at the end of the enclosed mall, but he said he didn’t think that spot would have enough visibility. He also said they were already busy readying the seasonal Belgrade store for opening and so declined the offer to move within the Turnpike Mall.

Remaining at their current location, he said, wasn’t given as an option.

“At the time they told us, we were getting ready to open (for the season) in Belgrade, and it was too crazy to do anything else,” Zirtidis said. “So, for right now, we’ll stick with these two stores and see how the year goes out. Maybe down the road (they could look at reopening elsewhere in Augusta), but for now, we’ll see how this goes.”

The Augusta store employed three workers. Zirtidis said one was retiring anyway, while the other two were laid off, though one of them is working some in the Belgrade store.


Beverly’s Card and Gift’s Augusta spot employed eight workers. Day said all were laid off, but she understood they had found jobs elsewhere.

The former Fashion Bug spot, next to the two now-closed stores, has been closed and vacant for some time.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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