WATERVILLE — Amid the flurry of changes happening downtown as part of revitalization efforts, the Maine Made and More shop has found a new home overlooking a $25 million mixed-use residential complex Colby College is building on Main Street.

Maine Made and More moved recently to 50 Concourse West from the first floor of The Center at 93 Main St. and the store opened on Wednesday. The space formerly housed Beverly’s Cardsmart store.

“I love it,” Maine Made owner Paige Zirtidis said. “I think it’s going to be good. This is more of an open space, so it flows better and it’s so much brighter here. I can’t get over the lighting.”

Colby is raising funds to turn The Center into a hub for art and film, which means the occupants of the building on Main Street had to move. For Zirtidis, there was a silver lining in that because her new storefront has more natural light and accessible parking spaces and the front door is right on The Concourse whereas her former site was inside The Center.

“We’ve already had people come in and say they never went to Main Street because of the parking,” Zirtidis said. “They’re saying, ‘Now I can shop here.'”

On Friday, Zirtidis and her employees were reveling in their new space, which is clean, bright and spacious. Maine Made business was started more than 40 years ago by George and Paula Gordon who sold it to Zirtidis in 2007 and now live in Florida. With a wide selection of Maine Made specialty items, Maine souvenirs and gift items, the store is a magnet for tourists wanting Maine-related items and residents wanting to purchase gifts for friends and family from away. T-shirts, stuffed animals, soaps, jewelry, jams and jellies, candy, games, handbags, books, toys and holiday ornaments are among the items featured.

“We’re just now seeing all our summer merchandise, so it’s going to fill up even more,” Zirtidis said.

The store is sandwiched between Yardgoods Center and The Villager, a family restaurant. Customers of Maine Made frequent those businesses already and this will make it even more convenient for them, according to all involved.

Villager owners Joe and Judy Marcoux and their daughter, Alicia, said they are delighted to have Maine Made next door.

“It’s awesome,” Joe Marcoux said Friday at the eatery. “I think they’re going to do great there. It will be good for them because of the traffic we generate. The people will go in there either before or after they come here.”

Joe Marcoux has worked at the restaurant 43 years, and he and his wife have owned it 23 years. Judy Marcoux said she has been very busy lately but plans to shop at Maine Made often.

“I can’t wait to get time to do it,” she said. Her daughter, Alicia, concurred.

“It’s one of my favorite stores,” she said.

Open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Maine Made also has two other locations — one in the Topsham Fair Mall and another seasonal store in Belgrade that will open June 15, according to Zirtidis. She employs between 10 and 12 people in the three locations.

She said the move from The Center to The Concourse took 10 days — “record time.”

“I had a great crew and we had movers,” she said.

Zirtidis said she welcomes Colby students and staff, who will be moving into the new dormitory in August, and hopes their families will stop at Maine Made when they are in Waterville.

“I’m excited to be part of the revitalization and I’m hoping it brings more business,” she said.

Though Cardsmart closed on The Concourse, it still has a store at Elm Plaza off upper Main Street called Beverly’s Cards and Gifts. Beverly’s also has a store next door to Maine Made and More in Topsham.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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