Dave Palese, general manager at Gorham Bike & Ski, adjusts merchandise Thursday at the newly opened store at The Concourse in downtown Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — A store specializing in skiing and biking equipment has opened at the former Maine Made & More shop space at The Concourse in downtown Waterville.

Gorham Bike & Ski, a full-service shop at 50 Concourse West, is between The Villager Family Restaurant and Yardgoods Center.

It joins four other company stores in Portland, Brunswick, Kennebunk and Saco, and a seasonal store in Jackson, New Hampshire, which offers gear for cross-country skiing.

Dave Palese, the company’s general manager, said Thursday that Gorham Bike & Ski caters to bicyclist and skiers of all abilities and offers downhill and cross-country skis, snowshoes, apparel, helmets, gloves and more.

“We’re really a true family shop for bikes and skis,” Palese said. “We do everything from kids bikes all the way up to high-end mountain, road and electric bikes, as well. We do everything for everybody, and that’s how we built the business over the years.”

Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, the 1,800-square-foot store has three full-time employees, including its manager, Paul Denis.

“This is our 25th year in business,”  Palese said of the company, which is owned by Jamie Wright.

“(Wright) started the business in Gorham with a one-man shop in 1995,” Palese said. “He moved the store from Gorham to Portland in 1997 to be closer to a bigger population. He has grown the business ever since.”

Maria Bolduc makes a purchase Thursday from Scott Clarke at Gorham Bike & Ski at The Concourse in downtown Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

The company decided to open a store in Waterville because there was a need, particularly on the ski side, and the city is so close to ski areas and Colby College, according to Palese.

The store looks out over, and is within feet of, the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, a Colby dormitory with retail businesses on the ground floor.

“We just felt that, in general, the area was underserved for both skiers and bikers,” Palese said. “We’re hoping to kind of help with that as much as we can. We’ve also heard talk about bringing the ski hill back again.”

Palese was referring to discussions that have occurred over several years about possibly reestablishing a downhill ski area that was in existence many years ago in the area that is now the Quarry Road Recreation Area, between upper Main Street and Quarry Road, which is off North Street.

Gorham Bike & Ski employs between 25 and 30 people companywide when fully staffed with part-time people in the summer, according to Palese. He said the New Hampshire location is open from November through March.

The company has a popular ski lease package for children that will be available next year at the Waterville store, according to Palese. Youths may lease skis and boots for the season as part of the package.

Dave Palese, general manager at Gorham Bike & Ski, adjusts merchandise Thursday at the newly opened store at The Concourse in downtown Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“We started out doing kids packages for those who are 3 to 12 or 13, and then we added a young adult package for tweens — middle school through the first two years of high school,” Palese said, adding poles are not included but inexpensive poles can be bought at the company’s stores.

The company does upwards of 750 such leases each season across its locations, according to Palese.

“We start doing the leases in October and we’re pretty much cleaned out by the first week in December,” he said. “Usually, we start online. We turned that off a week ago.”

While snowboards also are not available at the Waterville store this year, they will be next year, according to Palese.

He encourages people to visit the store, meet the employees and familiarize themselves with what it offers.

“Come in and check us out,” he said.

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