Marie, a Renys employee, carries comforter sets in June while moving the contents of the former store at 131 Main St. in Pittsfield to 506 Somerset Ave., also in Pittsfield. The owner of Renys said Tuesday that the company plans to open a Waterville location in 2025. It’s also planning to open a store in Bangor and expand its location in Ellsworth. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

WATERVILLE — The owner of R.H. Reny Inc. confirmed Tuesday that the family-owned business plans to open a store in Waterville in 2025, though he wasn’t ready to confirm the location because the deal hasn’t been finalized with the landlord.

“It’s not 100% inked yet, but pretty close,” John Reny said. “It’s not going to be downtown, but it’s one of the two major malls outside of town.”

The store, he said, will be between 25,000 and 30,000 square feet, the size of Renys’ newer stores, and will employ around 40 full- and part-time people. The two largest malls outside the city center are JFK Plaza on Kennedy Memorial Drive and Elm Plaza on upper Main Street.

Renys, which has been in business 75 years and bills itself as “A Maine Adventure,” is a department store that carries a variety of merchandise including Maine-themed gifts, clothing, footwear, housewares, food, cleaning products and summer furniture. The company now has more than 15 locations in the state.

Kimberly N. Lindlof, president and CEO of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, said it is rewarding to see the energy around Waterville attracting new stores such as Old Navy and now Renys, a Maine-based company with a loyal following.

“Renys is one of the top most-requested retailers when we ask locals what they would like to see come here,” said Lindlof, who also is executive director of the Central Maine Growth Council. “Actually, I don’t even have to ask — mid-Mainers are pretty vocal about what they want and based upon the request, I am sure that they will embrace this new location when it arrives.”


Besides Waterville, the business recently announced it will open a store in the former Christmas Tree Shops space in Bangor after talking with the landlord a couple of years ago and procuring the space there, according to Reny.

Last summer the Renys store in Pittsfield moved from downtown to a former Walgreen’s store it bought on Somerset Ave. near Interstate 95. Renys also recently expanded its Ellsworth store by 9,000 square feet. Reny said the business was able to announce the new Bangor location publicly because the space is confirmed.

“We’re pretty excited about it and we’re pretty excited about coming to Waterville,” he said.

He said the recent flurry of expansion wasn’t really planned as such, but was the result of opportunities presenting themselves. In Pittsfield, Cianbro Corp. CEO Peter Vigue offered to sell the former Walgreen’s space to Reny, whose downtown store was 55 years old and had issues including narrow aisles and stairways. The Christmas Tree Shops went out of business in Bangor, offering a good space there, and in Ellsworth an adjacent Family Dollar store closed and Renys secured the space and broke down a wall to expand there, he said.

“When opportunity comes, as I told the kids who pretty much run the business, you’ve either got to do it or don’t do it because it might never happen again,” Reny said.

He said customers from Waterville often express interest in having Renys in the city.

“We have customers from there that go to our other stores, so you hear it through the stores — ‘I wish you had a store in Waterville.’ We’re not big on big marketing research or anything like that. We learn what people want. I’ve lived here all my life and that’s kind of how we do it, by the seat of our pants.”

John Reny’s father, the late Robert H. Reny, opened his first store in Damariscotta in 1949. R.H. Reny Inc.’s main office and distribution center is in Newcastle, in Lincoln County.

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