By Carol McCracken (Post # 757)
The excitement was as palpable as the skies were sunny when the doors of Portland’s first Reny’s opened its doors this morning at 8:30 am. Customers lined up for two blocks outside the store perhaps almost as much to be a part of retail history as well as to scope-out the low prices. The long lines at the cashiers at the front of the store verified that people were indeed buying and not just looking. Welcome to Reny’s newest store in Portland.
Standing in the middle of the crowded store was John Reny, son of the late founder of the Maine chain of stores, and current president. John travels 70% of the time all over the country looking for close-out deals to bring back to Maine. “We live in Maine, so we know just what people want and what they can pay for it,” he said. “We consider Wal-Mart to be our largest competitor.” Reny also used this opportunity to formally announce that the next Reny’s store to open will be in Topsham at the Mall there; it will happen this summer.
Customer Richard Gauthier, a former English teacher in Sanford said: “This store reminds me of the old Woolworth’s because it carried all the dry goods that you can’t find in Portland anymore. The prices are right.” Confined to a power wheelchair these days, Gauthier said he always looks for stores in Portland that are wheelchair conscious because that’s where I shop. “There are lots of us in Portland in wheelchairs,” he said.
Outside the store on Congress Street, there were many customers walking around with plastic Reny’s bags overflowing with purchases. “It’s nice to have Reny’s here on account of it costs $1.50 for a bus to go to Wal-Mart in Falmouth. It’s so much easier to get pants, socks and underwear so close by. All the stuff they have is great,” said grinning customer Charlie Lambert who lives in the area.
A Maine Adventure is now a Portland Adventure!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Apologies are in order because MHN.com first posted a much longer article which was inadvertently lost and cannot be retrieved. MHN.com regrets that other photos and quotes were left out in this edition.