Grand Opening for MADEWELL in Old Port Draws Many Shoppers

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One Happy Shopper at the Grand Opening Today of the First MADEWELL in Mane.

Hosting a Two Hour Sip & Snack Booth was the Nearby Portland Hunt & Alpine Club During the Grand Opening. A Punch of Vermouth, Sherry and Grapefruit Juice was a Refreshing Hit for Shoppers on a Warmish Day.

Jeans, jeans, and more jeans appeared to be on the minds of many who attended the Grand Opening of MADEWELL, a New York based company, that had its grand opening today in the Old Port of Portland.

Known for its casual wear, including denim jeans, this is the first store in Maine from this national chain of men and women’s clothing.  The parent company, J. Crew, has a store at the Maine Mall in South Portlnd.  Most recently the Old Port storefront was occupied by the upscale “The Manor, a Hair Salon, A Boutique Home Decor,” based in Georgia.  Earlier this year, it vacated the premises.

A saleswoman at MADEWELL said that every item carrying the MADEWELL label is 40%  off, except for leather apparel – through Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.  BLACK FRIDAY is the traditional beginning of the holiday shopping season. There were plenty of lookers at the event, but whether or not that translated into sales is an unknown at this time.

Also participating in the Grand Opening was Hannah Martin, owner of the five year old Candles &  Home Fragrances, situated in the Dana Warp Mill, Westbrook.

“MADEWELL has the best jeans around,” said Alicia Grinnell, who has purchased them on-line for years.  Originally from New Jersey, she works at Whole Foods.  “I’ve always loved MADEWELL stores.  These jeans fit reallly well,” said Megan Doring at the Grand Opening today.

Not everyone at the Grand Opening was as enthusiastic.  “I would love to see more local businesses in this space,” said Morgan Ditmars, “They are not here for the locals.  They are here for the tourists.”  Years ago, the Old Port area of Portland was salvaged from the depths of stagnation by small business owners trying to get their foot in the business door.  Small, local  business owners turned this downtrodden area into the upscale shoppig area it is today – leaving them behind in the transformation to national companies. These incubator businesses were abandoned for the multi-national companies of today, including the nearby Starbucks Coffee.  Less than a month following the unionization of the employees in October, Starbucks management has said the Middle Street store will be permanently shut down just days before Christmas. Management told the Exchange Street Starbucks employees earlier this month that the store was just not successful enough to stay open.  After these many years of occupyig this prominent corner space in the Old Port, all of a sudden it doesn’t make enough money to stay open?  What a coincidence!

Another Shopper Waits in Line for an Empty Dressing Room in Which to Try on Her Selected Jeans.

The MADEWELL store manager said she was not permitted to speak with the press.  “The focus is on our customers today,” Helena said.