‘Portland Gear Hub’ Relocating to East End in May


Ainsley Judge, Shop Manager at ‘Portland Gear Hub; on St. John Street.

The Cramped Inside of the Shop on St. John Street Today.

Kyle T. Randall & Carnen Peterson, at “Portland Gear Hub’ on St. John Street Today.

John Ritzo, Owner of the Former Casale’s Garage Property on Washington Avenue,

The big mystery is over!  No, it’s not going to be a fancy restaurant with outdoor dining.   No, it’s not going to be a pricey condominium with a dog washing space in the garage.  In fact, a non-profit will be moving into the long ago vacated Casale’s Garage on Washington Avenue on Munjoy Hill.  The relocation is expected to happen in May.

Portland Gear Hub, currently on St. John Street, will be moving to the spot according to John Ritzo, a Munjoy Hill resident and owner of the property.  He  said that it has always been his intent to rent the property to a non-profit that can serve the community in which it is located.  Ritzo purchased the prime property last fall and residents  have been speculating about its future ever since,

The three year old organization accepts donations of used outdoor gear such as bikes, skiis and camping equipment.  They restore and repair them and then sell the articles at low prices said Ainsley Judge, shop manager, this afternoon.  The profits from those sales go to Camp Ketcha in  Scarborough.  The new location on the Hill will be converted into a repair shop and retail space.  A second location has been secured in East Bayside, although Judge wasn’t ready to name it yet.  That space will be the site for classes the non-profit currently gives on maintenance, gear repair and traffic safety.  This move will allow the group to double if not triple its programs. The group has outgrown its current space at Union Station Plaza.

“We try to make everyone feel welcome here and to get people what they need,” said Carmen Peterson.  “Sometimes people come in with a unique need. We keep it on our radar for a few months and try to connect them with what they need.”  Peterson is an expert on outdoor equipment.