Falmouth shoe store move means another vacancy in Route 1 center

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FALMOUTH — Lamey-Wellehan Shoes, which has occupied a corner of the Falmouth Shopping Center for more than 20 years, is moving across the street.

Jim Wellehan, president of the family owned, Auburn-based company, said the store is moving to the Falmouth Village Center at 240 U.S. Route 1, where it will share space with a downsized Staples office equipment store.

Wellehan said Staples needed less space because the company now sells more products online than in its stores.

Wellehan said the shoe store’s current location at 251 U.S. Route 1 is an old building, and in need of repair. He also said the landlords – JPA Management – are “terrific people” and that he hates to leave, but the new space will be more functional and energy-efficient.

Lamey-Wellehan’s move will create another vacancy in the Falmouth Shopping Center, where one of two large, anchor stores has been vacant since Shaw’s Supermarkets moved into space vacated by an Ames department store.

Goodwill left a vacancy when it moved to another spot in the plaza, and space formerly occupied by Lotus Chinese Restaurant is also vacant. Another vacancy exists next to the old Shaw’s space, since Key Bank moved to nearby Route 1.

JPA Management representative Tika Pantazopoulos did not respond to telephone inquiries about the vacancies in the plaza, which was built in 1962.

In addition to its Auburn and Falmouth stores, Lamey-Wellehan has stores in Augusta, Bangor, Scarborough and Topsham.

Wellehan said the new Falmouth store will have more than 8,000 square feet, compared with about 4,000 square feet in the existing store, which has an adjacent outlet that is about 5,000 square feet.

Wellehan said conversations about finding a new location began around October, and he expects the store to be fully moved by May or June.

“The move over will be a fairly quick thing,” he said. “It will keep us busy for a few days and that will do it.”

He said they’ll have to move about 11,000 pairs of shoes, “but we’ll get it done.”

The new location will also have an outlet, in the back of the building.

“I think it will work out nicely for everybody,” he said.

Wellehan said the store might not even have to close for a day, but it will be “an awful lot of work.”

Ethan Croce, the town’s senior planner, said Lamey-Wellehan did not have to go through the Planning Department for approval, because less than 10,000 square feet of retail space will be renovated. He said they are not proposing any exterior changes that would require planning approval, either.

Justin Brown, the town’s code enforcement officer, said he issued the project a building permit on March 2.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Lamey-Wellehan Shoes President Jim Wellehan in the new space the store will soon occupy at 240 Route 1 in Falmouth. The shoe store is moving into space formerly used by Staples.

Lamey-Wellehan has been in the Falmouth Shopping Center at 251 Route 1 for more than 20 years.

The downsized Staples store at 240 U.S. Route 1 will soon share space with Lamey-Wellehan Shoes.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.