BRUNSWICK — Maine Running Co., a running and fitness specialty shoe store in Portland, announced plans Thursday to expand to 89 Maine St. in Brunswick.
Mike Lyne, project manager for the $23 million Maine Street Station
development, confirmed that Maine Running had considered renting space at Maine Street Station, but said lease negotiations broke down “months ago.” Nonetheless, he said the store will be a great addition to Brunswick.
“The town is lucky to have them,” Lyne said.
John Rogers, who owns Maine Running Co., said the business will move into the storefront currently occupied by Midcoast Multisport, which is closing its Brunswick store on April 25. He added that Maine Running Co. is not taking over Midcoast Multisport.
Rogers said Midcoast Multisport’s existing customer base and other “intangibles” made the 1,400-square-foot location a logical choice over Maine Street Station. He lauded the multi-use project, but said that he had some concerns over the timing of the project and its parking.
“Parking was a concern, especially with it being a transportation center,” Rogers said. “If the gut tells you it’s not right, it’s not right. The (Midcoast Multisport) location was a better fit, in terms of its location, personality and parking. Plus, the store is already servicing runners. It’s all there, already in place.”
Regardless of its downtown location, Rogers said Brunswick was the most logical place to expand because of its demographics and existing network of running trails, like the Androscoggin Bike & Pedestrian Path and cross-country trails at Crystal Springs Farm. He added that the recession had actually helped his business grow.
“Health and wellness are becoming priorities,” he said. “Running and walking is the most accessible and cost-effective way to do that.”
Maine Running Co. has earned national recognition. Runner’s World magazine voted the store the best running shoe store in New England in 2008. This year, The Running Network hired an independent company to visit and rank more than 200 specialty running stores in the country; Maine Running Co. finished in the top 50.
Rogers said expanding to Brunswick would help grow an existing Mid-Coast customer base farther north.
“Our goal isn’t to become a national brand, but to become Maine’s most recognized running specialty store,” he said.
Rogers said his Portland store employs between eight and 12 people. He said the Brunswick store will have three to six employees.
Maine Running Co.’s Portland store is at 563 Forest Ave.
Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.