Bull Moose to expand into South Portland with Mill Creek store
SOUTH PORTLAND — The next Bull Moose to wander into the city may not draw the attention of game wardens, but Brett Wickard said he hopes shoppers will take notice.
Wickard, the founder of Bull Moose music and books, said the chain's newest store will open in November in the former Blockbuster Video store on Waterman Drive.
"We are pumped," he said Wednesday. "As a business, we have not opened up a store in a while. We think the Mill Creek area is great community shopping area."
Wickard said plans call for expanding the building from 7,000 square feet to more than 11,000 square feet. The Planning Board approved the expansion site plan at its meeting Tuesday night.
"It made sense to do the upgrade and go big there," Wickard said. He expects to be open for the holiday shopping season.
The store will be the 11th in a chain started in 1989 in Brunswick. The company sells new and used music, videos, electronic games and books at two New Hampshire locations and eight in Maine.
The closest stores to the Waterman Drive location are on Middle Street in Portland and Payne Road in Scarborough.
"We want to think of ourselves as a group of individual stores, and want to make sure to adapt to a wider range of things people want," Wickard said.
He said the new store will resemble the one in Scarborough to a degree, but will be selling toys to try to bring in customers who might not want to venture to the Maine Mall area.
Wickard said the store will have expanded parking, and added bicycle racks at the suggestion of city officials hoping to maintain a neighborhood feel in Mill Creek.
The expansion will enlarge the rear of the building, which sits at the foot of the Casco Bay Bridge. Wickard said the store entrance will also face the bridge. Construction work is expected to create up to 75 jobs and there will be 15 permanent retail jobs.
Included in building plan is a treatment system to cool storm-water runoff before it reaches the city runoff system, Wickard said.
The building is owned by Green Crossing Blue LLC, a sister company to Bull Moose and Wickard's Crickery Wood company. Crickery Wood is based in Portland and sells scanners and printers used for retail sales.
Wickard said the building was bought from state Rep. Linda Valentino, D-Saco. The sale for $1.12 million was completed on March 20, according to city tax records.
This was not the first Bull Moose attempt at getting into the city, Wickard said.
After the bankruptcy liquidation of Border's Books & Music about a year ago, Bull Moose wanted to bid on the store at the Maine Mall. But national retailer Books-A-Million bought the property before an auction took place.
Blockbuster Video closed last spring.
"The city of South Portland has been fantastic to work with," Wickard said. "We are looking to be another bright spot in the area."