Orvis to open outlet in Freeport

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FREEPORT — Although Orvis managers acknowledge “L.L. Bean owns the town,” the international fly fishing equipment giant will open an outlet just a few hundred feet from the outdoor retail giant at the end of July.

Don Benasich, senior manager of Orvis’ outlet division, confirmed July 11 that the company will open its 11th outlet store at 24 Bow St., in the building formerly occupied by a Brooks Brothers outlet.

Orvis is known for fly fishing equipment, but Benasich said that in the outlets, other sale items such as men’s and women’s clothing, gifts and home furnishings are more popular.

Orvis operates 60 retail stores around the country – the closest is in Boston – and 10 other outlets, including one in Kittery.

Benasich said the Orvis outlets are unlike some other outlets in Freeport, which he said sell made-for-outlets merchandise.

“We are true clearance,” he said, selling products discontinued from lines in retail stores and the catalog.

Of the store’s proximity to L.L. Bean, Benasich said, “Really, L.L. Bean owns the town. That’s the draw in Freeport: L.L. Bean. We’re a competitor, but not to that scale. … We’re very excited to come to Freeport.”

Orvis is not the only new storefront in Freeport’s downtown. Casco Bay Fibers has moved into the 15 Main St. space formerly occupied by The Beadin’ Path; Beansprouts Early Learning Childcare Center will open July 29 on Lower Main Street; and Maine Woolens is due to move into space on Main Street between Shermans Books & Stationery and Derosier’s Market, according to Sande Updegraph of the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce.

And after renovations and a menu change, new owners Tom Hincks and Christian Erdmann have reopened Jameson Tavern, which closed in February.

“I think it’s kind of a banner year,” Updegraph said. “It’s spring and summer in Freeport, and a lot of new businesses start up at this time of the year. But I do really think we’re seeing a little turn in the economy and people are feeling a little more confident, particularly around tourism, which continues to be stronger.”