Look what’s popping up in Downtown Gardiner this holiday season!
Previously vacant storefronts in Gardiner will be teeming with life this holiday season thanks to an innovative program and forward-thinking landlords in Historic Downtown Gardiner. Gardiner Main Street, a non-profit downtown revitalization program coordinated a kind of match-making service beginning this September. The draw: landlords of vacant spaces agreed to offer their spaces rent-free for November and December for only the cost of utilities. Click here to see a video report on the project.
“This is really a win-win-win situation for the business, the landlord, and the other downtown merchants,” says Patrick Wright, Executive Director of Gardiner Main Street. The businesses have the opportunity to take advantage of the highest sales months of the year, the landlords cover their costs and generate activity and interest in their spaces, and neighboring shops benefit from increased foot-traffic and buzz.
A committee comprised of Main Street Board and committee members, a Maine Small Business Development Center counselor, and landlords accepted applications from those vying for the spaces. “We really didn’t know what to expect,” said Wright, “The businesses really only had about three weeks to hear about the program, decide if they could pull it off, and submit a plan. It takes a special entrepreneur to get their act together that quickly.”
The committee received six applications for six spaces. Two of the applicants withdrew before signing a lease, but one of the spaces was filled with a long-term tenant who did not participate in the program, and one of the selected businesses expanded into an adjoining space. The end result is that 100% of the spaces in the program will be filled this holiday season.
The businesses setting up shop for the holiday season include Pooch’s Second Hand Shop, an eclectic variety of donated and new items and pet-themed goods, with proceeds going to animal charities, Trinkets and Treasures , a retailer selling closeout, overstock, and liquidation items, and Earthbound, a women’s clothing and accessory boutique. Also coming soon, enjoy the 5th annual pottery shoppe by the Central Maine Clay Artists. Between these pop-up shops and our fine existing businesses, there will truly be something for everyone in Downtown Gardiner this holiday season.
Downtown shoppers will enjoy plenty of free parking, unique gifts, and top-notch customer service. Most importantly, shoppers will have the peace of mind of knowing that their hard-earned shopping budget is supporting the local economy and building community in Downtown Gardiner.
For those who just can’t decide what to get a loved one, Gardiner Main Street will again be offering “The Gift of Gardiner”, a gift check accepted by over 30 merchants in Gardiner. “Gift of Gardiner” checks can be purchased at The Bank of Maine – 190 Water Street.
Gardiner’s annual “Days of Light” celebration will kick off with the “Who-liday” bakery on Dec. 1st from 4-6pm, with a visit from the Grinch, and cookie decorating, followed by a tree lighting ceremony at 6pm in Johnson Park. Dec. 8th is the “Who’s your favorite Who?” Christmas parade, with a visit from Santa Claus and horse-drawn carriage rides.