OXFORD — A new business is about to open on Route 26, bringing additional employment opportunities to the Oxford Hills.
Aaron's Inc., which rents, leases-to-own and sells brand-name home and office furniture, electronics and computers, is set to open in late November in a building next to The Tractor Supply Co.
"We're very excited. It will be our very first store in the state of Maine," said Dave Edwards, president and chief operating officer of SEI/Aaron's, the largest Aaron's franchise company.
He said they expect to open the store in November and employ six
or seven local people, including the general manger who will come out
of the Lewiston store.
"As the store grows we'll add more associates," Edwards said. The larger stores normally have about 15 associates, he said.
Although there are a handful of other Aaron's stores in Maine, including one in Lewiston, Edwards said this is the first one the franchise has owned from the start in Maine and the 75th store the franchise owns throughout New England.
SEI/Aaron's was founded in 1995 by Charles Smithgall and opened its first store that year, expanding the franchise to New England in 1999.
The franchise bought the corporate-owned Aaron's stores in Maine about two years ago, Edwards said. "We bought the corporate stores because they weren't performing very well. Operationally we made strides over the last two years to continue to expand," he said.
Edwards said the franchise also plans on opening other stores throughout Maine in the next 36 to 48 months. No specific locations were available.
Thefranchise is headquartered in Atlanta. He described Aaron's as a "hybrid retail establishment," that guarantees the lowest price on household goods.
"If a customer found a better price we would beat that price and pay the customer $100," Edwards said. "We also do no-credit-check lease."
When asked how well the franchise fares with the no-credit-check leasing policy, Edwards said, "I've been in the industry 20 years. Most people are good."
He said one of the things that sets Aaron's apart is the store's policy to lease on a 12-month basis rather than weekly.
Rent-A-Center and Colortyme are considered to be Aaron's biggest competitors in the area, Edwards said. "They're good competitors, particularly Colortyme. They're well managed with very strong values in upper management," he said.
Aaron's grand opening is expected sometime in late November.