RUMFORD – Lem Cissel sees a lot of potential in Rumford.

And starting now, he’s trying to take advantage of that.

He just recently bought the former True Value hardware store site from owner Don Young and has begun renovating its 5,000 square feet.

The former hardware store is located on Canal Street and has been vacant for about 10 years, said Town Manager Robert Welch.

Cissel, a retired business owner from Howard County, Md., has been coming to Western Maine for many years to hunt. He has a sister who lives in neighboring Franklin County.

“There’s a lot of vision and opportunity here,” Cissel said.

He’s planning to set up an arts and crafts store, with a particular focus on scrap-booking, a craft that many people have taken an interest in. Once the business is established, he’ll hire people to manage it.

Two of those enthusiasts are Martha and Lewis Hill of Rumford.

“We just attended two gatherings of scrap-bookers at the Sunday River Inn this weekend,” said Martha Hill, a supporter of Cissel’s venture who believes there is plenty of interest in the Rumford area for an arts and crafts store.

Not only does he plan to offer a retail store with all kinds of arts and crafts and scrap-booking supplies, but also, with lots of space available in the building, he hopes to line up instructors for craft classes in such things as scrap-booking, picture-framing, quilting and photography.

“I want to involve the whole town,” he said.

Welch said the town will provide whatever support Cissel might need to develop the planned business.

“Anything on the island is a positive addition, especially if it’s something that’s not here now. It’s good to see something happen on the island,” Welch said.

Bids have gone out for remodeling the interior and exterior of the flat-roofed building. If all goes as Cissel hopes, the new venture will be up and running in August.

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