NORWAY – Norway Savings Bank will move three of its departments into the former Aubuchon and J.J. Newberry buildings on Main Street, filling two storefronts that have left gaping holes in the downtown.

The bank will buy the building that once housed the Aubuchon hardware store from Aubuchon for the price tag of $192,500.

The bank will lease the space once occupied by the New Balance outlet and the Maine Made & More stores in the J.J. Newberry building from a subsidiary of Western Maine Development, which is part of EnterpriseMaine, the economic development organization for Oxford Hills.

The shoe outlet moved out last April, leaving the staff of Western Maine Development hunting for a new tenant.

Meanwhile, Maine Made & More, a gift shop in the other half of J.J. Newberry’s, is planning to move out by Jan. 15. Owner George Gordon said he is considering moving into the Odd Fellows building two buildings down.

At that point, Norway Savings will occupy a long stretch of store front on Main Street. The former Aubuchon building is next to the J.J. Newberry building. About half of its 102 employees will move into the new 20,000-foot space, which will hold the technology, training and operations departments of the bank.

The Odd Fellows Hall is empty, after EnterpriseMaine abandoned its renovation plans for the historic building. The town is seeking a new owner for the three-story brick building, and will turn over under $400,000 in rehabilitation grant money to the new developer.

If no buyer is found before Sept. 30, the town will lose that grant.

Gordon said he spoke with a potential developer of the hall Thursday afternoon about becoming the first tenant there, but added he would not have a firm decision for another seven days.

“We need to make the best business decision we can, if a workable situation is created in downtown Norway, that would be great,” Gordon said Thursday. He owns three other Maine Made & More shops in Waterville, Belgrade and Augusta.

Karen Hakala, vice-president of marketing for Norway Savings Bank, said Thursday that the bank decided to renovate the Main Street buildings instead of building a new structure on land it purchased last year in Oxford on Route 26.

“Back last spring when we were looking at the costs associated with the Oxford project, it became very costly during this economy to build that building there,” Hakala said.

Hakala said she did not know the costs estimated with rehabilitating the Main Street buildings, adding that the bank officers who knew those details were away.

The bank will keep the land in the Oxford Hills Business Park for possible future development, Hakala said.

The expansion reflects the bank’s growth, which has squeezed its 102 employees at the headquarters on Main Street.

“We just don’t have room,” Hakala said. “We are all elbow to elbow, upstairs and downstairs, we need more room.”

The bank began in Norway 140 years ago, and has grown to include 20 branches and 180 ATM locations in 17 towns in western and southern Maine. A news release states that Norway Savings Bank has about $765 million in total assets.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.