OXFORD – A major retail discount chain is set to open up in the former Ames Plaza on Route 26 in Oxford.
The lease is expected to be signed by Ocean State Job Lot representatives and property owner Bob Bahre on Monday.
“I think it’s a great store. It will be very good for the area,” Bahre said Tuesday morning from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.
Bahre, who has homes in Paris and in Alton, N.H., said he is also in discussions with Ocean State Job Lot officials about opening another store in the future in Jay, where he owns property.
Bahre said he has been in discussion with the Rhode Island-based chain for the past couple of years about the Oxford site at 1570 Main St. Ames Department Stores closed all of its hundreds of stores in 2002 after the company declared bankruptcy.
“It worked out very well. I’m very happy to have it rented out,” he said.
Ocean State Job Lot President Marc Pearlman was out of town and unavailable for comment Tuesday. Nancy Bilgzok of the company’s marketing department said that the company preferred not to comment until the lease is signed.
The 32-year-old Ocean State Job Lot chain has stores in Bangor and Belfast and a third planned to open in Sanford later this year. According to the company Web site, it sells brand-name, first-quality products at close-out prices, and has about 80 stores throughout New England.
It is unclear how many new jobs will be created when the store opens but Bahre said he has heard as many as 50 new jobs.
According to an article in the Feb. 9, 2006, Providence Journal, Ocean State Job Lot opened its first Maine store in Belfast adding 50 to 60 new jobs to its then 3,300 employee ranks. The store is located in a 41,000 square-foot former Ames store and was the largest Ocean State Job Lot store at the time.
The Oxford site has 36,000 square feet of space. A 12,000-square-foot portion of the building is leased to Dollar Tree Store. The remaining 36,000-square feet has remained vacant except for the occasional use by the Coat Room, which allows people to donate their used coats to the needy.
About a dozen workers, including several local people who were hired from a temp agency, were in the Oxford store this week looking at the inventory left over from Ames Department Store.
The store is located directly across the street from the recently opened Discount Barn and within a few miles of Wal-Mart.
Bahre sold the property on Route 26 to Wal-Mart in the 1990s and said it was good for the area to have both stores.
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