NORWAY — Thousands of needy people in the Oxford Hills area will enjoy the benefits of a 21 cubic foot Frigidaire freezer that was donated to the community lunch program at Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at Agren Appliance Store on Main Street.

“The people of Norway have gone above and beyond to make our business feel welcome and this donation is one small gesture to give back to this great community,” said Agren Appliance Store President Jason Agren as he presented the freezer to the Rev. Richard Beal of the First Universalist Church on Main Street.

The church, which hosts the Community Lunch Program run by the Oxford Hills Association of Churches for the past 21 years, was in dire need of a freezer to handle the large amount of food it stores for the program, Beal said. Last year, the program served 7,681 meals to needy people

Beal was one of dozens of local area residents and officials who came to the ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday to welcome Agren Appliance Store to its new 313 Main St. store. It previously was located on Main Street in Paris.

“In a challenged economy it is refreshing and encouraging to see a business actually expanding its retail and service operation in a community that is seeking stability and optimism,” John Williams, executive director of the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce, said.

The reception couldn’t have been warmer, Agren said after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“It’s pretty incredible,” he said of the customers’ reception. “It’s become a destination.”

The downtown Norway store has quickly become one of Agren’s best in terms of sales, Agren said.

“Our sales have been incredible,” he said, noting the location and diversity of merchandise are two of the major factors behind the significant first month sales.

The 25,000-square-foot space, including 20,000 square feet of showroom on three floors, has allowed Agren to increase its inventory significantly beyond appliances to include living room and dining room furniture, baby furniture and kitchen specialty items such as pots and pans.

Agren said the store wants to become a part of the community, something Norway Downtown President Andrea Burns said is vitally important to the economic future of Main Street.

“We were able to take a leadership role in having Agren move to our Main Street,” said Burns, who was at the ribbon-cutting ceremony with other local officials, including Town Manager David Holt, Selectman Bill Damon and Police Chief Rob Federico.

Burns said the Community Development Block Grant that was used by the previous building owner to redesign the facade of the building was key in the redevelopment and reuse of the building.

Agren also announced that on Saturday, Olympic Gold Medalist Seth Wescott will make an appearance at the store’s grand opening around noontime to sign autographs and meet residents. He will also autograph two snowboards that will be given away later in the week through a random drawing.

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Olympic Gold Medalist Seth Wescott will attend the grand opening of Agren Appliance’s new store at 313 Main St. about noon on Saturday. He will greet customers, sign autographs and autograph two snowboards to be given away later in the week in a random drawing.

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