NORWAY — The first store to end a five-year vacancy in the rehabilitated Norway Opera House last year has been forced to close.

Gatherings, at 400 Main St., which specializes in antiques, vintage and used furniture, home decor and gifts, will close at the end of April.

Selectman Bruce Cook, who is on the Board of Trustees for the Norway Opera House Corp., told selectmen Thursday night the corporation will start advertising for a new tenant.

Gatherings owner Nellie Denison made the announcement on the Norway Opera House Facebook page on March 29 saying, “I have met so many wonderful people and am glad that I gave it shot.”

Denison said Friday that despite good summer traffic, in the end, there simply weren’t enough customers to sustain her business year-round. The store is selling most of its stock for 40 percent off.

Brenda Melhus of Norway Downtown said Friday that the shop was a great addition to the Opera House.


“I’m really disappointed she’s closing,” Melhus said.

Gatherings was one of two stores that opened in March 2013 in the 1894 Opera House.

Raven Collections also opened at 406 Main St., featuring gems from around the world, rocks, mineral specimens, crystals, fossils and jewelry.

Owners of both shops said at the time that the beautiful and historical space was the perfect setting for their merchandise.

The restoration of the five, first-floor storefronts was part of a $1 million renovation project by the Norway Opera House Corp.

The three-story brick edifice is the centerpiece of the downtown National Historic District, which was designated in 1988. It was once the center of community activities, but has been vacant since a partial roof collapse in September 2007. The town took it by eminent domain in 2011 due to its unsafe condition and turned it over to the corporation in 2012.


The second and third floors, which include a ballroom and balcony, have been closed for decades and are part of a later phase in the renovation plans.

Town Manager David Holt said Main Street is no longer a destination like it was years ago when people flocked downtown to shop in the the many retails stores along the street. The effort in recent years to revitalize the downtown by the town and organizations such as Norway Downtown hinged in part on the rehabilitation of the Norway Opera House.

“No one ever said it was going to be easy,” Holt said.

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