John and Nina at Carlisle’s would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and invite you in to see what’s new this season at their 92 Congress Street location. (Times photo by Cherri Crockett)

John and Nina at Carlisle’s would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and invite you in to see what’s new this season at their 92 Congress Street location. (Times photo by Cherri Crockett)

RUMFORD- Step through the door of Carlisle’s Apparel & Footwear on Congress Street, and for a moment you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. The personal attention from the sales staff, wide variety of merchandise, convenience of one-stop shopping, and even the low prices are reminiscent of the clothing stores that once thrived on every town’s main street.

But a quick glance around you at the variety of contemporary products with which owner John Soucy has stocked his store will convince you that you’re firmly in the 21st century. From the cutting-edge technology of skiwear and outerwear by brands like Columbia, Burton, Obermeyer, and North Face, to an extensive  selection of footwear and fashionable clothing lines for women and juniors, by Levis, Royal Robbins, roxy, Billabong, and others, everything about Carlisle’s merchandise is ultra-modern.

John prides himself on his ability to offer his customers “almost anything they need” in terms of apparel and footwear, no matter their destination or occupation. Christmas shoppers will find the perfect gift for everyone on their list, as well as plenty of choices to complete their own holiday wardrobes.

Got a party, dressy event, or job interview coming up? Carlisle’s  can provide you with just the right skirt, dress, suit and tie, or sport coat. Men can browse through racks of apparel from Dockers, Haggar, and Izod. Women will find unique and trendy choices in the new lines by Caribbean Joe, Carolyn Taylor, and Woolrich.

Need some rugged outdoor work gear? A full line of Carhartt clothing in both men’s and women’s sizes , from pants and jackets to baseball caps, is a mainstay of Carlisle’s, and high-tech undergarments from Hot Chillys and Under Armor offer light weight combined with moisture-wicking technology to keep you warm and dry.

Complete your work gear with boots from Red Wing, Chippewa, Georgia Boot, Wolverine, Keen, Magnum and now, Timberland.


Planning a mid-winter trip to a warmer climate, or know a lucky person who is? Shop Carlisle’s bargain basement for great deals on out-of-season clothing and footwear from swimsuits to sandals and parkas to ski pants, at prices that are up to 80 percent off.

Downstairs is also where you’ll find official Boy Scout gear for the Webelo, Tenderfoot, or Eagle Scout on your Christmas list. Providing local access to scout uniforms, accessories, and merit badges is part of John’s commitment to serving the community in a wide variety of ways.

Back upstairs, gift suggestions for the outdoor winter recreation enthusiast abound. Besides Carlisle’s extensive selection of jackets, parkas, ski pants, hats and gloves, you’ll find a new line of Atlas snowshoes for men, women and kids. THese are definitely not your grandfather’s old bearpaws: their lightweight design, spring-loaded suspension, and ice-gripping toe and heel cleats set the well apart from other brands.

The store features two full walls of men’s and women’s shoes of all types. When it comes to footwear, John says the emphasis at Carlisle’s is on “comfort technology.” He carries a full line of athletic shoes for running, walking, basketball, and more, featuring Nike, New Balance, Adidas, and others. Rugged crossover shoes from Keen can take you from the hiking trail to the office with ease. And boots  from Sorel, Kamik, Uggs, Bogs and Columbia will get you through a tough Maine winter. With more than 30 styles of Dansko shoes, Carlisle’s is the leading Dansko dealer in the valley.

When it’s time for stocking stuffers, consider Yak trax, which attach to shoes to prevent slipping on the ice and hard-packed snow. Or choose from a selection of Freestyle watches, pedometers, and safety lights for the fitness walker on your list. Outdoorsmen will also appreciate warm fleece socks, or moisture-wicking alpaca and merino wool socks from Smartwool and Darn Tough. And who wouldn’t like to find a pair of cozy Acorn slippers under the tree?

Carlisle’s was established in 1947 by Zip Carlisle, who owned it until 1963, when John’s father, Bob Soucy, purchased the business. After Bob ran the store for nearly three decades, John took over the operation in 1992. He enjoys offering his customers a wide variety of quality merchandise at highly competitive prices. “I shop around to see what other stores are charging,” he says with a smile. “then we try to do a little better.”

There are always sales, with prices 25 to 40 percent off. If you can’t make up your mind, gift certificates  are available. And, if you don’t find what you’re looking for in the store, chances are John can order it and have it for you within a few days.

At Carlisle’s, you get the best of both worlds; old-fashioned customer service and up-to-date high-tech merchandise. And, one other bonus, the friendly sales staff is always willing to gift wrap your purchases, free of charge.

Carlisle’s Apparel & Footwear is open seven days a week. For more information, call 364-2581.

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