So, we have several questions keeping us up at night.

Why is everyone so excited about “Making a Murderer?”

Why is the neighbor target practicing at all hours?

And what the heck is going in at Exit 80?

The last, at least, we can dig our retail-happy hooks into. Since news broke last month that a “major retailer” was eyeing land next to the Lewiston turnpike exit, Bag Lady and Shopping Siren have had guesses like everyone else.

All we know: Said retailer wants to build a 155,600-square-foot building. And everything else is a state secret.


We’ve winnowed our guesses down to six picks — some wishful, some resigned — and rated on a scale of 1 to 10 cheesecakes the likelihood of that pick actually happening. Which will make a lot more sense in about two seconds.

The candidate: Cheesecake Factory!

With finds like:

* Macaroni and Cheese Burgers, $12.50

First, they call their hamburgers Glamburgers (glamorous hamburgers?). Second, this one has fried macaroni and cheese balls on top.

* Cheesecake, $7.95/slice


Thirty-plus flavors like Peppermint Bark and Chocolate Tuxedo Cream. * thump* We just died. Either from hyper-salivating over the menu or sympathy-clogged arteries.

Range of store sizes/closest existing location: 5,100 to 21,000 square feet/ Peabody, Mass.

Odds of it being THE ONE: Honestly, sadly, 1 cheesecake.

A gigantic Cheesecake Factory would make Lewiston the envy of the state. No, New England. Nay, the world! And we’d be first in line, forks in hand. We don’t see this happening for so many reasons — Maine’s first Cheesecake Factory would probably go Portland or south — it’s more likely the big-box anchor is a retailer rather than a restaurant, we haven’t heard even a murmur of this being possible — but we can dream. Of cheesecake. Because if you’re going to eat 5,000 calories of fat and sugar at one sitting, make it worth it.

The candidate: IKEA

With finds like:


* Vittsjo TV unit, $49

Tempered glass and metal three-shelf rectangle TV stand. Doesn’t look at all hard to put together, but this is IKEA. So. Good luck to you.

Avg. store size/closest existing location: About 320,000 square feet/ Stoughton, Mass.

Odds of it being THE ONE: 1 cheesecake. Sorry.

After a store-coming-soon hoax in Portland a few weeks ago, the Swedish company said publicly that, yeah, right, Maine’s not getting an IKEA anytime soon. Well, they were nicer about it than that, but we got the gist. No meatballs or cheap-but-complicated furniture for us. But, hey, IKEA road trip!

The candidate: Costco


With finds like:

* One-of-a-kind pear-shaped diamond and platinum pendant, $93,999.99

Pretty, delicate and nearly the cost of the average home in Lewiston.

* Chicken flavor Nissin Cup Noodles, 24-pack, $8.09

Buy a couple and feed a poor college student for a month.

Avg. store size/closest existing location: 143,800 square feet/Nashua, N.H.


Odds of it being THE ONE: 5 cheesecakes. Not likely, but not completely crazy.

Like Sam’s Club or BJ’s, Costco is a warehouse retailer where shoppers pay a membership fee for the ability to buy a cheap tub of mayonnaise and a 48-pack of Kleenex. But unlike the other warehouse clubs, Costco has rabid fans. Like, Star Trek- and Star Wars-level fans. (Evidence: A website called It’s beloved for a lot of reasons, including its bargains, liberal return policy, low-cost food court and treatment of employees. We’ve never been to one, but we’d love to check it out. In Lewiston.

The candidate: Target

With finds like:

* Burt’s Bees coconut pear lip balm, $2.99

All-natural moisturizing lip balm that tastes like, we assume, a summer salad eaten on a Caribbean beach at sunset.


Mmm, summer.  

Avg. store size/closest existing location: 135,000 square feet/Topsham 

Odds of it being The One: 6 cheesecakes

Oh, how we’d love this. From its “cheap chic” reputation to those chunky plastic shopping carts, Target is a cool retailer with cool stuff that we can generally afford. Alas, we doubt it’ll come to be. Target already has three locations within spitting distance (Topsham, Augusta and South Portland), plus a couple of others in southern and northern Maine. It probably doesn’t want to start competing with itself by adding a new shop right in the middle. But if you’re reading this, Target peeps, you have our vote! And our $3 for lip balm.

The candidate: Bass Pro Shops

With finds like:


* Muskie Angler Inline Spinner, $9.99

Eight-inch feathery fishing lure in bright green, electric blue, white and other fish-friendly colors. For attracting that bass you’ve always wanted. 

Range of store size/closest existing location: 20,000 to 535,000 square feet/Hooksett, N.H.

Odds of it being The One: 7 cheesecakes

It’s the right size, there are no other Bass stores in a state known for its outdoor enthusiasts, and it might like to take some Maine business away from its competitor, Cabela’s. (Which has its own store right off a turnpike exit in Scarborough.) It could fit.

We’re only sort of outdoorsy — Bag Lady once baked cornbread over a campfire and Shopping Siren has gone kayaking more than five times in the past three years — so we wouldn’t be overly excited about Bass. But we’d be mildly intrigued and genuinely happy for actual hikers/campers/boaters. We’ll just be over here, inside. 


The candidate: Sam’s Club

With finds like:

* Blue Sky Outdoor Couple’s Double Hammock, $41.98

It folds into a little pouch so you can hammock anywhere with your nearest and dearest. Given hammock math, if they weren’t near and dear before, they will be within seconds.

Avg. store size/closest existing location: 176,000 square feet/Augusta

Odds of it being THE ONE: 9 cheesecakes.

It makes sense: The Wal-Mart distribution center is just a few blocks away (Sam’s is a division of Wal-Mart, and you know how it goes — the kids move in a few doors down from the grandparents.) We already have three in the state and their products are very much Wal-Mart-in-bulk, so we’re not strike-up-the-band excited at the prospect, but we’ll take it.

We hear they have a freezer section filled with cheesecake.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who are hoping for a giant The Beef Jerky Store) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].

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