Business goes on under and around a deer trophy and other items Monday at the Fairfield Antiques Mall. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson Buy this Photo

Some retailers in the Waterville area opened Monday to in-store customers, while others are spending this week preparing to meet state health and safety guidelines before opening next week.

Gov. Janet Mills announced Friday that retail stores in 12 of Maine’s 16 counties may open to in-store customers if state guidelines regarding social distancing, wearing of face coverings, sanitation and other safety mandates are followed.

The Fairfield Antiques Mall on Skowhegan Road in that town was back in business Monday after being closed for several weeks.

“The customers and the dealers are very happy,” said Brenda Gamage, who owns the business with her husband, Wayne. “We are open 8:30 a.m. to 5 (p.m.), seven days a week. We have signs up throughout the mall. We have a huge building —  five floors.

“We limit the number of people in and ask them to practice social distancing. We clean and sanitize all the time. I have wipes and I wipe down the pens. We used to have free cookies, but we did away with that because we don’t want people reaching in the cookie jar.”

The Gamages rent booths to dealers at the mall, and one woman who has a sewing booth has made and is selling face masks for $6 each, according to Brenda Gamage.


“They’re very nice ones,” she said.

Renys department store on Main Street in Madison plans to open next week, according to Dean Olmsted, the store’s manager. While it would have been nice to open sooner for customers who have been buying items curbside and are anxious to get back into the store, employees needed time to prepare, Olmsted said. After it opens to in-store customers, Renys will continue to offer curbside service for people who prefer that, he said.

Dean Olmsted, left, the manager at Renys on Main Street in Madison, takes a seat outside the store Monday as preparations are underway inside to open to the public next week.

Signs are being posted at the store to remind people to stay at least 6 feet apart from one another, and plexiglass is being installed at cash registers to protect employees and customers.

The store is also being sanitized from top to bottom, according to Olmsted.

“We’re cleaning all the time, and we have a cleaning checklist,” he said. “We’ll be cleaning all the time. We’ve got one person that’s just going to do sanitizing and cleaning full time, all day.”

Renys officials did not reopen their stores immediately after the governor’s announcement because they wanted to take time to prepare and make sure every protocol is followed, according to Olmsted.


“I think we need to follow what the medical professionals say,” he said. “I think they know more than we do. We want to be safe and make sure our people are safe.”

Renys will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for seniors and those who have medical conditions, according to Olmsted.

Madlyn’s consignment store, left, is making preparations to open later this week. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson Buy this Photo

He said customers will no longer enter the store from the Main Street side. Instead, they will enter through the back door, next to the parking lot. They will be directed throughout the store in a flow pattern that will allow everyone to “hit every nook and cranny” in the store, he said.

“We have pretty loyal customers,” Olmsted said. “I think we’ll still be busy because people are ready to come in and they’re ready to shop.”

Madlyn’s New & Used Consignment Shop in downtown Waterville hopes to open at the end of the week, according to owner Melissa Holmwood. The store is undergoing renovations and preparing for the opening by making sure it follows state guidelines, she said.

Holmwood, however, will be closing her Skowhegan store because of all that has been happening.


“It’s very unassuring, not knowing what to expect over the next few months,” she said.

Also in Waterville, Bull Moose Music at Elm Plaza was still closed to in-store customers Monday, but the goal is to open next week, according to Mick Pratt, marketing manager for the company. The store started doing curbside pickup last week, he said.

Pratt said Monday the Waterville store is the only Bull Moose allowed to open under the governor’s orders. The company’s other stores are either in counties not allowed to open to in-store customers or are in New Hampshire.

“The (governor’s) plan is pretty comprehensive,” Pratt said, “and it seems like the guidelines are fairly clear, which is good.”

Before opening, Bull Moose must ensure it can comply with all mandates and that employees are OK with working, according to Pratt.

“We have to make sure staff is comfortable with it,” he said.


Like Olmsted and Gamage, Pratt said Bull Moose is taking steps to ensure people’s safety, including placing markers on the floor so customers practice social distancing, installing plexiglass at counters and allowing only a certain number of people into the store at one time.

Pratt said customers have been patient and understanding while the store has been closed. And while it will not immediately resume accepting trade-ins of books, DVDs, CDs or toys right after the Waterville store reopens, the plan is to move in that direction.

“We don’t have a timeline for that,” Pratt said. “It is a work in progress to accept trade-ins.”

Day’s Jewelers in downtown Waterville was back in business Monday for in-store customers, but the vice president of store operations was not available for comment.

And at two other Waterville businesses, Beverly’s Card & Gift at Elm Plaza and Father Jimmy’s, a shop on Main Street that sells jewelry, glass, gems and other items from around the world, messages seeking comment went unreturned.

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