The former Rotary Auto Sales building at 1830 Lisbon St. in Lewiston, shown Monday, and is expected to be the new home of the SHARECenter, now at the former Martel Elementary School at 880 Lisbon St. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal


LEWISTON — With less than two weeks until the SHARECenter deadline to move from the former Martel Elementary School at 880 Lisbon St., Director Lisa Rodrigues said the organization has found a new location.

Earlier this month, Rodrigues signed an intent to lease agreement with the owners of the former Rotary Auto Sales building at 1830 Lisbon St. The full lease agreement is being written, she added.

“The day that I walked into the Rotary Auto Sales, I (thought), ‘this is home,'” Rodrigues said. “I’m so confident that the community is going to stand behind us and make this happen, and we’re going to give back to the community because of it.”

SHARECenter Director Lisa Rodrigues stands among chairs in July at the former Martel Elementary School at 880 Lisbon St. in Lewiston. She said the center, which provides educational supplies free to its members, plans to relocate to the former Rotary Auto Sales at 1830 Lisbon St in January 2023. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Originally formed to provide needed supplies to schools and educators, the SHARECenter has grown to support nonprofit organizations, municipal departments, day cares and home school students.

It collects donated supplies and furniture for member organizations to use. Members pay a fee, which allows their staff unlimited access to the items.


Schools in Lewiston, Auburn, Wales, Rumford and Paris school districts are among the organization’s members. The SHARECenter additionally operates an annex location in Topsham through a partnership with the local school district.

The organization offers everything from school supplies, office furniture, toiletry items and more, diverting tons of waste from Maine landfills each year. At the former Martel School, the stock fills more than 10 classrooms.

“We’ve always, always since this first started, have had to depend on (others for space) . . . and worried that we might be kicked out the next month,” Rodrigues said. “Now we’re going to have a lease and the stability we’ve needed to grow and feel secure.”

The new building is nearly 20,000 square feet, has several large garage bay doors and a loading dock to accept large donations from national retailers. Rodrigues said she expects the space will allow them to open a store selling overstock items, a loaner pool program with common use items like tables and chairs, and a makers’ space with shared-use items like tools and a 3D printer.

The SHARECenter, which has operated from the former school since 2019, must move out by the end of September because the site is slated to be developed into senior housing by Avesta Housing.

Kelsey Riggott, a teacher at Community Concepts, looks for supplies in July at the SHARECenter in the former Martel Elementary School on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

However, Rodrigues is hoping that the city will allow her to continue using the building until the end of the year because the SHARECenter may not be able to start moving into its new building immediately due to renovations.


She has emailed several city officials with the request, but has not heard back yet.

As of now, she expects the center will be up and running in its new location in January 2023.

This is the first time in the organization’s more than 20 years of operation that it will need to pay for its space, Rodrigues said. Previously, it was either housed on Auburn school property or provided housing through in-kind agreements.

Rodrigues said the SHARECenter is in need of money to help pay for the move and stay in its new building.

The center is primarily funded through membership fees which, once paid, give staff members full access to use whatever furniture and materials the organization has in stock. Local schools, day cares and home school students pay a fee based on the number of students and/or staff members. Nonprofit organizations pay a flat $500 fee.

The organization is collecting donations through a GoFundMe, which has raised $1,440 toward its $50,000 goal as of Monday evening.

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