2013-09-06 / Front Page

‘The right buyer’ finds Pennell’s

Maine Street shop ends a retail era
BY JT LEONARD Times Record Staff


After 124 years in business, Brunswick’s most enduring clothing store will close Nov. 2.

Owners David Girardin and John Simonson sold the building at 52 Maine St. that, since 1889, has housed Pennell’s Clothing Store. The real estate closing took place Sept. 3. The retailer now has 60 days to liquidate its inventory.

Girardin declined to identify the new owner, other than to say that it is someone from in-state.

Neither did he know what is planned for the property.

The little store defied industry trends for years. While small, independent main street retailers fell victim to national, mall-based, warehouse or buyers’ club franchises, Pennell’s continued to prosper. Mostly, Gerardin said, it’s because they maintained a low overhead. The mortgage note was paid off years ago, income from two different rental tenants paid the taxes, they didn’t go crazy on expansion plans, and they stayed with popular and useful product lines.

But even on Maine Street, Girardin some months ago expressed doubts that a new owner would be able to carry on as he and Simonson had since 1972: too much competition from the box and warehouse stores and too narrow a profit margin.

Girardin and Simonson put the store up for sale in 2011. They received many inquiries, but no serious offers.

They said they would patiently wait for “just the right buyer

After Pennell’s closes its doors for the final time, Girardin said he and his wife will spend fall and holidays in Maine “enjoying our six grandchildren,” before taking a winter vacation.

“Come April, though, I’ll plan on working a few days a week, just to keep myself busy,” he added.

Doing what, exactly?

“Not sure,” Girardin said, “but it’ll be anything but retail.”


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