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October 13, 2023

Downtown Waterville continues to build momentum with provisions retailer

buliding exterior with entry and signs Courtesy / Main Street Provisions The recent opening of Main Street Provisions at 62 Main St. in Waterville represents a vote a confidence in the downtown’s major transformation in recent years.

A store featuring Maine and New England products opened this month in Waterville, representing a vote a confidence in the downtown’s major transformation in recent years.

“Main Street today is a lot different than it was a year ago, let alone three or four years ago,” said Zach Brann, the owner of Main Street Provisions, at 62 Main St. 

“Zach’s entrepreneurial vision is a testament to the growth of Main Street as a vibrant hub for commerce and connection, attracting both residents and visitors alike,” said Gabe Gauvin, Central Maine Growth Council’s assistant director of economic development and strategic projects. “Main Street Provisions is poised to make a lasting positive impact on the local economy, showcasing the best of Maine while revitalizing this historic downtown space.”

The store occupies 2,100 square feet of leased retail space in an older building. The building has entrances on the Main Street and a side street called Concourse.

store interior with shelves products people
Courtesy / Main Street Provisions
Installations included new lighting, flooring, paint, signage and fixtures. Vintage architectural features include wood beams running the length of the showroom.

Brann hosted a soft opening on Oct. 4, which had strong attendance from invitees and stakeholders in the business. The store officially opened Oct. 5.

Brann was born and raised in the neighboring town of Oakland, graduated from the University of Maine in Orono and went to work for a marketing firm in Portland from 2013 to 2018.

“The craft beer industry was booming and it is still is,” he told Mainebiz. “I fell in love with that and with the artisan community in Portland.”

3 people in front of sign and brick wall
Courtesy / Main Street Provisions
Zach Brann with his wife Katie and their daughter Charlotte.

Brann said he long had it in back of his mind to open an artisans store. When he moved back to central Maine, the timing seemed right — more than anything because of the revitalization and growth that Waterville has seen in recent years, thanks in large part to more than $200 million in combined investment from Colby College, investors and small businesses, with help from tax incentives, that has helped the downtown to undergo a major transformation. 

Brann received business and financial planning assistance from the Central Maine Growth Council and the Small Business Development Center.

He found a street-level lease at 62 Main St., which previously housed L. Tardif Jeweler, founded by Lionel and Evangeline Tardif in 1935. The store closed late last year.

Brann is using about 1,500 square feet of the space for retail operations and the rest for an office and storeroom. Vintage architectural features include old tin ceilings in the back, wood beams running the length of the showroom and an original brick wall. 

Build-out started last April with clearing the space of fixtures left behind by the jewelry store. Installations included new lighting, flooring, paint, signage and fixtures. The old brick wall was restored. Brann said he was able to restore some of the old jewelry cases and shelves for his store’s use. 

Brann declined to cite how much he invested in the project. The majority of his funding is a combination of grants from Central Maine Growth Council, private investors, family and friends.

store interior with shelves and products
Courtesy / Main Street Provisions
Wares include craft beer, wine, charcuterie and related food and beverage products.

Wares include craft beer, wine, charcuterie and chocolates, as well as handmade glassware, pottery, cutting boards, potholders, cookbooks, cutlery, beer- and wine-making kits.  The store’s mission, he said, is to spotlight artisans and smaller producers throughout Maine and New England in addition to hosting wine and beer tastings. 

Sourcing wares was a grassroots effort that involved reaching out to companies and distributors on his own, often making cold introductions, outlining his plan and building those relationships. He selected some 1,000 products.

Said Gauvin, "The arrival of Main Street Provisions marks a significant milestone in the economic and retail development of downtown Waterville; by offering a curated selection of craft goods, beverages and locally produced items, this new venture not only enhances the local shopping experience but also fosters a sense of community pride and support for Maine makers and artisans.”

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