Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: January 23, 2023

Iconic retailer Lamey Wellehan ascends from basement warehouse with room to grow

Courtesy / Lamey Wellehan Shoes Lamey Wellehan’s opening day in Lewiston, 1914.
For about half a century, the company had its warehouse and distribution center in the basement of 113 Lisbon St. in Lewiston, which was built around 1930 by Daniel Wellehan and was once occupied by the W.T. Grant Co. department store.
More Information

Lamey Wellehan, a family-owned shoe retailer dating back to 1914, is moving its warehouse from a basement into a 10,201-square-foot industrial space that is larger, more efficient and offers room for the company to grow its shoe donation program.

Lamey Wellehan leased the space, at 42 Aviation Drive in Auburn, from Management Controls LLC. 

industrial building and grass
Courtesy / Porta & Co.
The industrial building at 42 Aviation Drive in Auburn suited Lamey Wellehan’s need for warehouse and distribution space.

Tim Millett of Porta & Co. brokered the transaction.

“It’s bigger than what we need, but it gives us room to grow,” said the company’s president, Chris Stanley. “And we can allocate space to our shoe donation program.”

Family legacy

The company was founded by Charles Lamey, a shoe buyer, and Daniel Wellehan, a window trimmer, who left their respective jobs at Peck’s department store in Lewiston to open their own shoe store at 110 Lisbon St. in Lewiston. 

“At the grand opening on St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, 1914, friends and guests were given shamrocks as they congratulated the two young men on their new venture, Lamey Wellehan Shoes,” according to the company’s history. 

Inside the store, the partners placed a sign that made clear their customer-focused philosophy:

“Welcome to Lamey Wellehan, Maine’s most modern family shoe store. Charles A. Lamey and Daniel J. Wellehan, the boys from home, invite you to view their stylish collection of footwear. They employ the most modern fitting techniques to ensure your comfort from the daintiest to the most virile foot. It will be the pleasure of the boys from home to serve you for years to come in their store … where you are always a guest before you are a customer.” 

Years later, Lamey married Wellehan’s sister Mary, uniting the partners into one family. Lamey unexpectedly died a few months later, after which Wellehan carried on the business and opened new storefronts. 

person in fedora and old car
Courtesy / Lamey Wellehan Shoes
Lamey Wellehan’s co-founder, Daniel Wellehan Sr.

Wellehan’s sons, Dan Jr. and Jim, became part of the business. When Dan Wellehan Sr. died in 1976, Jim took over and continued to open storefronts.

Today, the company has six stores in Scarborough, Falmouth, Topsham, Auburn, Augusta and Bangor, and also has online sales through its website. 

The company has a focus on sustainability and incorporates environmentally friendly features like enhanced insulation and rooftop solar arrays. In 2020, Lamey Wellehan achieved a goal to reduce its carbon emissions by 50%. Work continues to further reduce emissions.

For decades, Lamey Wellehan has collected donated shoes to help Mainers in need. To date, tens of thousands of shoes have been distributed. In addition, the company offers a scholarship program to help Maine students attend college. The program tripled in size in 2015 when the company eliminated all shopping bags from its stores and diverted the savings into the scholarship fund. 

About 12 years ago, the company closed its first Lewiston location at 110 Lisbon St. It’s now home to Obscura Cafe & Drinkery.

Stanley said Jim Wellehan, a 2015 Mainebiz Business Leader of the Year, is retired but is still active in the company.

person with racks of shoes
Jim Wellehan in 2015.

New warehouse needed

For about half a century, the company had its warehouse and distribution center in the basement of 113 Lisbon St. in Lewiston, which was built around 1930 by Daniel Wellehan and was once occupied by the W.T. Grant Co. department store.

The upper stories were leased to tenants while Lamey Wellehan continued to operate in the basement.

piles of boxes in warehouse
Courtesy / Lamey Wellehan Shoes
Lamey Wellehan’s basement warehouse and distribution center, at 113 Lisbon St. in Lewiston, wasn’t quite big enough anymore.

“It was adequate,” said Stanley. “It didn’t have a dock, but it worked for us.”

During peak times, about 12 weeks per year, the warehouse is at capacity. Employees “have to be creative to move stuff around during peak load times,” said Stanley. 

One of the tenants on the upper floors needed more space and it became apparent that Lamey Wellehan could use more space, too. 

“We started looking this year and quickly found out there’s not a lot of small-size warehousing available,” he said. 

They also wanted a building that was energy efficient. 

“We looked into having one built for us as well,” Stanley continued. 

After looking at several properties the company landed on 42 Aviation Drive.

big warehouse with shelving
Courtesy / Lamey Wellehan Shoes
The company’s new warehouse and distribution center in Auburn provides plenty of space.

Fit-up is expected to be simple. 

“It’s a big steel box, it’s insulated, the warehouse has high-efficiency lights,” said Stanley. “There’s not much we need to do to move in, except we’re making a better break area and we’re adding two rooms — a multipurpose room for meetings and a larger sorting room for our shoe collection program.”

The company employs about 90 associates, most at its retail outlets. The warehouse is an efficient operation that needs only two employees and a truck driver.

“We’d like to add a part-time warehouse associate,” Stanley noted.

The timeline for the move was easy. 

“We’re straddling both locations for the next week or so to give us time to shake out the kinks, make sure things flow properly, then clean up the old place,” he said.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF