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February 28, 2024

Real Estate Insider Notebook: Portland designer moves to the Old Port

Courtesy / Malone Commercial Brokers Alice Yardley, founder of the handbag company Alice Yardley Maine, opened a store on Exchange Street in the Old Port.

Alice Yardley, the creative force behind the handbag maker Alice Yardley Maine — a handcrafted leather brand based in Maine — has leased space at 99 Exchange St. in Portland. 

The space was formerly occupied by Holly Stone LLC. Peter Harrington of Malone Commercial Brokers brokered the deal with Yardley.

She is leaving space on Washington Avenue for her new home in the heart of the Old Port District, across from Highroller Lobster Co. and the Corner Room restaurant. Moving to such a spot is a significant milestone for a local retailer.

Yardley's journey from high school teacher to successful designer began in 2019, when she decided to turn her hobby into a business. The decision was also driven by her passion for leatherworking and a commitment to sustainability.

“I wanted to create something that brought joy and brightness into people’s lives,” she said.

Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, Yardley’s dedication remained unwavering, leading to her participation in New York Fashion Week’s “Ones to Watch” showcase in 2020.

“I handcraft every leather bag myself, using predominantly leather remnants to minimize waste and reduce my carbon footprint,” she said.

Her designs are a kaleidoscope of colors that exude playfulness and charm.

Expressing her gratitude for the support received during the move, Yardley praised her experience with Harrington and Malone Commercial Brokers.

"It was a seamless process that happened so quickly and efficiently,” she said. “Everyone has been so helpful in answering my questions, supporting my small business, and cheering me on through this transition.”

The store is already open.

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