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Updated: April 15, 2021

Sea Bags to enlarge Freeport footprint, visibility

Sea Bags Freeport store extrerior Courtesy / Sea Bags Sea Bags plans to vacate its current Freeport location, shown above, for a place across the street that's triple the size.

As Sea Bags gets ready to open a larger flagship store in Portland this spring, the retailer is also gearing up for a bigger footprint in Freeport with a move across the street from the current store there.

The designer and manufacturer of bags, totes and other accessories crafted from recycled sails is currently located at 6 Bow St. in Freeport in 800 square feet of space.

With a move to 15 Bow St. to a space formerly occupied by the Walking Co., Sea Bags will nearly triple its space to around 2,200 square feet. The new location also has greater visibility than the current one at 6 Bow St., which is tucked between two larger buildings. 

Sea Bags hopes to open in the new location by Memorial Day, depending on the time needed for remodeling work, or by mid-June at the latest. The existing store remains open in the meantime. 

"This is a big move for us, and one we don't take lightly," Sea Bags CEO Don Oakes told Mainebiz.  

He noted that Freeport was the company's first free-standing store, which opened in 2009, and remains its second-largest grossing store in terms of sales.

"However, the off-street location means many of the 3 million people who visit Freeport, and L.L.Bean, each year do not know we have a store in Freeport," he said. "This enhanced visibility, along with the expanded floorspace, will allow us to significantly increase our product and brand presentation, and hopefully our sales."

He also said that if it weren't for success in other markets where Sea Bags has opened larger stores in higher foot-traffic locations, it may not have had the confidence to make the move in Freeport and take this risk.

"We also know this possibility would not likely have been available if other retailers had not been hit so hard by the lockdowns caused by COVID over the past year," he said. "Fortunately for us, we made it through and are in a position to take advantage of opportunities in locations like this."

As for hiring plans, a spokeswoman said that Sea Bags typically employs one full-time manager and two or three part-time employees at each store. The company also said it expects that the increase in traffic at the new location will mean longer hours and more staff in the store, necessitating additional hires.

Sea Bags has been aggressively expanding its retail presence throughout New England and other regions of the country over the last few yeas, adding more than a dozen stores in 2020 alone.

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