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Updated: March 30, 2021

Sea Bags to lay anchor at larger Portland flagship store

Sea Bags store front at 123 Commercial St. Courtesy / Sea Bags Sea Bags will open a larger flagship store in Portland at 123 Commercial St., while keeping production and tweaking the retail format at its Custom House Wharf location.

Betting big on a strong 2021 summer tourism season, retailer Sea Bags is getting ready to open a larger flagship store this spring on Commercial Street in Portland, around the corner from an existing branch.

The designer and manufacturer of bags, totes and other accessories made from recycled sails will lay anchor in 2,500 square feet of leased space at 123 Commercial St., which the company had recently used for its pop-up Black Friday indoor tent sale. The space was previously occupied by Company C, a rug and home furnishings retailer.

Don Oakes, CEO of Sea Bags, told Mainebiz that while the company will keep its original location at 25 Custom House Wharf nearby as a store, that location will mainly sell discontinued styles and discounted samples. That's also where most of Sea Bags production is done, with the rest in South Portland.

File photo / Courtesy Sea Bags
Sea Bags CEO Don Oakes

"Given that this location is also our factory where we produce much of our product," he added, "we are going to call this our 'Factory Store,' as it is in the truest sense of the word. We have many loyal customers who have been finding their way down the wharf for years, and we want to continue to be there for them."

He also said that the Custom House Wharf location takes in more used sails for its Sail Trade Program than any other store by far, "and we want customers to be able to pull up to our door and drop off their sails."

Plans for the new digs include keeping much of the original structure, brick walls and hardwood floor while updating the colors to be more in line with other Sea Bags stores.

Since the new space is three times the size of a typical Sea Bags store, he said, "we are also planning some new feature and fixtures."

He said the crew plans to start work on the space in early April, and purposely left room to peek in the windows "so people can watch our progress if they are interested."

Sea Bags expects to hire six to eight people to staff the new store, especially during summer. "In addition, the increased sales we expect will also keep our manufacturing team busy, and we are also adding staff in that area to keep with our continued growth."

A soft opening to the public is scheduled for early May, followed by a grand opening Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the summer travel season.

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

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