FREEPORT – Nestled on a newly built stretch of School Street, the new Bow Street Market is just around the corner from the original store that served mostly locals for 65 years.

The barn-style 15,000-square-foot market is three times larger than the original and is situated a lot closer to the village center.

Its expanded selection of specialty foods and beverages features Maine products and a full-service butcher shop at the front of the store.

The market’s new orientation reflects efforts by owner Adam Nappi and others to bring townspeople back to the village center and entice visitors to venture beyond the retail hub around L.L. Bean and enjoy a variety of outdoor attractions.

“For a lot of townspeople, Main Street isn’t their main street anymore,” Nappi said. “This is an attempt to create a new village for them.”

At the same time, Nappi, who took over the market when his parents retired, said he expects its new location will make it more accessible to visitors who need a few things for a picnic, a campsite or a road trip.

In recent decades, national chain outlets such as Banana Republic and Ralph Lauren, which can afford the higher rents near L.L. Bean, have replaced many village businesses that served everyday needs of residents and tourists.

The $3 million market project was built in a transitional, mixed-use zone that lies between the village center and the town’s residential, agricultural and recreational areas.

The zone is bounded by Middle, Park, School and Bow streets and includes a consignment boutique, a salon and day spa, a children’s art studio and a CVS pharmacy.

Nappi embraced the mixed-use concept in developing the market project. The store is attached to a new, four-unit, farmhouse-style apartment building that fronts on Bow Street.

He also extended School Street, formerly a dead end, to meet Bow Street and gave the new section of road to the town.

“They did a great job with the new market,” said Brian Arsenault, who has lived in town for 30 years, most recently on Bow Street. “They worked with community members and they did it with a lot of sensitivity.”

The mixed-use zone grew from the town’s comprehensive plan, which encourages development that fills gaps near the village center and promotes businesses that provide local services, said Town Manager Dale Olmstead.

In addition, the Town Council, Freeport Economic Development Corp., Freeport Chamber of Commerce and Freeport USA have increased efforts to promote the town as a year-round vacation destination rather than a pass-through shopping stop, Olmstead said.

Updated promotional materials call attention to a variety of outdoor attractions within a few miles of the village, including Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, South Freeport Harbor, Mast Landing Audubon Sanctuary and the Desert of Maine.

Freeport Fields and Trails, a coalition of residents and business owners, plans to build a $3.3 million, multi-use complex off Hunter Road that would include a recreational lodge and trails for running, biking and cross-country skiing.

The Town Council voted unanimously in April to spend $2.3 million in surplus funds on the fields and trails project, and L.L. Bean announced in May that it will donate $500,000 to the project to celebrate its upcoming 100th anniversary in 2012.

Bernadette and Emmet Currie, retirees from Halifax, Nova Scotia, said they might stay longer in Freeport if recreational opportunities were better known and more accessible. In town last week, they typically stop to shop in Freeport on their way to Florida or when staying in other coastal communities, such as Rockland or Boothbay Harbor.

“You have to have a reason to stay longer than one night,” Bernadette Currie said.

Giuseppina Petrarca and Marinuccia Sanna, visitors from Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy, said the town should promote its outdoor amenities, because they jibe with the regional emphasis on the environment and locally grown produce.

“It’s a nice place,” Petrarca said of Freeport. “Everything is so clean and green.”

But with only a few days to spend in Maine, they were traveling on to Boothbay, Camden and Bar Harbor.

To make it easier to get around town, community leaders are talking about launching a shuttle service when the Downeaster train starts running from Portland to Brunswick, with a stop in Freeport, in the fall of 2012, said Sande Updegraph, executive director of the Freeport Economic Development Corp.

The shuttle would serve the train depot and village area, as well as hotels and businesses along Lower Main Street and Route 1 South.

The town has nearly 800 hotel, motel and bed-and-breakfast rooms and 475 camping sites.

“We want people to come to Freeport and stay for a while,” Updegraph said.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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