April 13, 2011

Maine shoppers flock
to these hot seats

The assets of Maine Cottage Furniture end up on the Marden's sales floor at a deep discount, but they don't stay long.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SCARBOROUGH — Beth Fournier heard at her exercise class in Cape Elizabeth.

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Ann Bishop of Falmouth stands with three Maine Cottage Furniture chairs that she snagged Tuesday, along with a blue bookcase, at the Marden’s store in Scarborough. Bishop said she planned to put her new furniture in a home office and “get rid of the family antiques.”

Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Lillian Hanley, 5, was pretty excited about the chair that her mother, Bethany, purchased there.

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Lili Richmond got a phone call while she was on vacation in Florida.

A friend of Anne Bishop's sister-in-law saw the Marden's truck parked in front of the former Maine Cottage Furniture store in Yarmouth.

As word spreads that Marden's Surplus and Salvage has acquired the assets of Maine Cottage Furniture, customers are flocking to the discount chain's Scarborough and Lewiston stores, where the furniture is being unloaded this week.

Fournier, who was at the Scarborough store Tuesday, had been there once before. "Everything was gone," she said, so she made the return trip.

John Marden, who owns Marden's with his two brothers, said his stores are getting constant phone calls and emails about the shipments.

"Mostly it's 'Where and when and are you getting more?' " he said about the inquiries.

The first tractor-trailer full of furniture arrived at the Scarborough store Friday afternoon. A second shipment hit the floor of the Lewiston store Saturday morning.

Another shipment was delivered Tuesday morning to Scarborough. And two trucks that headed to a Maine Cottage store in Charleston, S.C., are expected to unload in Lewiston on Friday and Scarborough on Saturday, Marden said.

He said two more trucks are at a store in West Palm Beach, Fla., where the landlord has refused to release the furniture until he gets the money he's owed by his former tenant.

Maine Cottage Furniture closed abruptly earlier this year and became the property of KeyBank, which sold the assets to Marden's last week. KeyBank also sold the company's intellectual property, including its brand name, customer list and signature colors, to a Maryland-based cottage-style furniture company called Russell & Mackenna.

At midday Tuesday, waves of about a dozen customers at a time browsed through the collection of brightly colored bookcases, desks, chairs and sofas at Marden's in Scarborough, where the furniture was on sale for 65 percent off its original price.

Lili Richmond, an interior decorator in Portland, said she spent $10,000 for 25 pieces of furniture – and found a few new clients among the shoppers.

Since Saturday afternoon, when she landed in Maine from a trip to Florida, Richmond had been to the Scarborough store six times, she said. She planned to go to the one in Lewiston on Tuesday afternoon.

Anne Bishop spent about $2,350 on a blue bookcase and three upholstered chairs with flower and polka-dot patterns. At their original prices, the four pieces would have cost more than $6,700.

Bishop said she planned to put the furniture in an office in her home in Falmouth.

"I'm going to get rid of the family antiques," she said.


Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: lbridgers@mainetoday.com


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Additional Photos

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Lili Richmond, an interior decorator in Portland, heard about the Maine Cottage Furniture sale at Marden’s and ended up spending $10,000 for 25 pieces. Richmond said she had been to the Scarborough store six times since Saturday after returning from a trip to Florida.

click image to enlarge

A colorful table and chairs set is displayed at Marden’s in Scarborough. Maine Cottage Furniture closed abruptly earlier this year, and Marden’s bought its assets last week.


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