FREEPORT — A few stores will open Thursday, May 14, in advance of a grand opening on Saturday, May 16, at Freeport Village Station, a $30 million, 120,000-square-foot, multi-level commercial complex that officials say has defied the economic odds.

Local resident and Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson will be the guest of honor Saturday at noon at the official opening of a new Nike factory store. Samuelson, who has set world records and American records for distance running and won the Boston Marathon twice, will be available to talk to fans.

Janet Grady, spokeswoman for Village Station developer Berenson Inc., said considering the economic climate, the Village Station opening has gone very smoothly.

“We are very happy all has gone so well,” she said. “It is a testament to all those involved.”

Grady said Nike and Brooks Brothers will have “soft” openings on Thursday. Van Heusen and Izod plan to open on May 21, and Coach is expected to open Friday, May 22.

“Every 10 days or so after that, another store will open,” Grady said.

Stores expected to open through June, Grady said, include an L.L. Bean home store, Calvin Klein, Oakley, Sunglass Hut, The Maine Dog, Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Roll restaurant and the Mallet Cafe.

More leases are expected to be signed in July and by the end of the summer, Grady said, more than 75 percent of the Village Station will be occupied.

“We are starting with a nice, full offering of stores,” Grady said. “There are two restaurants with more to come, entertainment, great name brands and a wonderful destination shopping spot.”

In addition, the shopping center has a 550-space covered garage and a proposed cinema complex.

Melissa Glenn, administration and events planner at Freeport Merchants Association, said an April job fair to fill 90 jobs at a dozen Village Station businesses attracted nearly 500 people.

“There were upper-management positions, full-time positions, as well as part-time and seasonal jobs,” Glenn said.

In addition, Myra Hopkins, executive director of the FMA, said other stores in and around Freeport are renovating, opening, relocating and refreshing to take advantage of the buzz around Village Station.

The Maine Embroidery Shop is open on Independence Drive and the 1912 Cafe is open in the L.L. Bean flagship store. The Freeport Chowder House will open in May, and Summer Shades will open on Bow Street in June. And, the Freeport Cabaret is now called Venue Music & Bistro.

Village Station will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Store openings can be found on the Web at Freeport Village Station.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected].
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