SOUTH PORTLAND — Goodwill Industries of Northern New England will open a flagship store in the former Circuit City building at 555 Maine Mall Road. 

Randy Finamore, Goodwill senior vice president of retail, said the store could be open as soon as next spring, creating up to 50 jobs. 

Finamore said Portland-based Goodwill has signed a long-term lease for the 27,000-square-foot building, which will top Bangor’s 20,000-square-foot store as the largest Goodwill outlet in New England.

The South Portland store will include a staffed, drive-through donation center, like the retail store in Topsham.

“It is perfectly located in South Portland,” Finamore said. “We will be offering an enormous convenience to our donors and shoppers.”

As a nonprofit organization, Goodwill will likely seek an exemption for its personal and retail property, City Assessor Elizabeth Sawyer said. But since the building will be leased, not owned, by Goodwill, the city will still receive property taxes. 

The building has been empty since Circuit City closed 567 stores nationwide due in a bankruptcy liquidation. Finamore said Goodwill plans to renovate the building’s interior and spruce up the exterior. 

Given the current economy, he said, Goodwill’s retail and social services are becoming more important.

“We haven’t seen a huge uptick (in business), but we’re becoming more relevant,” Finamore said. “We’re seeing new donors and new customers.”

Goodwill operates 25 stores in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, including outlets in South Portland, Portland and Falmouth. Last year, the non-profit assisted more than 5,000 families through its human services and Good Neighbor programs, which are supported by retail sales. 

The company employs 1,200 people in New England. It has provided services in Maine since 1933 and added New Hampshire in 1994. 

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or [email protected]

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