JASON AGREN, president of Agren, watches with Agren employees as his daughter Sarah, center, cuts the ribbon during a ceremony Friday to celebrate the grand opening of the Auburn-based family-owned company’s new Topsham store at 78 Mallett Drive.

JASON AGREN, president of Agren, watches with Agren employees as his daughter Sarah, center, cuts the ribbon during a ceremony Friday to celebrate the grand opening of the Auburn-based family-owned company’s new Topsham store at 78 Mallett Drive.

TOPSHAM

A growing Maine business celebrated the opening of its first brand-new store at 78 Mallett Drive with Topsham officials last Friday.

Surrounded by a sea of mattresses on the upstairs level, several town officials, business and community leaders and Agren employees joined the company’s president Jason Agren in the new 13,000- square-foot facility for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Opening in late November, the store is Agren’s largest appliance and mattress retail location. The ground floor showcases multiple kitchen vignettes and household appliances from a wide range of manufacturers and a spacious “Sleep Shop” of more than 50 mattresses on display with a mattress testing area on the second level. Agren said customers can lay on the comfort test mattresses so staff can take them to the beds that best fit them, making for a more efficient shopping experience. Friday guests touring the facility watched cooking demonstrations in the kitchen areas.

Agren said his father and uncle, with the help of his mother, founded the business which started around 1969 with a repair truck.

The first retail store was established in 1978 in Auburn, according to the company history, “offering only the Whirlpool appliance brand. With the store’s opening, the business experienced its first major shift in culture,” and as sales grew along with brand offerings and the service arm, “stores were added in communities throughout central and southern Maine.”

Agren has run the store for about eight years and has owned it the last couple of years. The company recently closed its Waldoboro store and its store that was on Maine Street in Brunswick since 1983, consolidating them at the Topsham store.

“This facility will be our first from the ground up construction,” Agren said Friday. “I think it’s important to have a free-standing building and to own the property and to have the look that we have here.”

He added, “It was a hard decision to leave Brunswick but we just outgrew the building. We really enjoyed our time there, it helped grow the business and our customer base and now we’re happy to serve the Brunswick and Topsham area from this convenient location with parking and ample room. The town of Topsham has gone above and beyond to make us feel at home and we’re very excited to be on Mallett Drive.”

Cornell Knight, Topsham’s town manager, congratulated and welcomed Agren on behalf of the town’s board of selectmen and residents, adding, “You are joining an ever expanding commercial district in Topsham,” where he attended another ribbon cutting earlier in the week.

Knight said commercial properties represent about 8 percent of the total parcels in Topsham, but is approaching one-third of the valuation, “so it’s very good for the town’s tax rate. I know it’s going to keep expanding and I know you’re going to be successful at this store.”

John Shattuck, the town’s director of economic and community development, thanked Agren for choosing Topsham for the significant expansion. With completion of an “exceptional” building, Shattuck said “the Agren family has made a hugely positive statement of their faith and optimism in their company’s future and indeed in the present. This store more than doubles their employment status in the area, adding new jobs the benefit the entire region.”

Also during the ceremony Agren said it is customary for the company as it moves into new towns to immediately become supportive of the community, which in Topsham led it to the Riverview Foundation on Route 201 in Topsham. Agren said for 25 years, the foundation has been providing martial arts, educational and wilderness programs for youth and adults, and “over the years they have helped improved the quality of life for many, many people in this area.”

To help support a renovation of one of Riverview’s buildings which includes a new kitchen, Agren said he decided to sell product to the foundation wholesale and presented a $500 check to Riverview Foundation on Friday to help make the purchase possible.

The new Agren building is equipped with a tower of glass windows facing Route 196. Agren said when he met with the architect he was looking for a different look that would provide curb appeal, and recently the store changed it’s name from Agren Appliance to Agren to reflect it offers much more than appliances.

With a ground breaking in May, the building went up quickly and opened in Nov. 25, the Monday before Black Friday, Agren said, adding, “We were slammed the first week,” even before advertising the new location. “We couldn’t be happier.”

Agren also has retail stores in Auburn, Norway and South Portland.

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