|The parking lot at 6 am – full!|
Vicki Doudera here, writing you after having risen at six a.m. today for my November pilgrimage to my local Reny’s Department Store.
If you aren’t from Maine, you might be wondering just what a “Reny’s” is, and with good reason. These stores are unique and only found in Maine. You also may be asking why in the world I’d get up at the crack of dawn (actually before dawn) to go shopping there. The answer – in a word ? DEALS.
|Young mom scooping up Legos for Christmas.|
You see, long before there was such a thing as Black Friday,The ubiquitous shopping orgy on the day after Thanksgiving, there was the Reny’s Early Bird Sale, held only once a year and always on the first Saturday in November.
|Howard Smith, Asst. Manager of my Reny’s for 16 years. His wife works at the Belfast Reny’s.|
There are fifteen or so Reny’s stores, scattered throughout the state, ranging in size from small to medium, with the Belfast one being about the biggest. This summer, it seemed that my many book signings always took place a few doors down from a Reny’s,, and so I visited quite a few. Being some what of an expert on the Camden store, I can say that the merchandise in other places – Bath, Damariscotta, Pittsfield – is all slightly different, making it fun to explore the various locations.
A little history…. the first store was opened in 1949 by Robert H. Reny in Damariscotta, and according to company legend, the first winter was so slow Robert had to go door to door selling merchandise out of his old Hudson. His persistence paid off, as Reny’s is still a family-owned business and a true Maine success story
You can buy all kinds of things at Reny’s – Carhartt jeans, Woolrich sweaters, Chippewa boots, all kinds of clothing, outerwear by famous makers, electronics, housewares, lawn and garden supplies, sheets and towels – including gourmet foods, teas, Maine maple syrup and the like.
What did I buy this morning? Smart wool socks… lots of them, and at 20 percent off!
|The late R.H. Reny, who used to visit the Camden store.|
|Ken and Pam Twaddel, top, and Cil Kinast, searching for bargains|