The Reny’s Early Bird Sale–A Maine Tradition

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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.

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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.

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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!

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The late R.H. Reny, who used to visit the Camden store.
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Ken and Pam Twaddel, top, and Cil Kinast, searching for bargains
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3 Responses to The Reny’s Early Bird Sale–A Maine Tradition

  1. John Clark says:

    Ayup, can’t go wrong gettin’ folks a Reny’s card for Christmas. Do it most years for my library volunteers.

  2. Lea Wait says:

    I’m a great fan of the food section of Reny’s in Damariscotta. Of course — you never know EXACTLY what they’ll have there. But there’s usually a great selection of herbal and green teas. (Green tea with blueberry – yum!) And spices. And sauces, including a selection of Raye’s Mustards from Eastport. (Thanks for introducing me to them, Sarah!) And my favorite — cans of mackerel at half supermarket prices. I try to stop in at least once a month.

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