Worumbo outlet

Nowadays there are whole malls, even towns full of malls, that call themselves outlets. What that seems to mean is that the stores each are an outlet for just one manufacturer’s goods. Every so often we stop in Kittery, the first town you come to in Maine coming from Boston, at the Crate and Barrel outlet. But years ago, factory outlet stores were adjacent to the factory they were an outlet for. They had stuff that had been made next door, possible factory seconds or overruns, or maybe the factory had an order for 10,000 of something and made 10500 while they were set up and sold the last 500 at the outlet for a quarter of retail price because that was still more than they got from the distributor.

Arlene had seen ads in some local papers (Maine abounds in giveaway newspapers with a little local news, gardening, hunting, and fishing columns, and lots of ads) from a place that said it was one of the last of the real outlets. We planned our trip to Brunswick (after a shopping stop at Marden’s in Gray) via Lisbon Falls to check it out.

Marden’s is a story by itself. Those of you from the Boston area will probably understand if I say it’s the Building 19 of Maine. If that means nothing to you, does Railroad Salvage? Building 19 has closeouts, insurance salvage, stuff bought from places that are going bankrupt, last year’s clothing styles that mainstream stores don’t want to display this year, and in general whatever other merchandise they can buy for well below normal wholesale price, sold for well below normal retail price. Marden’s in Gray is a quarter the size of Building 19 in Natick, but has the same sort of stuff. Neither of them is where you would go to buy anything specific, but both are great fun to look through in the hopes of finding something you never realized you needed. Marden’s in Gray is a quarter of a mile off our route from Newton to Casco, but it’s always closed when we’re en route. So if we are going to be going that way during store hours, Arlene will want to stop there.

But I digress. The topic was supposed to be the Worumbo Mill Outlet store.

It’s a no-frills sort of place. The exterior is not covered in a slick facade; it looks the way it looks — mainly as though there used to be a building attached to this one that was torn down and nobody really cared about the appearance of the leftover wall:

— and it’s next to the mill!

This was a textile mill, basically the kind of thing New England did for a living between the start of the industrial revolution and the 1930s. The outlet store has lots of blankets, sheets, and bedspreads. It has a small selection of yard goods, some 54 inches wide for a dollar a yard. I got a yard of black and white herringbone wool fabric that looks like material for at least a half-dozen newsboy caps. Arlene got a total of six yards of ivory fabric that will be good for stitchery projects. Some of the fabric they sell probably been around for 40 years, when the mill made lots of fabric for curtains and drapes, in the days before honeycomb blinds took over the window treatment niche.

The most fun thing we found there, not that we have any idea what to do with it but it was too much fun to pass up, was a roll of 2-inch wide day-glow green felt. Tennis ball felt. Any ideas? Maybe there’s a way to use it to liven up those newsboy caps.

Comments are closed.