The Winnegance General Store was built in 1902 to serve the needs of the people who worked and lived at the tide mills which spanned the Kennebec River across the street. A whole village sprang up in response to 8 tide mills making lumber.
The “bumps” you can see to your left when crossing the bridge toward the peninsula are what remain of the tide mills.
The store, however, went on to serve generations of people from Bath and summer visitors, which is why it is so deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of all the people of Bath and surrounding communities.
In 2009, the proprietors were unable to continue running the business. The foundation was so badly damaged, the floor inside was buckled and uneven. There were masking tape signs on the floor that said, “Watch” on one board and “Your Step” on another!
In August, 2013, the store was purchased by Jennifer Greene, who wanted to renovate and update the building while maintaining its original historic character.
After tearing down the old shed behind the store and both chimneys, Tancrede House Movers carefully lifted the building and slid it 35’ to the south to allow a new foundation to be dug and poured. The result was a brand new full basement which is now accessible by a set of stairs from inside the store. The building was then slid back onto its new foundation and fortified with new sills, floor and framing. The original beadboard walk-in cooler was framed into the rear store wall and its body is housed in the new storage building behind the store.
Other parts for the renovation had to be salvaged throughout Maine where the original materials were too damaged. The ‘new’ flooring is from a 1910 schoolhouse. Dakota, an apprentice with Houseworks, LLC spent the winter scraping clean the tongues and grooves in preparation for its installation. The glass pendant lighting is from a 1916 vocational college in downtown Lewiston The 42” mahogany store door was found at Old House Parts Company where it had been removed from a Kennebunk summer house in pristine condition.
The original 6’ x 7’ store windows – were almost completely deteriorated. Panes of glass were missing or hanging precariously, and one pane had been replaced with a vinyl slider through which ice cream was sold at one time. Thanks to the skilled craftsmanship of Nate Jung (Jung Restoration, http://www.antiquewindowrestoration.com) the windows have been fully restored, will be operational, and meet modern energy requirements.
The store now has a wheelchair ramp and a fully compliant bathroom as well as a brand new driveway with parking for up to 6 cars.
The suspended ceiling and fluorescent lights have been removed to expose the beautiful old beadboard and holes made over the years have been patched by Androscoggin Building and Remodeling ( http://www.androscogginbuildingandremodeling.com ), who have also done much of the restoration work and built the covered front porch.
Bath Planning Board, City Council, and Economic Development fully support this project. The site plan was approved in October, 2013, allowing the project to commence, and zoning amendment was also passed by unanimous vote of the Planning Board and the City Council, making the lot a commercially zoned property in perpetuity.
The City Council also approved the owner’s request for beer & wine licenses, both on site and retail. They have extended this approval to anyone who “helps her get the store going.” Health and liquor licenses are in an approved & pending status.
Upstairs, the apartment has undergone renovations as well. The plaster, sadly, failed in the move and all the walls have been sheetrocked and painted. All the walls, the ceiling, and the floor between the store and the apartment have been insulated. The main floor has been opened up so there are water views of both the Kennebec River and the Winnegance Creek from most of the windows. Cabinetry for the kitchen was fabricated from salvaged pumpkin pine from the original shed behind the store. Plumbing, heating and electrical systems were completely redone and a new chimney was installed for the furnace which is now in the basement.
The City of Bath has permitted several uses for the commercial building, including –
- a store
- a coffee shop
- a deli / grab & go
- a bed & breakfast
The people of Bath and surrounding communities are terribly excited to have “their store” opened again and we are seeking the right business owner to lease the space. The City has even extended the town trolley’s run to end at the Winnegance General Store!
Here are excerpts of what the community has wished for:
- a place to see your neighbors daily or have a small meeting
- really good coffee
- healthy food
- bulk dry goods
- a breakfast sandwich
- grab ‘n’ go for work or a picnic at the beach
- more of a variety store, but not a modern convenience store
- caters to visitors in the summer, locals in the winter
- one hot meal a day, soup & chowder in winter
- beer& wine to stay or go
- an old fashioned feel good atmosphere
- penny candy
- vegetables & fruits
- locally produced bread, pastry, produce, etc
For Commercial Lease Information:
Contact : Jennifer Greene