(the original Mexicali Blues on Route 1 in Newcastle)
Mexicali’s path down memory lane in Maine is a meandering one, and just like lobster boats, it has left a trail of colorful flotsam and jetsam in its wake. The last 35 years have taken us from Boothbay to Bangor with lots of twists and turns, a few dead ends, a skateshop, a home imports store, and more recently a brand-spanking-new purpose-built warehouse behind our flagship store in Newcastle. We’re excited to see the places Mexicali will go, but it’s equally important to see the places you’ve been.
(Pete behind the counter at “Mexicali Street & Skate”)
Mexicali started on the cobblestone streets of Portland, criss-crossing its way across Exchange Street until it ended up smack dab in the middle of Moulton Street. As it grew, that one store became two, as we opened up a “Mexicali Jewelry” location on the other side of the cobblestones. These two stores have since consolidated and moved down the waterfront to a bright and beautiful new location on Commercial street. However, many of Mexicali’s more infamous locations will remain in the memories of locals and tourists alike for many moons to come.
You may have visited one of Mexicali’s other physical locations in Maine, either near Sebago Lake in Raymond, in the shopping capital of Freeport, in Maine’s second largest metropolis of Bangor, or at our flagship location and expanding Mexicali campus in Midcoast Maine (more on that to come). Each store has its own culture just like the community that surrounds it, and through these stores Mexicali is able to weave its way into the fabric of Maine. There were a couple of dead ends along Mexicali’s memory lane, namely in Belfast and Camden, but each location was a learning experience that has rooted Mexicali deeper in Maine culture and local lore.
(Mexicali Blues, Boothbay Maine)
Believe it or not, Mexicali’s original claim to Midcoast Maine was in one of its touristic epicenters, Boothbay Harbor. Mexicali’s time there was short lived, and within a year they moved to a funky brick building in downtown Damariscotta, which is now home to King Eiders restaurant & pub. In the words of Pete, “Boothbay closed down for the winter and Damariscotta wasn’t as busy, but it was more of a year-round community, and closer to my home.” That was a good move, because Mexicali has since made its life long home across the Damariscotta River in the other “Twin Village” of Newcastle, Maine.
Mexicali started out by renting a portion of the Route 1 building, and slowly expanded to taking over all three units, opening up “Mexicali Kids” and “Mexicali Street & Skate” along the way. Did you ever buy a skateboard or an infamous “hand chair” from the Mexicali skate shop? This route 1 location has gone through quite an evolution over the years, starting as a squat one story building which was demolished to build our flagship store in 2013, and is soon to become our new Mexicali warehouse and headquarters.
(Flagship Newcastle location before, during, and after the demolition and rebuild)
Mexicali moved into its original warehouse on River Road in Newcastle, which was originally Clarks Bottling Plant, home of a Maine-based Moxie-rival soda brand. From this, now old, warehouse Mexicali started its famous fleet of tie dye delivery vans. It was also there that they opened up “Mexicali Home Imports,” selling a variety of teak furniture and heavy international houseware until refocusing on their retail locations. This warehouse location has served its purpose, and is full of many memories, but you could say Mexicali is moving out of the old and in to the new. Over the past week the Mexicali warehouse staff, with the help of the marketing team, CEO Topher Mallory, and the Erskine family have been moving all of their worldly wares to the new warehouse behind the Newcastle store on Route 1. Team work makes the dream work and to say we’re excited would be an understatement. Stay tuned to learn more about our plans for the new Mexicali Campus in Newcastle, Maine, here’s a hint, hiking trails…
While Mexicali may no longer be in Belfast or Boothbay, and while we no longer sell skateboards or furniture, we DO have a wide variety of clothing that fits your mind (including super cute kids’ clothes), jewelry to amplify your energy, and home decor from around the world. What’s your favorite Mexicali store of yesteryear?