urban outfitters: portland maine.

as many of you may know, urban outfitters is opening today on middle street in portland's old port. however, many of you many not know that i am a member of the management team, working as the women's department manager. i have been training with the company and spending long hours putting the store together over the last month. in just a short time, i have developed a love and respect for this company.

i know many people have a hard time letting a corporate company come into our area. i won't lie, i have my own feelings about it as well. i have been a long time supporter of local businesses and growing our local economy. i love this area so much. i have grown up in portland and have spent a lot of time wandering the streets downtown.

this is not the first time a corporation has come into the area. we have starbucks and dunkin donuts on every corner, yet the local coffee shops, like my favorite bard, are still able to survive. we have a lululemon, which seamlessly slipped on to milk street without much fuss. as portland becomes a bigger destination, i think we will continue to see businesses move in here. portland is a big deal and it is nice to be recognized for it. i think they way it is done will make all the difference.

i want to be honest and say while i was first starting my new position with the company, i often second guessed my choice of taking a corporate job in an area built so much around community. as i really starting learning about the company and really seeing how urban operates, i changed my mind.

urban outfitters runs each of their stores like it is their own business. every store is different and tailored to the market it is in. every part of the store is constructed and designed by the employees. everyone has a say and a whole lot responsibility. as a manager, they allow you and expect you to run your department as you are the business owner. they want everyone to be creative and bring new things to the table. it is far more than just some retail job, no matter what your position in the store is. urban outfitters is a huge supporter of the arts. they support them in multiple ways. they let their employees display their work inside the store and participate in many community events. for the opening weekend, we will be donating 10% of our sales to the maine college of art.

urban outfitters has been looking to come to portland for a long time. they have been looking for the right space for the store. the company wants to find beautiful spaces that they can restore and bring out the history of the buildings. they finally found a space at 188 middle street. many of us may have know this space best as the pavilion. i know i attended a bar mitzvah and a prom there. since the pavilion, it has been empty for a long time. i know they tried to fill it with a local business, but the space didn't work out that way. it has now been brought back to life and is an amazing space. it is so beautiful inside. urban doesn't want to change the space, but bring out the history and continue to tell a story. i am happy that the space has been filled and we can start bringing more people to the area.

i want everyone to know that this job doesn't change my feelings about this community and will never stop me from shopping my favorite local stores. i am working to build my knowledge of the industry and be a creative, successful business woman. i am excited about my new journey and i hope that everyone will give urban outfitters a chance to bring great things to this community.

not only is the space awesome, but the merchandise is pretty cool too.
here are some of my favorites you can check out when you come to shop this weekend (remember the more you spend, the more we donate!!):


  1. Ashley, thank you for your view on Urban Outfitters -- As someone who loves local with a passion but has had to work for both starbucks and whole foods, it is interesting to see how the corporations work on an individual level. I hope you have fun working there!

  2. Interesting post, Ashley. I welcome Urban Outfitters to our city and think it sets a great model for other retailers. There is room in Portland for local businesses and national ones, as is the case in most every city. We should not limit ourselves to only local-small businesses for the benefit of visitors and at the expense of the people who live here. It is great that they have spruced up a beautiful old building in the heart of the city instead of building a more temporary and uninspiring suburban structure out by the mall. An obvious plus of well-designed beautiful buildings is that they can have many uses throughout their life (bank, restaurant, clothing store, housing, etc). Anyhow, your job sounds awesome!

  3. Great post ashley... cant wait to check out the new store :)))


  4. i'm excited to shop at urban - at the very least it's a way to support local employees like yourself! ;)

  5. thank you everyone! i am excited about it and glad others are too! and yes, the building is so beautiful and this is just another story for it to tell.