WESTBROOK – Many residents in Westbrook may not realize the retail chain Olympia Sports extends down much of the East Coast, or that its headquarters in the Five Star Industrial Park.
Nonetheless, the company appears ready to strengthen its commitment to the city.
According to City Administrator Jerre Bryant, Olympia is considering expanding its Westbrook facility by 45,000 square feet to accommodate the growth it has seen through the past 10 years.
To aid that project, the company asked the city to extend its tax increment financing district for another 15 years.
During a Feb. 4 City Council meeting, Paul Fitzpatrick, director of operations and distribution at Olympia Sports, said there are 226 stores from Maine to Virginia and the company planned on continuing to expand by 20 new stores per year over the next five years and may expand into Ohio and the Carolinas.
The TIF was unanimously approved by the council. It will go into effect on July 1, 2014, and splits the tax advantages 75 percent to the city and 25 percent to Olympia. If the new expansion were built, the distribution would return to the 50-50 split where it stands now. The TIF could yield a potential positive financial impact for Westbrook of $976,388 through the 15 years, according to Bryant.
Olympia Sports purchased its building in Westbrook in 2002 because of the easy access to the Maine Turnpike, making travel easier for commuters and a truck fleet. Since then, the company closed an office in Yarmouth and distribution center in Portland and combined them into the new space, adding an additional floor.
While Joanne Kenny, assistant to the director of stores, did not comment specifically this week on the expansion, she did say the building has “potential for expansion.”
“Having over 200 employees that all live locally is a responsibility we do not take lightly,” said Kenny. “Our employees are patrons of local restaurants, stores, banks, gas stations, etc., favorable for the local economy. I can’t really think of any downsides to being part of this community.”
Kenny said company operates a clothing bank that has provided new footwear and clothing to Westbrook families in need and has held company food drives that benefited families at Thanksgiving.