If you're going to have a grand re-opening celebration, there's no better way than to go back in time to when you first opened almost 50 years ago. That's what Oxford Plaza in the town of Oxford, Maine, is doing.

Having grown up in the Oxford Hills, the opening of the Oxford Plaza was a big deal for me and everyone else in the area. As businesses started to fill the vacancies in the new shopping center, it quickly became the place that everyone shopped at. The anchors of Ames department store and Smith's Shop 'n Save grocery store were big competition to Woolworth's Department store in South Paris and the Norway downtown shopping district.

Here's what Ames looked like for its grand opening.

And here's what the same space looks like today. It's now the home of Ocean State Job Lot.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Here's the list of original stores that I can recall when the Oxford Plaza was fully open in 1978:

  • Ames (Anchor Store)
  • Smith's Shop 'n Save (Anchor Store)
  • Hobbs' Discount Clothing
  • Books 'N Things
  • Conversation "Speaking of Clothes"
  • The Ocean Pearl Restaurant
  • Wellby Super Drug

Of all those businesses, The Ocean Pearl is the only original that remains.

Now, the owners of the Oxford Plaza are having a grand re-opening celebration that happens to coincide with the opening of Harbor Freight in the former Shop 'N Save anchor space, which has also been occupied by Flagship Cinemas in the past.

The party is on June 25 from 2-5 p.m. at Oxford Plaza, and it will feel like 1977 with a magician, balloons, a bounce house, and lots of gift cards and prizes to be raffled off.
Burgers and ice cream will be at the price they were in 1977. It sounds like a good time for everyone in the family. There's a Facebook event here that you can add to your calendar so you don't forget.

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