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East Brown Cow Welcomes Local Handbag Retailer, Rough & Tumble, to Portland

East Brown Cow and Malone Commercial Brokers are pleased to share that Rough & Tumble has signed a seven-year lease at 178 Middle Street, bringing a popular local retailer to the heart Old Port following their decision to again locate a “Flagship Store” in Portland, Maine. The 2,126-square foot space is located on the ground floor of the iconic brick building at the corner of Market and Middle Streets originally constructed in 1867 and overlooking Tommy’s Park.

Rough & Tumble, established in 2008, is best known for a core collection of understated, utilitarian leather and waxed canvas handbags. Their products are sold nationally in partnership with Garnet Hill and Sundance Catalog and they have grown an international following of handbag collectors. Leathers are sourced primarily from France and Italy. Still, the team has maintained a steadfast commitment to its Maine origins, ensuring the handmade quality the brand is known for.

The new Flagship Store will take the space vacated by Starbucks last year and augment a growing number of local and national brands who have opened doors in the Old Port in recent years including Bella Funk, Madewell, Anthropologie, Athleta, Urban Outfitters, West Elm and others. Situated on the corner of Middle and Exchange streets, Rough & Tumble will benefit from consistently high levels of foot traffic due to the property’s ideal location. The brand plans to use the new location as a base from which to launch partnerships with other Maine makers, designers, and artists to present a curated vision of special works.

"The Rough & Tumble Flagship Store will offer the handbag designs we are most known for. The 1903™, 1904 pack™, Boho, Original City Safari™, and Hobo Pack. This extraordinary location will perform as the perfect platform for one-of-a-kind limited editions; a testing ground for new designs and new materials," said Natasha Durham, company Founder. " For a decade, collectors have been enjoying the online 'Be The Designer' custom process, by which one has access to thousands of design and material combinations to customize a one-of-a-kind R&T handbag. This ‘Be The Designer’ playground will now be available in the store for a unique shopping experience, with a high level of personalized support from our design team."

East Brown Cow acquired 178 Middle Street, known as the Boyd Block, in 2021. The first floor includes two retail spaces currently undergoing renovations with scheduled delivery of those spaces to Rough & Tumble and Bangor Savings Bank this fall. The upper floors were previously underutilized office space and will soon feature brand-new one- and two- bedroom ‘Urban Homes’ as part East Brown Cow’s hospitality offering, The Docent’s Collection. Reservations for this location will open in Winter of 2024. Other Urban Homes featured within The Docent’s Collection are located at 115 Middle Street, 121 Middle Street, and 184 Middle Street (opening Winter 2024).

“This is a unique space that has more recently been occupied by national tenants. Rough & Tumble is an exciting addition to the retail corridor that we have been working to develop along Middle Street,” says Tim Soley, President and CEO of East Brown Cow. “They are an authentic Maine-based retailer who has seen incredible success nationally and internationally. Now customers seeking to experience their flagship location will be able to do so right here in Portland.”

The store is scheduled to open its doors this fall, ahead of the holiday shopping season, seven days a week with a retail address of 176 Middle Street. Specific store hours and additional information will be made available in the coming weeks.

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