Wilbur Senter started from the humble beginnings
of a one room “Specialties
in Dry Goods” store in 1909 to the multi-use building known
today as Senter Place. Decades of change and progress occurred
to keep a family legacy in Brunswick.
Over the last century properties and buildings were purchased, built
and renovated to make room for product to meet demands of an ever
changing economy and community.
Passed on to his son, Alfred M. Senter, the progress did not slow.
Alfred took great pride in the family business. He hired professional
window display artists to adorn the front of Senter Place throughout
the year and Christmas was no exception. People delighted to see
the elaborate decorations for the Christmas season.
Alfred was all about community. Along with the many roles he played
in government and a founding leader in the Brunswick Rotary, Alfred
wanted to adorn the Maine Street that was home to Senter Place. From
his greenhouse in Harpswell Alfred would bring the petunias he started
as seedlings and plant them along the median of Maine Street for
all to enjoy. This planting has become a tradition as the Village
Improvement Association has continued the planting of flowers on
Maine Street for Decades.
As Maine Street retail faltered change came again to Senter’s
Department Store. The building, still owned and operated by family,
began a new transition in 1995. New offices for professional suites
and smaller retail shops were carved out of the 40,000 square foot
building to maintain a Senter presence on Maine Street for the
Mr. Senter, a forward thinking man and never to forget about the
community that supported his family for nearly a century, had a plan
to keep giving back. A Trust was formed where the proceeds from sales
of properties were invested along with any income from the newly
developed multi-use Senter Place that was not used for operating
expenses. A portion of those funds are used annually to make grants
to area non-profit organizations. About $150,000 is granted annually
to nearly 30 different organizations. Since 2002 grants of nearly
$2,000,000 have been awarded.