RUMFORD, Maine — Customers in Rumford are mourning the closure of Marden’s, the first time one of the chain’s stores have closed in nearly 60 years of business.

The company says the decision to close the Marden’s store in Rumford had nothing to do with sales and everything to do with ongoing and unresolved safety concerns that put customers and employees at risk.

On Thursday, customers showed up at the Rumford Marden’s, not realizing the store closed for good on Wednesday.

“Well, I had no idea it was closing. I’m really surprised,” customer Bob Bryant said.

Marden’s says the building is no longer safe for their customers and employees and puts the blame squarely on the landlord.

The Marden family says, “Our hands were tied by the landlord’s inaction to deal with ongoing major safety concerns.”

“The roof has been progressively failing for years,” Marden’s General Manager Craig Burgess said.

He says the biggest issues were a leaky roof and a parking lot that often wasn’t safe to walk on in the winter.

“Despite really many years of trying to get it resolved, we finally said enough’s enough. We can’t guarantee the safety of our customers,” Burgess said.

“I read the sign over there. It says that the owner doesn’t put money into it. He’s not plowing the parking lot. I think the owner ought to pull his head of out his (bleep),” customer Jon Ames said.

“You’d think that he would make an effort to fix that roof. Because look at the rent that he’s losing,” customer Priscilla Hodgkins said.

Like many customers, Hodgkins and her niece come to Marden’s for the bargains. The next closest Marden’s is an hour away.

“It’s going to hurt the community a lot,” customer Linda Merrill said.

Employees of other stores in the shopping center say they have the same problems. Customers also see the issues.

“You know, once in a while you see a bucket where the water’s running. But you see that in a lot of older buildings,” Bryant said.

CBS13 reached out to the landlord, based in Caribou, but have not heard back.

Rumford Economic Development Director George O’Keefe says he’s been trying to work with the landlord on the maintenance of the building, hoping to prevent what happened.

“We really, really love Marden’s,” O’Keefe said. “And for us, it’s really hard to think of Rumford without them. And so, we’re going to try and find a way to help them stay.”

“We’d love to still be in Rumford,” Burgess said. “And if there is a location that works for us, we certainly will look at it.”

As for Rumford store employees, they’ve been offered the option to transfer to other Marden’s locations. Those who don’t want to relocate will be given a separation package based on their years of service.