Looking for CeX in Portland?

Yes, that’s a “C,” just to be absolutely clear.

CeX is the shiny new store on Exchange Street in Portland’s Old Port – you can’t miss it, it’s bright red. (Please, no jokes about a red-light district….)

CeX is a bit different from the boutiques, touristy shops, galleries and other Old Port standards. The store sells used electronics – DVDs, phones, video game consoles, video games, CDs, computers, etc.

It’s part of a UK chain, is the first one in Maine and the second one in New England – with the first on Winter Street in Boston. Other U.S. stores include two in NYC, one in Philly, two in San Francisco and one in Berkeley – so Portland’s apparently in rarified company.

According to the CeX site, the company was founded in 1992, and now has locations in Spain, Ireland and the U.S., too. The chain was started by a group of friends, Robert Dudani, Paul Farrington, Hugh Man, Charlie Brooker, Oli Smith and Oliver Ball.

The company’s history is an amusing read:

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away – well, 1992 in London to be exact, as we couldn’t find Tatooine – we had three grand in our back pocket and a firm belief that there is a second hand market for computers, gadgets and video games. Increasing obsolescence was rapidly increasing the need to recycle.

The first CeX (Complete Entertainment Exchange), then known as the easy off the tongue ‘Tottenham Court Road Computer Exchange’ opened in a small shop at the top of Whitfield Street.

Of course, there’s a few entrenched competitors within a stone’s throw of CeX (or is that a throne’s stow, given it’s a British chain?) Bull Moose is up Exchange and around the corner, on Middle Street. That Maine-based chain has 10 locations (eight in Maine, two in New Hampshire), and has been around since 1989 – just a few years longer than CeX.

Bull Moose sells many of the same products – DVDs, games, CDs, etc. – and has a lot more real estate in its Portland store as compared to CeX.

And further up Exchange is Pierre’s of Exchange, an electronics retail store, which sells a bunch of the straight electronics stuff new that CeX sells used.

CeX’s location is fairly primo – right in the busy shop district. Both Bull Moose and Pierre’s are just almost on the fringe of the district, but not really. And they’re both well-established, in the case of Bull  Moose, a destination, really.

The new store also marks another chain making a foray into what’s been a mostly local Old Port market, following suit with Five Guys Burgers and Fries, the soon-to-be-opened (Dec.8, I’m told) Urban Outfitters, and older entrants Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks.