CARIBOU, Maine — When longtime enterprise house owners determine to maneuver on, it’s not simple for newcomers to maintain the institution’s character whereas making an attempt new issues.
That’s very true in a state the place 80 p.c of companies are family-owned and youthful generations are more and more selecting to not take over household companies. Most just lately, the well-known Aroostook companies Hogan Tire and Theriault Tools had been bought to out-of-state corporations, however with the brand new house owners vowing to maintain the identical native household vibes.
In Caribou, the most recent retailers say they need to keep the character of the companies they acquired, preserving a number of the metropolis’s character.
When Richard and Sandy Bechard determined to go away the restaurant enterprise, they quickly realized that their successors weren’t too distant. In reality, they had been Friday night time regulars and members of the family.
John Rossignol and Richard Bechard are first cousins. Rossignol and his spouse Rae, who dwell in Woodland, had contemplated beginning a restaurant since shifting again to Aroostook 20 years in the past, however that by no means panned out.
At this time, the Rossignols personal Bechard’s Grille at Caribou’s Skyway Plaza. It’s been fairly the busy final three weeks as they transition to new roles, however effectively well worth the custom they’re persevering with.
“We knew we might hold the identify [Bechard’s] as a result of it’s a household enterprise,” Rae Rossignol mentioned on Tuesday, when the restaurant reopened to the general public.
The Rossignols have plans to offer Bechard’s their private touches, together with a Saturday morning breakfast menu, including deejay and band nights, holding paint and sip occasions and an area for Rae to promote ceramics and different art work.
However with the Bechards staying on till November, the Rossignols are studying how one can put together the restaurant’s well-known pizza, scallops, subs, poutines and different specials whereas reassuring locals that not a lot is completely different.
“Folks have been glad to see that the menu has not modified. It’s the identical Bechard’s they knew and liked three weeks in the past,” Rae Rossignol mentioned.
Richard and Sandy Bechard first opened the Caribou Bechard’s in 2019 after relocating their enterprise from Van Buren. They are going to be “snowbirds” in Florida this winter and are relieved to see their enterprise thrive underneath acquainted house owners.
“It’s nice to have a household legacy proceed,” Sandy Bechard mentioned. “Folks love this place and now they don’t have to fret about it stopping.”
Not all companies are handed down between households, however different younger entrepreneurs in Caribou are nonetheless dedicated to conserving their companies’ particular characters.
In Might, Kevin and Kelly Godin took over Wardwell’s Service on Herschel Road after earlier house owners Rod and Kim Wardwell retired. The Godins have since renamed the automotive store Godin’s Service.
Godin’s has a protracted historical past in Caribou. The enterprise first opened within the Eighties as Roland’s Service, named after proprietor Roland St. Peter, who died in 2012. Rod and Kim Wardwell took over in 2007 after St. Peter bought the enterprise.
Kevin Godin has liked fixing vehicles since he was a baby. After graduating from Caribou Excessive College in 2011, he labored for the native Ford dealership after which at Wardwell’s. When the Wardwells retired, he and Kelly jumped on the probability to personal the store.
“We’ve mainly stored all the things besides the identify,” Kevin Godin mentioned.
Godin’s has stored the identical providers as Wardwell’s, together with automobile pick-ups and drop-offs and factory-brand oil filters and synthetics. They are going to quickly put up a brand new exterior signal bearing their identify and improve their constructing’s facade.
Aside from that, clients mustn’t anticipate main modifications.
“We now have clients who’ve been coming right here since Roland, so we didn’t need to make issues extra completely different than they needed to be,” Kevin Godin mentioned.
A dedication to native clients additionally motivates Ben Adams of Houlton, who took over the Plourde & Plourde snowmobile dealership on Laurette Road in Caribou final September.
Adams acquired Plourde & Plourde from earlier proprietor Bob Plourde, who bought the store from his father’s enterprise associate, Leo Kieffer, in 1971. Adams, a Caribou native, has owned Houlton PowerSports for 25 years.
Since taking on Plourde & Plourde, which he plans to rename, Adams has expanded the store’s stock of snowmobiles, ATVs, elements and providers and added side-by-side ATV and snowmobile rental providers.
Caribou is one among The County’s hottest areas for snowmobile and ATV driving, Adams mentioned. Finally he desires to both construct or purchase a brand new store nearer to the paths to raised serve locals and guests.
“It’s a cool alternative to offer again and be concerned with the local people,” Adams mentioned. “We’re within the early phases of our development, however the snowmobile neighborhood will probably be a giant a part of that.”