DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The founder of Tradewinds Markets plans to demolish and rebuild a convenience store and gas station in Dover-Foxcroft as the new owner of the property.
Tradewinds Market founder Chuck Lawrence will replace Fox Brook Variety with a Tradewinds Variety store. The original name of the Dover-Foxcroft mainstay may be incorporated somehow, he said.
Fox Brook Variety owners and siblings Steve Boyd and Karen Jankunas announced on Facebook last week that the business would be closing at the end of June after 30 years in the family.
Tradewinds Market convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations are found across Maine, and Lawrence has built and sold many stores over the years. Lawrence — who owns Tradewinds Shop ‘n Save in Calais and Tradewinds Market Place in Blue Hill with his wife, Belinda Lawrence — plans to tear down Fox Brook Variety during the second week of July and open the new store in early December, he said. This is the latest business to be purchased in Dover-Foxcroft from longtime owners and converted to a local chain store.
Earlier in the spring, Jeremy and Jason Edwards bought Will’s Shop ‘n Save and made it the newest Edwards Brothers Supermarkets, which has locations in Trenton and Unity.
Patrons can expect to find products in Tradewinds similar to what’s available at Fox Brook Variety with some new offerings, and the space will be more modern and resemble other Tradewinds stores, he said.
When Lawrence heard that Boyd and Jankunas were selling Fox Brook Variety, he saw an opportunity for another Tradewinds in Piscataquis County. Residents don’t have many options for similar stores on that side of town, he said.
Lawrence sold 10 convenience stores in the Bangor market about two years ago. He isn’t allowed to build a new location within a 30-mile radius of those stores, but the property at 251 East Main St. in Dover-Foxcroft falls just outside of that, he said.
Lawrence has a purchase and sale agreement with the owners of Fox Brook Variety, he said.
The town’s zoning board of appeals unanimously approved Lawrence’s request for a variance of 10 feet on the property during a meeting Thursday, though one member did not attend, Code Enforcement Officer Brian Gaudet said.
Instead of the new convenience store being built 15 feet from the property line, it would be 5 feet from the line, Gaudet said. This would allow more room for adequate parking in front of the store, meaning patrons won’t be so close to the gas pumps, he said.
While Lawrence will purchase and own the property, John Arcaro of Dragon Fly Farm in Sebec will be his business partner, Lawrence said. Arcaro will serve as the store manager.
The new convenience store will have a staff of 10 to 12 people, he said. Lawrence recommends that employees of Fox Brook Variety apply for the new positions if they’re interested in working at the same location that they’re used to.
The Lawrences began building the Tradewinds chain in 1999, and their first location was in Blue Hill.
There are 14 Tradewinds stores across Maine, according to the website. The ones in Blue Hill, Calais, Clinton and Milo are locally owned. Others, including Hampden, Ellsworth and car washes in Bangor and Brewer, are owned by Energy North Group.
Energy North Group, based in Massachusetts, purchased Tradewinds convenience stores in eight communities in Maine in September 2020, according to the Associated Press.