October 3rd, 2012 is a day that — for most people in Fort Kent — is impossible to forget.
Carl Theriault, previous owner of Valley Auto said, ”I came in, got into my office, got my things organized and somebody yelled fire, fire”
Paul Bouchard of Fort Kent says, “from my house I could see a below of smoke into the air..it was a major, major fire.”
A devastating fire that began in the attic of the Valley Auto Car Dealership quickly burned the building to the ground. And though Valley Auto was back in business within days…the fire left a huge hole in downtown Fort Kent…
Steven Pelletier, President of Pelletier Ford and Valley Motors says, ”Nobody knew what the future would be, including myself.. so we’re very fortunate to be here today..this is just the beginning..and hopefully we have many years of success..”
Now, exactly one year later, that hole has been filled.
A ribbon cutting ceremony marked the grand opening of the Valley Motors dealership under owner Steven Pelletier in Valley Auto’s old location in the heart of downtown Fort Kent. Hundreds of community members came to witness such a great — including Valley Auto’s former owner, Carl Theriault..who sold the business just months ago.
Theriault says, “emotionally its hard, there was two months of real soul searching there for a while because I put 15 years into this and it turned around and it was a good prospering business, had great customers, great employers, great community support, so that’s hard to let that go..but at the same time I thought this might be the right thing.”
Keeping this business alive — that’s been around for almost 100 years — took lots of hard work. But community members agree that the repairs and new construction (that’s still not completely done) is worth it, to save jobs and keep generating traffic in the area.
Don Guimond, town manager, says ”it’s an indication of the can do spirit in our community, and it bodes well not just for this facility but the entire community as well its that energy that it creates that’s critically important.”
Fort Kent Chief Ed Endee says, ”it just shows how the community of Fort Kent can come together and persevere in hard times.”
That resilience that this town is so well known for.