Fort Kent

Valley Trading Post will sell guns and more in Fort Kent

FORT KENT, Maine — The Gardner family of St. Francis will soon be operating a second family business. 

Jolene Gardner is proprietor of Labels clothing store in Fort Kent and her husband Dana is preparing to open Valley Trading Post, a licensed firearms dealership in the same Main Street building that houses Labels.

“I’ll be more the gun guy and she’ll be more the clothing guy,” Dana Gardner said. 

Daughter Kaylee Gardner, 24, is co-owner of Labels, and son Nicholas Gardner, 18, will be helping out at Valley Trading Post. 

Dana Gardner said he was inspired to open the business because the St. John Valley lacks gun dealerships. “There’s a big demand for it, I have found in the past few weeks,” he said. 

However, firearms related inventory has been hard to come by as most wholesale distributors are out of stock, he added. 

Gardner attributes the difficulty in acquiring guns and ammunition to a lack of manufacturing due to COVID-19 as well as a demand for firearms during uncertain times in our country. 

“We don’t have to worry about looting up here, but take these people in the cities, they’ve got to think about it,” he said. “They want self-protection.”

Gardner was able to acquire a dozen rifles and shotguns from a friend who owns a gun shop downstate. He has one box of ammunition for each of the firearms. 

He is planning to increase his firearms inventory, which will also include handguns. Valley Trading Post will also sell knives, hunting and fishing equipment and an assortment of collectable items such as coins, old guitars, trading cards and concert posters.

“Just old and cool stuff for man caves and what not,” Dana Gardner said. 

The Gardners plan to hold an official grand opening celebration of Valley Trading Post in the near future. 

“We’re just trying to get by in northern Maine,” Dana Gardner said. “If it doesn’t work out, I’ll have a lot of guns so it’s a win-win.” 

Labels and Valley Trading Post are located at 143 West Main St. in Fort Kent. For more information about either business call 207-834-1103.

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