St. John Valley

St. John Valley business year in review (Part 1)

Editor’s note: The following is the first of two stories highlighting some of 2020’s most important and interesting business stories. This article highlights events from January through June. The second installment will be published Jan. 6.


UMFK alum Stephanie Jandreau opened a skincare business in downtown Fort Kent. The licensed aesthetician is a Fort Kent Community High School graduate who offers customers a variety of facial and body treatments.

Northern Maine Development Commission received $500,000 in grant money from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. The funds enabled NMDC to increase lending and investment activity in low-income and economically distressed communities of Aroostook, Washington and northern Penobscot and Piscataquis counties.

Julie Rayder used these swirl screens printed off by Gina Jandreau’s all-girl team using a 3D printer. (Courtesy of Julie Rayder)

Local businesses sponsored chairs to support high school athletics in Fort Kent. Money raised from the chair sponsorships supported the efforts of the Fort Kent Booster Club.


All three Burger King franchises in Aroostook County permanently closed their doors  Saturday, Feb 1. The franchises were located in Houlton, Presque Isle and Caribou. 

Northern Maine Medical Center provided mentorship opportunities for student nurse anesthetists. The mentorship is in partnership with the University of New England’s nurse anesthesia program and is aimed at alleviating a shortage of medical professionals. 

Daigle Oil Company celebrated 65 years of service to people in the St. John Valley.

The company is synonymous with quality service and dependability throughout Aroostook County.


Big Rick’s Burgers and Wings went above and beyond to treat tourists by serving them food outdoors in order to maintain social distancing as the pandemic ramped up last spring. 

Whistle Stop restaurant was one of several businesses that repurposed themselves during the business shutdowns in the spring caused by COVID-19. This restaurant provided meals to seniors. (Courtesy of Whistle Stop)

Whistle Stop restaurant in Fort Kent, while on temporary coronavirus shutdown last spring due to an executive order from Gov. Janet Mills, prepared and delivered free meals to seniors and a few residents with disabilities in the community.

Esthetic Elegance By Emily opened in Fort Kent with a Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting. Owner Emily Marin is a licensed esthetician and offers a variety of skin treatments.

A team of talented fifth-graders from Madawaska Elementary School created a soap screen to help local soap maker and business owner of Nutritious Skin, Julie Rayder, using the school’s 3D printer that was obtained from grant monies. 


Madawaska restaurant Chez Helen served soup and sandwiches to area seniors who might be experiencing food insecurity and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Anderson Family Farm in Fort Kent has grown in success with each harvest since they began three years ago. Front, Kevin Anderson. Back, from left are Haley Anderson, Caleb Anderson and Janice Anderson. (Courtesy of Kevin Anderson)

Anderson Family Farm  proved a successful business venture for owners Kevin and Janice Anderson. The farm recently became licensed to sell its products commercially.

Rock’s Diner in Fort Kent fought back against the business-killing COVID-19 virus with some ingenuity and a popular Maine treat. The restaurant began shipping out homemade whoopie pies to compensate for lost income due to the pandemic. 


Paradis Shop ‘N Save’s corporate office donated $5,000 to the Catholic Charities Maine Food Bank to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pineland Farms Potato Company distributed 4,500 boxes of free food to people in The County. 


Big Rick’s Burgers and Wings in Madawaska received praise from state Sen. Troy Jackson for spearheading a project that has given away more than 550 pizzas to families in need in the Valley. 

Unemployment in Aroostook County doubled during the first full month of the COVID-19 crisis, according to information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The sectors hardest hit by the COVID outbreak included leisure/hospitality, social assistance/healthcare and manufacturing. 




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