Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: October 19, 2023

After devastating fires, these Maine business sites plan to rise from the ashes

Sarah Thompson / PenBay Pilot A major fire along the Port Clyde waterfront on Sept. 28 destroyed several businesses.

A massive blaze on the Port Clyde waterfront destroyed the General Store, the Dip Net restaurant, a Wyeth gallery and the Monhegan ferry terminal.

In every case, the owners have vowed to rebuild.

But that fire is just one of the setbacks suffered by Maine businesses in the past 18 months. 

Here's a look at four different fires and the plans for rebuilding.

Port Clyde waterfront businesses

Facebook / Dick Nixon
The aftermath of the fire on the Port Clyde waterfront, showing the Port Clyde General Store and, at left, Linda Bean's Maine Wyeth Art Gallery.

A fire on Sept. 27-28 gutted the Port Clyde General Store, the Wyeth gallery, the Dip Net restaurant and the terminal for the Monhegan Boat Line. In each case, there's been a pledge to repair and reconstruct, as Mainebiz reported Oct. 2.

Linda Bean, who owns the General Store and the Wyeth gallery, said "my hope is to restore the premises and resume its businesses and jobs there as fully and as soon as possible."

The Dip Net said in a social media post it plans to rebuild. The Monhegan Boat Line, which handles the mail delivery and passenger service to the Monhegan island, also said it intended to rebuild the terminal building, all the while continuing its services. 

Tiny home manufacturing

Photo / Fred Field
Corinne Watson, owner and co-founder of Houlton-based Tiny Homes of Maine.

At Tiny Homes of Maine in Houlton, a fire on Sept. 19 destroyed leased space where homes were being manufactured. Owner Corrine Watson posted on Instagram that, despite the fire, the company's delivery of tiny homes was only slowed not stopped.

Watson told Mainebiz by email that the firm has found an alternate site.

"Unfortunately, the facility we were leasing space in burned down Sept 19, 2023, and we lost just about everything," Watson reported. "The past few weeks have been difficult, but we have secured a new facility in Dyer Brook, about 30 minutes south of our previous location in Houlton. We are optimistic about our new space and we'll have our employees come back to work on Oct 30."

Ice cream production

File / Skowhegan Fire Department
Skowhegan firefighters on the scene after a fire at the Gifford's Ice Cream plant in Skowhegan on Feb. 2, 2023.

At Gifford's Ice Cream in Skowhegan, on Feb. 2, a major fire in a production area that produces certain ice cream lines was destroyed.

For the past several months, production of certain ice cream flavors has been handled by third-party partners. In recent days, CEO Lindsay Skilling told Mainebiz that the factory operations are expected to come back on line by the end of this year. 

"The damage from the fire back in February to our Skowhegan factory was extensive. It’s taken time to clean and assess, and now we’re on the road to rebuilding our factory and really excited about getting to a place where we can start making our ice cream again," Skilling said in an email to Mainebiz.

"We’re not quite there yet and have been taking things day by day, but if everything continues moving as scheduled (not a guarantee) we plan on beginning to make ice cream at our factory by the end of the year."

Courtesy / Gifford's Ice Cream
Lindsay Skilling, CEO of Gifford's Ice Cream

Gifford's outsourced production of certain ice cream flavors and Skilling hopes to have that work done in-house in the near future. 

"Our plan is to start with a smaller production line while we continue to build out the dairy, and start making the flavors our partner co-packers simply haven’t been able to make. Those are the flavors that only Gifford’s can make — the ones that our partners aren’t able to duplicate because the process we use to make certain bases and ripples can only be made in house.

"After that, we will slowly begin to make the flavors our co-packers are currently making in order to build our inventories for all of our distribution channels."

A potato processing plant

At Penobscot McCrum in Belfast, a massive fire on March 24, 2022, destroyed a potato processing plant on the waterfront.

On the first anniversary of the fire, the company said in a Facebook that it decided against rebuilding in Belfast. Much of work for that plant had already shifted to a McCrum facility in Washburn, in Aroostook County. In the Facebook post, HR director Dayna McCrum said the company's plan was to expand in Washburn.

"At this time, we have decided to expand our manufacturing in Washburn and making a significant investment in that facility. This investment will allow us to continue to work closely with growers and suppliers in Aroostook County whom we are already working with at our facility," McCrum said in the March 24 post.

"We know that us choosing to not rebuild in Belfast will have an impact but we feel continuing to invest in Washburn and in Aroostook County is a great opportunity for us. We pray that our comeback will be greater than our setback and that we will forever hold the memories and people that we met in Belfast with us as we continue on with our story."

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF