Ari Ray works Tuesday at the newly reopened Village Trading Post in Minot. Ray worked at the store before it burned down and is thrilled to be back at work. She says she had been a customer at the store since she was a little kid and especially enjoyed the bakery. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

More than two years after a devastating fire destroyed the Village Trading Post in Minot, the owners have rebuilt and reopened, to the joy of many local residents, commuters and skiers heading up to the resorts.

“We missed the camaraderie the last two years,” Elle McGowan said Tuesday. She and her husband, Dave, officially reopened Nov. 20, and they have been very busy ever since.

On Sept. 11, 2021, fire gutted the old Village Trading Post, a building that dated to the late 1800s and was once an inn. The general store, a small post office outlet and an apartment on the second floor were destroyed by the fire, the cause of which remains undetermined due to the extent of the damage, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The general store and a new apartment were rebuilt, and gas pumps are awaiting final approval by the fire marshal’s office.

After a destructive fire in 2021, the Village Trading Post in Minot reopened in November with a smaller, more functional layout. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Elle McGowan says they are fortunate to have six of their former employees return to work, and while it’s enough to get up and running, she says they could still use a couple of good workers to round out their staff.

Employees were paid for the first year after the fire, covered by insurance. The second year they were eligible for unemployment.


The post office won’t return, but the bakery and kitchen are fully operational. McGowan said it’s a little smaller than the old building, but is more functional, even if it did take longer than expected to complete.

“We’re very happy with everything,” she said, “the quality of work is amazing. We are very happy.”

Nobody was injured in the fire, which police said started around 9 a.m. and owner Dave McGowan was able to get all the employees out of the building.

The couple renting the apartment also got out unharmed, although they lost everything in the fire. Fortunately, the couple found a house to rent a few weeks after the fire in Minot, Elle McGowan said.

Contractors for GoNetspeed work Jan. 19 in Auburn. The company is preparing to bring fiber-optic internet service to the Lisbon area in early 2024. Steve Collins/Sun Journal file

GoNetspeed fiber-optic internet service coming to Lisbon

GoNetspeed Tuesday announced that construction is underway to bring high-speed fiber-optic internet service to Lisbon. More than 2,200 residents and businesses will have access to equal upload and download speeds through the service, ranging from 300 megabits per second to 1 gigabit.


Residents are expected to have access to service by the beginning of 2024 with construction expected to be completed by the end of this winter.

Fiber-optic internet service is considered superior to internet delivered via cable or digital subscriber lines (telephone lines). It is connected with a dedicated service to each home, not a shared service like cable. Fiber-optic delivers a superfast connection using light signals, which don’t degrade over distance. Security is also enhanced by fiber-optic, which does not radiate its signal the way copper does, making it much more difficult to tap or hack.

GoNetspeed serves residential and business customers in Maine, Alabama, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia. The company claims to be one of the largest independent internet providers in the East.

For more information about GoNetspeed, or to inquire about service in your area, visit


Brazilian steak house planned for former Yvette’s Cocina on Main Street


The Lewiston City Council enjoyed a moment of levity Tuesday evening after approving the liquor license application for a new restaurant called Food Taste at 413 Main St. The applicant, owner Rita Ferreira, let out a scream of joy after the 7-0 vote, which some councilors at first thought was someone upset. City clerk Kathleen Montejo quickly explained Ferreira had never applied for a liquor license before and was simply happy.

Now, Ferreira is turning her attention to opening what she said will be a Brazilian-style steakhouse, called a churrascaria in Portuguese, with a buffet-style service. The restaurant will feature seating for 50, full bar service with wine, beer and spirits and two dining rooms.

Ferreira is a native of Angola, a former Portuguese colony, and she says she operated a restaurant in Luanda, the capital city.

Ferreira still needs to complete her licensing requirements with the state and city, but she hopes to be open early in the new year, serving lunch and dinner seven days a week.

The Buzz offers quick hits about trending area business happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact business writer Christopher Wheelock at 689-2817 or

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