Top Stories

Dow’s Market owners announce store closure

HOULTON, Maine — Another iconic Shiretown business will be shuttering its doors after more than 100 years in operation.

Dow’s Market, one of Houlton’s longest-running businesses, will close its doors effective Friday, Nov. 10, ending 111 years of service to the community. Store owners Reggie and Emily Dow announced their decision on Thursday afternoon.

This view shows the original High Street Grocery, now known as Dow’s Market, when it opened back in 1906. (Joseph Cyr | Pioneer Times)

Emily Dow said the time was right for them to close the store, after unsuccessfully trying to sell it for the past few years.

“We are looking to get back to the basics,” Emily said of her decision to close. “Plus my health is another big reason we are looking to slow down. I think I have worked there every Friday night, except a handful.”

Emily said she already has a full-time job at the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension in Houlton and after suffering a mild stroke this past summer, she is no longer able to keep up with juggling both.

“Business has been healthy, so there is an opportunity for the right person to buy themselves a job and be successful,” she said.

For generations, the convenience store was known as High Street Grocery. The business, located on the corner of High Street and Franklin Avenue, started in 1906 when W.E. Carr opened the store. According to the Aroostook Times newspaper, the forefather of the Houlton Pioneer Times, “W.E. Carr opened a new store on High Street known as High Street Grocery, where he keeps a full line of groceries and can sell at the lowest price. Orders by telephone or otherwise will be promptly attended to and goods will be delivered in any part of the city.”

The Dows took over the business after the store had briefly closed in 2001. The couple re-opened the business in January 2002 under the new name Dow’s Market and expanded the food menu to include burgers, french fries, fried seafood and Mexican specialties.

Customer service has been a part of the Dow’s livelihood for many years before that as the couple operated “The Bus,” a mobile eatery located in downtown Houlton. Emily said between those two businesses, they have seen generations come through their doors.

“We will really miss the customers,” she said. “We would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all of our loyal customers. Some were weekly, others were must stop when they were back in town, and some were daily customers for 16 years.”

The couple will continue operating their catering line of business, making their food from Dow’s Market for business parties, weddings and corporate events. Their hope is that someone still will come forward to buy the business.

Their pizza features a distinctive flavor and crust that separates it from others in the community.

“It’s just the products we use, that people are used to,” she said. “It is a special type of sauce that we use.”

Over the years, the Dows have employed close to 150 employees, many of whom were high school students, and have been in the food business for more than 20 years. The store regularly employs about 14 individuals.

“We have been truly blessed to have so many loyal employees,” she said. “Thank you for being a part of our family and allowing us to be a part of yours for 16 years. We will miss you dearly.”

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.