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Masardis woman scores grant to help open convenience store

MASARDIS, Maine — LouAnne Deabay of Masardis has received a $50,000 micro-enterprise grant under the Maine Community Development Block Grant program to open what would be the only food store on Route 11 between Patten and Ashland.  

With the $50,000 micro-enterprise grant and a $45,000 loan from the Northern Maine Development Commission, Deabay is hoping to make the Mama Lou’s convenience store a reality by the end of the year.

“It’s been a dream of mine to own my own business. When my oldest son graduated from high school, I decided I would do this,” Deabay said.

Masardis has been without a convenience store since a fire destroyed a similar business in 2014. Deabay said she thinks there is strong demand for a food store serving lumber millworkers, truckers, commuters, hunters and others passing through the Route 11 town of Masardis. The town is home to Maibec, the largest sawmill in Aroostook County, and the municipal government signed on to help her secure the grant.

Deabay was originally hoping to have the new store built and open by the start of bear hunting season, but is now aiming to have it open by year’s end as she secures a location. The deadline for using the grant funding will be November, she said.

Deabay said she is currently working to buy a quarter-acre lot abutting her home, which she said would be the ideal location. If that doesn’t pan out, she is hopeful of finding another location in town.

According to her grant application, the store will be the only food store within a 44 mile stretch between Patten to the south and Ashland to the north. Under the grant, the store also will have to employ two workers.

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