PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Former Presque Isle Police Chief Matt Irwin is reopening a vacant gas station and convenience store with the aim of being a go-to place for an underserved section of Presque Isle.
Matt and Nicole Irwin recently purchased the vacant gas station property on Parsons Street and are planning to reopen it as the White Dog Market, named for their dog Baxter.
The Irwins are in the midst of renovations and hope to open the store and gas station in mid-June, Matt Irwin said.
“We’ve always been interested in having some kind of a country store,” Irwin said. “This has always been a real good location. This side of Presque Isle is pretty underserved when it comes to convenience and gas, and there’s a lot of activity over here.”
Irwin served as Presque Isle’s police chief from 2011 to 2018 and led an unsuccessful bid for Aroostook County Sheriff. Originally from Ohio, Irwin moved to Maine from Florida for the police chief job.
Nicole Irwin’s family has roots in the Dover-Foxcroft area and she previously directed the Victim Service Center of Orange County in Florida, in addition to volunteer work with northern Maine nonprofits such as the United Way of Aroostook County.
The gas station, operated with a Brewster Farms convenience store, has been closed for more than a year. It left the western side of Presque Isle, host to the Skyway Industrial Park, airport and residential neighborhoods, without a full-service gas station and convenience store.
Irwin said the White Dog Market will have fuel through Sunoco and a traditional convenience store with fresh-made food such as soups, salads, panini-style sandwiches and pizza.
“We’re going to start off with something like 6 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m. and then we’ll see what the demand is later,” Irwin said of the hours.
Irwin said they estimate the store will have as many as 10 employees. Although Presque Isle has a fair number of gas stations and food markets, Irwin said they think there’s some unmet demand.
“We think it’s a good area to be in terms of this sort of a business. A lot of people live and work on this side of town.”