Caribou area 2020 business year in review (Part 1)

3 years ago

Editor’s note: The following is the first of two articles highlighting some of the top business stories from 2020. This article highlights events from January to June. The second installment will be published Jan. 6.


Aroostook Festival Market, a collaboration between Micmac Farms, the Presque Isle Farmers Market, and the city of Caribou, held a festival market event on Jan. 11 at the Micmac Farms building in Caribou. The event celebrates local farmers, crafters and artisans throughout the region.

Brothers Danny (left) and Nelson Corriveau have owned and operated Reno’s Family Restaurant since 2007, when their brother Reno Corriveau, who founded the restaurant 55 years ago, retired. (Chris Bouchard | Aroostook Republican)

Reno’s Family Restaurant, founded by Renaud “Reno” Corriveau in 1965, celebrated their 55th anniversary of making one-of-a-kind pizzas for people from Aroostook County and beyond.

Playtime Adventures, a recreational facility in Caribou packed with trampolines, arcade games, and a myriad of activities for young children, already saw more than 1,000 visitors just weeks after holding a soft opening in early January.


The Bangor Savings Bank Foundation presented the Dahlgren-Skidgel Farm of Hope with a $2,500 check to assist with the organization’s annual electricity costs. The four-cabin facility is operated by United Veterans of Maine in Caribou and houses homeless veterans and their families.

The Maine Department of Labor held two meetings in Presque Isle for former employees of Sitel, a national call center that closed its doors on Oct. 31, 2019, leaving roughly 100 employees with little time to search for new jobs.

For sixty years, Pat’s Automotive has been a family-run business in Caribou. Pictured here, from left, are business owners Wayne Belanger, his wife Mary Lee Belanger, and their son Scott Belanger. (Chris Bouchard | Aroostook Republican)

Pat’s Automotive, a business on Main Street in Caribou, celebrated 60 years of business. Throughout that time, the business has continued to stay in the family with Patrick Belanger’s son Wayne, his wife Mary Lee, and their Scott operating the full service station and garage.

Burger Boy had their first full day of the season on March 10. The restaurant is under new ownership and features a completely redesigned interior from Boulevard Graphix. Pictured here, from left, are restaurant owner Dustin Mancos, left, and Joe Lapierre, owner of Boulevard Graphix. Staff photo/Chris Bouchard


Burger Boy reopened with a new owner and a fresh coat of paint in early March. Dustin Mancos, a Caribou native who also owns Winnie’s in Presque Isle, purchased the restaurant around the start of the new year, and said that running Burger Boy has been a personal dream for nearly a decade.

The Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce Customer Service Award for February went to Bechard’s Grille in Caribou.

With recent state and federal orders to close non-essential businesses and limiting access to others, Caribou City Council discussed offering assistance to local businesses as they struggled to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Caribou City Council discussed a one-time stimulus package that would give each full-time employee $500 worth of gift cards to local businesses and each permanent part-time employee a card for $250 in an effort to help both employees and businesses amid the pandemic.

A buyer expressed interest in purchasing Caribou’s former Sitel building on Sweden Street, which closed on Oct. 31, 2019, according to Caribou City Manager Dennis Marker.

This map, included in the Caribou City Council packet, shows in yellow a stretch of North Main Street that will be repaired as part of a collaboration between the city, the Maine Department of Transportation, and local contractor Soderberg Construction. (Courtesy of the City of Caribou)

Caribou City Council unanimously awarded a North Main Street mill and fill treatment project to local business Soderberg Construction for $338,675 during a meeting held via the Zoom app.

Cary Medical Center announced that it joined the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, a movement to improve health care for older adults, contributing to a goal of 20 percent of U.S. hospitals and health systems becoming age-friendly by 2020.


Cary Medical Center transitioned from a private security firm to an in-house security force with the goal of enhancing patient and staff safety. The move follows several months of program evaluation, including the input of front line workers and senior leadership.

City Council unanimously approved a one-time $40,000 stimulus package for city employees in the form of gift cards to be spent at local businesses.


Cary Medical Center announced that the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the hospital for in-house COVID-19 testing as the first hospital with such a designation. The state nod means that people tested at Cary will have results within hours as opposed to three days, as the results are determined at the Caribou hospital.

Local real-estate developer Dana Cassidy purchased the former Sitel building in Caribou, which closed its doors last October. Cassidy said he could not yet announce any specific plans for the site at the time, but that he was speaking to two interested leases.

The former Sitel office in Caribou, seem here in 2019. (Chris Bouchard | Aroostook Republican)