HARBOR—On paper, it’s a simple transaction: The only ice cream
store in town will change hands at the end of the summer.
The J.M. Gerrish store, a favorite for locals
and summer visitors for breakfast, lunch and ice cream, will
add upscale groceries to its offerings when it change hands on
STAFF PHOTO BY KATHERINE
street, it’s a much bigger deal.
buzzing about the pending sale of the J.M. Gerrish store by F.
Eugene “Fitz” Dixon, a lifelong summer resident, to Roxanne Quimby,
a relative newcomer.
and Quimby, 53, are part-time residents and major property owners
in town. Each already owns one of the town’s biggest
businesses—Dixon the IGA grocery store and Quimby the Mama’s Boy
store and the restaurant share a common waterfront view from their
Main Street locations on the bay.
share a common dream for Winter Harbor.
his sole interest in selling to Quimby is to preserve having “a
place in town where you can buy an ice cream,” he said.
kind of place that Quimby, her son and his girlfriend have in mind
for Winter Harbor, too.
made her fortune in the Burt’s Bees line of 150 natural
personal-care products, will take ownership of the J.M. Gerrish
store on Sept. 15. A Winter Harbor resident for about five years,
she is known for her extensive landholdings in Aroostook County,
where she wants to establish the Maine North Woods as a national
divides her time between Winter Harbor and Durham, N.C., where
Burt’s Bees has its headquarters. She will leave the store’s
management to Lucas St. Clair, her son, and Jennifer Amara, who
are her business partners in Quimby’s Winter Harbor ventures.
Gerrish store has been a seasonal ice cream parlor and eatery
through the decades. Dixon has owned Gerrish’s store for about 12
investment, the store was a flop,” Dixon said on Monday during an
interview at the groundbreaking ceremonies in Ellsworth for the
Maine Coast Memorial Hospital expansion, for which he is a $2
“But as a
place where you can buy ice cream, it still exists, and will
continue to exist.
But the feel
of stepping into J.M. Gerrish’s will, if only slightly.
Sawyer’s Market in Southwest Harbor, or Bar Harbor Provisions in
Bar Harbor: That’s what St. Clair and Amara have in mind.
manage Mama’s Boy, which reopened last month with an expanded
building, a payroll of 36 employees and seating for 98 for dinner
assistance of managers, they will handle the day-to-day business
of Gerrish’s when it reopens next May.
approached Quimby late last month about buying Gerrish’s store. On
June 29, after Quimby tentatively agreed to the sale, Dixon met
with St. Clair and Amara.
believes in Lucas and I, and was impressed with what we have done
with Mama’s Boy,” Amara said.
been here since he was very young, and he’s very particular about
the town. He wants it to remain true to how it was when he was
that we have rebuilt the restaurant in good taste, he believes we
run a business well, and he’d like Gerrish’s to be in our hands.”
The deal was
sealed with a downpayment.
managers are Glenn and Megan Moshier, who are in their third
season of operating the business.
above the store with their young son. With the sale on Sept. 15,
they will be looking for new living space in addition to new jobs.
have had the option to buy the building and business from Dixon
all along, but declined again this latest time, before Dixon
turned to Quimby.
who likes to have lunch at Gerrish’s, and Amara may use the
upstairs apartment for themselves. Other options are using it for
restaurant staff housing, or else as a weekly rental.
add the word ‘Provisions’ to the J.M. Gerrish name. They will keep
ice cream, and will add upscale grocery items such as cheese,
wine, pastries and cappuccino.
end, Dixon’s wife Edith on Monday wrote a letter to the town’s
residents, explaining the sale. She wrote, in part: “The Dixons
purchased Gerrish’s to maintain its tradition in Winter Harbor.
They wanted to ensure that residents and visitors to town would be
able to enjoy an ice cream just as they had for years before. …
the Dixons are pleased to find that Roxanne, Lucas and Jen are
sensitive to the needs of Winter Harbor and will work to preserve
its’ traditions. It will be wonderful to have JM Gerrish continue
as it has been.”
Clair: “We think the store will be a great asset for the town, and
we will continue to maintain its original character. People have
fond memories of the way it was, and we want to keep that feel.
“We’d like to
thank Mr. Dixon for thinking that we can continue in the tradition
and for letting us have this opportunity.”