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DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine – When the historic buildings of Dover-Foxcroft’s Mayo Wool Mill transformed into a mixed-use complex with a boutique, inn, cafe, residences and offices in 2015, the town acquired a major attraction.

“It was the jewel in the crown, and everyone was thrilled that it prospered,” said Brenda Schultz, who lives in the city and owns five Airbnb properties there. “We’ve had such a depressed economy here for a long time. And here is something very beautiful.

While the renovated complex overlooking the Piscataquis River, known as The Mill, kept the apartments and offices in operation, the Inn and Cafe closed in 2020 due to labor and labor shortages. COVID-19 challenges.

Today, The Mill is preparing to reopen its accommodation and restaurant and bring the city back to life. New management teams hope to attract more visitors to the area, helping Dover-Foxcroft build a reputation as a travel destination in the heart of Maine and boost the morale of residents.

Discover Maine, a Portland-based travel concierge and event planning company, will operate the hostel, which plans to reopen on November 1. Schultz will take over The Mill Cafe, which is expected to reopen at the end of this month.

The Mill Cafe in Dover-Foxcroft will reopen in late October. Brenda Schultz, who will lead the company, redesigned the space, hoping it will bring new life to the community. Credit: Courtesy of Brenda Schultz

The accommodation will have a similar feel to Airbnb, where guests can check-in on their own, but the management team will work behind the scenes to personalize their stays, said Rachel Sagiroglu, Founder and Director of Experience.

Customers may, for example, want to plan a weekend getaway to a quiet town and combine it with a dining experience or beer tasting, Sagiroglu noted. The company strives to make these options available, as well as other optional add-ons that customers might want, such as champagne and welcome gifts.

“We are going to have a place in the community and make this community more dynamic,” she said. “We want this to be successful. “

Experience Maine meets many clients who want to visit the state’s most popular and instagrammable destinations, but the company has started to encourage travel to more low-key places that still offer memorable things to do. Sagiroglu noted that Dover-Foxcroft is centrally located, not far from outdoor adventures at Moosehead Lake, Baxter National Park, and Acadia National Park.

“It’s good to now have the ability to lead people to a place that we touch,” said Sagiroglu. “If we can bring more visibility to the interior of Maine and to these sweet, quaint towns that are all within an hour’s drive, I think that’s huge.”

Armanda Davis, Senior Travel Advisor for Experience Maine, sees Dover-Foxcroft as a second home. She has family in town, and growing up spent vacations and school vacations in the region, often on Lake Sebec.

“I have always been passionate about promoting tourism in the region, but I never expected to do it in this capacity,” she said. “Managing the mill is a project that has just fallen into my hands, and I am very happy to have the opportunity to get the hostel back up and running. “

Schultz said the Mill Cafe will be open seven days a week, but with limited hours for the first few weeks, and will serve artisanal coffee and tea, as well as baked goods.

Inasmuch as Airbnb ownerSchultz has heard from guests that they enjoyed their stay but wished there were more amenities in the area. As of around April, there has been no local cafe in town, which is important to travelers and town residents, she said.

Travelers will soon be able to book a room at The Mill at Dover-Foxcroft, a resort that includes a boutique inn, cafe, apartments and offices. The inn and cafe are preparing to reopen under new management. Credit: Catherine Frost / Folio Marketing & Creation

“I want to bring culture and a sense of life to the city and make it a hub, a place to go and relax, and [to] really raising the standard of living in this city, ”she said.

Schultz, who was born and raised in Dover-Foxcroft but spent 30 years as a graphic designer in California, renovates all of her properties with the help of her husband, Robert Stevens. She travels to New York City to handpick unique furniture – a strategy she also executed at the cafe.

Guests can expect to enjoy their drinks surrounded by comfortable leather armchairs and ottomans, Persian rugs, and custom-made cherry and oak side tables from Schultz’s half-brother, Zack Dow. There is also a lot of greenery, offered by community members, to brighten up the space. A local art curator, Sher Pierson, will select and display works by local artists, which will be available to customers for purchase.

Schultz bought coffee equipment from Lori Sharrow, who owned a local cafe and will roast the beans for the coffee.

“I enjoy collaborating with other people who I think are really talented,” said Schultz, pointing to Sharrow’s knowledge of best practices for roasting and beverage manufacturing.

Ultimately, Schultz hopes to expand the coffee supply. She meets with local restaurants and businesses to serve them their food during lunch hours. She wants to organize wine and beer tastings, weekend markets and live shows with local musicians.

“Everywhere I go, people stop me and ask me when it’s going to open and when can they come in,” she said. “I am really happy to do something important for our city and its people.

This file photo shows construction crews working on the former Moosehead Manufacturing and Mayo plant in Dover-Foxcroft as part of the Riverfront redevelopment project. Credit: Ashley L. Conti / BDN

Christian Arnold, the Kansas City, Missouri-based architect who designed the renovation of The Mill, is excited about the reopening of the inn and cafe. He says the new leadership teams have a solid reputation and “a collective vision of untapped potential”.

“Our hope from the start of this project was that like-minded visionaries would join us in creating a special palace in Dover-Foxcroft,” he said. “It finally seems to be happening.”

Le Moulin has six rooms available at the inn. Once open, those interested in booking a stay can visit the website or find availability on other major travel sites.

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