FORT KENT, Maine — When Justin Dubois, the manager of Quigley’s Building Supply, decided he wanted to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the business and the grand opening of his new business, Quigley’s Outdoors, he instantly knew he wanted to do something different.
There would be streamers and balloons and giveaways at the 35 West Main St. location, but Dubois said Friday that since the new store would be catering to hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts, he really wanted to start off on the right foot and cater to their tastes.
What better way than by serving wild game?
“I just decided that I didn’t want to go the same old hot dogs and hamburgers route,” said Dubois, speaking of his decision to bring Denny Corriveau, a Massachusetts resident who is nicknamed “ The Wild Cheff,” to his celebration. “I met him last year when he tagged a moose at our store tagging station here. He gave me his card and told me a bit about what he does, and I just kept him in the back of my mind. When this came up, I thought he’d be perfect for us.”
Corriveau has been combining his love of hunting and cooking for more than 25 years, and he has appeared at several events in Maine, including the Maine Sportsman’s Show in Augusta in 2009 and Maine Sportsman’s Night in 2013. The award-winning master chef focuses on meal preparation with wild, free-range and organic ingredients such as venison, moose, duck and deer, according to his website. The chef has developed an extensive line of gourmet spice blends, custom sausage blends, flavored olive oils and more, and he lends his culinary knowledge to a host of regional and national organizations, including the National Bison Association, several state Fish & Game Departments, Cabela’s, Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Corriveau offered a sample tasting menu that included a trout mousse, duck confit and a twist on deviled eggs that Dubois said he calls “Duck Dynasty Deviled Eggs.” Tickets for the sample tasting menu were $10.
“I really wish I could have made it a full meal or a free event and just opened up and invited the whole town to come in and sample everything, but it wasn’t feasible,” he said. “He gave us a great deal, but he is also used to cooking for events attended by the New England Patriots and that thousands and thousands of people attend.”
Events at the two stores in Fort Kent commenced at 10 a.m. after a ribbon cutting to officially commemorate the new store, which is across the street from the building supply business. The building supply store hosted various vendors during the event Saturday.
Dubois said that even while he and his employees were still physically setting up the new store, they were still able to sell goods online and immediately began doing a brisk business. He said about 500 online items are sold per month.
Dubois said it wasn’t really a hard decision to open a new store, even in a shaky economy.
“We pride ourselves in catering to niche markets, and we saw a need for that when we tapped into the need for more outdoor supplies,” he said. “With the North Woods so close by and so many people interested in hunting and fishing and so many places to do it, there were more and more people coming in and looking for supplies. We also don’t have any competition up here from the big box stores, which has helped.”
Dubois also credits customers for being loyal to the business for 70 years, and he believes they will be just as supportive to the new establishment. He even lauded the Quigley’s staff for their unending loyalty.
“We couldn’t have done it without the staff,” he said. “Some of them have worked with us for more than 40 years, starting from right when they got out of high school to age 65 or so. And they know what customer service is all about, that small town friendliness that people cherish. That is what people really really, really seem to care about. That and the prices, I think, is why they keep coming back.”