SULLIVAN — An old Sullivan institution is making a comeback.
Dunbar’s Store, located by the scenic turnout along Route 1 in Sullivan, was recently purchased with plans to renovate and refurbish the building.
The owners, Scott Holtz and his partner Bobby Cheshire of Corea, plan to reopen as Sullivan Harbor Independent Purveyors.
“We’ve been driving by there for years, and it was one of those feelings where the building reached out to us,” Holtz said. “We couldn’t help but notice it was such a wonderful, beautiful spot.”
Holtz and Cheshire previously owned and operated the Huntington House Inn, a restaurant and tavern in Rochester, Vt. The new store will likely include a deli, gifts and other Maine foods and goods.
The history of the store, with its amazing view of Frenchman Bay and Mount Desert Island, goes back to the 19th century.
The original Dunbar’s Store was built around 1881 and was located directly across Route 1 from where the building stands today.
After a fire in 1934, the store was rebuilt in its current location by Emery Dunbar, whose daughter, Elaine Dunbar, wrote to The Ellsworth American about its long history.
“The store had Esso gas, cigarettes, soft drinks, Philco radios, ice cream and other nonperishable foods,” Dunbar wrote. “The store was enlarged in 1947, 1952, and again in 1958. Each time the store was enlarged, he added more variety.
“The store reached its heyday in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. The porch of the store was the center of news about town, political debates, and of course gossip!”
Dunbar describes the store as serving both locals and summer residents in places like Sorrento and Hancock Point alike. Dunbar’s Grocery eventually closed for good in 2014, and sat vacant until being purchased by Holtz and Cheshire in December.
While there isn’t a timeline yet for opening, the two have posted numerous pictures of the progress made so far on the Sullivan Harbor Independent Purveyors Facebook page.