Carol Ayoob: The Whole Potato – Presque Isle

Carol-Ayoob with first customer Kathy-Olmstead

Kathy Olmstead (R) of Caribou becomes Carol’s first customer.

The Whole Potato logo Carol Ayoob, owner of The Whole Potato Café & Commons, developed her business plan in Women, Work, and Community’s twelve-week New Ventures Entrepreneurship Training last year. She secured financing from NMDC, as well as community investments from friends and supporters, and opened her doors on her dream this month in downtown Presque Isle. Photo: Kathy Olmstead (R) of Caribou becomes Carol’s first customer. Carol came to New Ventures as a practicing artist, community organizer, and graduate student in the University of Maine Intermedia MFA program. “I chose to take the New Ventures class instead of traveling to another country or state, which is a requirement of my graduate program. As an artist and musician, this was like going to another country!” Carol says. In the New Ventures class, Carol learned to think not only artistically but analytically about her business market, financial management, and operations. She also connected with other entrepreneurs: “I got to hear from other people who had taken the class and were still working to grow their businesses.”

The Whole Potato opened in mid-November on Main Street in Presque Isle. Already, business has been booming. “I have no doubts that people are happy with our food, our concept, and the beautiful space in which we are blessed to operate,” Carol reports. WAGM-TV profiled Carol and her business: See the story online and pay them a virtual visit. The Whole Potato provides dynamic cultural programming and works with local farmers to source certified organic ingredients, resulting in delicious food, great music, and social space. Carol says, “The most important thing about The Whole Potato is the relationship that we are developing with local organic farmers and their families. We celebrate them by cooking their beautiful foods, and people seem to really appreciate this. We are here to promote this kind of food and create an economy system for local exchange.”

Carol’s advice to other entrepreneurs: “Collaborate, believe, tweak, and do things that matter! Change the world – in some way – through your business.”

The Whole Potato is located at 428 Main Street, Presque Isle. Kitchen hours are 11-7 Tuesday through Thursday; 11-8 Friday and Saturday; and 10-2 Sunday. Music and dance make your time on the town even better, with Friday open mic night and Saturday dances from 8-11, as well as live jazz during brunch on Sunday. For more information, visit The Whole Potato Café & Commons at  http://www.thewholepotato.com/ or follow the café on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thewholepotato.


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