“We’ll be open by this time next month,” said Michael Discatio, one of the owners of the legendary neighborhood convenience store, Joe’s Super Variety. “We are planning on opening within 3 – 4 weeks.” That promise came earlier this week because the seventy-two (72) year old grandfather of mom and pop convenience stores in Portland has been closed for renovations since December of 2015.
A few years ago the Discatio brothers realized they needed to take some steps to upgrade the building to insure its sustainability for another 70 years into the future. A mutual friend introduced the three brothers to Jonathan Cullley, d/b/a Redfern Properties and they realized that there was potential for a deal that could benefit both parties. Culley would have an opportunity to building a 139 unit apartment building in Longfellow Square and the Discatio brothers would be able to upgrade their venue for future years.
The almost completed renovation of Joe’s features an all glass front on Congress Street. It is so much larger than previously. In fact, there are nine 6 x 8 windows along the front allowing a welcome stream of sunlight inside during a recent mini-tour by David Discatio, one of the owners. The refrigeration facility has been greatly expanded which will permit a huge selection of frozen foods, local craft beers, energy drinks, ice cream and related products. The increased refrigeration space will permit Joe’s to sell between 30% – 40% more inventory. A brand new kitchen will feature lots of take out meals as well. There will be six menu boards above the kitchen space for ease in ordering. Marie Discato, wife of David, runs the kitchen space.
This down time has given the Discatios time to reevaluate their inventory and several items will be de-emphasized. For example, fewer magazines will be sold. The weeklies like Time and Newsweek will continue to be sold as well as daily newspapers. And the wine list has been revisited. Changes have been made to that inventory as well. Although the overall space is smaller, it has been designed by an architect – Ryan Senatore – who is also the architect for many of Mr. Culley’s projects in Portland. That includes the condominium Munjoy Heights on Munjoy Hill.
Meanwhile, the construction of the upper floors of Hiawatha – the apartment building – are well underway. Most of the units are studios and one bedroom units. Rents begin at $1,150. That does not include heat. For more, please visit www.hiawathaportland.com
“They are terrific guys and we are pleased to have them as our long-term partners,” emailed Jonathan Culley earlier today.