Life in Downtown Portland can now return to normal – that’s because the sorely missed Joe’s Super Variety in Longfellow Square reopened it’s doors this morning.
“I never have felt so much love. I didn’t realize how much we were missed,” said a laughing David Discatio, late this afternoon. He was referring to today’s reopening of the landmark Joe’s Super Variety after seventeen months of being closed. And by all accounts it was a successful reopening for the anchor store that his great grandfather opened over seventy years ago.
The convenience store has been closed for a complete renovation while the construction of the new aparrtment complex Hiawatha above it has been underway. David and Michael Discata, brothers, teamed up with Jonathan Culley, builder of the Hiawatha, to meet mutual needs in downtown Portland. The Discatio Brothers were looking for sustainability and Culley, who developed Munjoy Heights on the Hill, saw an opportunity to build much needed rental units in downtown Portland.
The space is smaller than previously, but it is better organized with the assistance of Ryan Senatore, architect for other local Culley projects. There will be only weekly magazines for sale along with the newspapers as well as a walk-in ‘Beer Cave’ that features local craft breweries.
“It’s more than opening the doors this morning. I wanted to make sure that our new help was well trained, We’ve hired six people because I anticipate it being busier than previously. We are still looking for a few more people to fill slots,” said David. “We also wanted to be sure all of the inventory was priced and in the proper place.”
“My concern was that my brother would not show up this morning,” said a smiling Michael of his brother this afternoon after an opening day that went exceedingly well. The high-five came next.