ROCHESTER - Signal Street Variety, long a city staple for beer and cigarettes, will soon be shedding its old confines at 26 Signal St. for a brand new 6,000 square-foot home across the street just a stone's throw away.
The City Tobacco and Beverage Center, part of a growing franchise now being developed by the son of Signal Street Variety's original owner, is expected to open in January on the site of the former Cocheco Equipment Rental Store, said The City general manager Dennis Stoddard.
Signal Street Variety, opened in 1985 by John Rigazio, was the first in the line of a chain of stores now known as The City, which operates beer and tobacco shops in Plaistow, Seabrook and Sanford, Maine.
Now, his son, Richard Rigazio, is trying to reformat the stores to the tastes of today's consumers, including a large assortment of craft beers, premium wines and cigars and other retail lines, Stoddard said.
"Rich wanted to cater to the new generation of consumers and feature a bigger store with more craft beers, which exploded in the '90s," Stoddard said over the weekend.
He said the new store would closely resemble the one in Sanford, a 10,000 square foot retail outlet on River Street.
He said the new store would carry all the products Signal Street Variety carries, like craft beers, wine, tobacco products, ice cream, frozen food, ready to go sandwiches and other convenience store items plus, of course, lottery tickets.
Stoddard said not only will they have an extensive array of craft beers, but they will do anything they can to order specialty beers as requested by customers.
"All special orders, we go to max on that," Stoddard said.
Rigazio also operates standalone Vape shops on Signal Street in Rochester, on Route 11 in Farmington and on River Street in Sanford.