LEWISTON — Two women who share a love for their hometown have opened a store devoted to all things Lewiston.
Lisa Mies and Leandra Collesano say they joked about opening such a business for about eight years. Only, they weren't really kidding.
The two ladies, who met as board members for the Historical Association of Lewiston, imagined there were lots of tourists strolling about their village looking for something to purchase, and while some shops have a few touristy things, none were dedicated specifically to Lewiston, they said.
"If you are a tourist, and you went to Niagara Falls and now you are in Lewiston to have lunch and go on the jet boats, where are you going to buy the T-shirt for your experience," Collesano said they wondered. "If you love this little town, maybe you want to take something home with you to remember this place."
Now, wandering tourists looking for souvenirs need wander no more.
The two have opened a shop on 478 Center St. called Lewiston Love. They built it inside the former barbershop owned by Leandra's father, former Village of Lewiston Mayor Terry Collesano. While the former mayor is enjoying retirement, his son Chris Collesano opened a smaller version of the Old Time Barbershop in the back of the building, with an entrance through the Peace Garden.
The former mayor is delighted his two children are continuing a four-generation family legacy. "I'm proud of the fact that my children on carrying on as entrepreneurs and business owners in the Village of Lewiston, as the Collesano family has for the last 112 years," he said via text.
Meis and Leandra Collesano have always been proud boosters of their hometown and started with a pop-up booth selling Lewiston-themed items like sweatshirts and mugs in the barbershop during the Christmas Walk two years ago. They sold their wares at Lewiston festivals and the farmer's market. The success they had convinced them they were on to something.
"The most exciting part for both of us is that we opened briefly before Christmas this year before we closed to renovate the shop," Mies said. During the holiday rush, many shoppers told them they were sending the gifts out of town. "We know our items were going to other Lewiston lovers all over the country, which I thought was pretty neat," Mies added.
Lewiston hats, sweatshirts, Lewiston zip code pillows, and all kinds of Lewiston-related items, are also available on their website, www.LewistonLove.com. However, not every item in the store or online is Lewiston related. The retail space includes a pet section, a kids section and decorative home goods and kitchen items, like teas, ceramic dishes, cheese boards, and even little metal mice to adorn cheese boards.
There's a little something for everyone, whether tourist or resident.
"If they live in the area and It's their Aunt Mary’s birthday," said Leandra Collesano, "I’m hoping they’ll think 'Let's drop by Lewiston Love. We'll find something for her there.' "