The population of Lisbon is expected to swell from 9,000 to nearly 50,000 this weekend for the Moxie festival. But this year, visitors will find the iconic old store — which birthed Maine’s peculiar state soda — closed.
The 100-year-old Kennebec Fruit Store, owned for decades by the Anicetti family, has been put up for sale after the current patriarch, Frank Anicetti, recently decided to retire.
“Folks here in Lisbon can remember sitting up at the counter and hearing stories from the Anicetti family, especially Frank, who took over the store from his father,” says Lisbon Economic and Community Development Director Tracey Steuber. “He was one that really enjoyed Moxie and started collecting a lot of things that had to do with Moxie.”
Steuber says it may be the end of one era, but with so many people coming this weekend, she’s hopeful that the property won’t stay vacant for long.
“We’ll see what happens, who knows? Maybe somebody coming to the festival — we have people from all over who come to town just for this event, and somebody may look at that and say, ‘Gosh, I can remember coming into that store and I really liked that, and maybe I’ll purchase the building and bring it back again,’” she says.
Another local store, Miller’s Variety, has taken over the sale of Moxie merchandise.
The festival celebrating the soda is now its 34th year. It starts Friday night and lasts through Sunday.