The new owner of 51 Water St. in Wiscasset – a downtown commercial building with six storefronts – hopes to attract a “craft beer/oyster bar” and a coffee roaster to fill two vacancies.
Real estate developer, builder, and technology solutions specialist Craig Winslow, of Falmouth, and his wife, Laurie, a teacher, bought the building from Schuyler Fairfield, who ran his business, Fairfield Signs, in the building.
The three-story building has four storefronts – 51A, 51B, 51C, and 51D – on Water Street; two on the other side of the building, 4 Railroad Ave., overlooking the railroad tracks and the Sheepscot River; and a 1,500-square-foot apartment on the third floor.
Water Street Antiques takes up three of the four storefronts on Water Street and has leased the space for around 16 years. Riverview Hair Salon, in the fourth space, has been renting for around the same time. Both will remain in place, at least for now, according to Winslow.
Winslow would like to see a craft beer/oyster bar open in the larger of the two spaces on Railroad Avenue. He’s seeking the perfect candidate. “I have a sign on the building saying ‘space for lease: craft beer/oyster bar wanted,’ with my phone number, so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
He plans to rent the smaller space, which Winslow believes was previously a garage, to a coffee roaster and cafe.
A newly paved one-way street and a sidewalk runs along the river outside both spaces, which have an expansive view of the Donald E. Davey Bridge and beyond. Winslow owns around 15 feet between his building and the road, and he plans to add outdoor seating for the oyster bar.
He would like to bring a business into the building that will attract families with young children.
“I’ve noticed that with the typical long line at Red’s Eats, there aren’t a lot of kids,” he said of the lobster shack two doors down on Water Street. “I see a lot of young adults and older people, but there’s really not a place for young kids to go with their family to grab something and go.”
Many of Fairfield’s signs were still in the shop when the Winslows bought the building. Winslow plans to use some for wall decor in the bar, while others will be repurposed by his son, a 3D design projection artist and experimental designer who brings neon signs back to life.
Also named Craig Winslow, the 30-year-old travels the world for his innovative career. “He’s rubbed elbows with some of the best sign makers in the world and he’s been to just about every sign design show from California to Europe,” his father said.
“He recently designed an opening number for the NBA playoffs,” the elder Winslow said. “When he found out we bought an old sign shop, he was jazzed.”
Winslow, who would like the businesses in his building to stay open year-round, will do a lot of renovations inside and outside the building. He spent a lot of time last summer cleaning up inside.
“There’s been a lack of maintenance,” he said. “The building is kind of rough right now, but I have a vision for it, and we’re going to do it very tastefully. This is such a beautiful little village, and I want it to fit in.”
His son will design a projection sign for the Railroad Avenue side of the building.
Winslow said he loves Wiscasset and Boothbay Harbor, and he’s not put off by the busy summer traffic.
“I think there’s a huge opportunity for us to offer something different in Wiscasset,” he said. “I can’t think of a better place to sit outside and have oysters while looking at the water.”
For information about the Railroad Avenue spaces, contact Winslow at 347-1701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.