WALLINGFORD — The iconic former Wells Fargo Bank building on North Main Street will soon house a jewelry store and cafe on the first floor along with four apartments on top.
Joe Gouveia, former owner of the Library Bar and Bistro, purchased the building at 86 North Main St. in November for $1.2 million. He said parking drove the decision to buy the property, since the Library Bar and Bistro is next door.
“I tried to control the parking space and the building came available and so I bought it,” Gouveia said.
Gouveia decided to lease the first floor of the building to a jewelry store, ACHIQ Designs, and the café, Le Jardin Café, which are both owned by Fabiola Giguere. ACHIQ Designs has a location in Cheshire at 1081 South Main St.
“Because it’s going to be an open concept, we’re going to have not only that jewelry part, we’re also going to have clothing, we’re going to have gifts,” Giguere said. “Basically, it’s going to be a really nice experience because you can go to our place and go shopping and then relax a little bit and eat something nice, healthy.
Fabiola Giguere’s husband, Brad Giguere, is a chef and will be the one making the food for Le Jardin Café, which she hopes will include salads, paninis and other healthy options.
“We’re going to have a variety of teas and then of course coffee, regular coffee, cappuccino, a place to sit down, read a book,” Fabiola Giguere said.
The businesses will be next to each other, with the space equating to 4,000 square feet.
“Knowing the family, I think they’re going to bring a lot,” Gouveia said. “They are a super hard-working family. They’re very local and we felt really comfortable leasing it to them. I think they are going to do a lot and I think Wallingford could use a few more gift shops, so I think it was a perfect fit.”
Liz Davis, executive director of Wallingford Center Inc., said the businesses will be a nice addition to the downtown area.
“She is more of a boutique, which is really different than just jewelry,” Davis said. “So we definitely need that downtown because Dressing Room is moving so having that retail space is really really advantageous to us.”
Five months ago, Gouveia said they were attempting to put in a sprinkler system, but they are still waiting for the parts for the fire hydrant, which would complete this stage of construction. This has set back the opening date of the businesses on the first floor and setting up the four apartments.
He said Fabiola Giguere was hoping to have the businesses up and running by Celebrate Wallingford, which is Oct. 1 and Oct. 2, but with the issues of getting certain parts for the fire hydrant, Gouveia isn’t sure when the building will be ready.
“The fire hydrant has been an issue,” Gouveia said. “Until that’s done, nothing can be done.”
Fabiola Giguere now hopes her businesses in Wallingford will open by the holiday season.
“I’m looking forward to doing something completely different,” Fabiola Giguere said. “Bringing something to Wallingford that is completely different than we’ve seen before.” What is next for Gouveia?
Gouveia sold The Library Bar and Bistro in May to John Massella, who has been in the food industry for around eight years. However, Gouveia still owns the building at 60 North Main St.
“The people who bought the Library are really down to earth people,” Gouveia said.
With no longer owning the Library, Gouveia wants to spend more time focusing on Gouveia Vineyards and completing construction on the building at 86 North Main St.
The building also has a basement and Gouveia is considering leasing it out, but if not, he said his family might consider doing something themselves with that space.
When it comes to finding people to lease, Gouveia looks for people that he thinks will fit in well in Wallingford, so he is happy that Fabiola Giguere will be leasing the first floor and that Massella took over the Library.
“I think these two people are going to be really great for the town,” Gouveia said.