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Federal Cigar to open with newer, old world charm

The instant Rick Gadway took over ownership of the Federal Cigar on Ladd Street, he knew he wanted to rejuvenate the landmark cigar shop into something the Port City has never seen before.
Now with the help of DeStefano Architects, Gadway and his wife, Meghan, have decided to renovate and preserve what has been a fixture in the local community for nearly the past 88 years.
Starting on New Year's Eve the couple decided to close down their cigar shop and begin a flurry of renovations that would transform the store into a modern-day business with even more of a cigar selection and a comfortable retail environment to match.
Having hired Pinebrook Construction to handle the project, Gadway said his hopes are to design the shop after the business model he currently employs at his Dover and Epping shops.
Gadway said that normally a business wouldn't want to close its doors for a renovation, but given the time of year and the fact that people's pockets are pinched from the recent holiday, now was the best time.
"It's going to be bigger, newer, grander and cleaner," he said.
While he still intends to sell some cigarette brands and pipe tobacco, Gadway said his goal is to focus more on cigars.
Lisa DeStefano, principal architect involved in the rejuvenation, said the plans are to give the shop a more "warm and earthy feel" and to use organic materials that will give off the essence of a true tobacco shop.
Old cabinetry that has been part of the shop since its inception and believed to have been built sometime around 1910 will also find a home in the revamped store.
"It was time to give the place a facelift and breathe new life into the walls," said DeStefano. "We worked hard to, as inexpensively as possible, change and dramatically upgrade the interior appearance of the existing Federal Cigar retail space. By selecting the right materials and utilizing simple design techniques we were able to add and preserve an old world feel in keeping with Portsmouth's historic character. It's been a fun project that because of its unique characteristics has presented some interesting challenges."
The new shop will come complete with a segregated smoking room with all new mechanical systems, according to Gadway and will feature more comfortable seating, a flat screen plasma television and private humidor lockers.
The business is scheduled to have a soft opening on Friday, followed by a grand re-opening sometime in the spring. Gadway said he hopes to have some big names in the cigar industry in attendance for the spring event and looks forward to bringing high-end appeal to his shop.

Source: Foster s Daily Democrat