THE MOXIE BUILDING at the corner of Route 196 and Main Street, which contained the Kennebec Fruit Co. store, was sold Friday to Traci and Tony Austin of Lisbon.

THE MOXIE BUILDING at the corner of Route 196 and Main Street, which contained the Kennebec Fruit Co. store, was sold Friday to Traci and Tony Austin of Lisbon.

LISBON

In a whirlwind development last week, the historic “Moxie” building at the corner of Main Street and Route 196 in Lisbon was sold. Now, the community is itching to know what the new owners will do with it.

The building’s former occupant, the Kennebec Fruit Co. store, has been closed for about a year.

FRANK ANICETTI, owner of Kennebec Fruit Co., is pictured in the “Moxie store,” which after being on the market for several months, was sold to Tony and Traci Austin on Friday.

FRANK ANICETTI, owner of Kennebec Fruit Co., is pictured in the “Moxie store,” which after being on the market for several months, was sold to Tony and Traci Austin on Friday.

The store opened in 1913 by Lamberto “Joe” Anicetti, who immigrated from Trassilico, Italy in 1909. His son, Frank, took over in 1952. Frank Anicetti II took over in 1997. The Moxie Festival was born in the store in 1982 as a signing party for Frank Potter’s book, “The Moxie Mystique.”

The younger Frank Anicetti told The Times Record last year that, after two decades, he reached the point that the stress of keeping the store going was damaging his health. So, after more than a century serving as a landmark and tourist attraction, the Moxie Store doors closed in February 2016.

In July 2016, Moxie memorabilia from the store went to auction.

The future of the building remained uncertain until Friday, when Traci and Tony Austin bought the building from Anicetti.

“I promise it will no longer be the eyesore, I promise that,” Traci Austin told The Times Record.

The decision to purchase the building came together very quickly for the two “Lisbonites” — in less than a week. Austin said the space Kennebec Fruit Co. occupied will become a family friendly neighborhood pub.

“We’re going to call it Frank’s,” she said.

The Austins are also considering opening an embroidery shop in the building. They will continue to lease out the apartments that occupy the building’s upstairs.

There is a lot of work to do, but Austin said they plan to focus on getting the pub ready in time for the Moxie Festival, slated for July 7-9. She created the Lisbon Pride, LLC. Facebook page for people to follow their progress with the building.

“The community support has been unbelievable, just from the posts and people asking to volunteer,” Austin said. There was a large group of volunteers helping work on the building over the weekend, and there will be many opportunities to help moving forward, she said.

Since buying the building Friday, Austin has been getting phone calls, texts, emails, social media posts and people stopping in, curious about their plans for the structure.

“I don’t think that it’s that people are nosey, I think they are excited,” Austin said.

As they work to bring the building back to life, the Austins aim to preserve as many historic features as they can. The space features a marble bar, a Frigidaire hutch installed in 1919 and tin ceilings that are in beautiful condition, Austin said.

There is a lot of work to do, including electrical and plumbing upgrades, and the upstairs apartments will need remodeling. The Austins are applying for a facade grant through the town. The roof needs to be fixed, the wood siding scraped down and replaced, and new windows and awnings are needed.

“It wasn’t anything that was planned, and I just learned through the years of being married to my husband that we just roll with it and so far I don’t regret it with all the support that we’ve had,” Austin said.

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