Jeannie Dunnigan, CIA owner, interacts with young customer, Trevin Glidden. LINDSEY HALL/ Journal Tribune

Jeannie Dunnigan, CIA owner, interacts with young customer, Trevin Glidden. LINDSEY HALL/ Journal Tribune

SACO — Three new coffee shops take residency in Saco, providing a new scene for the people and streets. 

Historic Saco Main Street recently has seen changes with the uprising of new businesses opening at every corner. CIA Café, Quiero Café and The Rugged Spruce are the three newest additions to the city.

CIA Café, located on the corner of 9 Beach St., opened in January and is an extension of the café in South Portland. CIA, standing for coffee-ice cream-art, offers a variety of food and beverages for breakfast and lunch. 

Quiero Café owners, Alejandra Herrera and Carlos Guzman show off their Latin roots in their extensive menu. LINDSEY HALL/ Journal Tribune

Quiero Café owners, Alejandra Herrera and Carlos Guzman show off their Latin roots in their extensive menu. LINDSEY HALL/ Journal Tribune

Jeannie Dunnigan, owner of CIA, said after moving to Saco a year ago she realized that the city would benefit from a place like CIA.

The decor of shop features work from 30 local artists, including Dunnigan herself. Artwork ranges from paintings to gifts, with a new exhibit on the walls every eight weeks. 

“We are all about promoting local artists and businesses,” said Dunnigan. “We love Saco and all that it has to offer. It’s so nice to open our doors to the community and give them their café.”

Owners of CIA renovated the building themselves, with help from local electricians, plumbers and sheet rockers alike. 

“We love what we do and are passionate about it,” said Dunnigan. “We want a place for people to be comfortable and enjoy themselves while enjoying great food and coffee. CIA is bright, cheery, and always changing.” 

Down the road at 8 Pepperell Square, there is more to find than just coffee at Quiero Café. The name, means “I want coffee.” The owners, husband and wife duo, Alejandra Herrera and Carlos Guzman, brought their Latin roots to the city of Saco this past May.

“We wanted to bring Latin food to Saco,” said Herrera. “We wanted to do a café and street food, something for on the go and something that isn’t typically offered. Our customers seem to be very happy and willing to try new things.”

There is a variety of Latin food offered along with smoothies, tropical juices and coffee. In the future, Herrera says they hope to expand and add beer, wine, and Latin cocktails to their repertoire.

The latest addition to the café spree is The Rugged Spruce, located at 209 Main St., which opened its doors on June 24. The Rugged Spruce serves wood roasted organic Speckled Axe coffee, along with breakfast sandwiches and pastries, including Holy Donuts.

Erik Squire, manager and owner, said they relocated to Saco after having a child and soon realized they missed going to the local coffee shop in town. 

“We thought that Saco really needed a local coffee shop because it is the cornerstone of a community,” said Squire. “I think it’s important for communities to have a place to meet and study. Being downtown on Main Street is a good way to convey that.”

These three coffee shops will add to the surplus of coffee spots in Saco, which currently comes in at six. Soon to follow will be Krispy Kreme and a café coming in the fall. 

Rob Biggs, director of Saco Main Street, says the new coffee shops have brought life to Saco.

“I’ve been here for two years now and Saco had a real downtown but nothing was happening,” said Biggs. “Now we have three to four new restaurants and cafes and you can see huge change.”

Each café has a different aspect to their place, all satisfying a different niche. Saco residents are not the only ones excited about the new additions either.

“People seem excited and are coming from other parts of the state,” said Biggs. “The buzz is starting and we will see more improvement. A lot of things are happening, and a lot of younger generations are getting involved.”

William Mann, Economic Development Director of Saco, says with recent development and redevelopment of properties downtown, there will be an increase of people living in Saco.

“With more people living downtown, and a greater variety of things to do, it advances the likelihood of people choosing to live in Saco and it will encourage further expansion,” said Mann.

“We are hoping that our new businesses find great success and we welcome them to Saco,” said Mann.

“The good things taking place reinforce further good things to occur,” he said. “If they’re successful and more people begin living here, more places will want to come to our welcoming, broad Main street.”

Mann and others are hopeful that these three additions can be a spur to further development of downtown Saco. 


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