WATERVILLE — Mayor Nick Isgro Friday pointed to a black and white photo on the wall of Napoli Italian Market. “This is my grandparents’ first date,” Isgro said, of the photo of his grandfather, Sam, and grandmother, Eleanor.

Another photo on the wall shows Sam, who was a Waterville city councilor many years ago, with Isgro’s father, Jim, when Jim was a baby. Yet another is a portrait of Sam visiting his family, including his Uncle Vito in Sicily.

The framed photos of Isgro’s family, dating back many years to Sicily, grace the walls of the high-end market of Italian products that he and Tom and Candace Savinelli, who own Holy Cannoli next door, plan to open this week.

Isgro, a controller at Skowhegan Savings Bank, said the market was something he has always wanted to see in downtown Waterville, whether owned by him or someone else.

“It just so happened that Candace and I, through conversation, decided we would do it since nobody else was,” he said.

Tom Savinelli grew up in West Haven, Connecticut, where his father, Louis, owned an Italian market that sold cold cuts, canned products, bread and other goods. The Savinelli family, of Naples, is famous in Italy for cigars and rifles. Candace Savinelli learned how to cook from Tom’s mother, Lilly Savinelli, and a lot of her recipes are used at Holy Cannoli, which opened in 2012.

The high-end Italian market will open this week, complementing its next door neighbor, the Italian bakery Holy Cannoli.

As Isgro showed off the space Friday, he said that he and the Savinellis hope to open as early as Monday, but it could be as late as Wednesday. He said there will be updates on the market’s Facebook page, Napoli Italian Market.

“I’m extremely enthusiastic,” Isgro said. “This is a wonderful space. What’s nice about this space is it gives us plenty of room to expand over the next couple of years. It has a beautiful, historic nature, and as a site, it’s been a part of Waterville downtown for as long as most people that live here can remember. We’re happy to be a part of keeping it going.”

Barrels Community Market, which previously occupied the space, closed to restructure in August, then announced it would close for good a month later after the co-op store couldn’t make ends meet.

The market interior is freshly painted in the colors of Holy Cannoli — rust, sage and mustard. It will carry Italian wine; imported air-cured Italian meat, including prosciutto di Parma and capicola; cheese such as provolone, asiago and Locatelli buffalo; imported pasta and canned goods. Vinolio infused oils and vinegars from Belfast also will be featured.

Candace Savinelli will be in charge of operations for the market, and Isgro’s role is “kind of back office, financial and advisory role,” he said.

Isgro and the Savinellis announced plans to open the market last October. The announcement came after Colby College announced plans to work with the city to help revitalize the downtown and bring more people to live and work there.

Isgro last year served on a committee headed up by Colby President David Greene, which included city and business leaders, to explore what the city needed to help revitalize the downtown. They identified the need to address vacant and deteriorating buildings, enhance arts and cultural offerings, create more housing and draw retail stores. Colby eventually bought five vacant buildings and plans to partner with investors to bring a boutique hotel, offices and retail shops downtown. Colby plans to build a dormitory at the corner of Main and Appleton streets. Bill Mitchell, owner of GHM Insurance Agency downtown, also bought two historic buildings on Common Street and is renovating them.

At the Italian market, a staircase leading to the basement has been opened up — it was boarded over when Barrel’s was there — and Isgro said the downstairs will be renovated over the coming months and wine tastings will be held there.

It also will be used for rental space, he said. Both he and Savinelli said they look forward to feedback from the community on the market, and it is important to them that they provide the community with goods not available elsewhere.

The market will be managed by the Savinellis’ son, Jonathan. Mark Novak will run the deli, and two other part-time workers have been hired. Staff will undergo a lot of training on product for the next month or two, and more product will be chosen as customers come in and express their needs and wants, Candace Savinelli said.

“While we are focused mainly on Italian food here, we can special order just about anything, so if somebody wants a French cheese or specialty meat, we can probably get it,” Isgro said.

Candace Savinelli had received a lot of requests from Holy Cannoli customers for an Italian market.

“I just think it’s providing an energy that downtown Waterville needs,” she said. “It’s going to be part of the revitalization of the city, and I think Waterville will be the stop and shop place for central Maine. We’ll be the culinary center of central Maine.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.