There is no denying that us New Englanders, and especially us Bostonians, have a language all our own. We have an accent, an attitude, and a way of doing business that is specific to each of our neighborhoods. In the North End, the Connah Store is the place that everyone goes for late night snacks, iced tea and ice cream that speaks to tourists and natives alike.
The North End holds a special place in the hearts of Suffolk students and Boston transplants as the place to go for a home-cooked meal when you are lonely, hungry or looking for some love. If that’s what you’re looking for, the Connah Store is the place to be.
Intentionally or not, the Connah Store is able to impart an old-school impression on each of its customers without being Cheers-y fake. As soon as you walk in, you see the blue plastic frame of the lottery kiosk directly next to the wood and glass cigar case.
You can’t help but reminisce about what the neighborhood used to look like when you catch the few people that still buy their quick picks and stogies at the Connah Store like clockwork. Permanently affixed to the cigar case you see a clear sign saying, “What this country needs is plenty of moxie.”
Well, Ms. Marilyn Monroe is the poster girl for moxie and you see her picture everywhere. Not only do you see her picture, you hear the Rat Pack crooning, which takes you back to when “That’s Life” was a No. 1 song.
Mark Petrigno has owned the store for well over 20 years and has changed very little during that time. Even better, Gaetano has worked behind the counter for 10 years and he seems happy to come to work everyday because there is always something new brewing. Mark’s father was the person who taught Mark how to really run a business. Transforming a space that was a photo development shop is no easy task. Mark was able to convert the building, stock the shelves and introduced Lucia the Cat to the world.
The building itself isn’t anything spectacular, but it has everything you need to get through a late-night research paper or just a bag of chips during the middle of the afternoon. Places like the Connah Store both build community and bring tourists in for pictures and t-shirts. The Petrigno family has certainly made their mark on this neighborhood and have a lasting place in the conversation that is the future of the North End. Although Lucia and her swishing tale will certainly be missed.