Cigar Shop, Maraya, “Soft” Opens in Old Guss’ Storefront

Maraya, the cigar shop replacing Guss’ Pickles at 87 Orchard, is now open for business. We stopped by a short time ago to visit with partners Kevin Joyce and Joy Florentz. There’s still some work to be done (an entryway is coming next week) — but starting today they’re selling two varieties of hand-crafted cigars made in the Dominican Republic. They installed their first two humidors today.

The idea behind Maraya is to preserve the centuries-old craft of cigar-making, while helping to remake the image of cigar smoking as a “negative social stigma.”  Using the tag line “connect with your instinct,” Kevin and Joy intend to build a “lifestyle brand” aimed at men and women alike.

They want to celebrate the artistic spirit on the Lower East Side — “connecting with the street.”  Not long after a construction shed went up around the storefront, street artist JMR made his mark on 87 Orchard — and other taggers followed his lead.

Kevin Joyce, Joy Florentz

As you can see from the “before” photos posted below, renovating Guss’ was a major undertaking. They’ve done most of the work themselves.  Maraya’s web site will go live sometime soon. In the meantime you can check out their Facebook page.