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Former Security Professional Sells Clothes Downtown

The owner of Sigi's Place reflects on what's needed to make downtown a destination again.

Joseph Sigismondi worked in security for years as an employee for others.

Now he sells pre-owned clothing out of a storefront in downtown New Port Richey and is self-employed.

“I love being my own boss,” he said. “It’s very stressful, though, not knowing if I’m going to have a sale or not, but it’s very exciting at the same time.”

Sigismondi, a Hudson resident, is owner of, a store in rented space at 6214 Grand Blvd. Sigi’s Place opened February of this year.

In the shop, you can find “gently used” clothing, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Aeropostale, American Eagle and Hollister. Sigismondi said he tries to cater to youths in the area, and he says that all prices are $10 or less.

From Security to Clothing Sales

Sigismondi says he began working in private security in the late 1990s. Sigismondi said he was then hired by Burns International Security in 1998 and was contracted to perform armed security at the Tampa area home of George Steinbrenner, then-owner of the New York Yankees baseball team.  He said he patrolled the grounds, worked the gate, monitored the closed circuit camera system and performed other tasks.

In October 2001, he was hired onto the Yankees’ payroll and continued to perform armed security at the Steinbrenner home.

“I kept the crazies from entering the property, or anybody that was displeased with the boss at the time,” he said.

Sigismondi said he stayed on as a security officer at the house after Steinbrenner died in 2010 and his wife, Joan, remained. In October 2011, Sigismondi lost his job.

“Not the type of person to ever look for a handout, I decided what better time to go into business for myself,” he wrote in an email.

Sigi’s Place was born with the help of Sigismondi’s brother Eric, who is a father and talked to Sigismondi about how he spends a fortune taking a kid clothes shopping.  

After talking about ideas for days, the concept of Sigi's Place was born. Eric helped Sigismondi draw up a business plan for the shop. Sigismondi bought used clothing for stock.

Working in Downtown

Sigismondi considered opening a shop in Port Richey, but he chose New Port Richey as the location for his store.

“The town was so quaint,” he said. "I thought it was a nice town."

There have been challenges since moving in. Business has been “like a rollercoaster” with customer levels peaking and falling.

He still thinks the city can do things to bring people downtown. Two important actions it can take are letting people know it’s safe and informing folks of parking on and near Grand. 

The lease for Sigi's Place is up at the end of the month, and he has not negotiated a new one yet.

However, "Now that people know that I’m here, I don’t want to get up and move,” he said.

Sigismondi, 40, is currently pursuing a degree in criminal justice at St. Leo’s University. He says he loves downtown New Port Richey.  He likes the free movies offered in Sims Park seasonally, a couple of which he sponsored.

What does his store add to downtown? People have something to do, he said. They have somewhere to shop.

About Sigi's Place:

  • Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, closed
  • Address: 6214 Grand Blvd.
  • Phone: 727-264-8811
vincent gimble July 09, 2012 at 11:59 AM
I read a line in this article that astonished me and can't understand it: Why would this man feel that the city needs to inform people that Downtown New Port Richey is safe??? What is not safe about it??? It is only a couple of blocks long by a couple blocks wide and while it has been known to get a little rowdy during Chasco Fiesta I can't for the life of me perceive that this little "quaint" town is not safe. Maybe this person did a little too much security in his life and perceives everything being unsafe? Dull and dead? yes, but unsafe?? Ridiculous.
Kyrja July 09, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Quite honestly, as someone who walks through downtown several times a week during various hours of daylight and nighttime, I can tell you that I often do NOT feel "safe" during night-time and twilight hours. Yes, it IS very often very much dead, and unpopulated, and lends a feeling of being vulnerable - not to mention unwelcomed. It's interesting to note that Mondays and Tuesdays, our city feels "quaint" to me, and even Wednesday evenings feel comfortable most of the time. But Thursday, Friday and - certainly Saturday - evenings have an entirely different feel to them. Very much a less-than-friendly feel. What's not safe about it? The lack of venues and business which invite happy, laughing people into the area leaves the city abandoned to those who are doing something other than being engaged in legitimate business enterprises and entertainment. I know, because I see them all the time. I feel the change in atmosphere throughout the week, and am relieved once Sunday night rolls around again. Downtown offers a decidedly unhealthy, hollow feel several nights a week - every week.
Nancy MacDonald July 09, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Vincent, you are not a woman; I would not feel safe in downtown NPR after dark. Of course, I am 70 years young, but there's issues related to drunkenness and urinating that people such as myself feel unneasy about. Now, just going to a show at the Suncoast Theater is fine; I can park in a well lighted area, walk to and from the theater, but I would not walk between the library and the theater or on any of the other side streets.
Zoobiedood July 09, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Perhaps bring back cops who patrol on bicycle? They would eventually know all of the regular walkers out there, helping them feel safer. Plus it would be nice to live in a town where we know the police officers by name.
Spellbinding Sherry July 09, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I shopped at Sigi's a few weeks ago. The folks working there were helpful and friendly. I felt at ease shopping there and the clothes were CLEAN. Yep, I bought some. As for the safety of town: in every community there is a balance, I feel. Yep, there are scoundrels on our streets at all hours but when we honest folks make our presence known too, there's a nice awareness to be encouraged. I've walked these streets most of my life, often long after dark (which is alot cooler than daylight hours). Honestly, I have always felt at ease walking here. I do walk aware though, paying attention and with purpose in my step (which means my ears are free from cell phones and earbuds too). I love my hometown. I hope Sigi is able to procure his business into a successful place.
Stepheny Smith July 10, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Does this business have a Facebook page or Twitter? It would really help get the word out among the teens. I'll be paying a visit the next time I have a few $'s to spend on clothes ;-)
Alex Tiegen July 10, 2012 at 12:52 PM
http://www.facebook.com/Sigisplace
Alex Tiegen July 11, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Great thoughts, everyone.

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