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March 21, 2013

Palace Cigar Store closes, seeks buyer

By Richard Whitby
The Daily Star

---- — The Palace Cigar Store, an Oneonta institution since the 1920s, has closed its doors after just a few months under new ownership.

Peter and Lyla Bonnici, the owners of the store at 277 Main St., posted a sign on its door last week, apologizing to its customers and thanking them for their support.

They wrote in an email that they were working with “potential owners.”

“We were told upon purchasing that we would be rescuing a failing business,” they wrote. “The decision to close was a hard but realistic one that had to be made for us at this time.”

“We closed for purely economic decisions,” they said in a second message.

“We put our all into this endeavor, did our very best each and every day to give our customers the very best experience,” they said, adding that they had expanded the store’s hours of operation to accommodate the local and college communities.

As a result, they had been working nearly 120 hours a week, they said.

“We formed amazing relationships with our regulars and customers,” they wrote. “We aimed to make you feel welcomed each and every time you walked through our doors.”

They wrote that the sale was pending, so they were unable to discuss it further.

“We plan on spending as much time with our three children and hope for the best for our future,” they said.

The Bonnicis bought the business late last year and held a grand re-opening Dec. 13.