|Celebration features special speakers, awards presentation, and dinner Seating is limited|
|Celebration features special speakers, awards presentation, and dinner Seating is limited|
Halal butcher shop/grocery store claims top prize
Five new retailers will join Downtown Ithaca’s vibrant business community very soon as a result of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance’s and Urban Core LLC’s Race for the Space II competition.
DIA Executive Director Gary Ferguson and Urban Core LLC’s John Guttridge announced the highly competitive retail business contest’s five winners during a special press conference held Thursday at Ithaca’s City Hall. The five finalists business plans were selected from a field of 17 business proposals submitted this past Fall.
Halal Meat and Groceries, a butcher shop and convenience store targeting international residents from Middle Eastern countries and the Gulf states, claimed the contest’s top prize.
As the winner, Halal receives a one-year rental free space located in the Press Bay Court project, at 110 W. Green Street, which is currently being built by Urban Core LLC and adjacent to the successful Press Bay Alley retail complex, also owned and managed by Urban Core. Halal also garnered a $4,500 cash award to assist with the build out.
The new Halal shop will feature an expansive selection of high quality local halal meats, international foods, spices, and more, according to the business plan created by store owner Abdul Jalil.
Along with the one year of free rent and cash, Halal Meat and Groceries will also receive monthly technical assistance and support from a team of marketing, financial, and small business experts who have agreed to work with them to help bolster their opportunity for success. It is important to note Halal was also required to sign a multi-year lease — with the first year being the free year.
Race for the Space II’s four runner-ups are Gee June Bridal Shop; One Ring Donuts, Rogue Donuts; and Hair• Color • Art. Each of these businesses received a cash prize to assist with their business built out and also signed a multi-year lease for space at downtown locations.
Gee June Bridal Shop, One Ring Donuts, and Hair • Color • Art will also open in the new Press Bay Court project. Rogue Donuts is currently working on finalizing a lease at another location in downtown.
For the Race for the Space II competition, each business submitted preliminary applications followed by a complete business proposal then, lastly, completed in-person presentations to the selection jury.
“We believe these finalists will add to downtown’s vibrancy, diversity, and all-inclusive culture. Their business plans are very impressive and we look forward to working with each of them,” says DIA Executive Director Gary Ferguson.
Guttridge adds, “We’re definitely excited about adding a Halal butcher shop and grocery store to our thriving West Green Street block. Halal’s services will fill a need in the community and will draw new customers to our area. All of these businesses that were selected through this competition will be excellent additions to the downtown community.”
Each of the Race for the Space II winning businesses is expected to open later this year. Keep an eye out for business opening announcements from the DIA. For additional information about Race for the Space II, visit www.downtownithaca.com or call the DIA at (607) 277-8679.
ABOUT HALAL MEAT AND GROCERIES: Halal Meat and Groceries, a butcher shop and convenience store targeting international residents from Middle Eastern countries and the Gulf states, will feature an selection of high quality local meats, international foods, spices, and more. Halal will be located on the 100 block of W. State Street in Downtown Ithaca.
ABOUT GEE JUNE BRIDAL: Gee June Bridal is an experiential bridal boutique where its founder and owner Layne Dann handmakes custom designed, vintage, repurposed, and eco-friendly wedding inspired apparel and accessories for a bride and their wedding party. Dann currently works out of a Homer, NY location and also completes custom work at Fibers in the Dewitt Mall. The shop will have a brick and mortar location in Downtown Ithaca in the Spring of 2018. Additional information is available at http://www.geejunebridal.com.
ABOUT ONE RING DONUTS: One Ring Donuts will serve many varieties of freshly baked donuts made with high quality ingredients. Many flavors and toppings will be available. One Ring Donuts will be owned and operated by Kiera Carman and Amy Cohen.
ABOUT ROUGE DONUTS: Rouge Donuts is a retail shop and bakery that will serve freshly baked donuts, including gluten-free and vegan options, cakes, breakfast sandwiches and coffee-type beverages in a casual, cafe setting. Rouge Donuts will be locally owned and operated and is currently working on their location.
ABOUT HAIR • COLOR • ART: Hair • Color • Art provides top-quality hair services for all ages in a creative, welcoming, community- supporting studio space. Our services include cuts, colors, intense colors, styles for special occasions and products for hair. Guest providers will offer additional services including makeup artistry and specialty styling (dread locks, specialty braiding, etc.). More information is available at http://www.haircolorart.com.
Downtown’s ‘Pay It Forward’ program will benefit from the funding
ITHACA SEPT. 27, 2017 — Today, the City of Ithaca and the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) are receiving a significant monetary grant for one of downtown’s latest initiatives, Pay It Forward, a community partnership program that enables people in need to easily access food, toiletries, and personal supplies at participating downtown shops and restaurants.
Downtown Ithaca will join City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick during a special ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. on the Bernie Milton Pavilion stage in Bank Alley on The Commons to receive a $50,000 Outstanding Achievement award from The United States Conference of Mayors’ (USCM) CommunityWINS Program and Wells Fargo, which supports the USCM program. Downtown Ithaca will apply the monetary award to Pay It Forward.
Following the award presentation, light refreshments will be available.
“Pay It Forward is an exciting, novel effort to help those most in need in a way that preserves their dignity. If you are hungry, there will be food. If you need personal items, or batteries, or any other items, you will have immediate access without scrutiny. We want to help all of our citizens, especially those most vulnerable,” says Mayor Myrick. “Pay It Forward brings together the city, the DIA, caring businesses, nonprofits and community members who agonize over how to give to the people on the street. Now with the Pay It Forward Program, they know their dollars go for the basic needs that people truly must have, but sometimes forego to satisfy their addiction.”
Pay It Forward is managed by the DIA, a not-for-profit community development organization charged with creating and sustaining a vibrant and healthy city center. CommunityWINS funding will help the DIA replenish Pay It Forward funds at the participating businesses and allow the DIA to purchase marketing materials aimed towards downtown workers and visitors. The DIA has already purchased and displayed three money collection kiosks where the public can make personal donations. The three red donation boxes are located downtown on Aurora St., in Home Dairy Alley, and in Bank Alley. All of the money collected from the donation boxes is used to buy food, sundries, and basic necessity items for Ithaca’s homeless and people in need.
“We are honored the United Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo recognizes this special downtown program which serves as an appropriate way to assist individuals who are in need. The $50,000 grant will certainly strengthen Pay It Forward and will greatly benefit those in need who receive items from it,” says DIA Executive Director Gary Ferguson.
The DIA thanks USMC and Wells Fargo for the funding and thanks the City of Ithaca, the downtown Ithaca businesses, and the Ithacash program for participating in and supporting the Pay It Forward program.
The 2017 CommunityWINS award is given to city-based nonprofit organization initiatives and recognizes mayors for exemplary leadership in developing local programs that promote long-term economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for residents in three categories: neighborhood stabilization, economic development, and job creation. The City of Ithaca was one of six cities selected from 245 applicants who were seeking funds.
“Our 2017 CommunityWINS℠ Grant Program gives the Conference an opportunity to showcase positive change happening now in our cities to make a difference in the lives of residents. We are grateful to Wells Fargo and the Wells Fargo Foundation for their support of the CommunityWINS℠ Program, which also highlights the talent and commitment of mayors and city governments,” says Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
David Smith, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage consultant for the Ithaca area adds, “Wells Fargo is delighted to collaborate with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to make these grants available for innovative programs such as Pay It Forward that will help provide food, toiletries, and personal supplies for residents here in Ithaca and in our great state of New York. Wells Fargo cares about the communities we serve and the 2017 CommunityWINS grant program is among several economic empowerment efforts we support that are dedicated to building better communities.”
For more information about Pay It Forward, contact the DIA at (607) 277-8679, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.downtownithaca.com. Downtown Ithaca’s initial release regarding its Pay It Forward program is available by clicking here.
Long-time city administrator garners special acknowledgment
ITHACA, MARCH 14, 2017 — Hardworking and dedicated city and downtown employees and the city’s latest developments were in the spotlight Monday night as the Downtown Ithaca Alliance presented awards during its Annual Dinner at Ithaca’s newest hotel Marriott on The Commons.
“So many people work every day to make downtown a successful and vibrant place. This is our opportunity to highlight and recognize a few of these people and businesses that have helped to shape and grow downtown. The one common denominator for all of the awards…a passion for downtown and the community,” said Gary Ferguson, Executive Director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance.
Eight awards were given including a special distinction for Phyllisa DeSarno who was honored for her extraordinary contribution to the life and improvement of Downtown Ithaca during her 12-year career as the city’s Economic Development Director and long-time DIA board of directors member.
“Philly has been a key and vital force working to recruit new businesses and bring new investment to the city’s center. Over the years, Philly has made countless trips to other cities, with the DIA and on her own, to attract new businesses and investors to Ithaca. Her successes are many. Businesses such as the Finger Lakes School of Massage, F. Olivers, and the Cornell Store exemplify just a few. Philly has worked with developers to help shape and facilitate projects…downtown’s new Commons, Seneca Way and this Marriott Hotel are three such examples. Most of all, DeSarno has been a tireless champion and advocate for Ithaca… to small and large businesses alike,” said DIA Board of Directors President Steve Hendrick during the special presentation.
Plaques were also presented to The Carey Building owned by Travis/Hyde Properties, Marriott Hotel owned by Urgo Hotels, Simeon’s on The Commons owned by Dean Zervos and Rich Avery, and the American Crafts building owned by Robbie Dein and managed by Joseph Gaylord. Each structure earned an Economic Development Project of the Year award.
The Carey Building, located on East State Street, was a two-story retail and office property that had not been upgraded in years. Owners, Travis/Hyde Partners, working with Cornell University, came up with a bold plan to take this small but strategically located property and transform it into a much larger and significant building. Travis/Hyde actually did an overbuild, adding five stories above the architecturally significant original building. The Carey Building’s four-story vertical expansion adds residential space and more room for the REV Ithaca Startup Works, downtown’s community business incubator program. The project also features the region’s first micro-apartments, which became an instant hit with the market. The building added balconies and neon light flourishes that result in a striking contemporary image that helps reshape the Downtown landscape.The expanded portion welcomed new tenants in August.
Marriott, located in the heart of downtown and a bookend on Ithaca’s award-winning Commons, opened in the late Fall and showcases a sleek and sophisticated design throughout its exterior and interior that is sure to catch any visitor’s eye. A view from the upper levels of the hotel offers a stunning perspective of downtown. The property also features Monks On The Commons, its own in-house restaurant.
A devastating accident prompted the beautiful redesign of one of downtown Ithaca’s beloved restaurants, Simeon’s on The Commons. The restaurant’s exterior is a near replica of the former historic design while the interior features an updated bar and dining area on the first floor and an upscale dining space and cozy sitting area on the second floor.
American Crafts also underwent a transformation. The once pink-hued structure with a dark colored facade now boasts a creamy butter tint, and the cast iron Corinthian column accent pieces are muted gold — a color scheme that was selected by building and store proprietor Robbie Dein and local designer Denise Rusoff.
This investment, which has added attention-grabbing color and unique, decorative tile work to the 150-year-old structure, is just one of many building refurbishments Dein has had done since purchasing the building 30 years ago.
Downtown and city employees also garnered honors during the ceremony.
Green Street Pharmacist Nicole Pagano, the DIA’s Operations Committee chair and a member of the City of Ithaca mayor’s Drug Task Force was named DIA Board Member of the Year, Homegrown Skateshop owner Andrew Douglas was named the Young Retail Entrepreneur of the Year, and Commons Crew Chief Duane Ross was recognized as City Employee of the Year.
The evening affair, sponsored by Tompkins Trust Company and Ithaca Renting, also focused on the future of downtown with TED-style talks from special guests The Cornell Store’s Patricia Wynn, Watershed’s Ashley Cake, and Travis/Hyde Properties’ Frost Travis who each offered informative speeches about the future of their respected industries.