By: Jessica Afrin
There were three ribbon-cutting ceremonies on the Commons Friday, a sign that the local economy is on its way to recovery.
The Art in Found was one of 28 business plans entered into the Downtown Ithaca’s Race for the Space contest. As grand-prize winners for Race for the Space, owners Heidi Brown and Olivia Royale say the location, plus the added perks of free rent for a year, give them an opportunity to build their customer base.
“It really gives us some flexibility to experiment with our designs,” Royale said. “We’re doing something that hasn’t really been done in Ithaca yet, which is eco-fashion. Price points are a little different; materials are different. This allows us a little more time to get our customer familiar with what we’re trying to do.”
Petrune, which relocated from its former spot on Cayuga Street to its new location on the Commons, launched its new clothing line called Petrunia on Friday.
Owner Domenica Brockman said moving to the Commons has greatly boosted her business.
“Our business increased at least by 30 percent I would say at a minimum,” Brockman said. “Of course, it helps that we have a bigger space, but more people walk on the Commons than walk down Cayuga Street.
The Downtown Ithaca Alliance also celebrated The Center Cafe’s recent opening. The cafe, located inside Center Ithaca, plans to feature a variety of specials, from “I’m Broke Breakfasts” on Thursdays to “Free Fry Fridays.”
These three businesses aren’t the only ones looking to revitalize the Commons. Mayor Svante Myrick said the City of Ithaca isn’t successful without the growth of its local businesses.
“This is only the beginning; we’ve got more to go,” Myrick said. “In the last four months, we’ve had so many ribbon-cuttings down here. It’s a great sign that we’re bouncing back. The entire country is recovering, the state is recovering, and Ithaca is definitely recovering. We still have work to do and we still have jobs to create, but we’re coming back. We’re starting to feel it, and now we’re starting to see it.”