November 17, 2000

New Businesses Add Character to Collegetown

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As new busineses open and expand, the face of Collegetown is changing. Sweetwater Market and Little Thai House II have opened their doors while the new sports bar, CD Cafe, and Wilson Farms still undergo renovations.

Sweetwater Market opened in July at 105 Dryden Road, the former location of the Flower Basket.

“I chose Collegetown because I was going to sell produce and I looked at what kinds of stores were needed and there was a clear need for a produce store,” said Yvonne Fogarty ’82, owner of Sweetwater Market.

The store sells produce all year long, fresh bread delivered daily from two local bakers and flowers delivered five times a week. In addition, shoppers can buy locally made pottery, soap and candles, chocolate from all over the world, gift baskets and can even opt for delivery.

“We consider ourselves to be the heart of Collegetown, because people come here and buy things that make them feel good,” she said, adding that the store has an “aesthetic sense,” friendly atmosphere, and attracts regular clientele.

Little Thai House II had their grand opening at 204 Dryden Road after completing its expansion two weeks ago.

The original Little Thai House opened four years ago. But the restaurant added a dining room, filling the former site of Johnny’s Big Red Grill, to provide a “nice, quiet dining atmosphere,” said owner Sam Thumbdre.

“We needed to provide for the students so we expanded,” Thumbdre said. The dining room menu for Little Thai House II provides a wider selection of Thai cuisine, including soups, salads, original Thai curries, stir fry, vegetarian entrees, desserts, and Southeast Asian teas.

Other businesses are also sprouting in Collegetown, increasing competition for current businesses.

Robert Tingey and Rick Hoskins, co-owners of the local CD Cafe franchise, are opening their third branch in the former Oak coffeehouse at107.5 Dryden Road.

The CD Cafe will have a Seattle-style espresso bar offering nine varieties of coffee from around the world, an array of espresso based drinks, and light pastries. “The coffee part is a good draw,” Tingey said. “We only deal in grade one coffee.”

New, used, and imported CD’s and records will also be available. “Music is a piece of merchandise that expands a wide age group,” Tingey said.

Antique cabinetry, rock memorabilia, and tapestries will enhance the atmosphere. The owners also have plans for a deck on the roof to provide more seating.

For Tingey and Hoskins, the decision to come to Collegetown was an issue of “the right time, the right place.” The space became available and the rent was reasonable, Tingey said. They plan to open on Dec. 1.

Steve Burun is putting the finishing touches on his new sports bar expected to open by the end of November. It will fill the vacancy left by The Connection which closed four years ago.

“We completely renovated the place,” Burun said. The new sports bar will feature 10 TVs and two satellite dishes. “We’re going to have all the games all the time,” Burun said. In addition there will be food, specials, and happy hour “to make it lively.”

The new establishment is filling a vacancy in the Collegetown market.

“A lot of students go downtown for sports bars so we wanted to give students their own sports bar in Collegetown,” Burun said.

Burun is involving students in the process of naming the sports bar through a contest. A $50 certificate will be awarded to the individual who creates the name of the bar that keeps the sports theme and the mascot of the bear in the name.

Wilson Farms, a neighborhood food store and division of Tops, is scheduled to open at 409 College Avenue on Dec. 1.

In addition to grocery items, Wilson Farms will sell baked goods, made to order subs, and cappucinos. Non-food services include lottery, money orders, phone cards, and ATM. “We’ll have anything you need, or we can get it,” store manager Rob Murphy said .

“We don’t have a store in Ithaca and thought it would be a unique opportunity for the company as well as a benefit to the Cornell University and Collegetown Community,” Murphy said.

Archived article by Anastasia Handy