February 2, 2001

Inside The CD Cafe

Print More

Do you like music with your espresso? How about listening to some soft rock or contemporary jazz while you sip an almond roca mocha or a French vanilla cherry blend? Or would you prefer something more traditional? Whatever your tastes, the new CD Cafe in Collegetown promises to offer something to suit your fancy, according to Matt Sinclair, a manager-in-training.

CD Cafe opened on Jan. 13 in the same secluded building that housed the old Oak Restaurant. In the three weeks the cafe has been in business, CD Cafe has been selling music and coffee products — with a mission similar to a small-scale Border’s but decidedly more local in flavor, according to Sinclair.

“Music and coffee are both popular passions, so we thought we’d try selling them together,” said Bob Tingey, president of CD Cafe, Inc.

Menu items include coffee, tea, chai, cappuccino, hot chocolate and fruit slushies. Pastries and desserts, supplied by Just Desserts — a local bakery — are also sold at the cafe.

Examples of drinks include raspberry nut mocha — a mix of almonds, raspberries, mocha, steamed milk and espresso — black forrest cherry coffee and cinnamon-flavored cocoa.

“We’re not serving just any old coffee. We really focus on quality,” Sinclair said. “We’re not like so many places around here that just do coffee for the mass production.”

That’s one reason why CD Cafe offers nearly 60 syrup flavors and seven varietal coffees from around the world, according to Tingey. Coffee specialties include everything from Ethiopian mocha java to Costa Rican tarrazu and 100 percent organic Mexican altura.

“‘The more, the better,’ that’s our philosophy,” Tingey said. “We’re trying to provide people with the ultimate options.”

Desserts include cheesecake, tiramisu and espresso hazelnut brownies. Lighter sweet offerings include biscotti, chocolate chip cookies and fudge-covered pretzels.

In terms of music, CD Cafe sells new and used CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes.

“Our music collection rivals any store within an hour’s drive from Ithaca,” Tingey boasted.

The store carries all genres of music, he added, and any albums not in stock can be ordered.

In the three weeks that the store has been open for business, DVD sales have been skyrocketing, according to Tingey.

“People are buying DVDs like hot cakes,” he said, adding that the cafe plans to increase its collection soon.

Other business has been slower than expected, Sinclair admitted.

“Not many people seem to know about us yet, but when the students find out about us, I have a feeling they’re just going to eat this place up,” he said.

For the present time, though, Tingey insisted that business is just getting started. He said that the advertisements the cafe has lined up for the next few weeks will help lure more customers into the store.

In addition to drawing in more business, the current focus is on putting the finishing touches on the building interior’s “new look,” Sinclair said. Tingey and others started remodeling the building to form the new look of the cafe after The Oak — also a cafe — closed last July.

“Now the place looks totally different,” Sinclair said, describing the updated design as an antique tavern bar or an L-shaped kiosk.

The cafe features freshly polished mahogany countertops and raised cafe-style tables and chairs. The floor is a blend of oak wood and tile, and the walls are a subtle yellow, with dim lighting complementing the physical environs in the building.

Soon, the CD Cafe will take on the added role of a “cyber cafe,” as it makes DSL Internet access available to customers for a small fee, Sinclair said.

The new Collegetown establishment marks the third store CD Cafe, Inc. has opened in seven years of business. Other stores already exist in Horseheads and Corning, NY.

A fourth store is scheduled to open on the Ithaca Commons sometime during the spring.

Archived article by Jennifer Roberts