The Cornell Store is set to open a new branch in the Commons in mid May, which will be located at 102 East State Street — a corner location on the west end of the Commons pedestrian mall, according to Gary Ferguson, executive director of Downtown Ithaca Alliance.
“Adding the Cornell Store to downtown’s retail offerings is exciting,” Ferguson said. It will bring new vibrancy and energy to downtown and we think it will serve as a catalyst for even more new retail.”
He said that the downtown location will offer the Cornell Store an opportunity to improve outreach “to community residents as well as visitors and tourists.”
“Customers will be drawn from two primary groups — community residents who are not able to readily access the on-campus store and visitors/tourists who comprise a large segment of the downtown customer base,” Ferguson said.
According to Karen Brown, director of Campus Life Marketing and Communications, the new store opening serves as a chance to connect with the broader Ithaca community.
“This is an excellent opportunity for us to broaden our relationship with the local community and to continue to excel as a top tier campus store, and I’m proud of the collaboration among The Cornell Store and our contacts at the City and the DIA,” she said.
Brown said that the 1,700 square feet retail space will enable the store to hold more events and promote customers’ engagement.
“Hosting a store location downtown provides a unique opportunity for us to develop special events for Cornell alums, to support the Cornell staff population at Seneca Place, and to promote Cornell Athletics to our passionate local fan base,” she said.
The announcement of the new location was made as part of a Cornell-sponsored Regional Town-Gown Economic Development Conference on Thursday. The conference focused on the growing role of higher education for Northeast college-town economies, according to the University.
“We are pleased about this win-win project for both [the] community and campus,” said Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 in the press release. “The Commons is a world-class destination and a visible Cornell presence will enhance both downtown and our local economy.”
The University administration has said that the new store will have a positive impact on the local economy as it will create new full-time and part-time jobs, citing other university towns as examples.
“Across the country, there are excellent examples of universities that have used their campus stores as economic development engines and stimuli for downtown retail growth, such as Madison, Wisconsin, and Lowell, Massachusetts,” Ferguson said.
He added that the new store will encourage economic development in the Commons community.
“The opening of a Cornell campus store in downtown Ithaca at this strategic location will be a great boost for downtown retailing and should send a strong signal to others that downtown is an important retail marketplace for our community,” he said.