Mayor Svante Myrick ’09, city representatives and the Ithaca community will celebrate the opening of the Commons location of the Cornell Store at an official ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday.
Customers who shop downtown have frequently requested a broader selection of Cornell merchandise. The new 1,700 square feet of retail space at 102 East State Street is a way to meet this demand, according to Fred Piccirilli, director of The Cornell Store.
“We are excited to now be a part of the downtown community and expand our services to local customers, tourists and visitors,” Piccirilli said in a release.
Piccirilli added that this is the first time that The Cornell Store has existed in the Commons.
Phyllisa DeSarno, director of economic development from the City of Ithaca, said she expressed interest in introducing The Cornell Store as a part of the Commons revitalization efforts last November.
DeSarno said the “timing was right” for The Cornell Store to establish a presence in “the core of our downtown.”
“[The Cornell Store] has great visibility and hopefully will draw people to The Commons and give them the opportunity to move on to other retailers and food venues and restaurants along the way,” she said.
Piccirilli also said hosting The Cornell Store in the Commons will be an opportunity for Cornell to strengthen its relationship with the local community.
“The Ithaca Commons location is primarily a Cornell specialty store with an emphasis on apparel, accessories and giftware,” Piccirilli said. “We expect a high frequency of local customers and visitors. The convenient downtown location should also make the store popular with students, faculty, staff, alumni and Cornell sports fans.”
Besides classic Cornell gear, the new store will also be selling Cornell-produced food items, according to Piccirilli.
“The plan is to have items from the Cornell Dairy sometime shortly after our opening,” he said. “The store will not be a grocery store but will offer some speciality food items with either a Cornell or local connection.”
Roman Marcarelli ’19 called the new store more convenient, becoming one of many students to express interest in the addition to the Commons.
“I’m living in Collegetown next year so if I wanted to get someone Cornell merchandise, I would probably go [to the Commons] instead of the store on campus,” Marcarelli said.
Johnna Margalotti ’19 agreed that the new store will improve Cornell’s relationship with the Ithaca community but voiced concern about how it will affect the dynamic between Cornell and Ithaca College.
“As a student who lives on campus, I doubt I will really have any reason to go there,” Margalotti said. “It could be good because it does reinforce the unique relationship that we have with the Ithaca community. My only concern is that I don’t want Ithaca College to feel like we are stepping on their toes, because the Commons is kind of their turf and Collegetown is ours.”
The Cornell Store will be open seven days a week, and store hours will be available online, according to the release.