Jan 02, 2007 Willie Kiernan Uncategorized
Albany Street flourishes
With delegation of responsibility, HCBD is stepping up to the plate
By Willie Kiernan
The Historical Cazenovia Business District held their meeting last Wednesday and voiced some opinions that this newspaper, by virtue of last week’s headline (Albany Street rents rising), was negatively portraying the downtown shopping area. The story was more aimed at a few tenants moving out of current spaces. That was about, out with the old, this is about in with the new. And from the looks of things, Albany Street is thriving.
“One of the things we did was to summarize our accomplishments for the year,” said HCBD Chair Dave Eldridge.
In a cohesive effort to create a greater amount of foot traffic on Albany Street, the HCBD went about fundraising to support a broad advertising campaign. Laura Benoit from Cazenovia College designed the campaign using billboards and various media to target the Fourth of July and the winter holiday season.
“Actually, I thought it would be slow, but it really picked up as the holidays approached,” said Naomi DeMuth of the Chameleon Gallery. “And I think it must have been due to our concerted effort with advertising.”
The summertime birdhouse campaign was one of Eldridge’s original ideas. He built the wooden structures with donations from Caz Lumber and different artists and craftspeople decorated them with individual uniqueness. After a reception at the Lincklaen House and an auction at the Brae Loch with Bill Magee presiding, they raised more than $3,300.
“People were saying, now that we know what others are doing, next year it’ll be even better,” said Eldridge.
Other means of fundraising included a Madison County grant, Mens’ and Ladies’ Night Out, grants from the chamber and a grant from the Farmers’ Market.
“Dave has brought an enthusiasm and energy to the committee,” said Karen Schai of the chamber office.
The fundraising efforts have exceeded the costs of the ad programs and have not only been satisfying to store owners but have contributed to the 2007 fund for a broader and deeper ad campaign.
“We’ve created a forum for discussion of ideas on ways to promote ourselves,” Eldridge said. “We’ve been able to delegate responsibilities and people are stepping up to the plate.”
Eldridge has several promotional ideas up his sleeve but is hesitant to go public until he gets more of a consensus from other members.
Businesses are thriving
Now after a full year on Albany Street, consignment shop/boutique, The Key, a ministry of St. Peter’s Church, has enjoyed an exposure they did not previously have.
“This was a dream in the making. The whole first year was a total pleasure,” said Chris Tallett of The Key. “We’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of new friends because of this location.”
Isabella proprietor, Karen Eldridge said she felt the whole year has been better than the last.
“Our business is growing and we had a very good Christmas,” said Karen Eldridge. “We’re trying to be pro-active in advertising and we take care of each other.”
Changes on the horizon
There is a new tailor on Lincklaen Street, a maker of fine suits, who has customers in New York City. Frank Shattuck, with family in Cazenovia, expects high-rollers from the Big Apple to visit him for fittings. Harris Cleaners is re-building to include retail shops and/or office space, which is the first new commercial space in years. Albert’s is still for sale. Winnie’s Tack, and a bit more, will be opening soon where the Equine and Pine used to be. Cazenovia Jewelry and Kimberly’s have recently expanded in other locations. And P&C is expected to add more square footage.
Eventually, during this coming year, the new comprehensive plan will have been forged. The questionnaires will have been tallied and studied. The town moratorium will have run its course. Annexations will again be requested and questioned. Change is in the air and Cazenovia is no longer a best kept secret. But ultimately, in a town like this, where residents regularly voice strong beliefs, Cazenovia will always be just what it wants to be.