March 29, 2022 is the day set aside to applaud “mom-and-pop” businesses, small, family-owned businesses that anchor our communities, generate jobs, create a sense of place, and are vital to the economy. Many of these mom-and-pop businesses really rose to the unprecedented challenges that were presented over the past two years and pivoted their business models to generate sales. Restaurants offered delivery, hair salons sold hair color kits, retail stores implemented contactless curbside pickup, etc., etc. The list goes on and on of ways our small businesses worked long hours and took on a variety of roles to serve their customers and keep afloat during those tough times. Today, more than ever, we need to honor our nation’s entrepreneurs who persevered and help maintain the character and lifestyle of our communities.
Mom and Pop business are abundant and flourishing in the Finger Lakes and are the essence of who we are. Here is a sampling of locally owned and operated businesses to visit, support, and enjoy on national Mom and Pop Business Owners Day ….and every day.
Historic Main Street in Canandaigua is one of the most pedestrian-friendly and vibrant downtowns in the Finger Lakes Region due to the locally owned and operated shops, art galleries, and restaurants that have as much personality as their owners and operators. Aubergine Table features beautiful tableware and gifts, Pat Rini Rohrer Gallery displays a collection of outstanding original art works created by artists from the Finger Lakes region and F. Olivers sells premium culinary ingredients including exceptional extra virgin olive oils, aged vinegar and freshly ground spices.
From brew pubs to bistros to cafes you can literally choose from French, German, Indian, Chinese, Italian, and Mexican cuisine all within four downtown blocks! If you have a sweet tooth don’t miss the custom created chocolates from Sweet Expressions, which pair nicely with a cappuccino from Dalai Java just down the street. If your beverage of choice is beer, check out Peacemaker Brewing Company, and Frequentem Brewing, all featuring locally crafted brews.
Clifton Springs is a thriving village sprinkled with a variety of retail stores, gift shops and eateries, many of which are under covered walkways along the Main Street famous for its variety of historic homes, each with its own architectural character. The stunning Warfield’s Restaurant & Bakery features a seasonal menu of elegant country fare and an English garden where you can sip your tea and enjoy a home baked pastry as you dream of quieter, simpler times. The Main Street Building houses Main Street Arts, a gallery showcasing the work of upstate New York artists and Sulfer Books (named for the village’s famous springs), an independent book store offering new and used books. Checkmates Preloved Home Accents, and Clifton Springs Hardware round out the home grown shopping options in downtown Clifton Springs.
The historic, charming, and picturesque small city of Geneva on the northern rim of Seneca Lake is a great place to shop for unique gifts including specialty food and wine, creative jewelry, antiques and even bicycles, at locally owned and operated businesses. Stomping Grounds, is a one-of-a kind retail shop offering new and used books, carefully chosen gift items, prints and photos of the Finger Lakes, original and reproduction antique maps and custom framing. Around the corner is FLX Goods who call themselves “The General Store of the Finger Lakes” and you will definitely see why when you enter the store full of everything from bath and body products to coffee and tea to jams, jellies and preserves, all locally sourced in the Finger Lakes. Downtown dining includes a wide variety of both upscale and casual restaurants with Linden Street, closed to traffic on weekend nights in the in the warm weather, a mecca for the booming wine, beer, spirits and chef-driven restaurant scene in the Finger Lakes.
The Hamlet of Honeoye is a mixture of agricultural community and creative individuals drawn to the beauty of the area that is reflected in the community’s shops and restaurants. The Fuzzy Bunny is a great source for handmade gifts created by local artists and makers. The family run Mill Creek Cafe is a favorite place to grab a bite or a scoop of ice cream. Birdhouse Brewing Co. features casual food, craft beer, cider, wine, non alcoholic “Fiz Pop,” as well as handmade birdhouse themed merchandise and logo wear. The well known Wizard of Clay, housed in geodesic domes that make up their retail store and workshop, is a destination for people to stop in and see the “wizards” creating imaginative bowls, mugs plates, and other items that are pure magic.
Manchester & Shortsville
Both residents and visitors love Manchester and Shortsville for their small-town charm and rural surroundings.
The folks at Reinvention Brewing Company in Manchester have a passion for the art and science of brewing the best beers possible from as many local ingredients as they can to create seasonal, local beers to be enjoyed in their relaxing tasting room or out on the porch overlooking the hops bines.
Stop by Sweet Blessings in Shortsville for their legendary cutout cookies, best enjoyed with a cup of Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters coffee. Mouthwatering muffins, drop cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and cannoli are also available!
Historic and charming Naples is made for the artsy shopper looking for local and unique stores with everything ranging from sculpture and paintings to furniture and handmade jewelry. Artizann’s features work by local artists, Carriage House Quilts offers quilting fabric, patterns, and notions, The Sutton Company is world famous for their handcrafted fishing lures. If you are hungry and/or thirsty while shopping the list of places to eat and drink local is amazing in this small village. The Naples Hotel and Inspire Moore Winery are just a few of the locally owned and operated options.
Pedestrian-friendly downtown Phelps with its tree-lined streets, stunning architecture and Flint Creek and the Canandaigua Outlet running through it features several locally owned unique businesses to explore. The Waterside Wine Bar, housed in the Old Mill Liquor building is a destination for Finger Lakes wine and beer lovers. Crafty Ales & Lagers is a nano-brewery that pours a wide variety of seasonal beers. Smokin’ Tails Distillery is a locally owned small craft distillery, focusing on small batch high quality spirits. Several homestyle cafes and ice cream parlors are also located in the downtown district. Bear and Vine boutique and antique shop carries a mix of antiques, sports cards & memorabilia, military items and more.
Victor is well known for the Eastview “Mega” Mall with its nationally known chain stores, but the charming village, rich in history, also offers a variety of small businesses selling gifts, clothing, quilting supplies, gourmet popcorn and comic books as well as eclectic eateries that range from El Basha Mediterranean Cuisine to Lucca Wood Fire Bistro. Beers lovers will be right at home at Twin Elder Brewery, Stumblin’ Monkey Brewing Company and the NY Beer Project.
This is just a sampling of the fabulous locally owned and operated “Mom and Pop” businesses in Ontario County. Please tag us at @VisitFLX and #FLXexperience and share your favorites with us!