What Do We Need in Downtown Corning?

The upside to always having a few empty storefronts in a commercial area like Corning’s Gaffer District, is that they provide places for fresh new businesses to go.  We’ve seen several great places open in recent months – some that filled specific niches… but what are we still lacking?

(in no particular order)

UC_record store__Nathan Whittaker_527px-P1000913_-_LP
credit: Nathan Whittaker via WikiCommons


  • Record Store

Whether you’re in the “vinyl’s back!”, “vinyl never left!”, or “records are for the Guinness Book” camp – vinyl sales are at an all-time high.  I miss Crunge Records – which closed awhile back after trying three different locations within the Gaffer District.  Sure, there’s Angry Mom in Ithaca – but I think there’s also a spot here in Corning for a smaller shop that combines new & used LPs, CDs, memorabilia & paraphernalia… maybe some books and unique gifts thrown in.  A good record store is a cool, hip hangout and social hub for the young and young-at-heart.  The kinda place you can go, spend a few bucks, hang out & chill with a coffee for awhile.


  • Grocery Store

Yes, we have Wegmans right in the Gaffer District.  I love Wegmans.  Everyone loves Wegmans (though I recently checked out the Riverside Tops and really liked that too).  But, with more than 100 upper-story residences on Market Street alone, there’s an opportunity for someone to capitalize on filling the daily essential needs these residents have that don’t warrant a trip to Wegmans.   Some higher-end grocery items than the gas stations stock, assorted produce, and freshly prepared gourmet to-go dishes would present a terrific and much-needed option.  Wegmans?  Tops?  How about a little bodega-sized annex?


  • Thai Restaurant

Rumor has it that Corning’s Gaffer District has tried recruiting the owner of Ithaca’s Taste of Thai to open one here.  If that’s not true, they should.  If it is true, they should try again.  We have made real progress in recent years gaining more ethnic diversity with our restaurant options, but a dedicated place for good, affordable Thai cuisine remains elusive.  Likewise…

UC_Heidi Bauer_512px-Souvlaki-plate
credit: Heidi Bauer via WikiCommons


  • Greek Restaurant

In college I subsisted on huge, cheap and delicious salads, subs and the like – from places like The Souvlaki House, Greek House, and Chariot.  Ithaca (once again) has this covered, but Corning is still lacking.  Ithaca, will you let us even just borrow one for awhile?  Parakaló??


  • Late- or All-night Diner

Yes, this list is heavy on the food places.  What do you want?  I love to eat.  And anywhere between 2-13 times per week, I want something when I can’t get it.  A Walker’s Cake Company sandwich at 8pm…  A Boomer’s burrito or Slammin Jammin ribs at 10…  a hearty Donna’s breakfast at Midnight.  Any 24/7 option would be such a welcome addition to Market or Bridge Streets… Myles had a great idea.  Seriously… who’s got a big truck and is with me?  Or maybe an existing biz like Jim’s Texas Hots would be receptive to a partner who would run the place during the off-hours?


  • Men’s Clothing Boutique

We’ve achieved a nice critical mass of shops dedicated to women’s fashion, but men’s sartorial needs remain woefully under-represented.   I’d like to ‘shop local’ more than I do in this category, but I can only wear so much Tommy Hilfiger.


Urban Corning readers: what are your ideas?  Put ’em in the comments – you never know when someone looking to open or relocate a business may be reading.


(note: #1 on my personal list would have been a more dedicated live music venue – but word is one of those is currently in the works.  Stay tuned…)

Dave Rochelle
Dave owns Rochelle Media Works and is a partner at CreAgent Marketing in Corning, NY
Dave Rochelle
Dave Rochelle

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11 thoughts on “What Do We Need in Downtown Corning?

  1. Tapas bars, chocolate & wine bars…more Indian restaurants, Starbucks and/or Gimme Coffee. French pastry shop, Creole restaurant. More wine bars. Swanky. More glass shops, high end, artist owned. Artist studios and cooperatives on the main drag…Murano Glass pens, Italian inks & stationery shop, handmade journals…like Katie’s Paperie in NYC. Letterpress and bookmaking classes at a shop next door or as part of the venue. Living quarters for 40 somethings and up above the main shops. More art galleries, Pottery and Metalsmithing studios. Boutique clothing shops by up and coming designers…sushi bars, Japanese restaurants…salsa dance club. There’s more, but that’s it for now.

  2. Lebanese restaurant, jazz bar, Latin dance club, indoor rock wall climbing gym. And decent gluten free pizza would be welcome!

  3. I would like to have more kid.friendly options such as a nice kids clothing store where you could buy local instead buying online. Restaurants that stay open on Sunday evenings or work on a rotating schedule if they feel there is not enough foot traffic on that evening. A place to dance that has a cool vibe. More of an artisan presence. Special events to profile businesses. Fix the parking lot lanes and streets aping widening the radius of Market St. Outdoor cafes or restaurants who could put a few tables outside in better weather. Winter farmers market. Thanks for asking.

  4. I have to agree with “Me” I’d love to have a running/triathlon/hiking/backpacking store with a Knowledgeable staff and top-notch gear, just like the one in ithaca.

  5. A Greek restaurant.

    Natural fiber clothing in styles suitable for late middle-aged women.

    An updated version of Hyder’s old grocery store near the east end of the of the Southside shopping district and another near the north end of the Northside shopping/business district.

  6. A dog park!!! They are a great place for not only dogs to socialize but their owners too. The old sports field…at the now Academy Place apts is a great location for the southside neighborhood. It’s already fenced on 3 of the 4 sides needed to create a safe off- leash area, it’s walkable for all the 4- legged friends in the neighborhood, and it’s great opportunity for all of us ( people and dogs) to hang and get to know each other!!

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