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Produce and flowers and crafts, oh my!

23 Sep

Don’t let the slow creep of autumn scare you away; Webster’s Joe Obbie Farmer’s Market is still up and running every Saturday in the Towne Center Plaza, at the corner of Ridge and Holt (near Old Navy and the gazebo).

The market offers locally-grown fresh produce (including this season’s apples), baked goods, jams & jellies, honey, maple syrup, fresh meats, plants, spices and crafts. When I was there last weekend I grabbed some tomatoes and even started my Christmas shopping.

The market runs through the first week in November, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday. For more information, check out their Facebook page. And scroll through the slideshow at the top of this blog to see more photos!

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A visit with my new Webster Village eye doctor

2 Sep

I could probably fill a small notebook with everything I love about living in the village. But no matter what’s on that list — music, shops, pubs, neighbors — one underlying theme ties them all together: people.

That fact was reinforced yesterday when I went for a long-overdue eye appointment.

We were in between optometrists when we moved to the village last year, so we decided to sign on with Webster Eye Care Associates. The office, at 81 East Main St., is about an 8-minute walk from my house. (I LOVE being able to walk to places!)

The place was bustling with activity, and much larger than it appears from outside. The staff members were friendly and efficient, and Dr. Hochreiter, who handled my exam, was very professional and thorough, and patiently answered all of my questions.

But I especially enjoyed my time with the big teddy-bear of a technician who helped me choose my new pair of frames and took the appropriate measurements. We laughed and joked throughout our entire visit. We even discovered at one point that we both used to live in small-town Owego, in the Southern Tier, and shared memories of our old hometown.

My new friend Mike Gustin and me

Only toward the very end of our time together (after learning that I was a new customer) did this very friendly and jovial gentleman introduce himself. All that time, I had been joking with Webster Eye Care co-owner Mike Gustin.

It’s not often that you can walk into a medical office for the first time and leave an hour later feeling like you’ve joined a family. That’s how the folks at Webster Eye Care Associates made me feel yesterday. That’s what small-town hospitality and neighborliness is all about.

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Exciting news for the Knuckleheads

14 Aug

Exciting things are happening for the Knuckleheads.

If you’ve been watching their Facebook page recently, you might have seen the announcement that Len Dummer, owner of Knucklehead Craft Brewing, recently posted about the changes happening there.

It read,

Do you like the color of your brewery? Oh well, it’s going to change.

Watch for a lot of changes at Knucklehead because the Dummer family finally closed on the building and they own 426 Ridge Rd! Like Chef Josh’s food? Wait for it…we are totally re-modeling his kitchen with a build-out and all new equipment. Like to sit outside & enjoy a pint? We have hired Thomas Landscape Garden Center & Florist to build out a new beer garden with gas fireplace & a water feature. Trees will fall (for a future retaining wall to allow more on-site parking), windows will change, fences will be built, but Head Brewer Jake’s beer will remain the same delicious beer you love! Stay tuned as we move forward, be patient with us and continue to come in to your favorite “Webster’s only” brewery.

This is very cool news. It’s an expansion I know the brewery has been looking to accomplish for a long time. It also represents another small Webster business success story: not only surviving the pandemic, but finding a way to turn things positive.

That kind of enduring success can be attributed in large part to the loyal customer base Knucklehead has developed, and the kind of people we are here in Webster. Let’s continue to show the love.

Knucklehead Craft Brewing is located at 426 Ridge Rd. in West Webster.

A look inside the brewery in a photo from the Knucklehead Facebook page.

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This family-friendly Webster Village history tour is like no other

31 Jul

A Webster resident and geocache aficionado has devised a fun way for entire families to learn a bit more about village history.

I’m sure you’ve heard about geocaching. This extremely popular hide-and-seek challenge uses GPS coordinates to guide participants to hidden “caches.” Each one includes a logbook and some trinkets. You choose one of the trinkets and leave one of your own.

I’ve never been a big fan of geocaching, being a letterboxing gal myself. But this brand-new Webster Walkabout” history geocaching challenge created by my friend Gerry Sander is something I would recommend to anyone and everyone, especially families.

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The Webster Walkabout is not your typical geocache puzzle, where you download the coordinates for one cache and then search for a physical, hidden box. Instead, this activity is part of the relatively new “Adventure Lab” geocaching platform, which guides participants to a series of virtual caches — in this case, historically significant properties within the Village of Webster.

At each stop, the game prompts you to answer a question by typing in a word that can be found on a sign or plaque nearby. The correct answer unlocks the clue to the next location. Some of the walkabout stops even include videos, which is cool.

Then the whole experience gets even better. Once you complete the Adventure Lab, you’ll be given a code to unlock a special bonus puzzle geocache located at the Webster Museum, 18 Lapham Park.

When Gerry started planning out his Adventure Lab series, he immediately thought of a historical tour, and first considered making it a town-wide hunt. But after discussing his idea with Webster Village Historian Lynn Barton, he narrowed his focus.

I met with Lynn Barton and the Webster Museum and she gave me all kinds of ideas. Just talking with her that initial time, we decided to limit the focus to just the village. There were enough places around the village which have historical significance. Since it’s only five (stops), we could basically make it a walking tour so people can come to the village, visit these historical places, get the feel of the village, maybe visit Barry’s or some of the restaurants, and drive people to the museum. 

It kind of meshed really well. 

Gerry also got support from Webster Village Mayor Darrell Byerts and Webster Supervisor Tom Flaherty, both of whom recorded videos for the walkabout.

Gerry has been hunting geocaches for 14 years, has found more than 2800 of them and placed another 24 of his own. This, however, is his first Adventure Lab challenge.  If it’s successful and people seem to have fun with it, perhaps he can follow it up with one that teaches us even more about the Town of Webster.

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Outside the Webster Museum with the newly installed gadget box are Museum President Tom Pellett, Gerry Sander, and Museum board member Jill Kraft. The box can be unlocked only after completing the 5 virtual caches in the Webster Walkabout Adventure Lab.

Want to try the Webster Walkabout? Here are the details:  

The Webster Walkabout guides participants to five historically significant Village of Webster buildings, on a walk that’s about 1.5 miles. The route is entirely along village sidewalks, so it’s handicap accessible and great for all ages. It should take about an hour.

After the last stop, you want to stroll over to the Webster Museum at 18 Lapham Park. There, attached to the front of the building, you’ll find the ultimate geocaching award, a “gadget box.” This is a bonus puzzle cache which the kids especially are going to LOVE. You’ll need a combination to get into the lock on this one, which is provided once you complete all five stops.

Participants need a smart phone (Android or iPhone), with the Adventure Lab app installed (it’s free). Because it’s multi-media and location based, you’ll need to use your data and have location services enabled.

To open the Webster Walkabout Adventure Lab in the mobile app, click on this URL:  https://labs.geocaching.com/goto/WEBSTER

Have fun!

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Ooooooo Lala!

28 Jul

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Lala of Webster has expanded, and the new place looks beautiful.

Owner Lisa Schlonski of Lala of Webster, a lovely gift shop and boutique at 38 East Main in the village, celebrated her grand opening last weekend, introducing her newly expanded space to the Webster community.

In business for just a little more than 18 months, owner Lisa doubled her space by expanding next door into the former Pickled Paintbrush shop, which unfortunately lost the pandemic economic battle a few months ago. Lala now has not just two, but three floors.

The shop’s two original spaces still look much the same, with a wide variety of gift items, jewelry and wellness products. But now with the added space, there’s a lot more room for everything, and more.

The new, adjacent room has a dedicated spot for local vendors (about 30 of them) and so many cute inspirational gift items (I bought a few myself). Upstairs is a ladies’ boutique with clothing and more jewelry, and a children’s room with baby items, toys and stuffed animals for all our young friends.

There are too many adorable things to mention here. You just gotta see it to appreciate it. I’ve always said that Lala is exactly the kind of shop we need here in Webster. I didn’t think it could get any better, but it sure did.

Lala of Webster is located at 38 East Main Street. For more information and hours, visit their website here or Facebook page here.

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Some encouraging Webster Village business news

21 Jul

In a time when small businesses are struggling to keep their heads above water, comes some very happy and encouraging local business news.

lala of webster

For starters, Lala of Webster, a beautiful little gift shop and boutique located at 38 East Main St., has not only weathered the pandemic storm but is expanding.

In business for just a little more than 18 months, owner Lisa Schlonski will be expanding next door into the former Pickled Paintbrush shop, which unfortunately lost the pandemic economic battle a few months ago. Renovations are almost complete, and when they’re done, the much larger space will feature not just two, but three floors.

In addition to the shop’s already wide variety of gifts and wellness products, the newly expanded shop will feature a dedicated ladies’ boutique on the upper level with clothing, jewelry, handbags and more, a children’s and baby room, and more than 500 new items.

Lisa will continue to support about 30 local vendors as well, with products (including masks) now all concentrated in one “shop local” area.

A good time to check out the new shop is during Lala’s Grand Opening this Friday and Saturday July 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In celebration, Lisa is offering a 25% discount on products both days of the grand opening (exclusions will apply).

I asked Lisa straight up how it is she was able to not only survive the storm, but come out even stronger. She wrote,

I wasn’t ready to give up on my dream of owning a shop. So many customers kept asking if I was going to reopen, so I knew there was interest in what I had to offer, which was the fuel I needed to look past the short term and focus on the long term.

Also, an opportunity presented itself with the availability of the space next to me. I gave it some serious thought and decided why not? If it doesn’t work out I can at least say I tried. I look forward to the upcoming holidays and trying new things and ways to engage with my customers, in the shop and online.

That attitude pretty much sums up the philosophy which Lisa has brought to her shop. After all, “LaLa” stands for “Laugh and Love Always.”

Find out more about Lala of Webster here on their Facebook page.

quilt shoppe

Since we’re talking about new-ish village businesses, I’m happy to pass along the news that The Village Quilt Shoppe will be celebrating its first anniversary the week of August 4 through 8.

This little shop, at 21 East Main St., has become near and dear to my heart, and not only because owners Monique and Vanetta are wonderful people. They have faced some unique challenges trying to keep their dream business afloat, including dealing with a flood from the apartment above them. And during the early weeks and months of quarantine, when their shop was closed, they still went in regularly to coordinate an effort by their customers to make face masks for medical personnel.

So stay tuned for more information about this anniversary, then let’s all pop in and show them some love — whether we’re quilters or not.

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The village is open for business!

13 Jun

Things are far from being back to normal, but our village businesses are showing some signs of life.

Especially now that we have reached Phase III, village businesses are beginning to open their doors to retail sales again. What’s different is that staff members will be wearing masks (and customers should be as well), and there might be one-way tape marks on the floor and in front of the registers encouraging proper social distancing.

However, what hasn’t changed is that the same friendly owners and staff members will be there to welcome you, and they’ll be very happy to see you.

Frankly, I’m relieved to see that most of our village businesses were able to weather the pandemic. The one notable exception is The Pickled Paintbrush, which closed for good about a month ago. (But even that unfortunate news has a happy upside, which I’ll mention later.)

You, the loyal customers, are the main reason these businesses are still here. John Bucci, owner of The Music Store, 18 E. Main St., was blown away by the support his shop received while he was closed, making purchases via email, phone calls or online.

John Music Shop

John Bucci behind the counter at The Music Store

“Everybody was just being amazing,” he said. “People who needed a set of guitar strings, buying three or four, saying ‘We gotta keep you here, I gotta do what I can.’ Whatever they wanted, if I was even close to what they needed they were fine.”

He’s been in business for 31 years, he added, and always wondered “Does it matter? Then to hear the phone calls and the people going ‘Yeah, we got to keep you in business.'”

I also stopped by Nest Things, 11 E. Main, where owner Gail Maier took a few minutes to show me the beautiful garden she’s created behind her shop. Stop by for yourself and she’s be happy to give you a tour.

The Village Quilt Shoppe, 21 East Main, one of Webster’s newest shops, is also back in business after staying busy helping craft thousands of face masks for healthcare workers and social agencies.

Chandeliers and Performance Hobbies are also up and running again, and I’ve seen people popping in and out of The North Bee on North Ave.

But probably the most exciting news comes from LaLa of Webster, at 38 E. Main. After only a little more than a year and a half in business, LaLa not only weathered the storm, but is expanding.

Owner Lisa Schlonski will be expanding into the former Pickled Paintbrush space, which is right next door to her current shop. It will more than double the floor space she already has, including adding a third floor, which will become a clothing boutique.

Lisa hopes to finish renovations in just a few weeks, so watch for notice of a grand reopening party.

Plus, of course, the restaurants are opening up. I saw some brand new, beautiful patio seating at The Filling Station, and Barry’s outdoor patio is getting so busy that they’re taking reservations.

So let’s keep supporting our local businesses and show them how much we appreciate them.

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Webster Community Blood Drive returns — with a twist

28 May

The Webster Community Blood Drive is back — next Wednesday June 3 and Thursday June 4 at the Webster Recreation Center — but it’s going to look a little different this year.

You know this drive as the one advertised by those big white signs that are placed throughout town at crossroads and in front of some of the drive’s business sponsors. It’s the one where every donor is handed a bunch of raffle tickets, which can be used to try to win any of dozens of prizes.

In large part because of those raffle prizes, the two-day drive is always one of the most popular and well-attended drives of the entire year. But of course, business owners are clearly in no position to donate raffle prizes right now. So this year the drive’s organizers have decided to turn the tables.

To show appreciation for all the business owners who have so faithfully supported this annual drive, donors are encouraged to support them instead — and at the same time show some love to our first responders.

This year, donors are being asked to consider purchasing a gift certificate from a Webster business and bring it along to the drive, or make a cash donation, all of which will be collected and distributed to our local first responders as a thank you for all they’re doing.

Donation boxes will be set up outside the Recreation Center during the entire two-day drive, so even those who are unable to donate blood for any reason can still drive by and drop off their donations. Organizers will also have posters at the drop-off site, where people can write their personal messages of appreciation.

Checks may be made out to North East Quadrant Advanced Life Support, the Webster Volunteer Fire Dept., Inc., or the West Webster Volunteer Firemen’s Association.

This year’s Webster Community Blood Drive is scheduled for Wednesday June 3 and Thursday June 4, from noon to 7 p.m. at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive. Donors will need to make an appointment. To do so, visit RedCrossBlood.org and search for the sponsor code “WebsterCommunity,” or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

For more information, you can also call Monroe County Legislator Matthew Terp at (585) 753-1922.


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Birthday parade honors former St. Rita principal

13 May

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Birthday parades seem to be popping up every week these days, but this one was an extra special one.

On Monday evening, a parade of cars of cars honoring Sister Katherine Ann Rappl streamed through the St. Rita parking lot, offering gratitude and 80th birthday wishes to the school’s former principal.

It was a complete surprise for Sister Rappl, who clearly enjoyed the parade, which numbered about 140 cars. Thank you so much to Julie Schillaci for passing along the included here.

Julie also sent this write-up about the school’s beloved former principal:

No matter how many years pass, alumni of St. Rita School in Webster will always be “God drops” to Sister of Mercy Katherine Ann Rappl.

Exceptional students at the school are recognized with this honorary designation and receive raindrop-shaped sun catchers to hang in their windows to remind them 84CD1B72-D0E9-48EF-96F8-E6E6EF5CF9F9of how they capture God’s love.

The phrase “God drops” was one that Sister Rappl picked up during a National Catholic Educational Association Conference workshop years ago

“A raindrop is fully made up of what a cloud is made up of,” she always said, noting that people are God drops because they are made up of the same substance as God. God’s life is inextricably intertwined with their lives, she said.

And for the past 30 years, the lives of the students at St. Rita School have been intertwined with Sister Rappl, who began working there as principal in 1983.

She taught at St. Andrew and St. John the Evangelist, Rochester; St. Salome, Irondequoit; St. Louis, Pittsford; and St. Patrick Junior High School and Notre Dame High School, Elmira.

Formerly known as Sister Mary Benedicta, her home parish was St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit, and she attended the parish school. She said the Sisters of Mercy who taught her at Our Lady of Mercy High School in Brighton were very influential in her discerning her vocation, and she became a Sister of Mercy in 1958.

Sister Rappl loves being in Catholic education because she has been able to teach children both academics and their faith, and she has gotten the chance to see students grow.

“That’s a big joy in seeing how they learn to take responsibility and control of their behavior from kindergarten to sixth grade,”

And, she always points out, J.O.Y. — an acronym that stands for Jesus, others and yourself — is the school’s theme.

“I always tell students don’t let anyone take your joy away from you,” Sister Rappl received the “Lighting the Fire Award” from the Catholic School Administrators Association of New York State for her 50 years of service in Catholic education.

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You may have heard some commotion last night in the village around 7 p.m. That was yet another birthday parade, this one for Fritz Sierk, owner of The Coach Sports Bar on West Main.

This one featured not only a fire engine and other emergency vehicles, but also the WFD’s antique engine, and that huge Teamsters semi, blasting music.

Hard to tell if Fritz saw it all; he seemed to have something in his eye for part of it.

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Knuckleheads help others in need

12 May

The Knuckleheads continue to show us why they’re such a valued part of our Webster community.

For the last few weeks Len Dummer and the folks at Knucklehead Craft Brewing they have been collecting food and toiletries for people in need. Patrons have been delivering bags of donations  which staff members have been organizing and distributing to the homeless and refugee families.

And they’re not done yet. They’re asking everyone to continue to drop items off. Len Dummer writes on his Facebook page,

donations

Items for homeless should be individual servings like peanut butter cracker packs, packets of tuna (can be opened by hand), nutrition bars, beef jerky, Slim Jims, raisins, dried fruit, any kind of nuts, single rolls of toilet paper, bars of soap, etc.

Items for families could be: canned goods, pasta sauce, dried pasta, salsa, corn chips, canned soups, snacks of all sorts, drinks (like Gatorade or other), toilet paper, bars of soap, boxes of mac & cheese.

Check out their Facebook page for more information, and consider lending a hand! Helping others out during these scary times helps us all. 

Knucklehead Craft Brewing is located at 426 Ridge Rd. in West Webster.

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