Tag Archives: Local business

Businesses helping businesses during this difficult time

15 Jan

A ripple of kindness is quietly spreading through the Webster community.

It’s called Webster Business Pay it Forward, an effort begun by businesses almost a year ago to help their fellow small business owners weather the Covid economy.

I first heard about the program from one of my readers (thanks, Nancy!) who saw a Facebook post from Ric Thomann of Webster Interiors. Ric had purchased ten gift cards and long-stemmed roses from Kittelberger Florist, which were to be given out free to the first ten customers who visited Kittelberger and mentioned the program. Not only did the gift card purchase benefit Kittelberger, chances were good the patrons who used them would be spending even more than that in the store.

The roses were just an extra special touch.

Ric was able to give me a little background, particularly that the movement was spearheaded locally by Dr. Joe Manza of Wellness For You NOW Chiropractic on North Ave.

Ric wrote,

During the earlier stages of Covid, Joe went out to a few businesses and pre-paid for some products from the Webster businesses and then splashed what he did on his and Webster Facebook group pages to encourage the community to take advantage of his generosity and hopefully bring additional awareness and customers to those businesses.

The Webster BID, the Village of Webster’s business association, got wind of the idea and started spreading it through the village, benefiting almost a dozen small businesses to date.

Dr. Joe, however, refuses to take credit for the original idea, saying that the concept began with a business growth group he belongs to called Black Diamond Club. He started the ball rolling “early on in the apocalypse” by opening a tab at the Lake Road Country Store for $150 worth of fish frys for anyone who had lost work and needed a hot meal.

He wrote,

Not too long after I posted this offer on Facebook, a high school friend of mine who operates a very small musical instrument repair business jumped in and added to my tab. That made my heart melt! Later on, I did another one at Knucklehead Brewing. I bought ten growlers for any first responders, nurses, fire, police … as a thank you for their hard work.

And he didn’t stop there, paying it forward to Performance Hobby, The Goodie Shoppe, Kiss Me Cookie and The North Bee. Come February, he’s planning to do it again, to benefit another local business, Barbells & Body Fuel.

The big idea is that it is absolutely necessary to support our community in as many ways as possible. Too many people have been negatively impacted by the virus and the lockdown. Job loss, reduced incomes, business closings, depression, and so forth have become the side effects of this situation.

I have heard personally that this little initiative has helped so many people and businesses which makes me hope others are inspired to contribute to the cause, just like my friend did by adding to my tab. If we can come together to serve our community by giving just a little bit more or extra – if/when possible – so that life is a little less of a struggle and a bit brighter for those in need then we are all better off.

The Webster Business Pay it Forward initiative is still going on. The wave of kindness continues to spread, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for it, for your opportunity to help support our local businesses.

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Here’s a shopping challenge for you

27 Nov

Perhaps it’s just the fact that “Black Friday” has turned into “Black Friday Week” because people are spending more time at home and shopping online, but it seems to me that this year’s Black Friday craziness has been a little muted.

I’d like to encourage everyone to not let that happen to Small Business Saturday, which happens tomorrow, Nov. 28.

Our small business owners need our support more than ever this year help them survive this pandemic. Especially if we’re headed to an orange designation which might throw us back into another round of retail restrictions.

So I propose this challenge: sometime this holiday season, make a commitment to purchasing at least one gift at a small business. Even if (or especially if) you just need stocking presents, step into a small shop you’ve never been in before and I guarantee you’ll find something unique and perfect.

The North Bee, for example, at 27 North Ave. This is one of my favorite shops in the village, because I can always find something fun and different for office gifts or stockings.

The North Bee is packed with products from the hive, but goes far beyond just honey. (But if you or someone you love fancies honey, there are countless varieties here.) You have to check out her beeswax Christmas ornament tree, and beeswax statuettes for example. There are candies and even soft drinks, all honeybee-based. And Amy has really begun to focus her product line on health and wellness, like natural elderberry syrup and propolis products.

The North Bee has just celebrated its second anniversary, so Amy must be doing something right.

Another one of my favorite shops is The Village Quilt Shoppe at 21 E. Main. I’m not a quilter, but I like to stop in here occasionally just to say hi to the owners, Vanetta and Monique, who are two of the nicest people I have ever met. They’ve got all sorts of sales going on right now and a chance to win a gift raffle.

This is the perfect place to find a gift — or a gift card — for that quilter on your list.

And of course I can’t sing the praises of Lala of Webster enough. This adorable shop at 38 E. Main is packed with unique and creative gifts and is a must see for anyone shopping in the village. Owner Lisa Scholnski always has something new up her sleeve. Stay tuned for news soon of a special offering for seniors that’s in the works.

These three are just my favorite village shops, but li’l old Webster has so much to offer. Here are a few highlights:

  • Know someone who would rather read than do just about anything else? Grab a gift certificate from Yesterday’s Muse booksellers, 32 W. Main.
  • Performance Hobbies, 15 W. Main, is a hobbyist’s paradise.
  • How about supporting the musician in your family with something from The Music Store, 18 E. Main?
  • Grab some beautiful hand-made holiday chocolates at The Goodie Shoppe, 83 North Ave.
  • Nest Things at 11 E. Main is kind of like an upscale Grandma’s attic, packed with “carefully rechosen items” for the home, mother-to-be, and children. Lots of surprises in here.
  • Brighten up your holiday table and home with some flowers and wreaths from Kittleberger’s Florist, 263 North Ave.

And don’t forget to save some time to enjoy a snack and beverage at one of the village’s restaurants and pubs. You should definitely stop into Barry’s Old School Irish just to see the lights they’ve strung.

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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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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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Officers + autism community = awareness

11 Feb

peak

Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy Mike Ottley and his K9 companion Peak.

An adorable and oh, so droopy and cuddly bloodhound puppy recently paid a visit to the Jujitsu Buddies class at Strike Back Martial Arts in the Village of Webster.

Accompanied by his handler, Deputy Mike Ottley of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the four-month old bundle of floppy skin and monstrous paws happily played with a crocheted dragon and endured much petting while Ottley chatted with the students about his role as a deputy.

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Sheriff’s Office SCUBA Commander Lt. Chris Fay helps Colton Sprague into a SCUBA suit at a recent No Gi Jujitsu class. 

It was a fun event for the students in class that day, but it had a serious purpose. It was one of a series of visits by law enforcement officers organized by Strike Back Martial Arts owners Dave Nicchitta and Mike Palmer.

Over the past several weeks, Nicchitta and Palmer have invited local law enforcement officers to visit the studio’s jujitsu classes for special needs children and adults. Officers visited three of the studio’s classes: Strike Back Fitness for kids and teens with Down syndrome, No Gi Jujitsu for teenagers with autism, and most recently, Jujitsu Buddies for younger children with autism.

The goal of the visits has been to give both students — especially those with autism — and officers a chance to ask questions get to know each other a little better.

“Autism is one of the fastest growing disabilities in America,” said Nicchitta, who is himself a Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy. “The way it presents itself can be misinterpreted as inappropriate or criminal behavior.”

“Data tells us that one in five teens with autism will be stopped and questioned by police before age 21, and people with disabilities, including autism, are five times more likely to be jailed than those without disabilities.”

Those with autism in particular often have a hard time looking people in the eyes or following multi-step directions. They can also become extremely agitated in the presence of flashing lights, sirens and loud radios, and may not like being touched. In a high-pressure situation, an officer might misinterpret such behaviors as combative or non-compliant.

Nicchitta hopes that through programs like these, and through additional opportunities he’s offering to the Rochester-area law enforcement community, he can help raise awareness.

“When an officer encounters someone who is acting unusually, we hope we can get the officer to just take a moment and think, is there something else going on here?”

The class visits are as beneficial for the students as they are for the officers.

“I wanted to create a non-stressful environment where our students can interact with law enforcement in a positive way,” Nicchitta said. “That way the students can keep that experience in the back of their heads if a situation occurs where they have to interact with officers.”

Strike Back Martial Arts is located at 55 East Main St. in the Village of Webster. The studio offers offers adaptive jujitsu classes designed for children and adults with autism, Down syndrome and other physical and emotional disabilities, as well as non-adaptive jujitsu classes.

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Students in Strike Back Martial Arts’ Jujitsu Buddies class listen — and watch Peak — as Deputy Ottley talks about his job.  

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The Village Quilt Shoppe is back!

8 Jan

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Vanetta Parshall, Monique Liberti and their cute little quilt shop are back in business on East Main St.

They’ve been closed for a little more than a month, thanks to a water leak in the apartment above them which significantly damaged the shop and destroyed a good chunk of their inventory. Along with many friends and family members, they’ve been working hard in recent weeks to bring the shop back up to par. (Check out the photos to see for yourself!)

Vanetta and Monique have even managed to turn a very negative event into a lot of positives.

When I stopped in yesterday, their first day back in business, I saw that the shop is not only back in full swing, but in many ways is better than before. The ladies saw the forced-renovation opportunity to add more and better shelves, increase their inventory, and put down a whole new floor. This week they also introduced their new loyalty program and a monthly gift certificate drawing for customers who pay with cash or check.

Also, during the month of January for every sale over $25 customers will receive a sealed Red or White Fabulous February envelope, which can then be returned (unopened) in February to find prizes inside like gift certificates and discounts.

To celebrate their reopening, The Village Quilt Shoppe will host a “We’re Back” party this Saturday Jan. 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be raffles, sales, treats and a hot chocolate bar.

The shop is located at 21 East Main, at the corner of Lapham Park. Find out more on their website here and Facebook page here.

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Big changes in store for Good Smoke

26 Nov

good smoke

Since Good Smoke BBQ opened last January on West Main Street in the village of Webster, it has become one of my favorite village restaurants. I don’t believe I’ve ever enjoyed barbecued anything so much. Good Smoke’s sweet sauces are delightful, their side portions ample and their corn bread is delicious.

So when I heard recently that Good Smoke would be undergoing some major changes — including a significant menu shift — I was disappointed. But intrigued.

In short, before the end of the year, Good Smoke will become known as Roc Style Chicken and Burger, featuring a brand new menu with a lot less barbecue and a lot more, well, chicken and burgers.

Good Smoke management officially announced the changes on social media yesterday. Roc StyleTheir post read, in part,

We have a concept that we have been developing for years which we believe will be perfect for these locations. We are still working out the last details but would love to share the concept that we are incredibly excited about: Roc Style Chicken and Burger.

Roc Style is a celebration of Rochester’s culinary traditions. It is a celebration of our great city and the incredible lifestyle it affords us. Sweet and Sour sauce, Meat hot sauce, White hots… and much much more. Triple dipped, hand breaded to order, butter milk marinated chicken sandwiches. Over a dozen home made sauces for your wings, bone in or house made boneless. Hand pressed burgers and Zweigles dogs, plates with our super popular meat hot sauce. Awesome appetizers to share. A new menu but the same Good Smoke drive for ridiculous food quality and incredible customer service.

Small changes are already in the works. Table service was introduced a few weeks ago, and the restaurant is serving a limited beer menu. Major renovations will begin after Thanksgiving, including replacing the front counter with a bar, and swapping out much of the bench seating for high-top tables.

The owners will close the restaurant after Wednesday night’s (Nov. 27) dinner hours and hope to re-open within just a few weeks.

When I spoke with general manager Jeremy White a few days ago about the plans, he was excited about the additional service opportunities the new arrangement will offer, especially the new table service.

“With table service we can actually interact with the guests,” he said. That will allow a more personal experience for the guests, and more flexibility for them to add things, like beer and wine, to their order.

Reaction to Good Smoke’s announcement on Facebook has been mixed. Many people are very disappointed (and in true Facebook tradition, are being rather snarky about it). Others are more supportive.

I’m going to go with supportive, and I wish them luck. Having fallen in love with Good Smoke, I can handle traveling to their East Rochester location to get my three-meat platter, baked beans and corn bread. It won’t be just steps from my home anymore, but I can’t fault a business owner for making a business decision that seems right for the market.

Bottom line, we need reasonably-priced restaurants in the village, and if this change will help Good Smoke stay here and help our village remain strong, then more power to them.

Good Smoke BBQ is located at 5 West Min Street, Webster. To keep updated on the changes, visit their Facebook page. You can also email questions and comments to info@goodsmokebbq.com.

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LaLa’s been here a YEAR already?

12 Nov

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LaLa of Webster, located at 38 East Main St., turns one year old this weekend, and owner Lisa Schonski is celebrating all day Saturday Nov. 16 with wine, cookies, special events, vendor visits, and raffle prizes. It’s her way of thanking the Village of Webster for welcoming her so warmly and supporting her shop all year.

I remember the first time I stopped into LaLa last November, shortly after it opened. I was immediately impressed by the friendly, smiling welcome I received, how the store sparkled from head to toe with gift items and jewelry, and how great it smelled.

In the blog I wrote after my visit, I said, “It was like walking into a cloud of beautiful aromas, emanating from the array of personal care products that line the walls, shelves and counters of this gorgeous new shop.” I knew right away that it was the kind of retail establishment Webster really needs to help revitalize the village, and I’m tickled pink that it’s been successful. 

One of the best things I like about LaLa is that every time I go in there, I see something new, and usually it’s something I’ve never seen anywhere else.

That was no different last Saturday when I popped in for some updated photos, and discovered a sort of Christmas wonderland in the lower level, with a tremendous array of creative and unique gift items that just made me smile.

A great number of Lisa’s products are created by local artisans, many of whom will be on hand at the open house to talk about — and demonstrate — their crafts. Visitors will enjoy wine and cookies, and perhaps even win some outstanding raffle prizes, including an huge LaLa gift basket.

Basically, this would be a great time to pop in and check out LaLa of Webster again, or for the first time.

The shop’s located at 38 E. Main St., and will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit LaLa’s Facebook page to see some of the raffle prizes that will be given away.

Here’s a selection of photos I took Saturday:

 

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“All roads lead to Barry’s”

10 Nov

staff

By all accounts, last night’s 8th anniversary party for Barry’s Old School Irish was the most memorable special event yet at our little pub.

As with every one of Barry’s special events, the place was packed to the rafters, and a good two dozen people were even braving the chilly weather on the patio. If you weren’t there, you missed a rockin’ set by Billy Herring, a bagpiper, Irish dancers, pub-wide singing, and Danny’s annual epic toast, which this year stretched to seven hand-written pages.

As one who’s been part of the Barry’s Pub family since it opened, I often look back and marvel at all the good friends I have made there. There was a time when pretty much any night of the week, I could look around and know most of the people who were sitting at the bar and tables.

That’s not the case any more, of course. Barry’s is no longer a well-kept secret, and I often whine (in jest) that Danny and Jess keep letting in new people that I don’t know.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Danny and Jess have created something unique and special. They have stayed true to their dream, and remain clearly focused on what’s most important when running a business: everyone — from the first-time visitor to one of the original “Friday night” regulars — is family, and family always comes first.

In Danny’s toast, he told the story about how when he and his family were driving around Dublin earlier this year, another car pulled up next to them and started honking the horn. The driver was wearing a Barry’s Old School Irish t-shirt.

All roads lead to Barry’s, and their loving influence is reaching around the world.

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Barry’s Old School Irish anniversary draws near!

4 Nov

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Do you remember this corner?

If you lived in Webster, say, 9 or 10 years ago, you might remember this unusual garden, complete with a mini-waterfall. It stood  at the the village’s four corners, welcoming visitors to our main business corridor.

It adorned the storefront of the Living Plumber at 2 West Main St., and it stood for as long as I can remember.

That is, until the Living Plumber’s owner passed away, the village cleaned it up, Danny and Jessica Barry moved in, and committed to turning that corner into something really special: a friendly little Irish pub.

This weekend, on the occasion of the pub’s 8th anniversary, it’s clear that the Barry’s have done that — and so much more. They’ve created a super friendly, welcoming pub for the whole family. A place where you can set up your computer in the middle of the day to work while listening to live Irish music by musicians jamming in the corner.  Where everyone who comes in is immediately considered part of the family.

Barry’s Old School Irish has not only changed that corner for the better, it has changed our village.

Help them celebrate this Saturday Nov. 9 when Danny and Jessica host Barry’s Old School Irish’s 8th anniversary party.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s in the works:

  • 7:30 to 11 p.m.: Live Irish music by Billy Herring
  • 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.: Tullamore Dew and Jameson Irish whiskey reps will be handing out samples and giveaways
  • 10 p.m.: The official anniversary toast with whiskey on the house

Plus, watch for Irish dancers and a bagpiper to make an appearance. You’ll find more details here.

9232011 dan and jessI’m pleased and proud to say I’ve been an extended member of the Barry’s Pub family since before they even opened, when I popped in to interview the new owners for this blog and took that iconic picture of them holding the sign that would soon adorn the outside of their pub. There were no pictures on the walls, no musicians in the corner, no hamburgers on the grill.  Just two young kids with a dream which they continue to expand upon every single day. (Check out a few other photos from that day below.)

If you STILL haven’t stopped by this little Irish corner of the world, at 2 West Main Street right smack in the middle of the village, you’re missing something special.

 

 

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