Tag Archives: Small business

Cobblestone on Main is finally opening!

17 Apr

I’m pleased to share some very exciting news with everyone today. Finally, after months of anticipation, the new Cobblestone on Main restaurant, at 109 W. Main St., will be opening for business this Thursday, April 22.

This news has been a long time coming. The Cobblestone is the culmination of a dream for Dan Bresnahan and his daughter Sarah, who are teaming up to run the new establishment. They were originally hoping to open a month or more ago, but you know how it is when you start a new business. especially a restaurant. There are a lot of unexpected hurdles, paperwork that needs to be done, approvals to be secured.

But all of that is finally in the past, and this Thursday at 4 p.m., The Cobblestone on Main will open its doors to a very welcoming Webster community.

I’m certain that everyone will be delighted and charmed by what they find. The Cobblestone on Main has a very family-friendly feel, with a homespun decor which includes things like family recipes wrapped around the candles on every table. The focus is on casual dining. “We want it to be family-friendly and date-night worthy,” Dan said, to which Sarah added, “Somewhere where you can come where we do our best to remember your name and what you drink.”

There are two main dining rooms on the first floor, with a dozen tables and several booths. On the lower floor, at parking-lot level, is another, smaller room with three large-screen TVs, and a larger room which will serve as the restaurant’s event space (which is already booked into the summer months, so call early to reserve your spot). That’s enough room to sit 110 people in Covid-appropriate comfort.

Dan describes the menu as “traditional American fare with a gastro-pub twist.” Diners will discover some unusual approaches to familiar dishes like nachos and chicken wings, and “bold flavor combinations.” He’s particularly proud of his chef. “He’s a creative chef who’s put a great team together,” he said. “The talent in the kitchen is very strong.”

That strength is obvious as well in the serving staff. “I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a group of people who are so passionate and excited about” their jobs, Sarah said.

“We want our restaurant to be a place where everyone feels comfortable coming,” Da

n said. “We want it to be an experrience when you come here.”

But more than anything, Dan and Sarah are excited about becoming an integral part of the Webster community. That’s especially true after seeing the unbelievable community support they’ve received, even before officially opening.

So I guess they already know we’re all thrilled to have them here in town. But it’s worth saying, anyway.

Welcome to Webster, Cobblestone on Main. We wish you many successful years ahead.


The Cobblestone on Main will hold a soft opening on Wednesday night, when Dan and Sarah will host all the friends, family, vendors, and construction workers who helped them make their dream a reality. The restaurant will open to the public this Thursday April 22 from 4 p.m. to midnight.

For more information about The Cobblestone on Main restaurant check their Facebook page. They will NOT BE taking reservations, so if you’d like to check them out anytime soon, make sure you get there early or plan on waiting a bit.

And if you’d like to read the first blog I wrote back in January about this great new restaurant, click here.

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Polar Freeze is coming to the village

18 Mar
This will be the new home for Polar Freeze, 16 West Main.

There aren’t a whole lot of details yet, but I’m pleased to help spread the news that Polar Freeze Ice Cream is coming to the Village of Webster!

I, for one, am very excited by this news. We need more ice cream in the village. Hank’s took their awesome ice cream with them when they closed several years ago. Webster Hots has tried to fill the void, but as far as I’m concerned, the more ice cream options in the village, the merrier.

Polar Freeze will be moving into the vacant storefront at 16 West Main St., across the street from The Coach.

It’s actually the second location for Bianca Cruz-Lopez and her husband Josue, who up until last summer owned and operated M. Sweet Retreat in East Rochester. They had to close that location, but by the looks of their Facebook pages, they never lost the desire to serve up small town sweet treats. We’re just lucky they decided to settle their new shop in Webster and not East Rochester.

Bianca and Josue are very excited to come to Webster. They’re planning to keep the same menu they had in East Rochester (apparently everyone loved it) and add some new items … like canoli ice cream (!) and sundaes.

Right now the new place doesn’t look like much, as Bianca and Josue work hard to refurbish and remodel (with the help of their children, offering building and business advice — check out the adorable Facebook video). Their goal is to open up mid-April, but we should know more in a few weeks.

So in the meantime, visit and “like” the Polar Freeze Facebook page to keep up on the latest developments. And just think about it — by summer we should be able to get dinner at the new restaurant, The Cobblestone on Main, then head across the street to Polar Freeze for dessert!

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North Bee featured in Rochester-area magazine

14 Mar

The North Bee — specifically Amy Stringer, owner of The North Bee — is getting some well-earned recognition this month. She and her adorable little bee-inspired shop on North Ave. are featured in the March/April edition of the Rochester-based magazine 55 Plus.

The three-page feature, written by John Addyman, follows Amy’s life path, beginning with her 19-year career in accounting. It was later in life that she discovered beekeeping, which ultimately led to the decision to retire and devote herself full-time to her newfound passion for all things bees.

Amy has been a regular advertiser in 55 Plus‘s sister publication, Good Health Rochester, and the sales representative she works with is a customer. It was she who realized that Amy’s story would be a perfect fit for 55 Plus which, she said, likes to write about “second act” careers.

The article has already garnered a lot of attention. It hit the newsstands on February 28, and within a week, several of her customers mentioned they had seen the article. For some, it was their first visit to The North Bee.

55 Plus can be picked up for free at 1200 locations throughout the city, including any Wegmans. But I highly recommend you stop by The North Bee in person to grab your copy, and see what all the buzz is about (sorry).

The North Bee is located at 27 North Ave., across the street from the gazebo. And when you stop by, don’t think you’ll only find honey (although the honey variety will blow you away). There’s also a surprising variety of products made from or with beeswax, including wax rounds, beard balms, mini planters, vases and cups, small sculptures, elderberry syrup and jelly, propolis, paw balm for dogs, candles, body products and much more.

The North Bee is open Tuesday 4-7 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check out the website here and Facebook page here.

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Updated BID website is a thing of beauty

12 Mar

The Village of Webster Business Improvement District (BID) website, the clearinghouse for village business, event and entertainment news, is new and improved.

The BID is the organization of small business owners who work together to support each other and the village business climate in general. They’re the ones who host many of the special village events you’ve come to know and love, including the Trick or Treat Trail, White Christmas in the Village, and the Wine Walks.

They BID has had a website for a long time, and while it did provide a lot of information about upcoming events and special business promotions, it really was nothing to write home about. Frankly, it was rather … blah.

But recently that changed. It has a new, fresh look, great images (including an impressive drone video) and much improved navigation tabs. All while still providing tons of information about what’s happening in the village.

According to BID member Tom Spoonhower, the improvements have been a year in the making. He wrote,

In early 2020, (BID chairperson Elena Bernardi) formed a marketing/communications committee and a more interactive website was one of the outcomes. She contracted with a local company, CMS Max, to incorporate our information into their template and through them an outside video company was hired to produce the video that greets you on the homepage.

Spoonhower himself has taken the lead in adding to and updating the site. That’s more difficult than you might imagine, given all of the challenges COVID has thrown into the mix. But right now, he adds, “The business listings are pretty up to date and as the weather breaks we hope to get out into the community to update even further.”

When you check out the new site (and you should), you’ll find some convenient tabs across the top where you can read more about the BID, see a listing of member businesses and get information about upcoming events. Scroll down and you’ll find even more links to things like music and entertainment and a BID newsletter sign-up (this is the best way to stay in the know). There’s even a place where you can find out more about volunteering for a special event.

Basically, the site is one-stop shopping for Village of Webster business and event news. Actually, it always was, but now it’s much prettier!

So check out th new BID website, bookmark it, sign up for the newsletter, follow the BID on Facebook … do it all and you’ll always be up to date.

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Win a quilt, help a family member

7 Mar

A village of Webster business is asking community members to help them support a family member in need. 

Vanessa Parshall, who with Monique Liberti owns the Village Quilt Shoppe, recently learned that her cousin, Amy Groot, has been diagnosed with lymphoma and melanoma.

Amy has been living a busy life. In addition to working full time at Paychex, she is active in her church community, and enjoys gardening and painting, all while also caring for her mother. Naturally, the news came as a devastating blow to her and her family.

To help Amy with her mounting medical bills, The Village Quilt Shoppe will be raffling off a beautiful quilt, the Equinox. The lovely wall hanging, pieced by Jean Cody and quilted by Finger Lakes quilting, measures 48″ x 48″and is valued at $450.  

Raffle tickets are $5 each and will be sold from March 9 through April 29. They’ll be available at the Village Quilt Shoppe during normal business hours. The drawing will take place on Friday, April 30.

The Village Quilt Shoppe is located at 21 E. Main Street, Webster. For more information, call (585) 626-6916. 

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An update on Bella’s Bumbas

20 Feb
A peek inside the Bella’s Bumbas workshop, where new chairs await shipping.

It’s been a while since we last visited Bella’s Bumbas. This is the incredible Webster-based grassroots organization which for almost four years has been improving the lives of children with mobility issues, not just here in town, but all over the globe. But rest assured, they’re still going strong and recently received some national attention.

Bella’s Bumbas is a non-profit organization run by Webster residents Marty Parzynski and Rebecca Orr, dedicated to building miniature wheelchairs for children with a wide variety of mobility issues. To date they’ve shipped more than 1600 chairs to children in 30 countries, recently adding Bangkok, Thailand, and Kuwait to the list, and they often adapt the chairs for each child’s individual needs.

As with most businesses, COVID has presented some challenges to their operation. But the pandemic hasn’t erased the need for these special chairs, so Rebecca and Marty remain dedicated to their cause, and continue to expand their services as much and as often as they can. All while being part-time caregivers for five of their grandchildren who are only attending school half-days.

I received this update from Rebecca the other day:

What a crazy year it has been thru Covid. We miss those of our volunteers that are social distancing for safety, and look forward to the whole team being together again. We’ve had some of our volunteers (Tom, Ron and George) rotate times and days to keep “bodies” at a minimum in the shop.

We’ve been shipping a few chairs directly to other countries (at great expense but worth the SMILES ) … we’ve been very blessed with the donations still coming in, and new contacts. We are well over 1600 chairs and have some amazing new businesses helping us in various ways making some of our specialized parts.

They’ve also recently partnered with Indiana-based Hearts in Motion, who will be helping them deliver several chairs to Guatemala.

Also, in a very exciting recent development, Bella’s Bumbas has been prominently featured in an article published this month in Brain and Life magazine, an official publication of the American Academy of Neurology. The article addresses how mobility devices, like the Bumba chairs, can benefit children’s brain health.

This is not news for anyone who’s taken the time to view the videos of smiling, mobile children on Bella’s Bumbas Facebook page. But it’s nice to see that confirmed by such as well-respected national publication.

How you can help

Bella’s Bumbas continues to ask parents to pay for shipping, but that’s difficult for some families these days. Plus. shipping internationally is very expensive, and some of those costs often have to be covered. So cash donations would be gratefully accepted, and would also help purchase parts which are not donated by local businesses.

If you’d like to help out, visit their GoFundMe page, where you can also read more about their background and continued efforts.  

They could also use boxes. The perfect sizes are 50 cm. x 45 cm. x 28 cm. (Rebecca uses two of these for the small chairs); 28″ x 20″ x 14″, and 29″ x 14″ x 24″ are great for the large chairs. If you’re getting Amazon deliveries regularly, you might also have the boxes they need; the ones that say P5 on the bottom are perfect (25.75″ x 20.75″ x 16.5″).

So if you have any boxes that are the right size, and would like to donate them, please connect connect with Marty and Rebecca through the Bella’s Bumbas Facebook page or email bellasbumbas@gmail.com

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Meet the new Cobblestone on Main restaurant, opening soon

30 Jan

The Village of Webster’s newest restaurant — Cobblestone on Main — will be opening soon, and I know I’m not the only one excited about it. 

Judging from the conversations I’ve been hearing from friends and on social media, a lot of people have been keeping an eye on the historic cobblestone building at 109 West Main St. as it’s been renovated over the last many months. The main rumors I heard swirling around was that it was going to be a brewpub, or maybe a high-end restaurant. Turns out, it’s neither — but a little of both.  

When The Cobblestone on Main opens several weeks from now, patrons will find a comfortable, reasonably-priced restaurant for those looking for a hearty lunch or dinner, and a dozen taps behind the long bar, hosting several local and regional brews. 

Dan, Sarah and Lynne Bresnahan

The Cobblestone is the culmination of a dream for Dan Bresnahan and his daughter Sarah, who will be teaming up to run the new establishment. Together with Dan’s wife Lynne, the Bresnahans, who are long-time Webster residents, are excited to bring their family-run restaurant to the village they call home. 

Their journey began a little over a year ago, when Dan and Sarah happened to drive by the historic old cobblestone. Greg Chambery, owner of The Maplewood nursing home, owned that building as well and had already begun renovations. It got them thinking about their longtime dream of opening a restaurant. 

“We had seen what was happening on the east side of the building with the new porch and roof line,” Dan said. “I said to Sarah, if we’re thinking of doing this, that’s the kind of place we need to find.”

It turned out that Sarah had grown up with Chambery’s daughter. Fate clearly had a plan for them. So last January, Dan met with Chambery and a deal was struck. 

And then Covid hit. 

Chambery had made significant improvements to the outside of the building, but had stripped the inside down to studs and bare stone. There was an amazing amount of work to do before the Bresnahans could open their doors to the public. But thanks to the pandemic, they couldn’t even begin their renovations until July. 

Instead of getting discouraged, they chose to look on the bright side.  

“That time period from early spring till July really provided us with the opportunity to think through logistics for such an old building,” Dan said. “What are all the things we needed to do to accommodate the public?”

When the pandemic didn’t relent over the summer, they had to keep moving their projected opening date back beyond the holidays and into the new year. Still, that was OK, Sarah explained. 

“As horrible as the timing of it was, I feel like waiting and doing it the right way and taking our time to think through systems and processes to keep people safe” was important, she said. “It’s something we needed to think about anyway. It made us think through keeping things clean and doing it the right way.”

The current plan is to finally open the first week of March.  

When everything is in place, Cobblestone on Main will feature a large main dining room door, with booths along the wall, several high-top tables in the middle and a farm table in the front window. Towards the back of the building is a second, smaller dining room with more farm tables, and in the basement, two more dining rooms which can double as private party rooms. Come this spring, they hope to add a fenced-in patio for outside dining.

In a nod to the building’s early-19th century history, the Bresnahans tried to emulate as much of the original structure as they could, including leaving some exposed beams. The decor is rustic and weathered, or as Dan characterized it, “homey.”

“Rather than taking it and making it into an industrial-themed restaurant which I think a lot of people are going towards, it’s a cobblestone building that feels very homey,” he said. “So (we’re) bringing that to the inside and making you feel like you’re going home to have dinner rather than feel like you’re going out to a restaurant.”

The menu will feature American classics with locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. And even though there’s a bar, Dan said, the focus will always be on the food and the experience.

The Webster community is clearly looking forward to welcoming Cobblestone on Main to the village. That was especially illustrated during the holidays when they promoted gift certificates.

Dan remembered,

A week or so before Christmas we posted that we would have gift certificates available because we had a number of people inquire. We didn’t even have a jar of pickles in the place. I said to Sarah, I kind of feel guilty selling a gift card. But we put it on Facebook and the community support blew us away. It was a regular flow of people coming in, saying, “Hey we want to help.”

They ended up selling 115 gift cards in the week before Christmas.

“We love this community … and now we’re starting our first business here,” Dan said. “I didn’t want to do it anywhere else.” 

“We wanted to be part of the community and give back and participate in community events,” Lynne added. “The support has been wonderful and we appreciate everything. And we can’t wait to give back to them what we have to offer.” 

Read more about Cobblestone on Main on their Facebook page.

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When life gives you lemons…

26 Jan

I really love the way our local small business owners are not only persevering through these difficult times, but are finding creative ways to do so.

The most recent example is our very own Village Quilt Shoppe at 21 E. Main Street. Even before the pandemic hit, disaster struck the brand new business just days before the village’s White Christmas celebration, when a water leak from the above apartment flooded the shop, ruining shelving, flooring and inventory.

But owners Vanetta Parshall and Monique Liberti made the best of it, laudering the wet fabric (which they call “flood fabric”) and selling it at a discount. Thanks to their loyal customers, they sold enough to cover the insurance deductible for repairs.

This weekend Vanetta and Monique will be looking back on those difficult days with a Flood Party, and will be displaying several of the projects which were made with the flood fabric. Thanks to Covid, the celebration won’t be very big, but they do promise a hot chocolate bar, cookies, and a demo held every half hour between 11 and 2.

So even if you’re not a quilter, if you’re in the village Saturday, stop on in, check out the shop and meet Monique and Vanetta, two of the nicest people in town.

The Village Quilt Shoppe is located at 21 E. Main St., at the corner of Lapham Park.

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Village of Webster hosts three fun holiday contests

9 Dec

The Village of Webster is doing its best to put some sparkle and fun into this very unusual holiday season.

In the next few weeks, the Webster Business Improvement District (BID) will host three contests designed to get community members out and about and exploring the village.

The first, a Gingerbread House Contest, is going on right now through Dec. 12. Six village businesses have created some very fanciful gingerbread houses. Community members can see each one at the participating business or online at websterbid.com and vote for their favorites. Three prizes will be awarded for Most Creative, Best Decorated and Most Traditional.

The participating businesses include:

  • Bernardi & Company CPAs, 40 Barrett Dr.
  • Beyond Cuts Salon, 33 North Ave.
  • Finn’s Automotive, 45 E. Main
  • Martino’s Pizza, 160 W. Main
  • Xceed Credit Union, 189 W. Main
  • Maplewood Nursing Home (must be viewed online)

This contest ends on Dec. 12, so get your votes in soon.

And by the way, get together with your family and come up with your own gingerbread house creation. Take a photo and email it to Elena@websterbid.com, and you could win a prize, too!

Next is the Snowman Scavenger Hunt, which runs for one week from Dec. 13 to 19.

The kids are especially going to like this one. Each participating businesses will hang a snowman poster inside the store or in the window, and each poster will have a different word on it. Players need to collect all the words to reveal a secret phrase. There will be 15 snowmen in all, and hints for where to find them will be posted on the BID website. Participants are also encouraged to take a creative picture with each snowman.

The top two puzzle solvers and the most creative photo with a snowman will each win a prize.

Finally, the week before Christmas, make sure to get downtown to see the village sparkle as shop owners decorate their windows and doors for the BID’s Window Display Contest. Community members can vote online for the Most Creative, the Most Colorful and the best Spirit of the Season.

For more information about all these upcoming holiday events, visit the BID website.

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A few pre-holiday thoughts

14 Nov

There’s Christmas music on the radio, 24/7. I believe it’s been running on not just one, but TWO stations for a few weeks now.

Now, I like Christmas music as much as the next guy, and I’ve never had any issue with radio stations jumping the gun somewhat and starting it up way early. (Although this year I think it was earlier than normal, almost like the two stations were in a race to see who could roll it out first.) And I gotta say, I think this year more than any other, we really need some jingle and joy in our lives. So you’ll find me switching on the radio in the car more often these days, searching out some Bing Crosby.

But what I DO take issue with is that these two stations apparently have not changed up their holiday music collection in five years or more.

There are thousands of holiday tunes out there. PLEASE update your repertoire. We don’t need to hear “Santa Baby” played every hour on the hour. (But you can work in Feliz Navidad more often if you want.)

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Here’s a quick reminder that the village is open for business.

I did some early Christmas shopping today, at two of my favorite village shops, Lala of Webster and the Village Quilt Shoppe, both on East Main St. When I walked into LaLa, I was delighted to see a long line of customers at the register (all properly distancing) and probably ten more still shopping.

It was wonderful to see that LaLa’s business is going so well, and more to the point, that so many new people have come to discover this unique store. It seeme like every time I walk in, I hear a first-timer ooh and aah with delight as they explore the three floors. As for me, I’ve been in lots of times but go back frequently because owner Lisa Schlonski keeps adding new merchandise.

I also popped into the Village Quilt Shoppe across the street. I’m not a quilter, but I know that they’re going to be selling off many of their samples and I really want to get my hands on one of the market bags. That sale actually starts on the 20th, so I will be back.

If you haven’t been in either of these shops before, remember that the Saturday after Thankgiving is Small Business Saturday. That would be a great opportunity to check them out, and many of the other small businesses we have here in town.

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