Tompkins County economy bodes well for 2010, with only air traffic showing a 3% dip from the same time a year ago. Help wanted advertising is up over 7.5% from February 2009, which is a huge indicator of strength in the local job market. Compared with the state overall, Ithaca's unemployment rate was at 6%, vs. the state at 9.3%, and the nation at 10.4%. The county has consistently held a favorable place as lowest in the unemployment ranks for the state of New York. Cornell, Ithaca College, and Cayuga Medical Center all play a huge role in this statistic. However, the small business and franchise scene also figures into this mix. Maine Source, a new party supply outlet store, and Panera, are on board to open this year on Rt. 13 South. And the rumors persist that Olive Garden will also be announcing it's new location, and perhaps be opening by the end of the year as well. All of this activity and growth on the heels of the worst national recession is a sign that the area is recovering, and is seen as a viable place to open new high-traffic restaurants. Corporations investing in the area do not enter the arena expecting to lose.
In the local small business scene, Ithaca Bakery recently acquired Hope's Way and reopened in that Triphammer Mall location in late February. They are working out the kinks, but have added a lot of new/old Hope's Way recipes in this move, and expect this development to augment their catering business, which was also a strength of Hope's.
Up north a ways, Crossroads also reopened in winter 2010 under new management and is doing swimmingly well with their bar business. The restaurant has a tasty but somewhat limited menu for the moment - among my favorites are the calamari with chipotle dip, and the massive BLT served on Texas toast - I would probably order it on normal bread next time as I was almost put under by that big sandwich the last time! Crossroads is competing head-on with Rogue's Harbor, another local pub/cafe (with a MEAN French Onion soup!), and in my opinion, both are needed in the North Lansing area - the neighborhood has plenty of residents looking for another great place to gather for drinks and food for lunch, after work or on the weekends, so let's hope that in this case, a little friendly competition is going to mean better business and better choices for EVERYONE!
Reporting from Ithaca, NY, where it is a beautiful sunny 60 degrees on Easter Sunday!
The SHORT REPORT by SANTOS
Agent Santos reporting...