It’s that time of year when I have to debate whether I want to walk to Market Street Coffee & Tea or Soul Full Cup depending on how far away I am and how much I want my face to hurt from the cold. That lovely nip in the air means Thanksgiving is right around the corner, followed immediately by a festive weekend of holiday lights, moving parades, and SHOPPING!
And if you think the coffee shop decision is tough, think about how many options there are for supporting small businesses during the busiest commerce season of the year. However, unlike the frozen face dilemma, this is a good problem to have. Books, jewelry, antiques, chocolate, clothing, flowers, artwork – it’s all here in Corning. And this year, we’ve got even more choices for Small Business Saturday and beyond!
CraftFARM Pop-Up Shop
Ok so this one isn’t a permanent fixture… yet! Allison Duncan opened CraftFARM at 127 West Market Street (the former location of My Shwarma and Walker Cake Company) where a dozen regional artists are represented in addition to the company’s own line of products. In an Amazon Prime world, you still can’t find these things online because they’re made by hand, by local artists and artisans, with local supplies and ingredients.
Take the soap, for example – there’s one bar with rosemary and essential oil in it, which I used to think was only for cooking and diffusing. Or wine barrel staves with messages that are perfect for homes in the Finger Lakes and gift-givers like my mom who bought 2 already. How about original artwork made by ceramicists, painters, or jewelers? This is the kind of stuff you buy for the person who’s impossible to buy for. I’m looking at you, Aunt Barb.
If it feels like a good fit for her, we may be able to convince Allison – the owner of CraftFARM – to keep this shop open year round. I’m not about to use this blog as a platform for begging but PLEASE GO SUPPORT CRAFTFARM AND MAKE SURE IT NEVER GOES AWAY BECAUSE IT’S PERFECT AND oh god that’s embarrassing. Sorry.
Nickel’s Pit BBQ
If you’ve spent any time in Watkins Glen, you know the locals only talk about 3 things: traffic on Franklin Street, the Hector Fair, and Nickel’s Pit BBQ. Closing Bridge Street gave us the same traffic issues, and the Hector Fair only belongs in one place on earth – but we finally have a taste of Nickel’s Pit right here in Corning!
I’m not an expert food reviewer like Felicia, so I needed to taste the food more than once before I could accurately give a recommendation. On my first visit I tried the pulled pork with tots and greens, corn bread, and house BBQ sauce. The second time I went for the ribs with fries and more garlicky greens. On my third trip I had the crispy, tender, smokey “pig wings” and another order of tots. Next I plan to try the smoked chicken wings with a BBQ dry rub. One friend had the Nickel’s Pit version of a garbage plate, which looked delicious, and another refused to share her brisket so that’s on my list. Plus they have tots, which I already mentioned twice, but there’s one version of them smothered with cheese and bacon and I couldn’t possibly give a full write-up without trying those. They also have fried jalapeños, polish sausage, and I think I mentioned the tots plus I want to try the pulled pork nachos and have the pig wings one more time before my review. I love being a food reviewer.
Anyways, if you’re hungry while you’re out holiday shopping… or right now… go to Nickel’s Pit.
Pip’s Squeak Boutique
One of the Market Street staples that’s been around for decades is Pip’s Boutique. And with the owner’s sister back in town, there’s a new addition to the family business: Pip’s Squeak! While these children’s clothes and accessories are currently available in a limited capacity inside of Pip’s, the full store is expected to open soon at 96 East Market Street – and the official grand opening is expected on Small Business Saturday.
I don’t have kids but I do have nieces and friends with kids and an appreciation for comfortable cardigans and stylish hats so I’ll be doing some serious shopping at Pip’s Squeak this year. I imagine bragging about how great I am at picking out clothes for my nieces when it’s really Ashley – the Pip’s Squeak owner and fashionista – telling me what’s best. On Christmas morning, I’ll take any credit I can get.
When you’re making that list and checking it twice, be sure to keep in mind all of the unique, creative, and delicious options in Corning. Money spent locally stays locally, and we’re always thankful for those small business owners who step up and make our holiday giving even more rewarding!