Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

New Tenant for Press Bay Alley & Future Mural

April 21, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

AmusePress Bay Alley at the end of Green Street across from Life’s So Sweet will be hosting a new tenant Amuse: Modern Cottage Industry starting July 1st, in addition to Boxy Bikes, which was announced back in February. Amuse will be a gift shop (photos here), and both retailers will be open during Ithaca Festival May 29th-June 1st so you can check them out.

In addition to the added retailer debuting this Summer, the building now has complete metal coping along the roof edge, and a fresh paint coat base in preparation for a talented mural artist to bring this canvas to life.





  • lexluthor666

    I like this project but it still hasn’t attracted a tenant I would go to on a regular basis. The last type of business downtown needs is another gift shop (okay, maybe second to last after the head shops). I have no idea how so many places selling useless knickknacks survive. Another large one just opened at Cayuga and Green. They should at least start to carve niches. I’d definitely visit, say, a travel-themed store, or one specializing in gourmet import groceries.

    And the bike shop sounds cool, but I wonder how many people are going to be buying electric bikes year round in Ithaca? I kind of fear for the survival of both these places already.

    Any new, unique sort of foodservice here would be good.

    • Heidi

      I think that Amuse and Boxy Bikes are exactly the type of stores that Ithaca needs. Amuse seems to be a unique gift shop by offering handmade, affordable products. So many of the gift shops downtown specialize in products that are too expensive for the average Ithacan to buy for themselves; forget about shopping for gifts for others. Boxy bikes (as far as I understand) will not only sell electric bicycles and the standard pedal bikes, but will hold classes for people interested in learning more about cycling. A huge asset to the cycling community here, and hopefully can play a role in strengthening that community.

      There are plenty of new ‘unique’ sorts of food service: Bandwagon, Lot 10, Gorgers, the Kava bar, and Mia to name a few.

      I, for one, am excited to see new industries thriving in downtown Ithaca. It seems to me that we have plenty of restaurants and bars.

    • B.C.

      I’m not sure to what extent more foodservices are required (I’m thinking of that stat that gets thrown around about Ithaca have the most restaurants per capita for any city of its size in the nation), but I see shops like Amuse as appealing to the touristy aspect of the local economy. Without having actual numbers in front of me, I imagine that the numbers of deep-pocketed vacationers from a several-hour radius is the primary driver of these shops, with locals playing a less important role. Things like the restaurants and the head shops probably depend on the burgeoning college student population more than permanent residents.

      I would be interested to see if any entrepreneurs have done studies on what downtown Ithaca needs; the DIA keeps a “wish list” (, but there’s a difference between what people want and what will turn a profit at the end of the day.

      • lexluthor666

        That DIA list is strange. As a downtown resident, my preferences would be a larger, fully-stocked pharmacy with very long hours as my absolute first choice (the Palmer/Green St. place does not cut it at all; downtown desperately needs the equivalent of a Rite Aid or CVS), a larger, affordable grocery store (GreenStar Oasis is tiny and expensive) and maybe a dry cleaner. There seem to be a ton of women’s clothing options already. Beyond the necessities for residents, if they want to compete with regional shopping centers what they really need is to lure a few more naitonal chain stores to serve as anchors and draw kids familiar with those brands down from the colleges.

        I mentioned foodservice for Press Bay earlier because I doubt any of these options would fit in its tiny bays, whereas the other businesses in Press Bay are going to need some kind of destination place to draw people there. I can’t believe foodservice isn’t also some of the best-grossing business downtown and that there isn’t room for more; the restaurants and cafes are always packed or busy while the gift shops sit empty. Assuming there really is enough of a tourist trade to support all these gift shops, I doubt Press Bay is a great location for one; I can’t see tourists finding their way there from the Commons without some strong, incredibly unique destination in the alley itself that would serve as some pull, and strong wayfinding to make sure they got there.

  • Kristinadlt

    Hi there! I am the owner of Amuse and I am so thrilled to be in Press Bay Alley in my next business venture! My store and merchandise is focused on items by makers from across the country (and locally) who produce fun, trendy, irresistible but also useful products for the love and joy of handmade. The items are made in homes, garages, and studios during kids nap times, lunch breaks, evenings after 9-5’s and are a beautiful reflection of the industrious nature and capabilities of fellow Americans! It is cottage industry production in the modern age! I will have items specifically appealing to women but also the kids and men they buy for. Everything is under $50, accessible, bright, happy, appealing, practical, and thoughtfully created to be enjoyed with a purpose but also fun (amusement!) I am thrilled to have such like minded creative neighbors in Boxy Bikes, the Ithaca Generator, and Life’s So Sweet Chocolates! We are a very specific niche, the group of us, and we are going to greatly appeal to locals and tourists alike especially those hip to the MADE movement! I hope folks will click the link above to peruse the album of items I have and get excited about the affordable and cheerful products I will be offering! See everyone at Ithaca Fest and all the time after July 1st! Can’t wait!!

    • Hi Kristina,
      I look forward to seeing it all coming together, and it’s very pleasing to see the local and maker movements thrive here in Ithaca. I think the store is a great concept, and a unique retail venue for Ithaca. American-made just in time for July 4th I see- perfect timing!