What’s community supported hospitality? The Watershed’s trying it out

If you live in the Finger Lakes, you’ve probably heard of Community Supported Agriculture, where shoppers pre-pay for a share of a farm’s crops: farms get much-needed capital up front, and customers get food when it’s grown. The Watershed, a new Downtown Ithaca bar opening soon, is trying Community Supported Hospitality.

"We're having so much fun loading up these gift cards for our friends," say Watershed owners.

“We are having so much fun loading up these gift cards for our friends,” say Watershed owners.

Outfitting a new bar is expensive, but customers who know they’ll be coming to check it out anyway can help get the ball rolling by ponying up for some of the things the bar needs. Jiggers are $8 each, those huge ice cube molds are $9 each, a case of wine glasses $88. Chip in, and you’ll get back a gift card with matching value.

Planning on visiting a lot? You can spring for a receipt printer for $260, a three-bay metal sink for $618, even a high-temperature dishwasher for $2,999.

“Very, very soon,” say the friendly letters on the paper covering the windows at 121 West State Street, just down the block from the State Theatre, offering optimism. The Watershed will be open seven days a week from 4pm to 1am, featuring food sourced “almost entirely from regional producers,” craft cocktails, wine, and beer, as well as coffee, tea, and soft drinks, in a “casual, conversational atmosphere.”

Want to chip in? Visit thewatershedithaca.com.

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