More room to maneuver, just as much cheese, in remodeled Ithaca Coffee Company

It’s not the first time the Ithaca Coffee Company has been remodeled or rearranged in the just about 15 years since it’s been at the front of the Triphammer Marketplace, but the just-finished rebuild adds some welcome café space and aisle space without giving up any vital cheese display capacity.

Taller, rather than wider, cheese cases free up floor space at Ithaca Coffee Company. 14850 Photo by Mark H. Anbinder.

The family-owned store will celebrate this fall’s remodel with a “Remodel Reveal” event on Small Business Saturday from 10am-3pm. Doubling as a holiday sale kick-off, the event will feature free samples of coffee, artisan cheeses, and baked goods, and a sale on gift baskets.

Owner Julie Crowley returned to Ithaca in 2002 to take over her family’s Triphammer Wines & Spirits store, moving it into the space vacated by the A&P supermarket. Not long after, the family business also expanded by buying Gourmet’s Delight, the cute but sleepy gourmet shop that had been their neighbor in the Triphammer Mall for decades, and renaming it to the Ithaca Coffee Company.

As it did in its previous incarnation, the store still sells a wide variety of cheeses and other gourmet foods, as well as premium coffees and teas and the implements with which to prepare them. But the business, which moved to the front of the Triphammer Marketplace, soon began roasting its own coffee, set up an espresso bar to offer fresh coffee drinks, before long added bottles and six-packs of craft beer, and then opened a second retail location at the new Gateway Commons building in Downtown Ithaca. (Among the past renovations to the store was the construction a few years ago of the Tavern space, serving wine and beer by the glass as well as a small selection of snacks.)

Marketing director Aaron Rovitz says the rebuild began by reducing the store’s center workspace area by about a third, “which freed up about 200 square feet of additional floor space for customer shopping.”

Still more floor space comes from a decision to replace the long cheese display coolers with taller models, which have the added benefit of being easier to reach to the back of. (It’s not just cheese. The coolers also feature caviar, smoked fish, and other gourmet food items.)

Specialty teas and coffees are now closer to the brewing accessories and supplies, like grinders, brewers, and filters, in a single coffee display area. “We also increased the size of the café area, which allowed us to add four tables,” Aaron told us. There’s also now a “dedicated gift basket station,” he says, offering custom gift basket creation as well as shipping and delivery estimates. “Overall, the renovation not only improved the store aesthetic but also the logistics,” he adds.

“I knew the bigger aisles were the right move when I saw a regular customer navigating around with a walker,” says Julie, who had decided not to try cramming too many more product-laden shelves into the freed-up space. “She had plenty of room to get to what she was looking for.”

Ithaca Coffee Company is at the Triphammer Marketplace (formerly the Triphammer Mall), next to Triphammer Wines & Spirits, at 2255 North Triphammer Road, just off Route 13 in the Village of Lansing.

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