New academic year coincides with changes on Main Street

A new no-smoking policy and the turnover of several local businesses are among the changes that affected the village of Geneseo over the summer.

A law enacted by the Village Board of Trustees on June 7 has banned smoking on all municipal property, said Marsha Merrick, village clerk treasurer. The law - which the board presented on May 3 and enacted after a public hearing a month later - will go into effect when the village receives confirmation from the New York secretary of state, said Merrick. All village ordinances must go through this step.

Geneseo is the only municipality in Livingston County to have made its public property smoke-free, Merrick said.

"There were more in favor of it than there was resistance to it," she said, adding that where there was opposition, it tended to come from villagers wary of adding any more laws to the books.

"It was a health-motivated decision," board member Sandy Brennan said. "We are becoming more concerned about what goes on our land."

The smoking ban is effective in all municipal parks and in the municipal parking lot, said Brennan. She added that smoking is not banned on village sidewalks.

Other changes which took effect over the summer include a reduction in hours at the Inn Between, which is no longer open for Tuesday "hardcore" nights.

Several businesses have closed throughout the village. The University Drive fitness center Fight Club, Main Street's Bank Street Bagel and Mattie's Café closed over the summer months, said code enforcement officer Dean O'Keefe. Dante's Books, another Main Street establishment, closed in April, said the bookstore's former owner Soren Thomas in an e-mail.

Amidst the closures, however, new businesses have opened in the village with owners that said that they hope to find customers in the college community. Lynn Horn, the owner of new Main Street hair salon Envy, said her shop had so many walk-in college students one morning that she had to call in another stylist to meet demand.

"I'm looking forward to more kids from the college finding us," Horn said, adding that her salon went largely unnoticed by college students trickling home for the summer when it opened at the end of April, but has recently begun to attract attention.

Steve Vasile, owner of late-night eatery University Hots, said that he expects the newly-opened restaurant will be most popular with college students, but expressed hope that it would attract local customers as well.

The Main Street eatery is Vasile's second University Hots location. He opened the first location six years ago near the University at Buffalo campus. Though he acknowledged that similar businesses like Mamma Mia's and Pizza Paul's pose competition, he said that his establishment, which opened Sept. 4, is offering a unique product: the college plate, a variation of Rochester's famous garbage plate.

"We're serving something different and giving students something else to choose," said Vasile, noting that University Hots also sells hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwiches.

Other stores are also offering unique additions to Main Street. For example, Practical Magic has taken residence in the space formerly occupied by Mattie's Café. The shop advertises itself as a "new age boutique and Reiki healing center" in its brochure and offers tarot readings, incense and spell kits. Karen Jaeoszek, one of Practical Magic's three owners, said the store has "done very well" since its May 26 opening.

Additional newcomers to Geneseo include Not Dot Shop, a consignment store located in the space formerly occupied by The Flower Cart. The florist has since moved across the street under the new name Designs by Bradley said Louise Wadsworth, downtown coordinator in Livingston County. Byrne Dairy, a gas station and convenience store, has also opened on Route 20A.

"Geneseo seems to be a very attractive place to have a business," said Wadsworth. "We have a healthy and vibrant Main Street." She added that The Riviera, a cinema on Center Street that has been closed for at least 15 years, is now up for sale for the first time.