Main Street survey calls for increased hours of operation, Mexican food

As the only shopping area in walking distance from the school, Main Street is a hub, supplying basic wants such as dining, haircuts, clothes and other services not offered on campus.According to a poll administered by The Lamron, more than 40 Geneseo students agree that additions could be made to Main Street to further improve it, however. While the food venues of Main have become eponymous to the central location, many asked for more diverse cuisine on Main Street. In fact, Mexican, Indian or Thai food was consistently suggested in the survey. Others seemed disgruntled by the lack of “food-conscious” options on campus, with a quarter of participants expressing the need for an alternative in town. Suggestions ranged from halal-style food to frozen yogurt and respondents consistently cited the need for a venue offering fresh fruits and vegetables. Students even expressed the need for a CVS or convenience store. “That way people don't have to trek all the way to Wegmans [or] Wal-Mart for something small like toothpaste,” one respondent said. Price point provided insight as well, demonstrating the desire for a sit-down restaurant somewhere between Geneseo Family Restaurant and Big Tree Inn: “Somewhere nice I can take my family when they come to visit,” as one respondent put it. As for service-based business, while venues such as Envy or Wal-Mart already provide nail services, four students suggested a cheaper option right on Main Street. A discernible trend in the demand for an entertainment-based business like a hookah lounge or arcade may suggest that students want a draw outside of the humdrum of campus activity. Equipment rental, ranging from snowshoeing to bikes, would allow students to take advantage of the seasonal venues the area has to offer. As for improvements to existing venues, numerous respondents asked for longer hours or expansions to current businesses. Some were discontent with the food offered at Main Moon and the pizza at Pizza Paul’s and the declining trend in Muddy Waters’ service and offerings. That being said, students rarely are aware and take full advantage of all the opportunities Main Street can offer. Cafe Shiloh, a less-frequented competitor of Muddy Waters, sells greeting cards and small gifts as well as reasonably priced coffee and beverages. Surprisingly, even Genesee Valley Florist has something to offer students with their delicious truffles and locally produced soaps. “They’d make a lovely Valentine’s Day gift, which you can get along with some flowers while you’re there,” said junior Lauren Hollasch. Hollasch works with the Geneseo Merchants Association. Toward the end of the semester, a Euro Cafe will open near Pizza Paul’s, selling foods such as pierogies and hopefully satisfying students who asked for foreign cuisine. Despite new businesses, the town of Geneseo works very hard to keep shops local. “Having a chain restaurant, such as Chipotle, would take away from this small-town historic Main Street feel that we so fortunately have,” Hollasch said. Geneseo’s existing businesses also cover most student needs and include multiple eateries and salons, a florist, clothing stores, dorm decorations and jewelry shops – all locally owned. No matter what changes take place on Main Street, the small-town vibe will remain constant. Moreover, some of students’ responses are already in existence such as bike rentals that are available in the College Union, suggesting Geneseo’s existing venues need more advertising to spread awareness. "Geneseo Main Street only has locally owned businesses for a reason: to keep the community shopping locally,” Hollasch said.