HoneyGirl celebrates reopening after 2015 fire

The HoneyGirl Gourmet shop on Main Street celebrated the anniversary of its reopening on Friday Sept. 23. The shop reopened on Sept. 25, 2015 after suffering fire damages that forced its closure in July 2015. The fire that damaged the store also affected multiple Main Street businesses, according to storeowner Alyssa Cope ’10.

“It was one of the worst fires that Main Street’s ever seen,” she said. “Kelly’s was very affected by it, Touch of Grayce was damaged by it. We’re just lucky that it didn’t take up the whole block.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony commemorated the anniversary of the shop’s successful recuperation from the fire. It was Cope’s first opportunity to have a grand opening for her shop, since the fire occurred within three months of HoneyGirl Gourmet’s original opening.

“The reason I had the one-year anniversary of being open here is because I never got the chance to have a grand opening,” she said. “I thought this would be a nice opportunity to celebrate.”

President & CEO of Livingston County Chamber of Commerce Laura Lane expressed her feelings on Cope’s successful year.

“Overcoming what she experienced there, not letting that stop her and finding a place a couple doors down and saying, ‘I’m going to keep this dream going’ is impressive,” Lane said. “Celebrating one year under your belt is a milestone any business should be proud of.”

Cope said she was grateful to find such a convenient location for her store after the original store was damaged.

“I was lucky enough to find this place, which is a great storefront,” she said. “It’s right next to Touch of Grayce—which is an anchor business—so it’s a great location.”

Touch of Grayce storeowner Grayce McLaughlin recognized Cope’s achievement.

“I think it’s wonderful, and I actually like this location better,” she said. “It brings people downtown for more options.  It’s nice to have an actual shopping district on Main Street, which we’re getting to.”

Since HoneyGirl Gourmet remained closed for weeks—due to the fire and the store’s reopening—Cope was unable to operate normally last year. She spoke on how the community helped her during that time.

“The response from the community has been incredible after the fire. I had so many people contacting me, asking if I needed anything,” she said. “Various businesses offered me space in their locations to sell stuff and set up. It was pretty amazing that people were thinking of [me] in that way.”

As a Geneseo alumna and a part of the village community, Cope spent 16 years working for McLaughlin at Touch of Grayce before deciding to move on and start HoneyGirl Gourmet, which sells specialty food and gifts.

Cope said she is planning on appealing to the student population in Geneseo.

“Students are starting to find out about [the store]. I sell local cheeses, which you can’t always get around here. I sell local eggs, and a lot of students come in for that,” she said. “It seems like I do a lot of gifts for people. I have some ideas for things that I’d like to do to involve myself and [the] campus more and I try to do community events.”