A Place for Creativity & Creative People In CNY
May 31, 2012 Letter to Post Standard
by Peter Svoboda
As a tenant at ShoppingTown Mall, I read with considerable interest the article, ''Town rethinks ShoppingTown's future.'' New ideas are always appreciated, as is help from student teams, and it's great to hear that the town is open to considering changes.
Unfortunately, I feel the article left an erroneous impression. ShoppingTown is far from being a dead mall.
Every day we have people come into our gallery who are amazed at what they find at ShoppingTown and say something like, ''Gee, I didn't know all this was going on here.'' Many people tell us they prefer to come here rather than Carousel because it is more accessible and they don't have to walk all the way through a mall to get something. ShoppingTown also has major chains such as Penney's, Sears and Macy's, as well as many specialty retailers.
And there is another story going on at ShoppingTown.
First, what was missed were the several new innovative ''indie'' enterprises that have been drawing many new customers. For example there is ''Another Time Books,'' which has a solid collection of used and new books, and they seem to be doing quite well. ''Cloud Comics'' meets the needs of young and old collectors of comics and action figures. ''Nineveh'' is a created fantasy party place, which is also the staging ground for a hopeful national movie. The Improv comedy club puts on shows and gives classes. ''Baby Signs'' teaches babies sign language so they can talk with you before they have verbal skills. The DeWitt Community Library is always very busy.
CNY Artists represents and carries the work of over 170 local artists and artisans, and is an incubator center for arts. One of its main goals is to build an arts industry in Central New York, which would not only serve area residents, but draw in new money from out of the state. We are also testing out new ideas here in business formation and best practices. Here, near the food court, is a place where artists and artisans can try out and sell their work, much as early pioneers did, making products that can add to their income. In a time of great economic upheaval and transition, we are working to provide a new way people can work together.
Secondly, I found your headline somewhat puzzling. Towns usually don't rethink any private property's future unless the owner asks them to do so, and apparently ShoppingTown didn't ask for the study. Put another way, it would be like you opening the newspaper and finding a headline that the town was rethinking the use of your home, without you ever having asked.
The rumor here is that a powerful business interest in the area initiated this as an attempt to put a bad light on the mall in hopes of driving down the property's value so they could purchase it. I do not know if this is true, but it seems somewhat irregular and worth mentioning.
At any rate, people do vote with their feet, and so I invite you to ShoppingTown Mall to discover for yourself what is offered here.
Peter Svoboda, formerly assistant director of Onondaga County's Small Business Development Center and an adjunct professor at Syracuse University's Entrepreneurship Center, is the owner of CNY Artists at ShoppingTown Mall.