February 7, 2012
Changes ahead for 2 Homer businesses
Village Market getting facelift as former bar Friends being restored under new ownership
HOMER — Two village businesses, a grocery store and a bar and restaurant, are getting a new look, but with an old-fashioned feel.
The Village Market at 7 S. Main St. is replacing and repairing its facade and renovating the inside of the store.
Friends, the bar and restaurant across the street at 2 N. Main St. that closed on Halloween, has been bought by George Siebel, who owns several bars and restaurants throughout the Cortland area.
Both renovations will stay within Homer’s community design guidelines. Last year the village paid $9,000 to Rochester Regional Community Design Center to come up with the guidelines as part of its comprehensive strategy.
Siebel bought the building in late November after a call from the owner of the building, former county Legislature Chairman Jack Williams.
“He called me, told me he had a building that was going on the market and offered to let me take a look at it,” Siebel said. “I came down, looked and made him an offer.”
Keeping with the village’s desire to maintain a historical feel, Siebel is attempting to restore the building to its original appearance, when owner Francis “Dasher” Cox ran a restaurant well known in the region for its lobster dinners.
The bar will reopen sometime this spring, with a new name to go along with the new look, Siebel said.
“It’s going to be called Dasher’s,” he said. “My girlfriend bought me a horse named Dasher, there’s a horse on the Homer village sign, ‘Dasher’ used to be part of the name, so it just seemed like an appropriate coincidence.”
After some internal renovations and repairs, the building will have a bar and dining space on the first floor. In the future the second floor will be available for private events, Siebel said.
“We might open the back courtyard up too,” he said.
At the Village Market, the renovations for the 123-year-old building are tricky, said owner Kevin Williams, who is Jack Williams’ son.
Williams, a Town Board member, funded part of the facade improvement using $80,000 of a $310,000 state grant obtained by the Village Board.
The village received the Main Street grant in January 2011. Commercial property owners can apply for up to $50,000 in grant money to reimburse them for project costs. The property owner must pay at least 25 percent of the project costs to qualify.
Since some improvements will be made to the four apartments in the upper floors of the building, Williams received more than the $50,000.
Williams said he did not yet know the project’s total costs because the actual plans were not finalized and he is being cautious about working with an old building.
“Any time you try and renovate an old building like this one, there’s going to be issues to work through,” he said.
The project’s first phase, which includes constructing the facade and repairing some of the exterior bricks, will begin in April. It should be done within a few months, Williams said.
After that, the inside of the store will be renovated, including a new floor and more energy-efficient windows and doors.
The store will not shut down at any time during construction, he said.
“We’re really excited about this,” he said. “It should be a good project and I encourage people to stop by and check out our progress in the next few months. I want this store to be around for another 50 or 100 years.”
Mayor Genevieve Suits said the renovations to two long-standing Main Street businesses are a welcome improvement.
“This is just really nice and it helps having the money for renovations,” she said. “Some people are hesitant because it is such a big expense. I think this will be a huge draw for the village.”
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