F. Oliver’s, a specialty foods business known for its oils, vinegars and other fresh ingredients, has closed its location at 154 East State Street on the Ithaca Commons. 

The business is based near the Finger Lakes region with stores in Canandaigua, Rochester and Clay, New York. After seeing much success at these locations, an additional store opened in Ithaca in 2012 to stimulate economic development, subsequently becoming a staple in the area. 

“It’s been an extremely successful store, and it’s one that we spent a lot of time working to bring here to Ithaca many, many years ago,” said Gary Ferguson, executive director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA). “So, it was painful to hear that they would be closing.” 

“[Ithaca] is a very food-centric community,” he said. “People enjoy going out to eat. They enjoy buying products so that they can cook [for] themselves, and F. Oliver’s really helped fill that niche.” 

Although the store gained a loyal customer base among locals and visitors in Ithaca, Ferguson explained that a staff shortage forced the store to shut down. In light of this, the DIA created an online form for people to submit business proposals to fill this new vacancy in the Ithaca community. 

“This wasn’t a case of somebody going out of business because they had a bad business model,” Ferguson noted.  “So, we are … in the process of looking for someone who might want to run a similar type of store … given that there appears to be a very strong demand and market for this type of product in Ithaca.” 

Ferguson added that the storefront comes with fixtures for specialty culinary operations and encouraged entrepreneurs interested in bringing a new or existing culinary-based business to the space to complete the proposal form. “We’re looking either for somebody who’s done this before or … who’s really interested in specialty foods.”

More information about this opportunity is located under the Business Development tab on the DIA’s website (scroll down to “New Business Opportunities”). The deadline for submitting the form is August 15, 2022.