A specialty clothing store and what you might call a culinary boutique are among seven stores in downtown Syracuse Thursday to celebrate their grand opening. But John Massarah and Kellie Gingold aren’t necessarily new to the downtown business scene. Both have owned or managed clothing shops downtown for about 20 years. Their latest venture includes Projex 214 and Showoffs Boutique, a men's and women's fashion store in a shared space on West Jefferson Street.
“This is the fashion customer,” Massarah said. “It’s a culture. This is a gentleman who does not shop online because he recognizes the fact what we can do for the customers is better than what they can do for themselves shopping online.”
Gingold believes people will shop at Showoffs Boutique for similar reasons.
“Our customer is looking for the experience,” Gingold said. “They want to know how to wear things additional ways, to make things go day to night. And that’s what we’re all about, working with the customer and giving them that personal touch.”
Gingold and Massarah said they each have a loyal client base who appreciates the niche brands and designs they offer and can’t find elsewhere.
Just across Clinton Street near the Landmark Theater, Olive on Brooklea features specialty olive oil, vinegar, pastas, and sauces. Owner Michelle Watts runs another shop in Fayetteville, and thought Syracuse’s downtown revitalization presented an opportunity.
“Having a good core group of people that really like our products and really appreciate food and eating will be our number one key to success,” Watts said.
Watts acknowledged the location in the shadow of the Landmark Theater might have a slower start, but is optimistic that people will return once they try the products.
Aloha Japanese Bento Express, an Asian-fusion owned by chef and entrepreneur Zaw Nyein , also held its grand opening Thursday. Nyein is a part of UP Start Syracuse, a business incubator program which supports new locally owned businesses in the Syracuse community through innovation and service platforms within CenterState CEO. Aloha is the first in Central New York to fuse flavors of Burma, Japan, and Hawaii. All the meals are made by chef and owner Zaw Nyein with fresh ingredients.
More information can be found at downtownsyracuse.com.