November 30, 2021

Businesses in Cortland Corset Building remain open

S.N. Briere/staff reporter

Tammy Whitson, co-owner of Cinch Art Space in the Cortland Corset Building on East Court Street in Cortland rearranges art pieces. The shop is back to being open while other businesses in the building remain relatively quiet, with a mixture of business owners working from home during the pandemic.

Businesses in the Cortland Corset Building on East Court Street in Cortland are open for business, some for in-person service or curbside pickup, some owners are working from home, others have appointment-only classes and some are doing online or outdoor classes.

“We opened up as soon as we were allowed to,” Tammy Whitson, co-owner of Cinch Art Space, said Tuesday. “It’s been very good. The response from the community has been overwhelming.”

Whitson said many people came in to spend their stimulus checks locally and the business, which sells artwork, clothing, jewelry and many more items from local artists and crafters, opened for curbside pickup in May. In June, it opened to in-person services.

The business, which also offers classes in pottery, painting and more, also found a way to begin offering classes again — renting an 850-square-foot space just down the hall in what used to be Instant Artist instead of a back corner of the store.

“It wasn’t big enough for us to do social distancing,” she said.

The new space allows for 10 people with social distancing, but Whitson said she’s capped the classes at six to eight.

The classes are going well. “People seem to be eager to get out and do things safely,” she said, and hopes to offer more workshops.

At Magpie Custom Creations, owner Stacey Goldyn-Moller is doing mainly private sewing classes.

“I’m also in the process of cleaning and reorganizing for when it’s comfortable to do larger class capacities,” she said, noting she is selling some clothing online.

She is also sewing masks to sell, along with the help of her mom, Ginnie Goldyn; some are available at Cinch.

“I’m not doing any worse than I was before,” she said, noting she set out to have her business eventually become a non-profit that teaches sewing and costuming, which she is working toward now.

Emily Gibbons has her own studio in the building, but said she was keeping odd hours before the pandemic and so it didn’t really throw a wrench in her business.

“I did have an open studio planned for the spring that I had to cancel,” she said in an email Monday. “I usually do two to three open studios each year. Obviously, those are not possible now! And not having workshops and art festivals is tough as well. I am home with a toddler and don’t get to my studio too much, and I guess my everyday life hasn’t changed too drastically.”

She said that she’s been selling her artwork through a newsletter people can sign up for on her website and through her Instagram account.

On demand classes have been the saving grace for Tess Myers and Jo Boring, who co-own Belly, Set, Go, a belly dance and burlesque studio.

“When COVID came, we had to close down our studio completely and besides a few outdoor dance classes that we started in June (held on the grassy knoll behind the building) we are closed,” Myers said in an email Monday. She said guidance from the state on reopening to in-person classes have been confusing.

“Some sources stated that we are lumped in with gyms, some say sports and recreation and yet others arts and culture,” she said.

Not having the guidance caused them to think outside the box and it’s been successful, Myers said.

“It’s been our vision to make dance accessible for everybody,” she said. “Without our online studio we would have had to close the doors of our in-person studio. So, needless to say, quarantine has been hard and lonely. And we’re ready to get back to shaking it as soon as possible.”