SUNY to open shop in old "Pony"


By Jim Poole

In a move talked about for years, SUNY Cobleskill will open a store in downtown Cobleskill, possibly as soon as this spring.
The store will be an extension of the college bookstore and will be a small outlet and coffee shop, according to Provost Anne Myers.
The storefront is where the Coffee Cabin used to be. Before that, it was a steakhouse and earlier, an ice cream parlor; years ago, it was the Stone Pony bar.
Cobleskill Auxiliary Services––formerly the Faculty Student Association––will run the store, as it also runs the on-campus book store.
College officials have talked about opening a business, either a store or restaurant, downtown for several years. They discussed selling college goods on consignment in existing stores but decided to go further.
“It took Anne Myers to say ‘Let’s make this happen’ to get it going,” CAS Director Jerry Stacy said.
Officials and local merchants have often pointed out that downtown Cobleskill has no indication of being a college town.
“We wanted a college presence downtown,” Dr. Myers said. “And we also wanted a means to bring students downtown. If they go to one place, they’ll go to others.”
Adding another business to Main Street was another factor, Mr. Stacy said.
“Our goal is to help with the rejuvenation of downtown and to have a place for students to go,” he said.
Being downtown is good for the college, too, she added.
“It helps us, too,” Dr. Myers said. “A good downtown is a good recruiting tool. Students don’t want to be on campus all the time.”
The store will be open year-‘round and at least during the school year, will keep late-night “college student” hours, Dr. Myers said.
“It’s generally been my experience that it’s easier to cut back hours than to add hours,” Mr. Stacy said, “so we’ll start with longer hours.”
Starting a business any time is difficult––and especially so in a slow economy––but Dr. Myers pointed out that the college and CAS have an advantage.
“We can sustain ourselves through some start-up time that another business may not be able to do,” she said.
CAS will set up a subsidiary that will operate the store, Mr. Stacy said. Still to be decided is whether the store will be for-profit or not-for-profit and working out contracts with the college and the state.
“If it’s for-profit, we could be open as early as June,” Mr. Stacy said. “Not-for-profit may take longer.”
Dr. Myers hopes the store will help strengthen relations between the college and downtown.
“This is a commitment to the community, and it has potential for both the college and the village,” she said.