by Susan Whistler

It’s spring in Ellicottville. Generally speaking, life around here gets slower than a buffet line at a nursing home. We watch the village go into a sort of hibernation mode for a few weeks, like a computer when it’s unplugged and the battery runs down. I think most of us have come to welcome it. Everyone needs a breather before all the summer festivals start blooming, but something’s different this year.

This spring, it feels like Ellicottville has been caught up in a giant game of “musical buildings” with people constantly popping in and out of storefronts, carting a myriad of items from potted palms to racks of clothing up and down the sidewalks. Local folks are getting dizzy. We keep waiting for the music to stop so all the “players” will finally grab a building and settle down.

If EVL was a Monopoly game board then the old Double Diamond saloon has been transformed into the new Boardwalk. Gretchen Mendell along with Suzanne Roberts and their army of local tradesmen have gone into overdrive. They are doing an incredible job of renovating a wonderful historic building and turning it into a retail showplace for everything that’s good for you at Nature’s Remedy and all the unique clothing, accessories and giftware that Gado Gado offers. (I work at Gado Gado, so I know of what I speak. We love our beautiful new digs and are delighted to still be under the same roof with the gracious goddesses of “green” living at Nature’s Remedy.)

Kim Reading and Miguel Azcarate have packed up Mud Sweat n’ Gears and are moving’ on down the road to the old Market Square building, the former home of Nature’s Remedy and Gado Gado. They have completely gutted the lower floors and are remaking them into a fabulous new home for MSG. The new location is due to open in August and will have an expanded high-performance rental shop and room for even more great ski stuff – and it will be beautiful.

Now that Kim and Miguel have shifted “gears,” Arlene Solly and Kazoo II are making their move across Main Street into the beautifully remodeled space that MSG just vacated. I can’t imagine the logistics involved in packing up and moving the thousands of beautiful and unique pieces of jewelry and giftware. No worries, Arlene. We’re all watching and following behind that shopping cart like hungry dogs, poised and eager to pick up any scraps that might drop on the way across the street. We are likely to snarl and raise a lip if confronted, but unlike the dogs, we will give them back. Kazoo II will reopen this Friday.

A Touch of Ellicottville has found a new home on the north side of Washington Street in the former Ask Design jewelry store. They will reopen sometime in late August with a new expanded inventory, which will still include the same great EVL signature merchandise. We’re so glad that Valerie Quesnel, Tom O’Connor, Jay Monte and wonder dog Tyb will remain in the heart of the village. I spoke with Tom the other day and asked where Shhh Toys is moving. He winked and said that “it was a secret,” hence the name. Yeah, dah – I knew that.


I’m starting to feel like Billy Mays in the “blue ads” on TV, I’ll say it. “But wait, there’s more…”  Here’s a quick list of a few other changes on the EVL horizon.

9 Great Reasons to Check Out EVL:

  1. The new Main Chalet construction at Holiday Valley is well under way and on schedule for completion in time for next season.
  2. HoliMont is building a new high-speed quad chairlift to replace the old Exhibition lift in front of the main lodge.
  3. Kwik Fill is planning to move across the street to 5 Main St. into a new plaza with additional retail space for a Red Apple convenience store. William Paladino and 4646 Genesee, LLC is developing the space.
  4. The old Sprague Development/Larimer Norton Building on Elizabeth Street is being renovated into an eight-lane bowling alley and the second home of Tim and Bonnie’s Pizza.
  5. The Ellicottville Town Barns at the intersection of Route 242 and Route 219 is for sale, and there is talk of a Crosby gas station and a Tim Horton’s. The new town barns would move out to Bryant Hill by Holiday Valley Tubing Company.
  6. The old Signore building on Route 219 in the village will finally be demolished after partially collapsing over two years ago. Demolition is due to begin sometime in June. There are several plans currently being considered for the 5-acre property.
  7. Kabob Kafe has moved … literally. They picked up their building, spun it around and dropped it in the old parking lot Balloons. .   The restaurant is settling into its new location and is expected to reopen within the next couple of weeks, and that’s a very good thing. The village has been missing their signature kabobs and Greek souvlaki. (Check out the Ellicottville Times Facebook page for the video.)
  8. The Ellicottville Brewing Company has extended their beer garden into the spot where Kabob Kafe once stood and plans to expand their brewing facility in that direction this fall. Dan Minner, the Brew Master Man, hopes to see that phase completed by December.
  9. American Locker is being sold and potential developers are already looking at the property.

There’s a lot more, but much of it is still in the rumor-has-it stage and I’m tired. The music has stopped and the first round of Musical Buildings has ended. As usual I was the odd woman out and ended up stranded in the middle of Main Street without an address. Oh well, there’s always next week and round two. Stay tuned …


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