A project aimed at keeping bus riders out of the elements has left vendors feeling cold. Ithaca's bus stop cafe has already changed hands a couple of times since it opened, but now a third owner is ready to give it a go. Tamara Lindstrom tells us why this latest venture might just be a success.
ITHACA, N.Y. -- The Green Street bus station in Ithaca is designed to give TCAT passengers a little comfort and convenience on their daily commute.
"It's a place for our bus passengers to get in out of the cold, in the summertime get into a cool space while they're waiting for the bus. And also have the opportunity to catch a bite to eat before they make their trip on a bus," said Daniel Tome, TCAT Purchasing and Projects Manager.
Built in 2009, with about $220,000 in state and federal transportation grants, the cafe has had trouble keeping a vendor. But now, Bonjour Coffee Shop is giving the space new life.
"People are so happy seeing the place reopen again," said owner Adil Griguihi. "And it's going to work out. It's going to be a good place for people riding the bus to come grab coffee and maybe a cake or something."
This is the third vendor to move into the space in as many years, after Gimme Coffee and local hot dog vendor Lou Cassaniti. But the new owner says he has what it takes to make the space a success.
"Before I took this place, people tried to tell me not to take the place. But it's a business, there's bad things and good things. So I'm open to everything," Griguihi said. "My goal is not to just push sales, it's to build relationships with people."
The co-owner of Casablanca, a downtown Ithaca pizza place, Griguihi serves up coffee, soups and sandwiches and his wife's homemade baked goods at the new cafe.
"Adil is familiar with the public, especially in this part of town," Tome said. "And his demeanor and his interactions with our bus passengers and also with the public is a testament to his vendor skills."
Tome says accessibility and construction on the Commons has hampered sales in the past.
"There have been a few challenges," Tome said. "But the challenges that we've been up against, we've worked with the vendors, we've worked with the city to mitigate any further issues."
Welcoming the Bonjour Coffee Shop just in time to make winter travel a little warmer.
The Bonjour Coffee Shop is open to TCAT passengers and the general public, Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.