Oswego ideal location for many new small businesses

Mother Earth Baby, The Wall and The Coffee Nook are a few of the many independent businesses that have successfully been established in Oswego.

These businesses, each less than four years old, have found a niche in Oswego, a place that, according to the business owners, was their ideal location for opening up shop.

Mother Earth Baby

Shelves filled with different types of cloth diapers adorn the walls of Mother Earth Baby.

Cloth diapers are one of the main products at Mother Earth Baby.

Mother Earth Baby is a store that specializes in cloth diapers, baby carriers and natural care products for babies.

It opened its doors in 2009, originally in section of a small boutique in Northern Syracuse and later expanded to a separate store in Oswego. Despite Syracuse being the larger market, Oswego was a better choice for business according to Mother Earth Baby owner Lisa Emmons.

“I think Oswego is an ideal place to open a store like this,” Emmons said. “Because when we first opened we found that not a lot of parents could find what they were searching for locally.”

Emmons explains that she slowly began to evolve a store that carried more products that parents were looking for, such as cloth diapers.

Mother Earth Baby owner Lisa Emmons holds her son in the Oswego store. With the new store the family can “live where they work.”

Mother Earth Baby began its business on Water Street but recently moved to a house-styled store on West Bridge Street.

“We wanted to own a property,” Emmons said. “We felt like our business was strong enough to make that leap.” Emmons explains that they will also be living in the new property. “Our family can be together and live in the same place where we work,” Emmons said.

Starting a Business in Oswego

Mother Earth Baby, as well as The Wall and The Coffee Nook, all received assistance with setting up a new business from either The City of Oswego Department of Community Development, or The SUNY Oswego Small Business Development Center.

These services provided by the city and SUNY Oswego can give small businesses the push they need to get started. But once a local business is established it may run into other problems.

Small independent businesses, especially in a small city market like Oswego, may have trouble advertising and customers may not even know a business is located in their area.

According to http://reachlocal.com, 85 percent of consumers search for local businesses online. An astounding 63 percent of small businesses do not have websites and 25 percent of small businesses do not even show up in search results. The website also states that 60 percent of small businesses do not have a phone number on their website and almost 75 percent do not have an email address listed. Nielsen, http://nielsen.com, reports that Americans spend 23 percent of their online time on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Mother Earth Baby has a Facebook page that has generated 2,064 “likes” since the page was created Mar. 6, 2010.

The Wall

A student climbs at The Wall in Oswego on a Friday evening.

The Wall, an indoor climbing facility, has a Facebook page that has generated 804 likes since the page was created Nov. 9, 2010. The Wall, located on West 1st Street, is an indoor wall-climbing recreational facility that was established by owner Mike Taber. The Wall is the only wall-climbing facility in Oswego City and town area, which is why Taber decided to open up this facility in Oswego City.

“When I was in college I climbed in a rock-climbing facility in Rochester and there was nothing here like that so I always had to drive to Rochester,” Taber said. “I realized there was an availability in the market within this area,” he said.wall-climbing facility in Oswego City and town area, which is why Taber decided to open up this facility in Oswego City.

Taber’s business attracts mostly college students from SUNY Oswego. Students can be found lounging on the couches while watching their friends climbing the walls on Friday afternoons.

The Coffee Nook

After a hard day of climbing walls, students can relax at The Coffee Nook. Sugar cookies and cake slices are perched behind the showcase glass at The Coffee Nook, waiting to be devoured by hungry patrons. Owner Sharity Bassett opened The Coffee Nook on Oct. 18, 2012 with the hopes to bring variety to Oswego City.

The Coffee Nook owner, Sharity Bassett, shows off one of the vegan options her shop offers.

“We have vegan options as well as gluten free options here,” said Bassett.

Not only do they have food variety but events as well. The Coffee Nook hosts open mic night every Monday night.

Patrons of The Coffee Nook, both students and other Oswego residents, enjoy what the establishment has to offer.

“We had a small group of high school students come, but we had two who read,” said Bassett. “We started out open mic really small, with six performers, and it was standing room only so it was super crowded here,” she said. The following open mics have been more intimate and less crowded, said Bassett, but “they’re still nice though.”

Although a small business may start out blooming with customers, some events the businesses hold may not make the customers return more frequently than they did in the beginning.

“We’ve been more aggressive in trying to find musicians,” said Bassett. “This upcoming Wednesday we will be having the Barbershop Quartet from the college coming, and also a high school student who will be experimenting with loop music.”

Bassett said she is trying to attract customers to the Coffee Nook with nontraditional forms of advertising, such as holding events like open mic night, and by generating buzz via word of mouth.

The Coffee Nook has an ad on SUNY Oswego’s student radio station, WNYO, as well as a Facebook Page that has 278 “likes” since its creation on Aug. 27, 2012.