So how did I decide to build a life here?
The purpose of my move to Broome County after high school in 2002 was to be with family. It was originally meant to be temporary – just a few years. But, I quickly fell in love with the area, and most importantly, the people that live here. This has been the place where I’ve made my most fundamental and important relationships – the place where I met my partner Zoran, and my closest life-long friends.
I attended SUNY Broome, and then continued on my education path onto Cornell University and then The New School for Public Engagement, which led me to New York City. For 5 years I lived in NYC and enjoyed a successful career as a Green Building and Sustainability Manager. Although I loved NYC and the work I was doing, I found myself bussing back and forth every weekend to work on property rehabs with Zoran, which was a great investment opportunity for us. I also worked at the Lost Dog Cafe where I enjoyed having a great time with my close friends and making some money on the side. But that divided existence made it even more clear to me that although I loved New York City, I missed my community back in Broome. Broome was my home.
In 2013, Zoran committed to a big rehab project at 217-219 Washington St., right in the heart of Downtown Binghamton and I was still helping him on the weekends. As we looked around, we couldn’t help but see the potential in using one of the commercial spaces to make one of our biggest dreams come true – opening a European style cafe and bar together.
So, I gave up my apartment in New York City, we started the build-out of The Shop, and everything felt right. We worked long, hard days over nine months of construction and took on a great deal of risk, but we had both become so embedded in this community that we felt we were building a gift for our friends and for one another. Our build-out was environmentally sustainable, with very low waste, green building materials and low impact techniques. I was able to utilize my professional skills, while taking my career on a new and very exciting path.
To this day, we enjoy the full life we’ve chosen here in Broome.
This place is special. We have a beautiful and supportive community. We get to be creative and express ourselves everyday. And ultimately, we are constantly energized by our guests and friends who come in to experience The Shop with us.
The Shop is part of why #Broomeisgood.