STAYING LOCAL: Family Renovates Historic Store and Opens Chic New Restaurant
In the village of Northville, Fulton County’s gem on the shores of the Great Sacandaga Lake, people can enjoy the nostalgic experience of shopping at a 5 and 10 store and then step next door for a bite at a newly opened upscale eatery outfitted with the latest in health promoting UV-C lighting.
The Northville Five and Dime Store, along with its sister business, the Local Five and Dine, showcase Fulton County’s savvy business community, commitment to history and heritage, and community pride. The two establishments, juxtaposed with one another, demonstrate how Fulton County business owners blend the ever-present desire for innovation with the honoring of local heritage, a combination that produces great results for customers.
While others might have succumbed to the intense competition from big-box stores, Brian and Susan Correll, who purchased the store in 1997, did not. Instead, they researched, renovated, expanded, and brought in unique products that made their store a destination shopping experience for tourists while remaining a mainstay for locals. The store, which opened in 1907, retains the distinction of being the longest continually operating 5 and 10 store in the United States. It moved to its current location on Main Street in 1914 and has remained open ever since.
The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth (FCCRG) assisted the Corrells in obtaining a $500,000 Main Street Grant through the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. With the funding, the Corrells began renovating and expanding the Five and Dime. They increased the store’s retail space to the second floor, adding 3,000 square feet for its merchandise, which includes penny and novelty candies, vintage toys, region-related clothing and other items, jewelry, books, puzzles, fishing and camping supplies, and everyday household goods. One of its signature products is a selection of 12 to 15 flavors of fudge, homemade on the premises by Susan.
In making the space new, the Corrells preserved the old, such as the original wood floor made of alternating cherry and maple planks and the embossed tin ceilings and stained-glass windows. The expansion brought an almost 50 percent increase in revenue, and store manager Elayne Wade said that she could use even more space to house the wide variety of products that cater to the needs of both visitors and locals.
In addition to revitalizing the Five and Dime, the couple partnered with Nicole Sikorski, Susan’s daughter, to open the Local Five & Dine, a chic, upscale restaurant next door, preserving and breathing new life into the 1890 building while offering cuisine unique to the lakeside community. The run-down building required a great deal of renovation, as it was leaning away from the adjacent store. The Corrells completed the structural rehabilitation, which included new wiring, plumbing and septic as well as the reinforcement with steel beams. They turned the downstairs into a sleek, modern-looking restaurant and bar area with a combination of soft seating and high-top tables.
The restaurant opened just four days before it was forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though takeout service was not part of her original plan, Sikorski, who manages the restaurant, sprang into action, adapting the restaurant’s menu and processes to accommodate the sudden switch to takeout service. “We’ve definitely impressed some people with how our whole team has just been able to be so flexible,” said Sikorski, who worked in the Five and Dime as a high school and college student and recently returned to the area with her husband and children to be part of the family business. Even though most customers had not had a chance to taste the restaurant’s food pre-pandemic, they ordered takeout, allowing the business to continue operating during the COVID-19 restrictions.
The Local’s “chef-inspired” menu features freshly made appetizers, salads, and entrees that are intentionally crafted to be different than any other area restaurants, avoiding competition and embracing a sense of community and cooperation with other restaurateurs. As Sikorski and chef Evan Luey discover customers’ favorites, they adapt the menu accordingly.
Sikorski used the shutdown time to fine-tune the kitchen’s operations to make them more efficient. She also focused on the adjustments that would be required for reopening. AeroMed, Inc., a local company, provided the restaurant with upper UV-C lighting as an added safety measure. “We’re just trying to make people feel more comfortable in here,” Sikorski said of the return to limited-capacity indoor dining. “We’re doing all of the sanitation procedures that we need to do plus more.”
When state COVID restrictions began to ease, the town government encouraged Sikorski to open up outdoor seating as soon as it was allowed. “The town has been really supportive,” she said. “They were willing to help us in any way, and they said we can use as much of the sidewalk as we want.”
The Corrells add a personal touch to the restaurant experience, making daily visits to greet customers and ensure that they are satisfied and having a good time, Sikorski said.
The 19th century-style variety store paired with a modern, relaxed yet elegant dining experience is a winning combination for the historic Adirondack village, whose Main Street was originally surveyed and planned in 1797. “We’re very thankful for the support we get from our community,” Wade said. “It’s a blessing.”