GENESEO – It has been an unforgettable year for Honey Girl Gourmet. Taking in stride Main Street’s water and sewer overhaul and the destruction of its first location in fire, the specialty and gift shop is still here, and still one-of-a-kind.
The family and community force behind founder and owner Alyssa Cope’s return from the ashes of 2015’s Main Street fire is preserved in the simplest parts of Honey Girl’s charm. From the glittering tin ceiling to the hand-painted golden shelves to the meticulously sealed and labeled bottles of vinegar, each carefully chosen detail represents untold hours of labor, incredible resiliency and lots of love.
“It’s pretty amazing watching your dream come true,” said Cope. “I want to thank everyone for supporting me. I couldn’t have done it without my parents, I couldn’t have done it without my boyfriend Blake, I couldn’t have done it without Grayce [McLaughlin]. It means a lot for me to be right next door to her. And I couldn’t have done it without my wonderful customers.”
Cope’s beaming parents, Doug and Jacque, held the ribbon as she snapped it with the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce’s ceremonial scissors. Both have been known to work in the store during especially busy weekends. Her boyfriend Blake Burnette stood at her side. He and his contracting business, Contract Trade Services, built the new store from floor to ceiling after the fire.
Customers flocked to the colorful facade at Friday’s ribbon cutting to commemorate Honey Girl’s first anniversary, which coincided with SUNY Geneseo’s parents weekend. Shoppers from across the country got a taste of Honey Girl’s unique and interesting food and decor, which Cope has meticulously hunted down.
“Interesting combinations of flavors here,” said Peter Howe, of New Jersey, sipping a sample cup of ‘Harvest Fig’ olive oil at the tasting table. “If you’re a salad snob like me you appreciate that stuff.”
Howe, a SUNY Geneseo alumn, said that he is amazed to find such a selection of unique, high-end products on the Main Street that he only remembers as a college student.
“This town has changed so much from 50 years ago. Back then there was nothing like this,” said Howe, standing next to an array of bottled extracts for baking. “Coming back was kind of on my bucket list. I’m glad I did.”