10.20.2014

Flax + Leather =

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you can get away with doing something super fun and legitimately calling it work.  These photos document a day I like to think of as "Playing Dress-up with Friends".  Ever since our magazine feature, I've been wanting to put together some photos to highlight one of my favorite local shops, a Flax, linen, etc. consignment shop called Dinosaur Dry Goods.  My friend, Bird, and her husband, Raph have been putting Jackie's clothes and our shoes together with beautiful results for years, so it was a great excuse to get together and get creative for the sake of some fresh photos.  

I'll be sharing more shots from our day together, both on our website and Facebook page, but for now, and in honor of what feels like the end of warm weather in upstate New York, I'll start with the summery stuff.  Jackie's collection of Dinosaur Dry Goods is constantly changing, but if you like what you see, you can check in and see what's new on a regular basis here



Dinosaur Dry Goods



Dinosaur Dry Goods Flax

handmade leather shoes

Aurora Shoe Co. Dinosaur Dry Goods



9.29.2014

Meet the Neighbors: The Cellar d'Or

At the Aurora Shoe Company, we passionately support small business and handmade and local goods. As a visitor of our blog, we thought that you might feel the same way. In our Meet the Neighbors series we're featuring businesses and people who reflect our own values and whom we feel lucky to call neighbors and friends.

It's always fun to photograph unique spaces, and even more fun when they're lined with carefully curated beverages and swarming with the owners' cute kids.  Mark and Olivia, creators of The Cellar d'Or, located on the Ithaca Commons, are friends and neighbors who know how to take a passion and turn it into a life.

buy local Ithaca 

How did you get into the business of wine, and when did you know that you wanted to sell and produce your own?

Curiosity helped Mark catch the wine bug, spurred by his family's interest in wine while growing up (the family are Italian citizens). He started taking some internationally recognized certification wine courses which led to some entry level jobs in retail shops in Westchester county, NY. Soon that passion led him to work for the famed Michael Skurnik Wines for 8 years, one of the greatest Importer/distributors in the country based out of Manhattan.
A somewhat natural progression in the business leads people to want to try making their own wine and the opportunity arose last year when Mark and a good friend came across grapes from a well known vineyard on Seneca lake. With the help of a couple of local winemakers they started Fossil & Till, their own wine label.  In 2011we planted our own cider apple trees on Olivia's parents property.  They will begin producing next year so stay tuned for a future cider label as well!

What drew you back to Aurora and what's keeping you here?

With two young kids on eastern Long Island, and 6 hours from the closest family, Olivia longed for her mother's help and missed home. On a late fall trip to Ithaca to see a concert at The State Theater, we discussed how the Commons definitely needed a wine shop. The next day we visited an empty retail space that 7 months later would become The Cellar d'Or. We chose to work in Ithaca but live in  Aurora because of its proximity to family, the lakes and the simply bucolic and pastoral scenery and lifestyle- it's a great place to raise a family!

If you could give a piece of advice to someone looking to create a life based on their passion, what would it be?

With some determination and your own sweat equity, anything is possible. We had very little money (although we had a credit card!), and no investors, but managed to turn a dingy old clothing shop into a warm, inviting, aesthetically pleasing retail space with one heck of a cool wine & cider selection. We did all the work ourselves, used lots of imagination to create the space, and had the help of close friends and family to get the construction done.  We just took it step by step, day by day, and worked toward our goal. We started small and just grew slowly without having to dig a huge hole financially.  Thanks to our customers (who shop local and on the Commons!), we've been able to support our family and survive our first year, which is pretty cool, especially through the Commons reconstruction.

Why do you think it's important to buy local?

Not so long ago, everything came from a "mom and pop shop". Now, almost everything is "made in China" or otherwise imported. When you support local, you support your neighbors and local economy. There's enough talent and creativity in our small towns and cities that we shouldn't ever have to buy anything made half-a-world away and we think there's value in looking for local products and even paying a bit more for that type of quality! 
We're huge supporters of the local wineries and cideries who are proving to be quality producers and who also think ethically and environmentally. We live in a beautiful region, and we want to do our part to support it, while taking advantage of what is has to offer.  Wine, cider and beer are a huge and growing part of this mostly rural economy.

Can you tell us more about future plans?

The Mark and Olivia Think Tank is always full of ideas. The Cellar d'Or still has lots of growing to do, as does Fossil & Till.  As for other adventures, you'll have to stay tuned!  We have a few things in the pipeline!


Ithaca Commons, Aurora Shoe Company, handmade leather shoes

Aurora Shoe Co. handmade leather boots

wine and cider shop Ithaca, NY

wine and cider shop


the Cellar d'Or Mark Grimaldi

the Cellar d'Or Ithaca Commons cider and wine shop

 Thanks, Mark and Olivia, for sharing your thoughts and your shop with us!  

You can learn more about The Cellar d'Or by checking out their website.  Stay up to date with their tastings and other news and events (including this recent mention in the New York Times) by following the Cellar d'Or on Facebook or Twitter


9.22.2014

Featured in Central New York Magazine

Back in July we did some scrambling to get ready for a day-long interview and photo shoot with a local magazine.  The issue made it to stands this month and we're loving the way that journalist, Allison Sklaney, and photographer, Ellen Blalock took our raw material and turned it into a really nice story about who we are and what we do.  Locals might like to pick up a copy of Central New York Magazine: The Good Life, but for the rest of our friends around the globe, here are some shots from the article. 

Special thanks go out to a few local shops (Jane Morgan's Little House and Dinosaur Dry Goods) and a locally born designer (Vallarino Saltonstall) who contributed clothing and accessories, and to the three friends who agreed to take a day away from their regular jobs to model for us. 

Wells College, Jane Morgan's Little House, Haley Zabriskie

David Binns, Alyssa Binns Gunderson, shoe production

Talyse Hampton, Wells College, Jane Morgan's Little House



Moriah Early-Manchester, Vallarino Saltonstall, Dinosaur Dry Goods, Jane Morgan's Little House

Moriah Early-Manchester, Aurora, NY Jane Morgan's Little House, handmade in NY

small scale leather shoe production

7.03.2014

New Mexican Sandals

When the weather is hot and you're on your feet a lot, there's nothing better than a simple and practical pair of sandals to get you through the day.  Our handmade leather sandals form to your feet and provide a high quality flexible sole for the comfort and support your feet are begging for. 

leather sandals made in USA








aurora shoe co. made in usa

handmade leather shoes

4.05.2014

Middle English

A few weeks ago, a request came in on our Facebook page for a few photos of our Middle English style on a woman.  It was exactly the reminder we needed to get back into taking regular photos of our shoes outside of the shop and on people's feet!  Here are a few from this snowy April Saturday in Aurora.


Aurora Shoe Co. leather loafers

Aurora Shoe Co. made in USA



2.21.2014

Sustainable Heat

alternative energy, burning wood, sustainable aurora shoe co.

Up here in the Northeast, we have been slogging through an especially cold and snowy winter.  Most (if not all) of January was spent trying to keep our driveways clear and our homes warm (enough) in sub-freezing temperatures.  Many of us heat with wood so the staying warm part is a lot more involved than turning up the thermostat and paying the fuel bill.  

A couple of years ago, Dave bought a high efficiency outdoor wood boiler for the shop and work has been a little warmer (and way more sustainable) ever since.  Out here in the country, where trees are plentiful, we're able to score loads of firewood that would otherwise be left to rot on the forest floor.  Fallen storm damage and the tops and branches left behind by local forest management companies burn just as well as any other wood.  We've been fortunate enough to burn this kind of "surplus" wood for the past two heating seasons and we look forward to more of the same in the future.  

We hope you've all had a warm and cozy winter.  At this point we're more than half way through the cold season.  Cheers to that!



12.16.2013

Introducing Caleb



Caleb grew up on a local farm and says that when he came in a couple of years ago to pick up a re-soled pair of shoes, he mentioned that he'd be interested in working here.  Given Maggie's retirement and an uptick in production, Dave gave him a call over the summer and asked if the interest was still there.  Thankfully, it was.  Caleb finished up the harvest season at our favorite local CSA, and joined us in the shop just before Thanksgiving. 

Caleb studied History, Philosophy, and Asian Studies in college, and when I asked him why, with an education like that, he's still choosing the farm and now our shop, he replied with a Marcus Aurelius quote, "The only wealth you keep forever is that which you have given away".

So he's smart, he's principled, and as it turns out, he's also a regional celebrity.


In case you haven't heard, Caleb is a 2013 Northeast Regional Beard and Mustache Champion (in the Full, Natural, 2-8" category).  Born out of a lazy attitude toward shaving, Caleb's full face has brought him (minimal) fame and glory.  He gets supportive shouts across parking lots, and based on a BILF (Beard I'd Like to Fondle) comment, I'm guessing it goes over well with the ladies.

For those who aspire to their own bearded greatness, Caleb recommends the following:
  • Be patient and push through the first 6 months of growth.  It will look bad and it might get itchy, but you need the guts to achieve the glory.
  • Always carry a napkin and use it - they don't call it The Flavor Saver for nothing.
  • For good fluff and puff, comb regularly. 
 
beard care from a regional beard and mustache champion


You can visit Caleb's family's sustainable and local grass-fed beef farm (and see what Caleb looks like under that beard) via their website.  They're at the Syracuse Regional Market on weekends and are happy to ship or arrange for pick-up. 

Thanks for being such a great sport, and for answering all of my hairy questions, Caleb!





share this: