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The Times
  • Strides made on Herkimer’s Main Street

  • Main Street is slowly coming to life.

    Empty storefronts in the village of Herkimer are being filled as some businesses begin to call the area their new home.

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  • Main Street is slowly coming to life.
    Empty storefronts in the village of Herkimer are being filled as some businesses begin to call the area their new home.
    Property owner Al Dorantes and his family recently worked to get the former Sprint store at 147 N. Main St. ready for a new tenant — Burrito Jonz, known for its inexpensive burritos in Utica.
    “We’re trying to bring (the village) back,” Dorantes said.
    He and some of his family members have been knocking down walls and installing new plumbing and electrical wires to get ready for new businesses.
    It doesn’t stop at Burrito Jonz. Dorantes expects a guitar shop to open soon in the lot he owns next to Burrito Jonz.
    Main Street previously saw growth with the addition of Blub! Blub! Hookah Hub in June 2011.
    Growth has expanded off Main Street as well.
    Amy Mosher, owner of Hot Spot Salon & Spa at 121 E. Albany St., said she expects to open Belly Up Pub at 122 W. Albany St. within the next month or so.
    “I think with hard work and dedication, and really having the business sense of it with the budgeting, you can make it work,” she said. “You need to have passion about the actual business you’re opening.”
    Dorantes, a member of the Herkimer Now Main Street Revitalization Committee, said economic strides like these fall in line with the goals of the group.
    The committee has been moving forward in adopting the Main Street Four Point Approach as developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center. It focuses on design, promotion, economic restructuring and organization as the key points for revitalizing downtown areas.
    One of the suggestions made was improving the physical elements of the neighborhood, such as public and private buildings.
    “That’s my goal as well,” Dorantes said. “(My brother and I) put our money where our mouth is.”
    Burrito Jonz owner John Winter hopes to open the restaurant sometime in early October, but is waiting on paperwork for a low-interest loan through the village.
    “There’s nothing like Burrito Jonz in the valley from Little Falls to St. Johnsville to Frankfort,” Winter said. “I think Herkimer — being the county seat where all the government is and the college is at — is a natural selection if I want to go to the valley.”
    Scott Tranter, owner of Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner, said he anticipates the burrito business doing well.
    “They would be a welcome influence on Main Street and should do quite well,” he said. “It’s hard to find good Mexican food. I, myself, know that I’ll be patronizing this restaurant.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Winter said the loan he’ll receive from the village will be used for signage, detail and more equipment for the restaurant.
    “I want to put a really cool-looking, funky, old-time sign at that location,” he said. “The only way to improve Main Street is making shops look nice. The village of Herkimer believes in the same things I believe in.”

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