10 Alumni-Owned Businesses to Visit in Binghamton
We love being able to support alumni-owned businesses — and there are plenty in the local area! Whether you’re a current student exploring the community, an alumnus visiting for the weekend, or someone just looking to try something new, here are some Binghamton University, and Koffman Incubator, alumni-owned businesses you should visit!
Whole in the Wall
Whole in the Wall has been serving Binghamton natural foods since 1980, when Eliot Fiks ‘78 started the business with a couple of friends; he now owns it with his wife, Adrianna. The duo prepare and serve all the food themselves. Still known for its hearty natural foods, Whole in the Wall is also home to “the best pesto in the universe,” which can be bought in-store or online.
Muckles Ink is an alumni-owned screenprinting shop in Downtown Binghamton where you can purchase university and regional attire, accessories and homeware. Founded originally by Casey Coolbuagh ‘13, and Chauna D’Angelo ‘12, the duo graduated their business from the Koffman Incubator before opening a brick-and-mortar location. In 2020, Muckles was purchased by Red Barn Creative Group, run by Jon Layish ‘91, and Deena Layish, BA ‘92, MBA ‘94.
From main campus, a short drive or a walk on the new greenway connecting Vestal to downtown Binghamton will bring you to Binghamton Hots. Founder David Whalen ‘05 opened the establishment in 2011 when he noticed a gap in late-night food options. What started with their signature late-night HOT Plate and spiedies has now expanded to include downtown options for lunch, dinner and catering.
This casual dining experience fusing New York City street food with a Korean influence was founded by Sung Kim ‘14, and Christian Ko ‘16 in 2013 while they were still students. Chick-N-Bap’s goal was to celebrate Korean-American identity and flavors with in-house made sauces and toppings. Since opening their original location on Binghamton’s campus in The MarketPlace, they have since expanded to other schools, including Ithaca College, Lehigh University and SUNY Cortland—and they’re coming soon to Montclair State University.
Karni Griffin Skin Spa
Book an appointment for some pampering at alumni-owned Karni Griffin Skin Spa. The first New York state-licensed esthetician in the Southern Tier, Karni Griffin ‘93, has been in business since 1994, specializing in both skin treatments and hair removal. You can book appointments online or by calling the spa.
Food and Fire
Food and Fire is a BBQ and taphouse owned by Daniel Polhamus ‘00 and Jose Moreira ‘00. The original location in Johnson City was founded in 2013, followed by a second location in Moosic, Pa. in 2018, and a third coming soon in Middletown, N.Y. Sharing a love for authentic BBQ and craft beers, the men saw an opportunity to bring both to the area and have, in the process, created a community. The owners are opening a new Tex-Mex restaurant, Iron Agave, in Downtown Binghamton.
Explore your spiritual side by visiting Imagicka. This crystal, metaphysical, alternative and spiritual shop, owned by Robert Wandell ‘87, has been in business for more than a decade to offer an escape from the ordinary and unique gifts. Imagicka also holds tarot card reading and reiki sessions; check their Facebook page daily to see what they are offering.
Antonio’s Bar & Trattoria
Visit Antonio’s Bar & Trattoria for dinner or brunch. Operated by Antonio Gobbo ‘03, you will find Italian cuisine, homemade gelato, award-winning martinis, wine and espresso in a Tuscan-inspired setting on Endicott’s Northside.
Visit 2nd Heaven in the MarketPlace on campus for customizable boba juice and milk teas, iced teas and lattes. Founder Leighton Blackwood, ‘21 was still a student when he and his business partner, Darren Shi, ‘18, ‘19, brought their business idea to the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator. Originally from the New York City area, Blackwood missed having access to quality bubble tea while he was at school, so he took it upon himself to bring this missing business to Binghamton.
Parlor City Vegan
Get some tasty plant-based bites at Parlor City Vegan. Owned and operated by alumni couple Sara Liu ‘06 and Lei Liu ‘04, MBA ‘07, this establishment began in 2016 after Sara’s father suffered a heartattack and needed to make dietary adjustments. Originally they began in the Broome Couty Regional Farmers Market, where they became immensely popular among locals. In 2018, Parlor City Vegan won the City of Binghamton’s small business plan competition and graduated from the Koffman Incubator. They then opened their brick-and-mortar location on Clinton Street in 2019.
Taylor Pastrick is a communications and public relations specialist at the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships at Binghamton University.
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