Owner of Finger Lakes largest gift gallery seeks a buyer continues to operate as usual
NAPLES — The largest gift gallery in the Finger Lakes is for sale. Artizanns Gifts from the Finger Lakes — a painted lady house in downtown Naples featuring more than 200 artisans — is on the market. But owner Suzanne Farley, who founded the gallery 15 years ago, said she isn’t going anywhere. Artizanns remains open as she seeks a buyer.
“I am not closing the gallery or moving on until that right person is in place,” Farley said. She looks forward to retirement to spend more time with friends and family, especially her husband Tom "Bone" Farley and their grandchildren.
It was 2004 when Farley opened a small gallery off Main Street in the village of Naples. Thinking she was dabbling in a small enterprise, her first space featured 35 of the area’s most prominent artists. There were sculptures and drawings by Darryl Abraham, ceramic works by Peter Gerbic, glass works of Paul Willsea and Carol O’Brien and pottery by Stephanie Marshall, to name a few.
Within two years, the number of artists represented grew to over 100. “With the walls closing in, I took a leap of faith and purchased 118 North Main Street,” she said.
She wasn’t sorry. With demand growing from artists and patrons for a one-stop gift gallery showcasing Finger Lakes area artisans, the village of Naples proved ideal. It is home to the annual Naples Grape Festival, Bristol Valley Theater, award-winning grape pie bakers and wineries and a slew of other attractions within a region known for its artists.
“When you look at the little village of Naples, it’s amazing that there is a theater, a golf course, a distillery, wineries, wonderful unique eateries, as well as that beautiful two-story art gallery called Artizanns,” said Mike Joseph, director of Naples Valley Visitors Association. “Her store is one of the gems in Naples’ crown.”
“I really hope another entrepreneur and lover of art snaps it up so Suzanne can golf into her 90s,” added Joseph.
Whenever she gets a chance, Farley heads across town to Reservoir Creek Golf. That’s where she was more than a decade ago when she came up with the name Artizanns, a marriage of “Art” and her nickname “Zann.”
“Our fan base is from all over the country and the world,” Farley said one day recently from her gallery that sparkles with its offerings and her obvious knack for lighting, staging and display. She talked about the concentration of visitors from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Texas, Florida, California and Canada. “We've had a steady stream of loyal, local and tourist fans returning often,” she said.
Mike Waters of Webster and Bristol Harbour is one of the local returnees. “My wife and I have enjoyed the Naples area for the last 15 years and have had the good fortune to find one of the true gems of the entire region — Artizanns,” he said. “We have come to consider Artizanns as our go-to place for any Finger Lakes related gifts and special keepsakes for our own home. Suzanne Farley has done a magnificent job finding the best of the best craftspeople in the region to be represented in her store. If you are looking for a truly unique way to share what Finger Lakes arts and crafts by gifted artisans are all about, then by all means take a drive to Naples and Artizanns. Even if you aren't in the buying mode, you will love browsing the store and enjoying the variety of artistry on display.”
Sharon Manley and John Walther of Dansville were among the people who stopped in during this year’s Naples Grape Festival in September. It wasn’t the couple’s first time at Artizanns. They enjoyed catching up with Farley, who showed them some of the new arrivals since their last visit.
“What a great place to find a gift,” said Manley, who also had her eye on the selection of jewelry and pottery with herself in mind.
On Artizanns’ porch, also an exhibit space and sometimes site of artist demos and performing musicians, Sarah Rohrbaugh of Conesus paused to admire wind chimes. A watercolorist from Conesus, Rohrbaugh said she stops in regularly and likes seeing what fellow artists are doing.
Farley admits she has mixed emotions about selling. “My customers are the best part of each of my days,” she said. But she is confident Artizanns has a bright future and a next chapter.
“I believe I'll be around to transition with any new owner,” she said. “And who knows, maybe they would like me to work a day or two.”