Meet Deirdre Kurzweil at Sunny Days
Sometimes you don’t realize how much you love Ithaca until you move away from it.
Such was the case for Sunny Days of Ithaca owner Deirdre Kurzweil. She lived in Ithaca during her college years but then moved to Baltimore, Maryland to pursue a career in marketing research. She also owned a toy store called aMuse while living there.
Although she enjoyed working in marketing and retail, she didn’t quite feel at home in the mid-Atlantic state.
“Baltimore is great, but Ithaca is the place I wanted to call home and the place I wanted to raise my son,” says Deirdre.
She returned to Ithaca and quickly dove back into market research — a field that she spent 30 years working in — but as time went by she missed retail life. She wanted to own and operate a shop again.
While researching retail shop ideas, she noticed that the downtown area was souvenir shops for visitors, so she made it her personal mission to bring one to the community.
“I love Ithaca, so I wanted to create a shop where people can buy items that will remind them of their visit to this lovely community long after it’s over. And, I wanted it to be a place for creativity, positive messages, and family activities,” says Deirdre.
In 2014, she introduced Sunny Days of Ithaca, a specialty gift shop where guests can find tchotchkes and other merchandise along with family-activities that, as Deirdre puts it, “captures the essence” of Ithaca.
At Sunny Days, there’s locally produced handcrafted pottery and jewelry along with Ithaca, Cornell University and Ithaca College apparel, wall art painted by local artists, postcards, yard decorations, souvenir coins, a button-making station, and so much more.
“At Sunny Days, we try to make the shopping experience a positive one by offering free button making to entertain the kids a little while you look around. We provide free gift wrapping during the holidays, a wide range of price options to choose from, and a warm and inviting environment. Customers will love the happy vibe and being surrounded by the beauty and creativity of our vendors,” says Deirdre.
The name Sunny Days is derived from Deirdre’s and her husband Todd’s affinity for music. The name was inspired by the Dickey Betts (of the Allman Brothers) song “Blue Sky,” notes Deirdre.
“Despite the reality that it is often overcast and gray here, Ithaca never feels dreary to me. We want to celebrate the many special things that distinguish Ithaca — its natural environment along with its amazing food and drink, great music, and the spirit of its people. These are what makes Ithaca a sunny place for us,” says Deirdre.
So, while you’re visiting Ithaca, make it a point to stop into Sunny Days at its new location at 215 E. State St. (the Commons) to check out its spectacular selection of mementos and gifts. Also, spend some time chatting with Deirdre. She’s quite active in the community and recently was elected to the Downtown Ithaca Alliance’s Board of Directors, so she is sure to tell you a great deal about why she’s happy living and working in this community again.
For more information about Sunny Days, visit www.sunnydaysny.com.