Meet Katie Spallone at The Cornell Store on the Commons

Meet Katie Spallone at The Cornell Store on the Commons

To keep up with the changing times, some downtown Ithaca entrepreneurs create various types of shops in the community during their career.

Cornell Store on The Commons Manager Katie Spallone, a long-time Ithacan and retailer, was the proud owner of two downtown boutiques over the course of more than a decade before accepting the leadership role at The Cornell Store on The Commons in August 2016.

She owned Evolution 102, an urban funk clothing store on The Commons at 102 The Commons, now the site of the Cornell Store, and Avanti Boutique on Cayuga Street.  Prior to entering the world of store ownership,  Spallone ignited her retail career 20 years ago when she started working at House of Shalimar, owned by Emma Lou and Abdul Razak Sheikh, while she going to school in the area.

What was supposed to amount to a part-time gig eventually morphed into Spallone managing all three of the Sheikhs’ stores – House of Shalimar, T-Shirt Express, and Shalimar Bazaar. The Sheikhs then purchased 102 The Commons in 1998, and Evolution opened in the building during the spring of the following year.  Later, in 2008, she opened Avanti Boutique on Cayuga Street and operated that shop for seven years. Once it was decided that the Cornell Store on The Commons was going to open in June 2016, Spallone was offered a management position there. She says she couldn’t be more thrilled to be back at a familiar store location on the popular four-block pedestrian mall.

“I love how fate brought me back to 102 The Commons, the same building I occupied for 15 years owning my own boutique. I really cannot imagine my life turning out any better at this point. It was kismet,” says Spallone. “I love working downtown and having the opportunity to be a manager for this stellar organization. I truly enjoy seeing the wildly varied demographic of people that shop in the store. I’m always meeting someone interesting.”

When Spallone isn’t busy managing The Cornell Store, she moonlights as Co-Director of The Actor’s Workshop of Ithaca, a local boutique acting studio that specializes in Sanford Meisner technique. She can often be seen performing with this group, as well. 

The Cornell Store is the official retailer for Cornell University, New York’s lone Ivy League University. Open seven days a week, The Cornell Store on the Ithaca Commons offers Cornell clothing, accessories, and gifts, including specialty food items with either a Cornell or local connection.

“Most people think that we get funding from Cornell University, but, in fact, we are a self-funded enterprise within Student and Campus Life and your Cornell Store purchases support student and University programs,” notes Spallone.

For more information about the Cornell Store on The Commons, visit or its Facebook page at

The Faces of Downtown Ithaca

Some say the best referrals come from trusted family and friends. In Downtown Ithaca, quality recommendations often come from speaking directly to our hospitable downtown business owners and managers. Afterall, who knows their business best than the business owner themselves.

Welcome to Faces of Downtown Ithaca where we’ll give you an insider’s look at downtown’s shops, let you meet your shopkeepers, and restaurateurs who provide this area with some of the finest shopping, dining, and attractions that the Finger Lakes Region has to offer.

Not only do these folks work here, but they also dine, shop, and play here. Many of them also live here, too! This is their Downtown Ithaca and now, they are sharing some of their histories with you.