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tmp_sign120In 1966 an A&P supermarket and a Jamesway Discount Department Store opened on Triphammer Road.  Four years earlier attorney Louis K. Thaler and his two sons Richard and Manley had purchased the 17 acre property.  Louis was bothered by the fact that Ithacans had to go out of town to shop, and envisioned a kind of marketplace where they could buy a variety of things.  Over the years that property morphed from 'Triphammer Shopping Center' to 'Triphammer Mall'.  A day-long Fall Fest Saturday celebrated its new identity as 'Triphammer Marketplace'.

"My Dad wanted to have a marketplace and he wanted to have a place where all sorts of things were being sold at discounts," says Richard Thaler, who now co-owns the facility with his brother Manley.  "Mall didn't do that.  I saw 'Marketplace' in the names of several places in Europe and several areas on the U.S. west coast and also down in the south.  I thought 'Marketplace' was a better way of saying we are putting a local group or merchants together."

tmp_stageThe entertainment stage was set up in front of a giant mural in the mall

Friday's Fall Fest celebration combined entertainment with sales, art, gifts, and refreshments.  Inside the marketplace a stage was set up in front of a giant mural.  Jan Nigro and the Vitamin L Chorus, the Lansing Middle School String Quartet, and June With Chandani Belly Dance Troupe of Ithaca provided entertainment.  Story time and free ice cream were set up at the other end of the marketplace, while cider was being served near the front entrance.  Ithaca Coffee Company, Decorum-too, Fingerlakes Reuse Center, Knitting, Etc., and Jo-Ann Fabrics offered discounts, and Gene's Barber Stylist offered free neck trims.

The Mobile Food Pantry, Lansing Fire Department, and Tompkins County Sheriff's Department all had trucks set up in the parking lot.   Deputies gave away child safety seats and taught people to properly secure them in the back seats of their cars.  Other events included the grand opening of Triphammer Wine & Spirit's new wine tasting bar, and an art opening at Decorum-too of paintings by Maryann Loveland.

tmp_eventsCider, donuts, stories, and ice cream

Thaler recalls his father purchased the property in anticipation of Route 13 being constructed.  The road opened in 1972, bringing traffic to the shopping center that had been established there six years earlier.  At first the shopping center was made up of two anchor stores connected by a walkway.

"I was driving back from arguing an appeal in Albany, and I went through Cooperstown," Thaler recalls.  "I saw this place called Jamesway.  I asked to see the owner and got to see the manager.  He gave me the owner's name and address, so I called him when I got back to Ithaca."

Jamesway was a discount department store that had opened in Cooperstown in 1962.  The owner was interested in opening a second store, and the 45,000 square foot outlet was built where Jo-Anne Fabrics currently resides.  Meanwhile Thaler's father had connected with officials at Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company in Albany.  They wanted to come to Ithaca, but only if they could be located at the entrance to the shopping center.  They built a 17,000 square foot A&P store where Kinney Drugs is currently located.

Thaler says that Triphammer Shopping Center was the first shopping center that was owned by local Ithaca people. 

"It was just a walkway that connected the stores," Thaler says.  "In 1976 what is now the Ithaca Mall (then Pyramid mall) was opening.  My father, brother and I decided to cover our walkway.  We were known as a shopping center.  At that time we became Triphammer Mall."

When the walkway was covered other stores were added.  Originally it just had storefronts and doors.  The stores were built in as they went along.  Today there are 22 merchants, with a 23rd about to sign a lease.  Most tenants are local, independently owned businesses.

The huge mural between Jo-Anne Fabrics and the Reuse Center was painted by local artist Andrea Krebbeks.  Thaler recalls she wanted to paint him into the mural, but he refused.  But she did get him to agree that she could paint likenesses of his two dogs, which ended up in the mural.  Krebbeks also painted the murals in Ithaca Bakery and Triphammer Wine & Spirits.

Louis Thaler was born in Brooklyn in 1903.  A star pitcher at Boy's High, he received a scholarship to pitch on Cornell's baseball team.  He met is wife while attending Cornell Law School.  After graduating, the couple decided to go back to Brooklyn to practice law.  But she didn't like it there and wanted to come home to Ithaca where her family owned a downtown furniture store.

tmp_thalerTriphammer Marketplace co-owner Richard B. Thaler

Thaler & Thaler law firm was formed in 1927.  Richard and Manley followed in his footsteps, attending Cornell Law School and joining the family firm.  In 1976 Manley moved his practice to Florida, where he currently has two offices.  Richard stayed in Ithaca and continues at the firm today.

He says that over the years many merchants have done very well in the location.  It continues to evolve as Thaler attracts more businesses to the site.  Two years ago Kinney Drugs located in the old A&P spot, which resulted in a redesign of the mall entranceway and the flow of traffic into the facility.  This year the landmark sign was rebuilt to say 'Triphammer Marketplace' in anticipation of Saturday's opening celebration.

"My father, brother, and I were delighted that the stores that located here have done well, and the people have been serviced very well," Thaler says.  "Right now my Dad would be absolutely delighted to see what we've done here."

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