Binghamton's south side brings more business

By Brandi Bailey

July 1, 2013 Updated Jul 1, 2013 at 9:38 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Something's been missing from Binghamton's south side: A commercial void at one of the city's busiest intersections.

The plaza is commonly known as Thirsty's Plaza. The bar and restaurant has been a signature business on the south side for nearly 40 years. Until this year, it was the only business in the plaza.

That's all changed after Sweet Frog, Confluence Running and the National Floor Center filled up the remaining space.

"I think this corner needed to be fixed," said Sweet Frog franchise owner Michael Gance. "This is kind of what was missing in the corner, I think. The floor store is great, the running store is great, and of course Thirsty's has been there for I think 40 years. I think it's a completion to the corner," Gance said.

The location, along with local ownership of the building was a key selling point for all three businesses.

"This intersection has the highest traffic count in the city of Binghamton. Also we wanted to find a building that was locally owned," said National Floor Center owner Robert Ellis.

The 7,000-square-foot plaza is locally owned by Pete Perkins and experienced nearly two feet of water during the 2011 flooding.

The new business owners say they weren't going to let that stop them from improving the economy on the south side.

"The support, almost since the day we have opened. The support from the community has been fantastic. I think people were just happy to see sort of the last bit of healing from the flood," Ellis said.

All three new businesses agree it's not just about healing from a natural disaster. It's as much about bringing business back and restoring hope that the south side can survive and grow.

The plaza now sees roughly 1,000 cars come in and out of its parking lot. That's a huge improvement from just one year ago.