Friends Helping Friends of Cayuga County is a nonprofit organization focused on providing emergency help to the Auburn community via a food and hygiene pantry. The Friends Helping Friends pantry evolved from something rather unexpected: a Facebook group! Created in December of 2013, this group was built with the aim of connecting community members to create a support network among locals. Since then, the group has developed from a few members trading free and used items to thousands of community members looking for help or providing assistance.
The emergency pantry has been open here at Fingerlakes Mall since August 2018, and has been able to help hundreds of families with dietary needs, hygiene products and back-to-school supplies. FHF has also been able to grow its services, now offering a Christmas gift program and domestic violence resources. FHF hosts seasonal events and fundraisers to provide family-friendly and accessible activities to the community while still supporting the pantry.
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Its biggest and most well-known event has been the annual Trunk-or-Treat event, when it partners with local organizations such as Girl Scouts, car clubs and law enforcement. FHF hosts this event outside, having groups bring their vehicles and goodies to hand out at each vehicle. Admission for this event is $1 or a nonperishable food item or hygiene product per child. This way, the community has access to a safe and affordable event, and raises money for the pantry’s Christmas gift program. FHF is open from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Funky Fashions Boutique is a small, eclectic store that calls Fingerlakes Mall home. From blankets and bibs to sundresses and jewelry, Nancy Bacon has it all. Opened here at the mall in 2016, Funky Fashions is a culmination of decades of sewing experience and a passion for colorful design. Nancy began sewing in her early teen years, finding joy in the creation of new projects. She spent many years working for Mackenzie-Childs in the sewing department and loved the whimsical and bright patterns she created while there. At Funky Fashions, Nancy can sew all sorts of things, from tissue covers and potholders to custom tailored dresses. When asked about her business, Nancy shared a very important tidbit of information: “My fabrics are my best-kept secret. I sell fabrics for other crafters and sewers to buy for their projects. Most of which are 100% cotton, and I sell them quite cheap. It’s hard to find quality fabric around here.” Funky Fashions is open 11 am to 5 pm Thursdays through Saturdays.
At the beginning of August, we had a well-known and loved store return to the mall: Spirit Halloween! A one-stop destination for everything shoppers can imagine for Halloween, Spirit provides a vast merchandise assortment and memorable visual presentation. In addition to being a fun and interactive event for shoppers, the locations offer complete selections of costumes and accessories for infants/toddlers, children, tweens, teens and adults. A broad assortment of décor and party goods complete the Halloween story. A large portion of the selection is exclusive merchandise found only at Spirit Halloween. This year, Spirit Halloween will be in a larger store space, inhabiting the former Great Outdoors RV location on the west end of the mall. They will have an entrance from the inside of the mall, as well as one from the exterior of the building, at the front of the mall. Spirit Halloween will be open from 11 am to 7 pm Mondays through Fridays, 10 am to 7 pm Saturdays and noon to 6 pm Sundays. Hours will update and extend as we get closer to Halloween.
Another new business will be joining us this fall. With American classics like burgers, dogs, fries, milkshakes and more, please welcome Dilly’s! A passion project brought to life by friends (and now business associates) Dan O’Hara, Ray Danny and Kanissa Dillabough, Dilly’s will be serving up fresh foods daily in the Fingerlakes Mall Café Square. The new business entrepreneurs hope to expand in the future to include a bar, but for now they are still in the process of getting all set up for their restaurant to open. Although no firm opening date exists yet, the group is looking to start serving by the beginning of September.
The Fingerlakes Mall is looking forward to a bright and eventful new season!
Elizabeth Hebbard is director of marketing for Fingerlakes Mall in Aurelius. For more information, visit fingerlakesmall.com or call (315) 255-1188.