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Rochester Business Journal

Rochester Business Journal

Rochester Business Journal

Rochester’s Coolest Spaces

Four businesses within Sibley Square were selected by RBJ’s editors as one of Rochester’s Coolest Spaces. Thirty total businesses were chosen. See the four within Sibley Square below!

Mercantile on Main

Just as the original tenant did more than a century ago, the Mercantile on Main in the historic Sibley Building offers a little of everything to patrons. From the antique clock that was the focal point for Sibley shoppers throughout the 1900s to the newly created eateries. From the life-size chess set that provides entertainment and mental stimulation to the Rufus bar, named after Rufus Adams Sibley, founder of the Sibley, Lindsay & Curr Co. department store. From the mid-century furniture to the murals on the walls, Mercantile on Main is an escape. The space was created by the building’s developer, WinnCompanies, as a place to gather, dine and relax. The large main table in the dining area was built from repurposed wood from the building. It sits directly below the famous clock. Across the table, “Meet me under the clock” is written, a throwback to yesteryear when for shoppers and families would agree to “meet under the clock” if they became lost or when their adventure at Sibley’s was over.


With a big city vibe, NextCorps is at the center of the Rochester Innovation Zone at Sibley Square. More than 60 startups are innovating technologies at the downtown facility. The site integrates the historic design and architectural elements of the onetime department store with the technology and site needs of the future. Ergonomic workstations are at home next to the linen credenza that adorns the old tea room; ping pong tables and outdoor furniture take up residence on the rooftop patio, while a mural of High Falls in the 1800s decorates the student incubator. The space was designed to provide peer-to-peer and expert support for entrepreneurs as they grow their staff, companies and technologies. The space offers a fabrication lab with 3D printers, wet labs and comes equipped with optics and electronics labs that allow business leaders to further develop their innovations at one location. A large auditorium commissary and rooftop patio support group learning, networking and special events, while individual, small and large conference rooms allow entrepreneurs and teams to have private or group meetings. The facility features both open co-working space and private offices of all sizes. TAT — The Architectural Team from Boston — was the designer, and DiMarco Constructors handled the construction.

RIT City Art Space

RIT City Art Space is the Rochester Institute of Technology College of Art and Design’s premiere exhibition and event venue downtown. City Art Space is free and open to the public. It features art and design exhibitions by RIT students, faculty, alumni, and more, and serves as a site for experiential learning for students in the College of Art and Design and beyond. In 1968, RIT began relocating its campus from downtown Rochester to Henrietta, but the art department remained downtown until the 1990s. Located at 50 W. Main St., the site included painting studios and a gallery that was open to the public. Eventually, the art department moved to the Henrietta campus, but a group of art faculty was determined to keep a gallery space in the city, maintaining a connection to downtown Rochester. After several moves, in December 2018 RIT City Art Space made its debut at 280 E. Main St., in the Sibley Building on Liberty Pole Plaza. Part of the site’s transformation was envisioned by students in RIT’s interior design program, who were challenged with conceptualizing plans for a flexible exhibition space.

The Commissary

Starting a local food business? Look no further than The Commissary, Rochester’s downtown kitchen incubator at Sibley Square on East Main Street. The state-of-the-art commercial kitchen facility and community offers services and support for entrepreneurs to start and grow their culinary business. Featuring a performance kitchen for pop-ups, cooking classes and private events, as well as a production kitchen with 40 feet of commercial grade equipment, The Commissary has you covered. Opportunities abound for members, including incubation services, networking events, workshops and a collaborative atmosphere for food businesses to feed off one another. Owned by the Rochester Downtown Development Corp., The Commissary serves to spice up and strengthen Rochester’s regional food economy by creating jobs and bringing fresh food companies to the market. Located in the historic Sibley Square building, The Commissary is neighbors with one of downtown’s newest urban eateries, The Mercantile on Main .

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