The new owners of Copy Express at 227 West Water Street, are printing the first pages of what they hope will become an Elmira success story. “It’s one of the first times that I can honestly say that the future looks a lot brighter than it used to.” said Co-Owner Andrew Roosa-Decicco.

The Elmira native and his business partner Caitlynn McConnell used to be employees at Copy Express, before the previous owner decided to sell it and shut down. The store had been open since 1989. So in March of 2022, they took a chance and bought the store, so it could keep serving Elmira’s community.

“It was such a resource, it was small businesses coming in, people just trying their best to get off the ground.” said Roosa-Decicco. “We had become so central to those people that we would just be abandoning them by not picking up the store.”

Co-owner Caitlynn McConnell says she feels hopeful about the future of downtown Elmira. “Just in the last 9 or 10 months since we owned the business, we’ve really gotten to know our neighbors. Everyone seems really interested in pulling up by their bootstraps and revitalizing the River District area.” said McConnell.

Emma Miran is the City’s Director of Community Development. “I think it’s really exciting to see new businesses coming to downtown Elmira.” said Miran. She told us the blueprint for revitalizing downtown Elmira includes a mix of local, state, and federal partnerships that offer tax breaks, small business loans and other incentives to attract businesses.

“Filling our commercial space continues to be a little bit of a challenge for the city.” said Miran. “I think some of that has to do with the pandemic and Covid, and just the general environment around real estate and commercial space. A lot of people are continuing to work remotely. But I do think things are going in the right direction, and continuing to grow.”