Contemporary Trends provides a truly excellent selection of Scandanavian-designed (and manufactured) furniture items. If you like the "Danish Look", this is the place to go in the Finger Lakes region. The non-Scandanavian-designed items they feature are generally clean, modern designs, that fit well with the rest of the selection. Owner-operated gives the store a well executed hands-on feel, and the shopping / puchasing experience is the better for it. Recommended -- highly, if you like this style of furniture, and "still worth a look", even if you don't.
Treeforms may clarify their name with "Amish Furniture", but it's really hard to tell what they're trying to be as a mechant. They break down to about 40% general store and 60% furniture dealer (with the latter growing as time passes). The general store / gift shop end is mostly classless merchandise you wouldn't want to receive, and hopefully don't want to give. Then furniture is a real mixed bag. Much of it is lower end stuff that isn't worth the price unless you're willing to knowlingly compromise on design, durability, and construction quality. The mid-priced furniture (nothing is really "high-end" here) has some appeal, but the conditions under which they store there stock (with chairs hanging from the ceiling or cabinets stocked one atop the other) leaves you thinking it might be better to check out another dealer. And, recommendation-wise, that would be a good idea ...
If you're looking for Steelcase products, from single chairs to whole-building cubicle layouts, Stevens Office Interiors is the place to visit in Central New York. An excellent selection of products in their showroom for demonstration. Fairly knowledgable sales staff. Quick service, on both initial delivery and follow-up service. Handles small accounts (even the home office customer) just as well as their large ones. Recommended.
Cobblers Cottage is really the only game in town if you're looking for someone who really knows how to repair leathergoods (shoes, etc.). And they do that quite competently. If that were the only part of their business, I would give them 4-stars. But they also retail shoes, purses, and other leatherwear. On the retail end of things, they're only so-so, with a limited selection (which sells out fast each season) and a somewhat indifferent attitude towards the reatil sales side of the equation (happy to take your $$$, not so willing to earn it through top-tier salesmanship). Also, if you're looking to clean and polish your own shoes (etc.), they do carry an excellent line of cleaners, polishes, and the like.
The Mane Event is a unisex hair (and nail) salon you're likely to be quite happy with. Styles aren't on the bleeding edge, by any means, but they do an excellent in job in providing well executed mainstream styles (not the easiest task if you've spent any time salon hopping). Stick with the stylists (or the owner) who've been there the longest, and you can't go wrong. Everyone's friendly, you won't feel rushed, and they'll make sure they know what YOU want before they get down to business. The wait to get on the books can be a bit long, especially around the holidays, so don't plan on a drop-in appointment.
Handwork is the Ithaca area's local gallery/co-op for the arts and crafts wares of area artists. While other stores in the vicinity also display an excellent selection of these products, Handwork exclusively features the work of local artisians. From pottery, to woodwork, to furniture, to jewelery, to true folk art, this mid-sized gallery has it all. Excellent selection, fair prices, and many of the staff are artisians themselves. Definitely worth a stop-by, whether an area resident or just visiting the Finger Lakes.
Mann's Jewelers is a seriously classy jewelery store in an area where there ought to be one, but you still can't take it as a given. Speaking strictly from a watch buyer's perspective, they're definitely top-tier. An excellent selection of lines, a good range of models displayed within each lines, a knowledgable staff (particularly their manager/buyer), and fine service. If you're looking for a watch in the mid- to high-end price range, this is the place in Central/Western New York State to visit. And they'll compete on price, a real bonus given the lack of serious competition.
Ithaca is a Volvo kind of town (how many other places have "dancing Volvos" driving about during a local parade), and Ithaca Foreign Car Service is the place for local Volvo devotees. They specialize in servicing Volvos, and in selling used Volvo autos. They excel at the former (although at a steep price -- the norm with Volvos). As for the latter, they always have a pretty good selection of clean used models on the lot. And they can usually find what you're after if they don't have it (although you may have to wait a bit). The used cars aren't "Volvo-certified" (for that you'll need to find a real Volvo dealer), but you really don't sacrifice anything by forgoing the "certification".
It really would be nice to have a decent stereo (audio) store in a town like Ithaca. Given the population of music lovers, and above what you would expect (given the town's location) amount of desposable income, Ithaca is a town that should have one. Stellar Stereo just isn't it though. Mediocre selection, run-of-the-mill lines, indifferent service, etc., all add up to a sub-par shopping experience. Unfortunately, you'll need to take a drive, a long one, to find a good audio store in the Central New York area.
What used to be part of the small "Wildware" chain of outdoors stores, has suffered in the transition to the independent "Mountain Edge Outfitters". While the owners, and about half of the sales staff, are knowledgable and nice to work with, the store's selection of goods is so small as to make them nearly useless. I very much wish I could recommend them, and probably would if only the staff, location, store front mattered, but the extremely limited range of goods usually leaves me (and probably you too, if you visit) heading out the door empty handed. Kind of sad, really .....