Oak Hill expansion to add bakery, cafe, jobs

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
The expansion project at Oak Hill adds space on the south end of the existing retail space and warehouse, utility and work space to the back of the building which has become a tourist attraction in its own right.

Oak Hill Bulk Foods, the specialty grocery store located on Route 14A between Penn Yan and Dundee is doing a bit of bulking up in a different way, by more than doubling in size and adding staff and features.

The store, popular with local shoppers and tourists alike, remains open through the expansion, which owner Phil Riehl, expects to be complete by the end of summer.

Riehl says the store that was built in the early 1990s has not been able to accommdate the business’s growth.

“We need more retail area to provide a more comfortable and accessible shopping area, and more space for storage needs,” he explained in a recent email.

Retail, deli, and produce areas will be a major focus in the new addition and warehousing will allow for storage of larger quantities of other products.

The addition is attached to the south end of the current retail store, and then the existing building would be remodeled to fit with the new area.

The main addition will be about 40’x98’, with a 16x80 addition across the back of the existing structure, adding a total of about 5200 square feet.

At 40 ft. by 80 ft., the existing building includes retail, office, packaging, storage, utility and bathrooms.

With the expansion, a bakery and cafe that will seat up to 20 patrons who will enjoy coffee, pastries, sandwiches and soups, will be added.

The business was started in 1983 by Amos Stoltzfus and family. It began in a front room of their home on Ridge Road, Penn Yan. As sales grew through the 1980’s, they decided to expand to a commercial building in 1990. Sales increased dramatically throughout the ‘90’s. In 1999, the Stoltzfus’s retired and sold the business to their daughter and son-in-law, LaReta and Phil Riehl.

Riehl says the workforce has grown from six employees in 1999 to 12 full and part time workers in 2009. He says they plan to add up to five employees with the expansion.

Oak Hill offers many unique items such as old-fashioned candies, homemade cereals, and locally-grown produce and a selection of cheeses from New York, Ohio, and more. Aged New York cheddars, are purchased in 40 lbs. blocks for wholesale accounts, and repackaged for retail.

The business is partnering with the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center (FLEDC) for property tax abatement. Funding was secured through Lyons National Bank. Architectural work was done by Dan Long of Geneva and interior design has been done by Heather Demoras Design Consultants.

“They have created an interior that will be locally themed to give shoppers a comfortable and unique experience,” says Riehl.

Most of the construction will be done by Martin’s Construction of Penn Yan, along with other local sub-contractors.