BENRUS has resurrected in OUR city

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When it comes to a large brand opening its first retail location, Rochester is not usually tops on a company's list. Major brands open in NYC, LA, San Francisco, or places just a little bit bigger than our city. But that's not the case with BENRUS. While you might find some of their products in a handful of authorized retailers, our city is home to their FIRST retail store.

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The history of this company fits well within the history of where it opened up - the Culver Road Armory. BENRUS began in 1921 when 3 brothers (native New Yorkers) with the last name Lazrus saw an opportunity with the decline of the use of a pocket watch - wristwatches for the common man. In the 1940's BENRUS was given top secret government contracts for watches because of their innovation, superior quality, and precision. They manufactured one of the 1st waterproof watches for WWII divers and a watch that outfit all of the Unites States Air Force pilots. After the war, BENRUS turned their attention back to making civilian watches (find more of their heritage here).

BENRUS at the Culver Road Armory

In similar fashion, the Armory also has quite a military history, as some of you may know. Completed in 1918, the Culver Road Armory originally housed the Rochester unit of the 1st New York Cavalry (read Retrofitting Rochester for more history).

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This historic watch company has now been resurrected into a military inspired lifestyle brand that expands beyond just watches to also include clothing, bags, and sunglasses. The transformation into retail stores has come through Giovanni Feroce, former CEO of Alex and Ani.

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And, best of all, most of the items are being made right here in America. With locations to open next in Charleston, SC, Washington, DC, and Newport, RI, we're pretty excite they started here first.

BONUS: for those curious about the name, BENRUS comes from the first and last name of the middle brother, Benjamin Lazrus, who was a WWI veteran.

More Information:BENRUS Website Facebook

Related Posts:Best Ways to Keep or Break Your New Year's Resolutions5 City Developments to Watch for in 2014

Stefanie is co-Founder and Editor of the Rochesteriat. She thinks ROC is the BEST city & is excited to WATCH it grow over the years to come. Find her with a camera & phone in hand, taking photos for @theRochesteriat on Instagram, Follow on Twitter.

Welcome to the City: April/May Edition



The city has awakened, it's becoming more exciting, and it's expanding. We want to send a huge WELCOME TO THE CITY! to the following new ROC businesses that opened in the last 2 months...


Abode Rochester Why you want to check it out: Nestled in the South Wedge is a one of a kind "furniture & more" shop. Looking for that perfect, unique piece of furniture for your condo, apartment or even office? Maybe mid-century style holds a tender place in your heart. What about a decorative accent for yourself or a gift for a friend? Abode has all of this covered without charging an arm and a leg! Website: Follow them: Facebook, Instagram Map: 289 Gregory Street Related Post - Abode Rochester: Opening Day

City Grill Rochester:

City Grill Patio Why you want to check it out: In the hustle & bustle of East Ave, a new restaurant and ballroom event space has opened. With indoor and outdoor seating and private dining at City Grill, and event space for meetings, weddings, or anything you can think of at Ballroom 384, this place has got you covered! Website: Follow them: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Map: 384 East Avenue

Pour Coffee Parlor:

Pour Coffee Parlor Why you want to check it out: Fresh pour over, chemex, cold brew Nitro, and more. Whether you know what those are or not it doesn't matter - come learn and watch the craft of great coffee making and enjoy a cup vastly different than what's just sitting in a coffee pot. Pour baristas are friendly, knowledgeable, and care enough that you try a great cup of Joe at least once in your lifetime. Added plus: sandwiches, pastries, salads, beer, other beverages, waffles, and even gluten free food & pastries! Website: Follow them: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Map: 23 Somerton St. Related Post - Pour Coffee: sneak peek inside

Press Coffee:

Press-Coffee Why you want to try: Located in a beautiful historic building downtown on E. Main, this local coffee shop roasts small batch fair trade coffee. With huge windows lining the full length of the coffee shop, you can enjoy the views of Main Street over coffee, pastries, sandwiches, fresh squeezed lemonade and more. We even heard rumblings of local bands playing here in the near future. Also, while we are HUGE fans of Java's on Gibbs, Press Coffee gives the Eastman students, concert goers, and Grove Place residents another great option to choose from in the neighborhood. Great cities aren't limited to just one coffee shop, there really must be multiple options to appease our caffeine addictions. Follow them: Facebook, Twitter Map: 480 E. Main St.

Founders Café:

Founders Cafe Why you want to try: Located inside the beautiful and historic Academy Building [built in 1873] in the heart of the city, there's much to love about this café. Inside you'll find everything a coffee shop should have - coffee, lattes, espresso, and smoothies, plus sandwiches, paninis, soup, salads, and wraps. The newly built front outdoor patio certainly gives just another reason to check this place out. Website: Follow them: Facebook Map: 13 Fitzhugh St. Related Post - Founders Cafe: sneak peek


Arhaus Opening Culver Road Armory Why you want to try: Arhaus may not be a local furniture shop, but we're sure excited that they moved out of the suburbs and into the city of Rochester! We can't wait to see more businesses make the move too. While we're certainly fans of shop local and smaller stores, there's something to be said of our city when these larger chains are taking notice and making the move....hmmm....maybe you should check out what's going on too? Website: Follow them: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Map: 155 Culver Road, Culver Road Armory Related Post - 5 City Developments to Watch for in 2014

Park Ave Paninoteca:

Park-Ave-Paninoteca Why you want to try: Paninis, sandwiches, pastas, and other Italian specialties from family recipes, AND located on beautiful Park Ave. With a great location and outdoor patio space available, this adds another venue to the amazing options in the Park Ave neighborhood. Come in and be treated like family! Follow them: Facebook, Twitter Map: 266 Park Ave Related: Park Ave Posts

5 City Developments to Watch for in 2014...


Does all this snow and cold have you down and ready to skip town? Well the good thing is that Spring Break is right around the corner. If you have travel plans, then all the better.

But what about your future here in Rochester? The near future? Heck, what about the future OF Rochester? With all of this talk about the future, here are FIVE developments in the works for our city that should surely get you excited for the months ahead.

1. Culver Road Armory

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An exciting new development coming to the old Armory located across from Cobbs Hill Park, many of you have seen the beautiful facade transforming in front of your eyes from I-490 as you pass by. This unique city landmark and former military grounds are now slated to hold everything from lofts, offices, retail, restaurant, and gallery space. Many of those are already operating there.

Lead Architect/Designer:
Expected Completion Date: TBD
Press: RochesterHomepageCITY Newspaper

2. The Tower at Midtown

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Big City living anyone? The Tower at Midtown is expected to offer just that. In the heart of downtown at the former site of the Midtown Plaza complex, this project is a 50/50 partnership between two powerhouse developers, Buckingham Properties and Morgan Management. Offering a mix of commercial office space, retail, and trendy apartments - it will be the latter of those that will be the major draw back to our city center with open floor plans, roof decks, and unbelievable views.

Lead Developer(s): Buckingham Properties Morgan Management
Expected Completion Date: 2015

3.The Sibley Building

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Want to live in a major piece of Rochester's storied past? WinnDevelopment, a super-successful Boston real estate development firm, certainly wants to make that dream happen. Think that the developer is some outside force not attuned to Rochester's history? Think again: the Boston-based company's project completes a full circle of history as the original Sibley Building was developed by Boston-bred businessmen Rufus Sibley, Alexander Lindsay, and John Curr.

Lead Developer: WinnDevelopment
Expected Completion Date: TBD
Press: Rochester SubwayDemocrat & Chronicle

4. Downtown Transit Center

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Haven't been to downtown's Main Street in a while? In less than a year's time residents, visitors, and especially public transportation users will find a very different atmosphere on and around Main Street as the new RGRTA Transit Center finally opens up. Taking much of the bus traffic off of Main Street, the Transit Center is located on Mortimer Street and will give the public an indoor, comfortable waiting area for their next ride. That will mean a lot especially during a winter like the one we're experiencing now.

Website: RGRTA Project Details
Design & Construction: Bergmann Associates, The Pike Company, LeChase Construction
Expected Completion Date: Early 2015
Press: Reconnect Rochester

5. College Town

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Tired of trekking all the way out to the suburbs to find a Barnes & Noble or a unique place to shop, eat, or just relax? In the area known as College Town at Mt. Hope, there will be plenty of shopping, dining, and of course, the Barnes & Noble experience for students, residents, and visitors alike. A 136-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel will join the 110,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and if you are worried about parking - get over it, there will be a 1600-space parking garage included.

Developers: Fairmount Properties, Gilbane Development Company
Expected Completion Date: Fall 2014
Press: WHEC-10UofR

Did this list whet your appetite? Want to see more developments coming to the City Center? Check out the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation's list of Center City Development 2014.