After closing its doors last January for the move from Hamilton to Earlville, Curtain Call catering company is back from its sabbatical and open for business. Curtain Call saw the non-renewal of its lease by the Hamilton Initiative (HI) in late 2013. The refusal of the Hamilton Initiative to renegotiate Curtain Call’s lease necessitated the business’s move to Earlville, located six miles from the Colgate campus.
Since early 1997, Curtain Call was located next to the Hamilton Theater. The catering company’s proximity to Colgate University allowed over 95 percent of its business to be dedicated to catering events on the Colgate campus, such as Women’s Studies Brown Bags, faculty meetings and other school functions.
“The big majority of our work will continue to be catering events at Colgate University. Although we were unable to find an affordable location in Hamilton, we leased the kitchen and cafeteria in the Earlville Community Center … [which is] farther away than we wanted to move. The facility has been vacant a number of years and has presented some challenges to get into shape,” Curtain Call owner Rob Standish said.
Curtain Call’s compulsory relocation is reflective of the Hamilton Initiative’s mission, as explained on the “This is Hamilton, New York” website: “To foster the growth and development of Hamilton to best serve the mutual interests of both the greater Hamilton area and Colgate University.”
Colgate University Associate Vice President for Community Affairs and Auxiliary Services Joanne Borfitz said that the Hamilton Initiative’s decision not to renew Curtain Call’s lease was to facilitate this mission.
“I think it is really important to use every asset the Initiative has to stimulate foot traffic and business in the community, and because this is a catering business, it isn’t drawing foot traffic into the community and helping to support the businesses next to it,” Borfitz said in a 2013 interview with The Colgate Maroon-News.
Standish spoke to the effect the Hamilton Initiative is having on local businesses within the greater Hamilton area.
“I don’t think HI [Hamilton Initiative] actions specifically with us will make much difference in the big picture although many Colgate employees have privately expressed disappointment that Colgate did not help us to relocate. However, there are currently some very divisive issues between the Colgate Administration (and HI) and the Hamilton Community (including many Colgate employees) regarding the direction Hamilton should evolve and how it should get there,” Standish said.
Though Curtain Call was forced to relocate, Standish remains optimistic about its future relationship with the University.
“We have worked for many fine people at Colgate and developed many friendships. It has been nice to catch up with many of them and [we] are looking forward to seeing many others. They have been very encouraging and enthusiastic about our return from sabbatical,” Standish said.
Curtain Call is currently catering Colgate’s Living Writers events due to community support from other businesses. Currently, owner of the Hamilton Inn William (Ben) Eberhardt III is sharing his Hamilton Inn kitchen with Curtain Call so that it can continue to cater Colgate events.