By: Samantha Leader
If you are traveling down Route 20 as you pass through the village of Cazenovia you will find Cazenovia Cut block situated about a mile away on the right. This quaint store features many items but what really stands out are the beautiful blocks of cutting boards. Every size and design imaginable it is hard to decide which one to buy. It began with Tim Hughes and what started a just a hobby became the passion.
In 2009, Tim Hughes launched Cazenovia Cut Block at farmers markets before it turned into a thriving business by the help of his family. At first, the name was Caretakers furnishing after the home he shared with his wife, Jennifer Hughes. Later on Tim changed the name to reflect the different products produced, according to McKenzie Hughes, Tim’s sister.
“Cazenovia Cut block is known for their cutting boards, bowls and tables, and they also make Adirondack chairs,” McKenzie said.
According to McKenzie, Cazenovia Cut Block has made tables for Empire Brewing Company, Owera Vineyards, and made the cutting board that locally raised celebrity chef Anne Burrell uses.
In 2015, the family took their love for Cazenovia further by starting a farm store, 20|EAST, which brought in local artisans and local food vendors that participated in the farmers markets. 20|EAST has different vendors that sell products for weddings, birthdays, hosting and holidays. Many people come to the store to do their grocery shopping because they have meats, cheese, bread, desert and local maple syrup.
At first, McKenzie worked part-time in the stores and had another job during the days. “Our parents help out as much as they can also, picking up products from local farmers, and watching our kids,” she said.
Tim Hughes passed away in 2015 leading Jennifer Hughes to put her all into Cazenovia Cut Block and soon after McKenzie Hughes to quit her full time job and put everything she had into 20|EAST and Cazenovia Cut Block.
“I found out I had breast cancer a month before my brother passed away, after going through treatment and having his death sink in, I realized life was too short to sit behind a desk,” McKenzie said.
Since 2015, both Cazenovia Cut Block and 20|EAST have expanded and have brought in more business. As of now, 20|EAST has two locations but as of soon there main location will only be 85 Albany Street. Both stores will now be located in Cazenovia near each other to help more, according to McKenzie.
“We are striving to open another location in the future as both stores grow,” McKenzie said.
Both stores have a wide variety of products making it hard to take pictures for purchasing items online, but according to McKenzie, Cazenovia Cut Block has a substantial amount of business besides their unique items. 20|EAST will be developing their online image but for now, it is mostly “In my father’s kitchen” charitable items.
20|EAST holds many events to get the whole town of Cazenovia involved. The different events are a summer night market, winter greenhouse market, Friday night light, and Ladies and Men’s night out. All of these functions have music, food, and vendors while the shops stay open later. “We try to keep the store open later at least once a month, while having local vineyards and food trucks available for people to try” McKenzie said.
20|EAST and Cazenovia Cut Block’s want to have a Cazenovia heart felt feel to their stores. They do this by providing local products for customers by promoting local farmers foods, and hand constructed wood. The main goal is to make sure every family can find products they are looking for without moving far, according to McKenzie.