The abrupt announcement this week that Cornell University would be closing the Cornell Orchards Store indefinitely has sparked an intense public response, most prominently in the form of a Change.org petition to save the store that has spread widely on social media.
The store, which has been around since the 1950s, has served as one of the main outlets for Cornell's robust inventory of various apple products. The orchard itself is not impacted by the closing and will continue operations.
Reaction to the announcement on Tuesday has been quick and loud. The petition popped up nearly immediately. Beyond the petition, which has gained nearly 800 signatures in just two days (as of 1:45 p.m. Thursday) people have taken to social media to either lament the loss of the store or chastise Cornell for not keeping the store running.
"The economic cost of the orchard store can not be quantified against the benefits it brings to the community, operating on a modified seasonal schedule could potentially benefit the financial viability of the store," the petition states. "The University should take on this responsibility as a land grant University, one possibility would be to subsidize the Cornell Orchard store instead of looking at it as an opportunity for profit."
The petition also celebrates the Orchards Store's contributions to the community outside of retail, such as hosting classes and events.
Kyllikki Inman, of Ithaca, has been one of the notably vocal people on social media, posting her sentiments to Facebook. In an email, she wrote about her long history of shopping at the store and how much it represented to her family.
"I always take visitors to the store as one of the "Best Things about Ithaca" - along with the waterfalls and parks," Inman said. "Everyone loves the store and they are so impressed, because they don’t have anything like it."
Inman said she'd miss the in-store experience at the location, complimenting the products and the knowledgeable staff.
"And the Orchard Store is the only place to find many historic kinds of apples you will never see in a grocery store - it’s fascinating to taste something your great-grandparents ate," Inman said. "It's important to keep these old breeds going, in case a new blight comes around that kills modern apples - they have something to cross from from the past."