The buildings 274 - 302 North Goodman Street were purchased in 1982. They had been the Stecher Traung Printing Company. At the time of sale of the building, it resembled an abandoned warehouse. The purchase price of $1.50 / per square foot reflected the poor condition of the building. Throughout the neighborhood, a house could be bought for as low as $10,000.00, a situation that has dramatically changed today. In the words of Gary Stern, owner of Village Gate: "I believe that the neighborhood could make a strong comeback in the near future. The proximity of The Memorial Art Gallery and several large museums showed that it could be considered an art community. An idea began, to make the building into a festive marketplace with a combination of shops, arts and entertainment. I traveled to several locations which were operating successfully, including Faneuil Hall in Boston, Baltimore Harbor, Minneapolis, Lattimore Square etc. to observe their operations. I became convinced that Rochester could support such a venture". Today, The Village Gate offers many advantages to its tenants and customers. There is free parking, its location is close to downtown and expressways, its address is known to a large segment of the people of Rochester so it is easy to find. There are a variety of restaurants at The Village Gate. The Gate is an enclosed area that offers many services. The tenant mix is professional and artists. There are designers, marketing clients, sales reps and computer companies. There are many retail specialty shops such as a interior and clothing design, hair salon, bridal shop, collectibles, personal training and a bakery. Village Gate also has art galleries lending itself to a mixed use idea of loft living and commercial retail space.
The Village Gate is a vital component of Rochester's Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA). The neighborhood contains some of Rochester's major cultural institutions including The Memorial Art Gallery, The George Eastman House, The International Museum of Photography, Writers and Books and the Visual Studies Workshop. Village Gate Square and its next door neighbor, The Fabrics and Finding Building, houses some of Rochester's most talented individual artists. These artists open their studios to visitors the second Saturday of each month. NOTA is a tight-knit community that welcomes visitors and newcomers alike to its spirited activites.
The History of The Village Gate: