ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Joe Caparulo's father opened Cappy's Cards and Gifts back on December 14th, 1946. Back then, it was a community staple; set in what eventually became Elmira's busy north side.
"He had just gotten back from the war and he really wanted to be his own boss. And it was a lively corner of activity," says Caparulo. "He acquired a soda fountain and that became a center for community life. Other businesses--their lunch crowd came over for lunch, St. Patrick's school emptied for the same reason, before and after school. The church across the street had many masses at the time and they [also] came over."
Part of Cappy's appeal: it was not just a shop, but an experience.
"It was really a fun thing to go in there," says Councilman Brent Stermer, who was once a frequent customer."The scents, the fragrances the people. And all of the experiences and encounters you were able to have."
Caparulo took over in the mid 1980's and finally sold the business back in 2011.
But after nearly seven decades, the building is now set to be torn down.
And in its place -- a park.
"The space of Cappy's now will transform," says Caparulo. "The hope is whatever replaces those buildings it will become an exterior space of community vitality"
Elmira College, who now owns the property, tells WENY the lot will eventually become a green space. As of right now, a plan has yet to be finalized.
"While this is not a city project, it's a community project," says Stermer. "A park really offers that feel where people can come together, they can look at the beauty of the church and they can experience that neighborhood in a new feel."