In March we celebrate Women’s History Month where the contributions of women in the past and present are highlighted. There are so many successful, smart, and creative women running businesses in Yates County that play a large role in our thriving region. From shops and wineries, to restaurants and tour guides, there are many hard-working women behind these businesses. Not only are they making a name for themselves, but making a difference in the community.
We rounded up a highlight of some of these women-owned businesses located in the Finger Lakes we urge you to check out. Aside from women who own businesses, there are also women at almost every turn making the visitor experience a top-notch one. The work isn’t easy, but it’s rewarding.
Nancy Irelan, Owner and Winemaker at Red Tail Ridge Winery
Nancy has been in the wine industry for over 35 years. Their core values are simple: creativity, sustainability, and community. Red Tail Ridge is a LEED-gold certified green winery—currently the only one in New York State. Through local and national partnerships, they have provided 10% of sales from one of their best-selling wines, “Good Karma,” to support hunger within the region and country. If you’re looking to visit wineries while you’re here, book a tasting at Red Tail Ridge. Located in Penn Yan on the western shore of Seneca Lake.
Kathy Ferron, Owner of Finger Lakes Rail Riders
This new rail bike tour and attraction opened in Yates County in the summer of 2021 and is fitting for all ages and interests. Kathy Ferron is originally from Massachusetts, but has lived in the Finger Lakes area for over 20 years. During the offseason, she works as a traveling chiropractor doing home visits. If you’re looking to add an active adventure to your trip, you’ll love Finger Lakes Rail Riders.
Nitosha Fingar and Tiffany Phillips, Sisters and Co-Owners of Seneca Farms
This legendary ice cream shop and restaurant in Penn Yan has been family-run for over four decades. One of the most popular spots in the area for residents and visitors, they serve up over 50 flavors of homemade ice cream. Fried Chicken is the crowd favorite, but their menu serves up great homestyle variety. Nitosha and Tiffany have been working at the family business since they were kids, and now run the successful business together.
Lindsey Dean of Sam & Lin Designs & IDEA Collective
Lindsey is a craftswoman, artist, sculptress, jeweler, designer, and educator. Her aspiration is to inspire young people to learn with their hands, trust their creative impulses, and enjoy the journey of making. She co-founded IDEA Collective, a portable art studio that hosts youth metal fabrication workshops and makes eco-friendly craft kits. Her work can be seen or purchased locally throughout the region and beyond at select businesses and public areas.
Bonnie Osborne, Owner of Grapevine Country Tours
Bonnie started Grapevine Country Tours in 2002 after working many years as a travel agent. In 2018 she became a certified woman-owned business by the Empire State Development Division of Minority & Women’s Businesses. She loves sharing her love and passion for the Finger Lakes region and is known for her knowledge and personable experiences.
Heather Griffiths, Owner of The Nest Egg
The unique gift shop is a popular spot for gifts, souvenirs, home décor and more in downtown Penn Yan since 1988. Here you’ll find an expansive variety of all things Keuka, Seneca, and Finger Lakes (many of these are also women-made products).
Afra Nahmmacher, Owner of Crooked Lake Mercantile
Crooked Lake Mercantile is located in Branchport near the northern shores of Keuka Lake. The store features a full line of groceries, deli and bakery items, gifts, and souvenirs. The corner store has become a staple for lake goers. A must stop when you’re spending time on Keuka Lake!
Lyndsi Stoltzfus, Owner of Amity Coffee
Lyndsi was born and raised in the Finger Lakes, growing up on her family’s dairy farm. Her specialty coffee shop, Amity Coffee, is nestled on Main Street in Penn Yan. It’s a bustling spot for residents, local college students and visitors. Amity offers an authentic sense of community and a unique, inspiring menu. Currently she features rotating local coffee roasters, but will be roasting her own coffee beans on site soon!
Christine Pyanoe, Owner & Innkeeper of Aubergine Bed & Breakfast
Christine is a transplant to the Finger Lakes from New Jersey who spent many summers on Keuka Lake before moving here permanently to fulfill her dream of running a Bed and Breakfast. The beautiful Victorian home is in the village of Penn Yan and is walking distance to many dining spots and attractions. The guest rooms reflect her favorite places to travel: France, Italy, and the Finger Lakes. Her passion for travel, wine, and nature shines through her home and hospitality that she shares with people from all walks of life.