The following is a republished press release from M&T Bank… to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at


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ITHACA, N.Y. —The redevelopment of Ithaca Commons will soon take another step forward with the debut of Breathe, a new independently owned store offering colorful, comfortable women’s wear, accessories and natural personal care products.

M&T Bank has closed on a U.S. Small Business Administration loan which will allow Breathe to open a 1,280-square-foot store in the Center Ithaca building. The investment is another step forward in the two-year redevelopment of Ithaca Commons.

“The Commons Project is near complete and the addition of Breathe to the downtown retail community is a great win. M&T Bank has a long history of positively impacting the communities in which it serves and we’re thrilled to play a role in the revitalization of downtown,” said Kara Taylor, vice president of business & professional banking at M&T Bank

The store is owned by local investors, led by Todd Nau, who has over 30 years of experience in the fashion industry with prior experience as a lead designer for Levi Strauss and Ralph Lauren.

“We are providing quality, comfortable clothing. Our focus is primarily on natural fibers and relaxed styles to fit women of all shapes and sizes. Our motto is ‘Be you…because comfortable can be beautiful!’” Nau said.

Momentum Building on “the Commons”
Breathe will be immediately adjacent to the main Center Ithaca entrance and feature 13-feet of street frontage display windows. The inventory plans include clothing from Lucky Brand, NYDJ, Kut Jeans, CP Shades, Flax, Neon Buddha and more.

Breathe will be the latest in a number of new businesses to open on Ithaca Commons this year, with more potentially to come as the redevelopment project nears completion this summer.

“We are nearing completion of a massive public investment in the Commons. The entirely new utilities and a stunning redesign have paved the way for huge private investments in our downtown. Because of its location in Center Ithaca, the demand for women’s clothing downtown and the quality of the development team – Breathe is among the most exciting of those new projects,” said Ithaca Mayor Svante L. Myrick.

M&T Bank has a long track record as one of the leading SBA lenders in Central New York and is the 6th largest issuer of SBA loans in the country, based on data from the most recently completed federal fiscal year.*

About M&T Bank
Founded in 1856, M&T Bank Corp. ( is one of the 20 largest U.S. bank holding companies, with more than 650 branch offices and 1,500 ATMs in Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Delaware.


*According to statistics released by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for total approved loans through the SBA’s 7(a) lending program during the federal fiscal year ending 9/30/2014.

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.