Grad’s business builds brains

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A. Sue Weisler

Danielle Raymo, left, and Stephanie Rankin ’08 at Rochester Brainery.

In one room, students are learning how to clean up their diets to rejuvenate their bodies. In the next, they are on computers following along with a lecture on the basics of social media. This is the scene at Rochester Brainery. Founded by Stephanie Rankin and Danielle Raymo, and opened on March 1, it is designed to be a place for members of the Rochester community to share knowledge and skills.

Rankin ’08 (marketing) and Raymo, an alumna of The College at Brockport, created Rochester Brainery to make learning fun, affordable and accessible. The idea for it began when Raymo, who was living in Brooklyn, identified businesses that offered a similar service.

“Danielle and I had been friends for a while, and she wanted to move back to Rochester,” says Rankin. “We both loved the idea of starting a place where people could learn.”

Located in Rochester’s Village Gate, Rochester Brainery offers two classrooms, which are available for rent for gatherings, in addition to holding classes. Members of the community who feel that they have something to share teach classes on a vast array of topics. One such community member is Tony Gerardi ’85 (professional photographic illustration).

“Most people don’t have time to invest in a 10-week course,” says Gerardi, who has taught several classes, including one on how to brew kombucha tea at home.

Classes cost between $15 and $30, depending on supplies. Anyone can sign up to teach a class, and teachers can choose to be paid or reimbursed with a pass to attend a future class. (Go to for details.)

“We want to make sure that the classes are fun, affordable and keep people coming back,” says Rankin. “By teaching people new skills and connecting them with others, we hope to help stimulate economic development as well.”