It's been more than a year since the Eat to Live Co-Op on Syracuse's South Side has been closed. But organizers say since then, they have made great strides creating a new and sustainable business plan. Alexa Green explains when residents can expect the doors to reopen.
SYRACUSE N.Y. -- Syracuse residents living on the South Side say there are very few places to buy fresh groceries. In fact, some have called it a food desert. Which is why when the Eat to Live Co-Op opened back in 2013, many residents were happy to have the business nearby.
"It was so convenient for me. Working until 6 o'clock in the winter time, it gets dark. I don't want to stop at the store. On Saturdays, I would stop at the store and I'd go get my fresh vegetables," said Syracuse resident Gwendolyn Faegan.
But after only two months in business, the Co-Op closed its doors. The Eat to Live Board of Directors say the high costs of the building and the lack of working capital caused the business to operate in the red.
"We got a grant from the state to build the store and there was a small, single-digit cost overrun. But in the plan we put to the state, we had a tight budget for operation, probably too tight," said Eat to Live Co-Op secretary Howie Hawkins.
Since closing, Hawkins says the Board of Directors has been working on a new financial plan. They also have secured funds from local non-profits that will go towards paying the building's taxes and other costs.
"We're paying some of the vendors that we still owe money to when we closed. The point of sales system, so there are on-going expenses just to maintain the building and pay your taxes," he said.
As to when they plan to reopen? Hawkins says he's hoping to have the co-op back up and running by this summer.
For more information, visit the Eat to Live Co-Op website.