DeJulio's Army Navy Store's closure two years ago could have meant another vacant property in Syracuse.
"We heard the building had become vacant, it was on the market, thought it be a great opportunity to purchase the building," said Kerry Quaglia, Home HeadQuarters CEO. The organization does housing renovations, first time homebuyer programs and is now involved with commercial property redevelopment. DeJulio's would be one of their biggest undertakings. After talks with Home HeadQuarters' partners, the plan is to transform this former retail space into a commercial kitchen for established or up and coming businesses.
Quaglia explained, "Anybody that's interested in, that might be an entrepreneur and they might have a special family recipe that they might want to take to market, this would be the place to come."
He added food trucks could also utilize this space to clean out their truck and cook food.
The space and location is something he and others believe could help address poverty around the North side and beyond. Quaglia said, "The best way to combat that is to create good jobs for people, particularly neighborhood residents in neighborhoods where you have entrenched poverty."
Laci's Tapas Bar, a short distance away, would be one business that already has plans to utilize the space.
"We want to be involved because we need to expand our Luscious Sauce," said Laura Serway, Co-Owner LaCi's Tapas Bar. Laci's certified kitchen is about 200 square feet, but when they're in the middle of production and packaging their sauce, they have even less space to work with. Serway explained, "It's pretty intense how many pallets of product we put out of that little kitchen."
While it will help them expand their business, Serway said Laci's can serve as mentors for up and coming businesses and individuals hoping to get started.
"Our goal is to help those individuals that may want to sell their product down the road to say, 'Hang on we went through the process. We understand the process, we're not experts at it, but we can shepherd you through some of this to make your life a little easier.,” said Serway.
In the spirit of what was, there is so much more in store for this building and the community. The goal is to have this commercial kitchen in operation within a year.