The community of Clinton, NY has been the home of Tom’s Natural Foods (originally known as Whole Earth Natural Foods) at 16 College Street for almost 50 years.
Any business with such a long run of success is undoubtedly going to reach a time for succession, where the owner(s) are ready for retirement, undoubtedly wanting their life’s work and legacy to continue. In stepped Jason Townsend (Professor of environmental science at Hamilton College), Nancy Morelle (Co-owner of Old Path Farm and part-time employee at Tom’s) and Andrew Sblendorio, who contacted the Onondaga SBDC for assistance in navigating the purchase.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” –Charles Darwin
In mid-March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck the United States and the Central New York community in a way that would unapologetically and thoroughly alter the lives of all its people. Meals on Wheels of Syracuse (MOWS) had just successfully completed its 60th year providing meal service to its clients throughout the Syracuse area. Its Executive Director, Mason Kaufman, who has been at the helm of the agency for over 25 years (and has worked for the agency for over 35 years) knew that his life, the lives of his employees, and the lives of those that the agency serves were about to be adversely affected if he didn’t construct a plan and implement that plan immediately.
Employee to Owner During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The corona-virus pandemic has severely crippled the hospitality and food industries. While struggling to stay afloat financially, many small businesses have relied on their various loyal customer bases.
Offering take-out options has been an essential tool for these industries to maintain their cash-flows, until the public can gather once again and enjoy all the culinary options Syracuse has to offer. Hope seems nearly here as New York slowly re-opens in a strategically phased approach.
New Norms, New Possibilities: During these unprecedented times, small businesses need to pivot and adapt more than ever. Many gyms are doing virtual workouts, many restaurants and retail shops are offering curbside pickups. Online has been the new normal for meetings, buying products, and providing services. However, what about entertainment businesses? What are they doing to stay ahead of the game to be able to offer their product to the public? Wunderbar, a new LGBTQ bar and theatre near Armory Square, was forced to close on the one-year anniversary of their soft opening.
When Mike Mowins, President of Vetted Tech, recently learned that several local first responders were short of critically needed personal protective equipment (PPE) he sprang into action to make and supply face shields.
Vetted Tech Inc. (Vetted – Veteran Enabled Transition Technology Enabled Design), established in 2019, is an additive manufacturing company specializing in advanced 3D printed parts created in metal or high strength polymer for the medical, automotive, DoD, DoE, and aerospace markets.
Mark Pawliw lived the food and restaurant lifestyle through his 25 plus years of experience in the industry, but he realized that something was missing - a connection to the producers, growers and chefs that brought the food to your plates, the drink to your glasses, and the art of cooking that ties it all together.
Sir Richard Branson, British business magnate, author, investor, philanthropist and billionaire owner of the Virgin Group of businesses once said, “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” As concise a statement as that is by such a prominent business person, that statement is precisely what transpired with Dan and Debra Sidon in their quest to secure small business ownership.
Although there are many casual take-out spots in Syracuse that offer Latin food, there is a noticeable lack of appreciation for dine-in dishes and the culture behind them. That's where Clara Cedeno comes in.
After many years working in the corporate world, Clara decided to pursue her dream of owning her own business. Bringing this dream together with her love of food and Latin culture helped her create her brain child, La Patria Café.
As a property manager in Syracuse, NY during the late 1990s, Donna Glassberg noticed a problem that needed a solution. Renters struggled to find housing in an easy, accessible way.
While walking in her Syracuse University neighborhood, Donna would see cars pulled off to the side of the road, writing numbers off the for-rent signs plastered on the sides of the buildings. She thought this was a terribly inefficient way to find housing for students and faculty moving to the area. Since she was immersed in the industry and understood the process well, she knew she could create something that would help both her employers and her renters to connect in a more efficient way.
We often ask ourselves where great ideas come from. The answers are many and varied but for Dan Russell of Butt Be Dry the answer was simple.
Russell and his Dad were attending an LPGA Championship event in Rochester a couple of years ago. It had rained heavily the night before and although it had dried out and the ground appeared dry, when Dan sat down to watch the match he found the seat of his pants soaked and covered with mud. He and his Dad had a good laugh, but right then a great idea was formed that just needed some nurturing.
We are currently offering clients the option to have appointments virtually, by phone, or in person BY APPOINTMENT ONLY (following CDC Guidelines).
Read articles and advice written by our very own Onondaga SBDC Business Advisors!