“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” – Martial artist, actor and philosopher Bruce Lee.
When Luke Nicolette approached the Onondaga Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Onondaga Community College close to two years ago, one thing was apparent. Like many successful people, Luke is a young man with a singular, laser-like focus on the task at hand. He had a concept for a new business in Central New York and our job at the SBDC was to clear away the “speed bumps” and help him get his business from point A to point B. With Luke’s focus and work ethic, and with the help of the SBDC, he was able to open Syracuse’s first and only Acai shop offering healthy bowls, smoothies, juices and salads.
This is a story about opportunity, stepping up to challenges and persevering in the face of adversity. The year was 1972. Al Barbagallo and his brothers had been picking vegetables and tomatoes on his father’s farm for several summers, even into their adult years.
When Matthew Cullipher opened the Hope Café and Tea House in 2017, he had two missions that he was trying to accomplish. The first mission was to provide a variety of delicious food and beverages that replicated the taste and feel of countries such as Peru, Columbia, Venezuela, and Italy. That mission has been easily accomplished with more to come on that.
But as a non-profit entity, the second mission of the Hope Café was to help children and adults living in extreme poverty. While that mission may never be fully realized, Cullipher and his organization have made a significant improvement in the lives of people less fortunate than many of us.
At 6:30 in the morning, when most of us are asleep or enjoying our first cup of coffee, Drew D’Angelo arrives at Mazzye’s Meats to begin preparing the store.
He sanitizes the store, fills the cases and prepares the meat for the day. While there’s much work to be done, his favorite part of the day is just 90 minutes away when he’ll begin interacting with the customers. That’s when his passion for meat and food preparation becomes apparent. Not only does he enjoy talking with his customers about specific meats and various cuts of meat, he loves to help them understand the best way to prepare them.
Over the past year, what is it that we have all yearned for and ordered as take out so many times to bring comfort to us in times when we were too tired and too stressed?
What have we bought gift cards for, ordered or donated to give to those on the front lines taking care of us all? What industry has been one of the hardest hit, yet still are persevering in anyway possible due to the dedication of their repeat customers and their passion for what they do. Where is it that we can’t wait to go visit again and partake in their passion to bring comfort and joy to us all after such an unprecedented year?
“I could make the sun shine from pure desire” – Steve Winwood, 1986 in “Higher Love”
If there were ever two young entrepreneurs that could make the sun shine from pure desire, I think I may have met them. The lyric from the song “Higher Love” epitomizes Kaleigh Ligoci and Lauren Scarpelli.
The story of the salt industry in Syracuse is the stuff of legend and a tale of the early development of the city. In the mid 1800’s to early 1900’s Syracuse produced more salt than any other place in the United States, rightfully earning the name: The Salt City.
Now in the 21st Century a father and daughter team is endeavoring to return that claim to fame to Syracuse. David Iannicello and Libby Croom are the owners of Syracuse Salt Co., a company that inherited its name from one of the last salt producers in Syracuse over 100 years ago.
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.
Read articles and advice written by our very own Onondaga SBDC Business Advisors!