Six months after posting a sign on the doors that read "Closed for the holidays. See you in the new year," the Eat to Live Food Co-Op on the South Side of Syracuse is still closed. If you glance inside, you still see newspapers that read happy holidays.
Since the initial closure last year we've heard a lot of different timelines about when the Co-Op would reopen. First, it was the beginning of the new year. Then it was spring, then summer. Now board member, Howie Hawkins says making any promises in terms of re-opening dates, may have been a mistake.
"We shouldn't have put times on it. We know the steps and as the steps get done then well be in a position to do it. So I'm not going to give you a date, but were a lot closer than we were in January," says Hawkins.
Hawkins says the next major step is hiring a general manager with grocery store experience.
"We get that person and go with that person and our business plan to the lenders and then get the working capital. When those two steps are done we'll open for business," says Hawkins.
In the meantime, the board will be hosting what they're calling "Store for a Day". On the first two Saturdays of every month starting in July, they'll be selling fresh produce from the regional market outside the store. They will keep the doors open for customers who want to use SNAP benefits to buy it.
"That will serve two purposes. One is to get some good food to the community. Well, three purposes. To let people know we're still here and we're going to reopen. And the third is to raise a little bit of money because we got some utility bills and so forth that we need to cover," says Hawkins.
" S tore for a Day" will run through September until they're ready to open the doors seven days a week.
"It's better than hopeful. It's just a matter of sticking with it and getting it done. So this is not a hope. This is a project that will get done," says Hawkins.
It's a project with the vision of bringing fresh food to the so-called food desert.