Nojaim's tells workers it is closing
Syracuse City Hall says it is disappointed by Paul Nojaim's decision to close his Syracuse store.
Neighbors — many of them heard the news from us, as we were doing this story — say they are saddened that their long-time neighbor is going. Many told us they remember shopping in the Gifford Street store, founded in 1919, with their parents. Others worried about the inconvenience of not having a nearby store. One woman says it will be harder because she does not have a car. A man told us he'll now have to take a bus to another supermarket.
Nojaim's is more than a food store in the west side neighborhood. Owner Paul Nojaim has opened his doors to many community not for profits, to set up information tables, to do medical testing and more. We broke the closing news to Kim Harrington, who was working in the parking lot today. She has helped area residents sign up for free phone service, and was offering energy options today. She's concerned that groups like her will no longer have access to the community here.
We also spoke with Denise Welch, from the National Black Leadership Conference on AIDS. NBLCA does outreach and testing for HIV/AIDS at Nojaim's monthly. She had nothing but praise for the contributions the store has made to its mostly African American and Latino customers.
Nojaim's did a major expansion in 2014, and received sales tax exemptions, but never applied for a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) according to City Hall. The project did receive support from the state for the renovation.
We do expect a statement from owner Paul Nojaim, and will keep you updated.