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115 W Fayette Street Syracuse, NY 13202

WHAT'S HAPPENING

Keeping it Local at Syracuse Soapworks

Written by Liz Wierbinski  • May 18, 2016

Liz2Liz is a graduate of SUNY Albany with a master’s degree in Social Work. She’s currently working with NEHDA and Northside UP as our Community Prosperity AmeriCorps VISTA.

As part of our collaboration with NEHDA, we’ve asked her to write guest posts for us each month as she explores the Northside, its businesses and residents.  All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. You can learn more about the organization by visiting their website and Facebook

 

Soapworks collage

 

One thing I’ve noticed while working on the Northside is that everyone has an interesting backstory that eventually brings them to our neighborhood. Rick Reina, co-owner of Syracuse Soapworks, is no exception. After stints working in a variety of positions – for example, as an employee at a wholesale music company and a drum player at military bases in Japan – he came to the conclusion that he wanted to be his own boss.

You might be wondering: How did he decide to start a business that made soap? Rick’s mother used to frequent a farmer’s market to purchase soap from one vendor. Rick figured that he could learn how to make great quality soap to sell at an affordable price and use the income to help offset the student loans he was accruing in school.

In 2003, Rick and co-owner Jeremy took the plunge and started Syracuse Soapworks out of the basement of their home in the Westcott neighborhood. Initially focused on wholesale orders, they transitioned to include individual sales after selling at farmer’s markets and craft shows. As demand for their products continued to rise, Rick and Jeremy outgrew their basement and decided to utilize Rick’s parents’ garage in Baldwinsville. Three years later, they grew out of that space as well.

In 2007, they moved production into a building on West Fayette Street, which ended up being their home for seven years. This location was where they added their first retail store before moving to the Hawley-Green neighborhood in 2014.

What brought them to Hawley-Green is a reason shared by many in the community: they wanted to be somewhere that had a “neighborhood” feel. Becoming a part of the neighborhood has led to positive growth for their retail business. After the initial success of featuring a few handmade goods made by local artists in their showroom, they now have over 30 local artists that sell items in their shop. They have quite the selection of items – from pottery to photography prints to handmade jewelry to – of course – soap! Jeremy even hand knits his own socks and scarves that are on display in the store.

Syracuse Soapworks has helped encourage a culture of buying local – an important factor in helping our neighborhoods thrive. Next weekend they are hosting a trunk sale to support a Westcott Neighborhood ceramic artist, Candace Rhea, where guests can sip tea while browsing her collection of Japanese kimonos.

To stay updated on the local artists on display, upcoming events, and general Soapworks excitement, visit their website and Facebook page.

Syracuse New Times Explores “People Who Came to My House”

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 17, 2016

ArtRage

Photos from “House Calls From the Working Class” in the Syracuse New Times.

Last week, the Syracuse New Times published a piece exploring ArtRage Gallery‘s current exhibition, People Who Came to My House. Comprised of photos, video, and stories from local people in the service industry, the artwork is inspired by a project that came out of Chicago and then curated by the ArtRage staff.

House Calls for the Working Class” by Carl Mellow

“The current show at ArtRage Gallery displays the fruits of an atypical photo project. People Who Came to My House: Portraits by Syracuse Area Photographers focuses entirely on people arriving at the artists’ houses: mail carriers, contractors, a piano technician, a friend from church, even a cyclist staying overnight in Syracuse in the midst of an extended bike trip.

Images of those subjects, plus excerpts from interviews with them, are the show’s backbone, yet it also has an intangible element, as it speculates about connections between people, about the possibilities of pushing beyond a hello-goodbye encounter with an individual to a longer conversation.”

To read the article in it’s entirety, click here. People Who Came to My House will run until May 21st during ArtRage’s regular hours.

Photo Friday: Replicate

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 13, 2016

reach FB

Recap of Clean Up ‘Cuse 2016: Northside

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • May 12, 2016

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for NEHDA and the Syracuse Northeast Community Center. As part of our collaboration with NEHDA, we’ve asked her to write guest posts for us each month, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses and residents. All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. To learn more about NEHDA, visit their website and Facebook.

 

Clean up cuse

Thank you to everyone that made the Northside’s Earth Day cleanup a huge success!

NEHDA organized a total of 94 volunteers who helped clean up the North Salina Street corridor and the Hawley-Green triangle on Saturday, April 23rd.

It was exciting to see Northside Business Partnership members, business owners, Girl Scouts, neighborhood agencies, City Hall employees, friends from outside the city, and local residents all come together for a day of beautifying our streets.

Efforts like Clean Up ‘Cuse show just how much we can accomplish when we work together. If we totaled the time spent by each volunteer on this day, it would equal 300 hours spent cleaning up our neighborhood. Our small staff would never have been able to make that kind of impact working alone; we’re incredibly lucky to have so many engaged people in our community.

We would like to give a special thank you to Dunkin’ Donuts for fueling everyone with coffee and donuts; and a thank you to the City of Syracuse for providing our volunteers with bags and cleanup tools.

For more photos from the event, check out NEHDA’s Facebook album.

Photo Friday: Steel Blossom

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 6, 2016

Flowers + metal

Shop the Northside: Small Business Week

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • May 4, 2016

buy local

“Buying Local” graphic courtesy of brazzlebox.

This week, celebrate small business by shopping on the Northside! Check out our directory of food & drink, retail, organizations, and services to get started or scroll though our business-related blogs to learn more about the business community in our neighborhood. Here’s some of our favorites:

Cars, Customers, and Community Development: My Afternoon at Davco Performance Automotive: “When they moved to Syracuse from Long Island 30 years ago in 1986, Dave first began selling tools to get a feel for the Northside and to determine if an auto shop would fare well in this area.”

Experience the Karen Culture on Butternut Street: “Though a significant number of Karen people have been resettled in Syracuse as refugees, this is the first store of its kind.”

Di Lauro’s: Your “Old World” Neighborhood Bakery: “’In the Italian heritage,’ Paul Waverchak, current owner of Di Lauro’s Bakery explains, ‘dinner was one of the most important parts of the day and bread was the mainstay.’”

Thanos Gives Old World Charm to Northside Neighborhood: “Thanos is the epitome of a neighborhood business. It’s a place that makes you feel like part of the community, where you make a quick stop for groceries but leave an hour later after catching up with the owner and friendly staff.”

A Culinary Legend: The Penizotto Pastry Shop: “The actual memory of the Penizotto Pastry Shop belongs to our parents and grandparents. The legend belongs to us.”

Acquired Tastes: “Last week at Aphone (826 Butternut) I saw homemade Burmese samosas at the register for a buck.  I bought one, left, ate it and marched back in to buy five more.”

A True Believer in the Northside: “His vision for Syracuse is much larger than the footprint of the city. He hopes that someday, North Salina Street will become the ‘Broadway’ of Syracuse.”

For more reasons to shop small, check out our friends at brazzlebox and SyracuseFirst.

Photo Friday: Ascend/Descend

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • April 29, 2016

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Food $en$e Comes to the Northside

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • April 28, 2016

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for NEHDA and the Syracuse Northeast Community Center. As part of our collaboration with NEHDA, we’ve asked her to write guest posts for us each month, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses and residents. All of her posts can be found under the “NEHDA” category. To learn more about NEHDA, visit their website and Facebook.

 

This month, the Syracuse Northeast Community Center (SNCC) had their first distribution as a Food $en$e site.

Food $en$e is a program of the Food Bank of Central New York that is designed to help stretch grocery dollars. For $15.50, you can purchase a food package with 4-5 meat items, 4-5 staple items (like pasta, soup, or rice), and 2 fresh produce items. Just some of the items in this month’s package were:  lettuce, pasta, potatoes, sausage, ground chicken, and green beans.

Food Sense SNCC 2

The SNCC Pantry supports nearly 300 people a month, but they are only able provide enough emergency food for three days/nine meals for each individual in the household. The Food $en$e program helps to stretch monthly grocery budgets, and also gives families more meal options when combined with items they received through the pantry.

As the only distribution site on the Northside, it seemed like a perfect fit to add Food $en$e to SNCC’s programming- and the response from the community has been extremely positive. The number of orders for next month has already doubled from the first distribution, and there is still another week for people to sign up! The next order deadline is Friday, May 6th, with a distribution date set for Wednesday, May 18th.

Food Sense 1

This program is available for anyone looking to make their grocery money go further. Both cash and EBT payments are accepted, and there are also monthly specials that can be bought and added to the order.

With the need for nutritious meals in our community so high, SNCC offers many ways for groups and individuals to get involved. Consider hosting a food drive, sponsoring a Food $en$e package, or even spending a few hours volunteering in the pantry. Stop by SNCC at 716 Hawley Ave to learn more about these opportunities, or call the Center at 315.472.6343.

Wine, Food, and Door Prizes at Syracuse Soapworks’ Open House

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • April 27, 2016

Soapworks

This Sunday, from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM Syracuse Soapworks is hosting a Spring Open House, featuring a wine tasting from Vinomania, a jam tasting from Elaine’s Homemade Jam, door prizes, and more. Guests are invited to browse the jewelry, pottery, textiles, photography and other gift items from over 30 local artists and artisans.

Our Partners Are Hiring!

Written by Mary Beth Schwartzwalder  • April 25, 2016

idealist postings

Our partners at Cooperative Federal, Home HeadQuarters, Near West Side Initiative, Northeast Hawley Development Association (NEHDA), and Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility are all looking for AmeriCorps VISTAs. This new cohort of VISTAs will serve at each organization and partner closely with CenterState CEO‘s Economic Inclusion team. Click below for details:

Cooperative Federal

Home HeadQuarters

Near West Side Initiative

NEHDA

Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility

In addition, Cooperative Federal is hiring for two other team members: Bookkeeping and Mortgage Servicing Specialist and Financial Education and Asset Building Program Specialist. For full descriptions and directions on how to apply, visit CoopFed.org.

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