Building Healthy Communities

Grantee Name

Syracuse Urban Partnership

Funding Area

Building Healthy Communities

Publication Date

January 2022

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

January 2020- December 2020

The Near Westside, Southside, and Downtown Syracuse neighborhoods have the highest number of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in Syracuse and the least access to a full-service grocery store.

To create more accessible opportunities for healthy eating, Syracuse Urban Partnership (SYRUP) spearheaded the development and construction of the Salt City Market, located within walking distance of these communities. The Syracuse Cooperative Market Co-op, one of SYRUP’s first tenants, is the first downtown Syracuse grocery store in more than 40 years. The Salt City Market also contains a food hall space for entrepreneurs, which has created new jobs for  low-income women and racial and ethnic minorities, many of whom are from Syracuse’s diverse new American community. Additionally, the food hall offers a community teaching kitchen, which hosts nutrition classes. In 2020, NYHealth awarded SYRUP a grant to support marketing and technical assistance to the Co-op and the new food entrepreneurs.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Provided technical assistance to 10 food entrepreneur vendors initially selected for the Salt City Market. Fourteen more entrepreneurs also received technical assistance to build their plans, with the aim that there will be an additional 10 food entrepreneurs ready to launch their businesses at the food hall by the end of 2022.
  • Advised the local food entrepreneurs on menu development, food costing, and food safety.
  • Offered marketing and design services to ensure that the market is a space that feels welcoming and inclusive to all people.
  • Surpassed job creation goal of 30 jobs for community members as a result of the success of the new food businesses beginning to operate.

As the only full-service grocery store and food hall within walking distance of the Near Westside, Southside, and Downtown neighborhoods and along a major bus hub, Salt City Market has substantially increased access to healthy, local food for the community, as approximately 50% of Near Westside residents do not have reliable access to a car. The Co-op stocks affordable, locally sourced products, including organic produce, as well as a full conventional line of produce. It is in the process of adding a prepared food section with items like sandwiches. By diversifying its product mix and price points, the Co-op is able to be both accessible and affordable for the community.

Co-op sales continue to increase week after week: the first week grossed $12,000, and sales are now at approximately $20,000 a week and on their way to a weekly sales goal of $30,000. While growth still needs to happen, steady sales are encouraging. The market also accepts SNAP and Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), as well as offers the Double Up Food Bucks nutrition incentive program, which has also increased access to groceries and healthy produce for Syracuse residents.

After the opening of the market, SYRUP received a $1 million grant from Onondaga County to continue building out a program and pipeline to develop more successful entrepreneurs in the food and hospitality industry. This funding will allow Salt City Market to continue to expand beyond its original 10 food vendors, with a continued focus on underserved communities in the City of Syracuse.

The completion of the Salt City Market has garnered local and national attention, demonstrating that investing in challenging economic areas can be financially successful; improve access to healthy, affordable food; and address community needs. NYHealth and other funders’ support—combined with strong partnerships with residents, community organizations, businesses, and local government—has resulted in healthier, more culturally relevant food options and economic empowerment and opportunity for local residents. As a result of this project, SYRUP is being approached with various consulting opportunities related to this work.

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: Onondaga County ($1,000,000), Allyn Family Foundation ($250,000), New York State Regional Economic Development Council ($1,000,000); and National Grid ($250,000).