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Seven Syracuse corner stores called "scourge" on city; ordered closed

Ryan Delaney

Updated, 11:33 a.m.:

Surprise inspections of 10 corner markets in Syracuse on Tuesday uncovered numerous code violations, including fire safety, sewage and electrical violations. One was ordered to close immediately and the others were given 24 hour notices to shut down.

At the store ordered to close immediately, Delaware Market on the corner of South Geddes Street and Delaware Street, inspectors found a gas leak. S&R Market on South Avenue was running electrical wiring to an adjacent building, inspectors found.

Here are the six seven stores ordered to close, and their violations, according to the city:

  • Delaware Market, 901-17 South Geddes Street and Delaware Street, where gas and sewage were both found leaking the basement. National Grid was called to shut off power and gas. Additionally, the facility was found without working smoke detectors.
  • S&R Market, 303 South Avenue, where a sprinkler system certification was found expired and illegal wiring extending to the adjacent property were discovered.
  • Food King, 500-04 Oakwood Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive,  where problems were found in the fire prevention and electrical systems.
  • Lexington Market, 105 Lexington Avenue where sewage backup, illegal plumbing, electrical hazards, and an out of service fire alarm system were found by Code Enforcement.
  • South Mini Mart, 2621-23 Midland Avenue and Ostrander Avenue, a property which included an illegal apartment, sewage backups, and improper electrical wiring.
  • Midland Discount Market, 1434 Midland Avenue and Colvin Street, which lacked a functioning fire alarm system and had faulty wiring.
  • Johnny 5’s, 1012 Park Street, where a broken sprinkler (ANSUL) system, blocked exits, and broken sewer systems were discovered. They were also cited for failure to property ground their electrical service and a faulty fire alarm system.

Three stores passed inspection:

  • 9 Eleven Grocery, 1209-17 Lodi Street
  • Kleen Foods, 500 Catherine Street
  • All American Market, 401 Pond Street

At a press conference, Mayor Stephanie Miner called the stores a "scourge" on city neighborhoods.
"It became very clear that the tools that we were using were not strong enough to deal with what has become not just a nuisance, but public health and public safety [concerns]," she said.

Community activism lead to the crackdown, the mayor said.

"It would not be an exaggeration to say that people were thrilled; very happy," she said of people's response to the crackdowns. Her office soon began getting calls for more stores to be shut down.

These inspections are just a first phase, Miner said. She added the city is not anti-business, but anti-bad business.

"Those who want to be bad active citizens, they’re part of the problem as well and that will be dealt with," said community activist Walt Dixie. "So this is about good actors, neighborhood folks, who want peace of mind."

Most of the stores were operating without proper paperwork from the city. Many of the stores will have until August 8 to get the proper documents and comply with code violations. Miner said she doubts they'll be able to do that.