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'Busting at the seams,' Syracuse Co-op eyes downtown expansion

Downtown Syracuse could gain a grocery store in the near future, thanks to a market from a different part of town.

The Syracuse Real Food Co-op has been a fixture of the University area neighborhood for four decades. And business has been good.

"We do way higher, like four-times, the industry standard for sales-per-square feet. We are literally busting at the seams," said Syracuse Real Food Co-Op General Manager Jeremy DeChario.

Their small space makes growing any more nearly impossible, he said, but the grocery store has set its sights on downtown.

"It would allow us a greater amount of buying power. We’d be able to keep our current location and improve our selection there, in addition to offering a larger neighborhood feel grocery store in a different neighborhood of Syracuse," he said.

Syracuse’s urban core has an exploding population and high demand for living space. It’s also a high-income, educated population. But it lacks a grocery store, something that is seen a deterrent to more people moving in.

"We do the urban sort of market very well," DeChario said. "And I think that the more people we can bring into the cooperative economy, the better it will be for everyone."

DeChario says it’s too early to talk time frame or specific location for a second store. First they’ll stage a membership campaign and fundraising.