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Nearly 100-year-old, family-owned supermarket in Syracuse expected to close

Tom Magnarelli
The Nojaim Brothers Supermarket on Syracuse's west side.

A family-owned supermarket on Syracuse’s west side, which has been open for nearly 100 years, is expected to close its doors next month. It is a loss for residents in an area with some of the highest concentration of poverty in the city.

Nancy Gardner has been living on the west side and coming to the Nojaim Brothers Supermarket her entire life. She said it was a shock to hear they are closing.

“This is like close to home where you can shop," Gardner said. "I don’t know what people are going to do without. Because there is no other shopping near here.”

The store sits across the street from a public housing complex, making it easily walkable for residents. About one mile away is a Price Rite grocery store that opened earlier this year with the help of government assistance. That is one of the reasons why the Nojaim supermarket is closing according to its owner, Paul Nojaim. Maarten Jacobs, the former director of Syracuse University’s Near Westside Initiative said the market is more than just a store; it’s a community center.

“You often found that the best way to congregate people or to meet up with people was just to go to Paul’s store because that’s where you knew where the life of the community was and you could get a sense of who is coming in and out of there,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said it is a loss from several perspectives.

"Of course the grocery store in and of itself, but what it’s meant in terms of employing so many community residents over the years in the neighborhood and Paul and his father’s commitment to hiring from within that community and giving teenagers a chance at their first job,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said the store offers a variety ethnic food specific to the Caribbean and Puerto Rican communities. It is expected to close once inventory is gone, but another Nojaim Brothers Supermarket in Marcellus will stay open. 

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.