Salt City Market: Multinational Food Hall & Public Market – Coming to Downtown Syracuse

Salt City Market is about food, culture and helping people build financial security by doing what they love. “Picture a bustling market in downtown Syracuse: stalls with merchants selling beautiful foods from around the world, a grocery store, café, bar, events, play space and the opportunity to live and work above it. That’s what we’re building a place where everyone feels like they belong. ” That’s the mission of the Multinational Food Hall & Public Market; they’re building a market where everyone can cross paths and experience a new flavor of Syracuse.

Salt City Market is looking for talented, driven people who want to start a food business and could use training and support. According to Market Manager Adam Sudmann, “Our first priority is communities of color and immigrant communities, a valuable and largely untapped resource. That said, we believe that a mix of people from across cultures, experiences and income levels = a better learning experience for all of us.” The following information is for those who may be interested in Salt City Market as presented by the initiative.

Salt City Market is coming in fall 2020!

Salt City Market location “click” to enlarge image.

Who is a good fit for the market?

Below are the 6 inherent qualities you must exhibit in order to be considered for the market.

Salt City Market can teach Food Merchants a lot along the way, but you must arrive with:

  • Great food paired with a great vision for your business. Your food is fantastic and people line up early to get what you’ve got.
  • Starting a business is hard work.  You will make mistakes.  You will hit roadblocks.  You will lose sleep and (some) sanity.  You will get knocked down.  But you get back up, reassesses, have a plan b (and c, d, etc.) and you do not stop.
  • You love playing the host.  You love sharing food, culture and your craft.  No matter how stressed or overwhelmed you feel, you always make your guests feel welcome, safe, heard and appreciated.
  • Work in Progress. You are secure enough in your own self to welcome feedback – even when you’re exhausted or vulnerable or stressed – because it makes you better.
  • This is your baby.  Salt City Market and Up Start are here to help and offer counsel, but you get that the buck ultimately stops with you.
  • Market mix Salt City Market exists in large part to celebrate Syracuse’s wealth of cultures & cuisines.  Your business contributes to that mix and elevates all of us.
Steps to Becoming a Food Merchant

The steps below should give you a good idea of our process.  When necessary / possible, we will make this process flex to accommodate your schedule & help you succeed.

Throughout this process you should always feel free to reach out to Adam Sudmann (Market Manager, Salt City Market) or Kira Crawford (Director, Up Start) for help.

We will hold a second recruitment round in September 2019, but we highly recommend getting started now: spaces are limited and entry is going to be very competitive.

(As in most things in life, early birds have the advantage!)

There are 3 stages to the process: Applicant, Candidate & Food Merchant. 

 Applicants will successfully complete the following steps:

  1. Attend Info Session
  2. Take Food Biz Basics Class @ Allyn Family Foundation offices, 450 S Salina

Trainings are free but you must RSVP at least 48 hours in advance to attend:

  • ServSafe Training & Exam (Wednesday, May 1, 6-7:30 pm)
  • Recipe Development (Wednesday, May 8, 6-7:30 pm)
  • Production & Presentation for events (Wednesday, May 15, 6-7:30 pm)
  • Quickbooks Primer (Wednesday, May 22, 6-7:30 pm)
  • Makeup date for any missed sections (TBD)
  1. Interview & Tasting
  2. Large-scale, multi-cuisine popup (400+ guests) in May or October 2019

Candidates will go on to complete the following steps:

  1. Start It! Small Business Development Training (June & July 2019)
  2. Takeout Fridays, 6-8 pm for a month @ a participating location
  3. Final Selection Interview & Lease signing (Winter-Spring 2020)

Food Merchants will go on to complete the following steps:

  1. Kitchen Stage (shadow) @ 2 participating restaurants (January 2020)
  2. Field Trip to NYC to learn from others working in your cuisine (March 2020)

Frequently Asked Questions | Food Merchants

1.) When will Salt City Market open?

Construction on the market begins in summer 2019; we plan to open in fall 2020.

2.) Who is building this market – and why?

Salt City Market adds something new to downtown: a true cultural crossroads where people from diverse backgrounds and economic means can come shop and socialize. 

We feel that the best way to create such a space is by:

  • Helping incubate small food businesses
  • Creating a mixed use space with everything from a grocery store to play space for kids to an evening cocktail lounge
  • Weekly events series designed for and by our community

Salt City Market is being built by Syracuse Urban Partnership, a newly formed nonprofit under the Allyn Family Foundation.  The mission of the Foundation is to improve the quality of life in Central New York.  When the market is built, the Foundation will occupy the 2nd floor with floors 3 through 5 devoted to mixed income apartments. 

3.) How big is the typical stall?

We’ll have 9 stalls – both ‘inline’ and ‘island’ style – ranging from 150-300 square feet. 

4.) What comes with a stall?

Salt City Market supplies each stall with: plumbing/electrical, hood, Ansul, oven, griddle, grill or fryer (if requested), refrigeration, 3-bay sink, prep tables and POS (Point of Sale).

5.) How much is rent?

During our opening year, monthly rent will range from $600-900 based upon stall size.  

6.) How much does it cost to get started?

Costs will vary between Food Merchants, but in general you should budget for:

  • Deposit of First, Last & Security
  • Stall signage & related design / decor elements
  • Food & beverage inventory
  • Smallwares (anything you need to cook beyond the heavy equipment we supply)
  • Staffing
  • Insurance & permit costs
  • Reserve Funds

7.) What if I don’t have startup funds / bank account / good credit?

As part of the training and technical assistance process, we will work with you to assess your financial needs, and as is necessary help you open a business bank account, establish / repair a credit history / or prepare your credit to apply for character-based loans at partnering financial institutions.  

8.) How long are leases? 

We will offer 1 and 2 year renewable leases.

9.) Who pays for utilities?

Each stall is individually metered for gas, electric and water.  You pay for what you use.

10.) What are the (projected) hours of the market?

While Salt City Market will maintain different (longer) hours for some of the anchor businesses (grocery store, cafe, bar, etc.) our Food Merchants should plan to be open: Tuesday -Thursday 11-8 pm | Friday-Saturday 11-9 pm | Sunday 11 am-2 pm. 

11.) What are the rules of the market?

This is your business.  We want you to have as much creative and operational freedom as possible.  At the same time, this is also a learning environment and a shared space. 

With that in mind, we have 6 core rules for all Food Merchants:

  1. Practice ServSave protocols
  2. Stay open during established market hours
  3. Participate in a monthly all-market strategy / inservice meeting (first Sunday)
  4. Compost within your stall + use market-approved packaging
  5. Comply with all legal statutes e.g., permits, sales tax, NYS wage order, etc.
  6. Update Quickbooks weekly (should take you around 30 minutes)*

*We will train you in Quickbooks Online. Most people do not love it at first, but you will come to see it as a valuable tool for understanding the financial health of your business.

12.) What kinds of support do you offer?

In partnership with Up Start, we will offer a wide range of training and supports for beginning food businesses.  Some examples include:

Business plan development and strategic planning

  • Marketing strategy
  • Menu/recipes: costing, sourcing, menu mix
  • Selecting appropriate equipment
  • Establishing food production schedules (prep sheets, pars, waste sheets, etc.)
  • Financial tracking and identifying new business opportunities
  • Hiring and training staff
  • Permits, insurance and compliance with regulatory bodies

Want to learn more? Come to an info session:

  • Saturday, 4/6, 10-11:30 am @ Allyn Family Foundation, 450 S Salina
  • Saturday, 4/20, 10-11:30 am @ TheLikeMinded, 2223 S Salina
  • Monday, 4/22, 6-7:30 pm @ Salt City Coffee, 509 W Onondaga