Syracuse Brady Market fills the gap for fresh food, offers job training and mental health services
A new grocery store opened in the old Nojaim Brothers supermarket in Syracuse, which closed in 2017. Nojaim was a staple in the area; open for 98 years, opposite a social housing complex and in an area with some of the highest concentrations of poverty. New Brady Market provides access to fresh food, but also to vocational training and healing services.
Darius Adjei is a security guard at the market. He grew up in the area, on the west side, and said it was exciting to bring back a grocery store.
“They have a lot of healthy food that they’re trying to bring to the community, healthier options compared to a lot of junk food or corner store food,” Adjei said.
Kevin Frank, the director of Brady Faith Center, who opened the market, said it was more than just a grocery store. They have grown their programs over the past 10 years, to help serve poor communities. While access to healthy, affordable food is a huge need, Frank said it’s not the only one. There is a lot of trauma in some of these areas.
“Giving a job is great, but it’s not the only answer because when life knocks you down you often lose a job,” Frank said. “You have to provide healing under one roof. “
Brady Market interns get paid time to work on themselves. They have access to a case manager and mentor, therapy and fitness classes. The market also offers 18 months of professional training in prepared foods and catering, butcher certification program, retail management and general skills.
“Most businesses, you get good workers and you keep them for as long as you can,” Frank said. “What we want to do is place, train and replace our workers in the wider community, in better jobs that are closer to their career path.”
Danielle Allen is a peer leader who manages prepared foods. Macaroni and cheese and collard greens are popular. She’s been at the Brady Faith Center her entire life and said she’s never seen anything like it, with the market and other services, all under one roof.
“They are definitely trying to meet your needs all around, mentally, physically and emotionally,” Allen said. “So far they have. I can tell you that for a fact.