SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A new storefront in the Salt City Market in downtown Syracuse will have a soft opening on Monday, Mar. 8th. It’s called “The Life,” and it will provide funding for Good Life Youth Foundation.
Good Life is a non-profit organization helping at-risk children in the City of Syracuse and throughout Onondaga County. They focus on hip-hop culture, mentoring, and entrepreneurship.
“Essentially what we’re doing is, life coaches and family coaches are engaging directly with youth,” said Hasan Stephens, Founder and Executive Director of Good Life Youth Foundation. “And they’re mentoring them through a credible messenger model. People who have lived through similar experiences that have changed their lives around are now talking to kids and working with them to make sure that they have successful pathways.”
Those with Good Life meet the kids where they are, traveling to come see them and in a normal year, going into their classrooms at school.
“You can stop a child from getting incarcerated, you can stop them from doing certain behaviors, even help them do better in school. But after that, then what,” Stephens said.
For Stephens, this new storefront is the “then what?” The Life is going to be run by GL Imprinting, A Good Life Youth Foundation Company.
“The Life is the natural extension of GL Imprinting because now, as opposed to teaching them, they have a front-facing store that they can actually put the products that they design in, and the process of giving kids the opportunity to show their products, we can carry other entrepreneurs’ products and use this as a test market for emerging entrepreneurs in the region,” Stephens said.
The Life will have two part-time youth working at the store, the VP of operations will oversee and train them, plus more than a handful of youth will be designing and selling their own products in the store, at no cost to them. Any other community entrepreneur can also submit their creations for the store. Many have already and are selling them at the launch. The focus is on young Black and brown entrepreneurs.
“We know that in CNY, there’s always been an issue with Black and brown entrepreneurs emerging into the market and we want to be a conduit to all the Black and brown entrepreneurs to make sure that they have a way into building their business,” Stephens said.
Already, the director for their school-based program, JT Houston, is set to sell his t-shirts in the store
“This is an opportunity to have a much broader reach and I can actually get my messaging out to the masses in our area,” Houston said.
Right now, Houston runs his business out of his home. But something as public as The Salt City Market will take that a step further.
Along with Houston’s t-shirts, they’re looking for other products to add to the diversity of the market and The Life.
“The whole thing behind it is leaving an imprint on the community so, everything we imprint is leaving an imprint on the community,” said Shaun McCarthy, VP of Operations at GL Imprinting.
And they’re encouraging everyone to reach out and try.
“The worst thing that could happen is you learn, you never fail. You always learn something from the experience that you go through. so, you have to try,” Houston said.
The soft launch for The Life is Monday, March 8. The grand opening will be Friday, March 12.