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March 2016: Spotlight on Entrepreneurship

Logo w Harris Beach

On Tuesday morning, March 29, the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc. and Harris Beach, PLLC celebrated entrepreneurship by introducing 150 attendees to four entrepreneurial individuals who are bringing new energy to Downtown Syracuse - and sending ripples throughout the surrounding community - through ground-breaking endeavors.

Each are contributing to Downtown's growth by building connections through living, working and playing in Downtown Syracuse, as Downtown moves closer to a 24/7 neighborhood.

In their own words, presenters offered an inside look at three of the most talked-about ventures happening in Downtown right now.

Troy Evans and John Talarico, the founders of Commonspace - and Syracuse's first Co-Working complex, Harris Beach Syracuse CoWorks - spoke about the new neighborhood they've built at 201 East Jefferson Street (map). Evans and Talarico introduced Progress Breakfast guests to a more connected way of living and working through Co-Living and Co-Working. 

Harris Beach Syracuse CoWorks celebrated its Grand Opening in March, 2015. This May, we look forward to celebrating the grand opening of Commonspace, 21 new co-living apartments, to support our growing entrepreneurial culture. Units start at $800, and are available for a one year lease, a six month lease, or a month-to-month lease. The space officially opens later this spring.  At the Progress Breakfast, Evans and Talarico shared how the project blends Co-Working, private living space, common areas, technology and management - all to create a new neighborhood with an emphasis on building human connections.

#MyDowntownSYRstory Fun Fact: The $1.2 million dollar development concept has generated headlines locally and nationally. In fact, Commonspace founders have fielded phone calls from reality TV companies looking to use the space as a base for new TV shows. They turned all of the offers down, as that's not the environment they want to create. 

Chedy Hampson, Co-founder and CEO of TCGplayer.com, located the 10th floor of the State Tower Building (map), introduced attendees to TCGplayer.com, THE leader in the collectible gaming industry. It's hard to believe just three years ago, the business - which can be likened to the EBay of the Collectible Gaming Market - was running out of Hampson's living and dining rooms. TCGplayer.com has doubled in the number of employees every year since 2013. Today, it boasts more than 100 employees. It was recently was recently recognized as one of the Top 100 Workplaces for Women in the U.S. by Fortune Magazine, as well as one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York State. However, Hampson says he is most proud that TCGplayer.com was voted a great place to work by 100% of employees.

Hampson says he wanted to move his business to Downtown Syracuse, because he wanted to facilitate an "I can't wait to work!" culture. TCGplayer.com recently expanded into the sixth floor of the AXA Tower. 

#MyDowntownSYRstory Fun Fact: Hamspon makes a point to play at least one gaming match with a different employee each week. 

Finally, guests met Mark Graydon, one of the owners of Wolff’s BiergartenFounded in Downtown Albany in 2009, Wolff's Biergarten now boasts three locations in New York State, with a fourth location set to open next month. Its Syracuse location, which opened in a former firehouse at 106 Montgomery Street (map) in November, was easily one of the most-anticipated business openings in Downtown Syracuse this past year.

In the weeks leading up to its grand opening, Downtown employees and residents would make a point to walk by the former firehouse each day, to check on the renovation progress. Passersby marveled at the signaturred doors, which were left open on some of those warm fall days, to reveal a rustic, inviting décor. Those red doors also struck a chord with Graydon and Matt Baumgartner. Afterall, the first Wolff's location in Downtown Albany, was also birthed from a former firehouse!  

Four months after its Grand Opening in Syracuse, Wolff’s Biergarten continues to create a buzz in the Hanover Square neighborhood that can be felt throughout Downtown and beyond. Graydon spoke about the events he and Baumgartner hope to bring to the Syracuse Wolff's in the coming year, including Oktoberfest and World Cup fun.

#MyDowntownSYRstory Fun Fact: Everyone is welcome at Wolff's Biergarten, even our four-legged dog friends. 

*An opportunity to mingle and network with the presenters followed our Progress Breakfast.* 

Media Coverage:

Syracuse Rising: Entrepreneur Breakfast Shines Light on Downtown Development 

Chris Bolt, Elana Sukert and Zhiyan Zhong, WAER (March 29, 2016)

Progress Breakfast Highlights Downtown Syracuse Development 

Brad Vivacqua, TWCNews (March 29, 2016)