The revitalization of Tri-Country Mall scored its first home run with the opening of Perfect Practice, an indoor baseball and softball training facility. Since opening Nov. 15, husband and wife co-owners Mike and Joanne DiPaulo are grateful for the warm welcome the Baldwinsville community has given them.
"We could not have lucked out any better," DiPaulo said. "The Baldwinsville community has absolutely embraced our place better than I can ever imagine. Our first team was from the Baldwinsville Little League. Mark Curry (president of Baldwinsville Little League) has been extremely supportive. Right now about 70 percent of my business comes from Baldwinsville residents. I have everything from the little league all the way up to varsity players that are there. They've been fantastic."
Located next to Dollar Tree, Perfect Practice is the first official tenant with the mall's new owners, Chicago-based Crossroads Realty Group, who purchased the property from former owner Don Cole.
"They came in and were able to gut our facility," DiPaulo said. "They spent over $50,000 just getting ready for my business."
DiPaulo listed a host of renovations including new lights, heating system, bathroom, office and front entrance. As the rest of Tri-County Mall is renovated, some of the existing businesses, including Perfect Practice, Dollar Tree and the Tri-County Theater will remain unchanged.
Ironically enough, batting cages used to be in operation at the opposite end of the mall. However, those cages were of a coin-operated, arcade variety and DiPaulo had a different vision for his facility.
"I've been a coach for several years," DiPaulo said. "I coach the modified team at Bishop Ludden. I was just not happy with the amount of space available for kids to hit and pitch in the off-season. Being frustrated, I decided to do something about it and open up our own indoor training facility."