B'ville: A glimmer of hope lost

Things must have been looking up for Syroco last fall.

The company's former president submitted an application the Onondaga County Economic Development agency in order to become a regionally significant business in the Empire Zone program. As part of an Empire Zone, Syroco would be eligible for many tax benefits, but it had to create at least 50 new jobs, which the company projected in the initial application.

Only a few months later, the company announced a 50-employee lay-off. Shortly after, the president resigned. That became an issue with the agency, but they couldn't reset the application, so it remained as it was.

"We weren't going to pull the application until we knew the business wasn't going to be successful," said Don Western, director of economic development for Onondaga County. "We're trying to support the company, and maybe the numbers would unfold."

With the hefty lay-off, Syroco needed to create 100 new jobs in order to be approved. But less than four months later, Syroco's parent company, Vassallo Industries, instead liquidated all of its assets. Syroco closed its doors for good on Friday, June 15.

Van Buren Supervisor Mary Crego said Onondaga County recently approved Syroco's application. However, Western said the final application was never submitted to state.

As of last week, a skeleton crew was still employed at the Van Buren Syroco plant. None of the remaining employees had any knowledge of the Empire Zone application submitted.

"All we're doing is selling our remaining finished stock," said Ike Growe, adding that the company's closing was a big blow to both employees and the community. "It's a horrible thing, horrible for the people who've worked here for 30 years, horrible for the community."

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