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With a little help from some friends

54Freedom moves into 5 Ledyard Ave., restores structure

54Freedom CEO Jim Griffin, right, stands alongside Cazenovia resident caretaker Eddie Phethean in front of 54Freedom’s national headquarters, located at 5 Ledyard Ave. in Cazenovia.

54Freedom CEO Jim Griffin, right, stands alongside Cazenovia resident caretaker Eddie Phethean in front of 54Freedom’s national headquarters, located at 5 Ledyard Ave. in Cazenovia. Photo by Pierce Smith.

— Cazenovia artist Matt Vivirito, of Capricorn Painting, and Ed Dougherty each have painting projects within the house, restoring the exquisite 19th century details to their original splendor, and local Allstate Insurance Agent John Dermody has been lending his assistance and expertise to the growing company. Computer consultants Andrew and Derek Joncas have been busy setting up 54Freedom’s virtual network, equipping the old house with the technology needed to run a national business.

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The historic home located at 5 Ledyard Ave. is undergoing a $4 million renovation project, that will restore the structure. The financial planning firm 54Freedom operates out of the building, alongside numerous locally run businesses.

Renovations to 5 Ledyard Ave. have made office space and vacant rooms available for rent by local companies. However, all openings were quickly filled.

Bob Rose, the inventor of the Thermal Bar has office space on the second floor of the building, where he runs his flourishing business between trips to athletic events around the country. Local chef Susan Light is a frequent inhabitant of 54Freedom’s gourmet kitchen, and provides the company with meals and hor d’oeuvres for special events, and upon request.

Liz Moran, Cazenovia Town Councilor and owner of Ecologic, has moved her company’s offices to the historic structure, and also occupies space on the second floor. She had run her business out of Albany Street’s Atwell Mill Annex for the previous 11 year and was hesitant to change scenery, although she is now happy she did.

“I was very attuned to working [in Ecologic’s previous location], and moving is always disruptive, but a wise friend of mine … said, ‘Liz, you’ll be much more creative if you’re in a new space. You’ll look at things differently and have new ideas,’ and it’s true,” Moran said. “It’s a beautiful historic house and the layout is so nice. We have two fireplaces and space for our laboratory work. It’s fabulous.”

54Freedom’s workforce currently boasts about 10 employees, working on part-time and full-time schedules. Attorney Ryan McParland, Financial Sales Associate Duane Clark and Head Recruiter Eric Weber all work out of space near Griffin’s office on the second floor. Brokers Jason Rieth and John Spinner, Accountant Susie Michaels and Consultant Bob Gabor all help the business prosper, while administrative assistants Nichole Barilla, Carrie DeSordi, Nila Rodgers and Lorraine Lindsey help it run smoothly. Cazenovia resident Eddie Phethean lives on-site and cares for the historic structure, while Grounds Supervisor Michael Ney maintains the house’s exterior and property.

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