September 26, 2021

Provisions Bakery, which helped more than 1,000 get job training over 32 years, closes

Syracuse, N.Y. — In 32 years, Provisions Bakery helped more than 1,000 people with mental health issues get job training.

But on Thursday, the bakery had to permanently close because the coronavirus reduced foot traffic and business, according to Paul Joslyn, the executive director of AccessCNY, which ran the business.

“As the pandemic passed the six month mark, it became clear that Provisions would not be able to succeed in this new environment,” Joslyn said. “The bakery depends on foot traffic and people working downtown, both of which may never be the same.

The bakery, which opened at 216 Walton St. in 1988, had been one of Armory Square’s longest-running businesses.

Those who trained at Bakery Provisions learned to make baked goods, wait on customers and take lunch orders. They worked part-time, typically made minimum wage and worked there for about 1 to 2 years.

The goal was to help those with a mental health issue get training to move for future jobs.

Provisions was open for breakfast and lunch. The menus include hot breakfasts, soups, salads and sandwiches. The bakery was known for years for its giant chocolate chip cookies.

In recent years, the bakery ran in a deficit even as Onondaga County was its primary funder. Just five years ago, Provisions Bakery was renovated in hopes of boosting business. Moves to make the bakery sustainable had been successful until the pandemic hit, Joslyn started.

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