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Hope Café and Tea House to open second café in downtown Syracuse

By Eric Reinhardt


Matthew Cullipher, CEO of The People Project, stands with his wife, Mary, at the Hope Café and Tea House, which is located inside the Village Mall at 350 Vine St. in Liverpool. Cullipher plans to open a second location at 357 S. Warren St. in October. The café is an extension of the Liverpool–based nonprofit The People Project. (ERIC REINHARDT / BJNN)

SYRACUSE — Hope Café and Tea House in Liverpool, which opened in August 2017, is planning to open a second location in downtown Syracuse this fall at 357 South Warren St. at the intersection of South Warren and East Jefferson Streets.

The existing café operates inside the Village Mall at 350 Vine St. in Liverpool. It serves Peruvian, Italian, and American food, with an international menu of coffees, teas, and smoothies as well as other beverages. 

Hope Café and Tea House is an “extension” of the Liverpool–based charity The People Project, which owns the café, says Matthew Cullipher, CEO of The People Project. 

“No person owns [the café]. That way it guarantees that all the profits go directly back to the charity,” he says. Cullipher spoke with CNYBJ on Aug. 13.

The café’s business plan has been to operate various locations and to make an effort to bottle some of its specialty sauces and specialty drinks to help raise funding for the charity, says Cullipher. 

Troy Bullock of Cushman & Wakefield/Pyramid Brokerage Company brokered the lease transaction on the 1,500-square-foot downtown space on behalf of the property owner. Troy Evans is the landlord, according to Cullipher.

A business called Vintage Love previously operated in the space. “It’s a phenomenal spot,” says Cullipher.

He’s hoping to open the downtown café by the end of October.

Cullipher is estimating a cost of between $70,000 and $80,000 to open the new location. The People Project secured a bank loan to help pay for the project, he says. 

Some members of the organization’s board of directors will be responsible for the construction work. Wayne LaFrance of Marcellus–based Lake Architectural is the project architect.

“We actually have to build a kitchen,” Cullipher adds. 

 A Pompo Electric, Inc., a Salina–based electrical contractor, will handle the electrical work at the site. Home Artistry by David Smart of Baldwinsville will do the painting work. The space also needs plumbing and flooring work as part of the space preparation. 

Unlike the Liverpool location of Hope Café and Tea House, which operates with volunteers, the organization is considering hiring four or five employees for the downtown café, figuring it might generate more customer traffic. He anticipates the location will be open Monday through Saturday from early morning through mid-afternoon.

About Hope Café 

Cullipher says the organization uses the word “hope” because it’s been the charity’s theme “since day one.”

“One of our slogans has always been — hope is contagious,” he explains.

Its website indicates that meals at the eatery are “Buy Three for the Price of One.”

“For every person that comes in here, we’re able to feed [about] two more overseas,” says Cullipher. 

About 20 volunteers help to operate the Liverpool café, he notes. Cullipher’s wife, Mary, is among those helping with the cafe’s operations.

The People Project started as an educational charity, opening a school in a poor area of Peru. The organization works to help people in need, both in the U.S. and internationally. It helps people who need interventions for drug addiction and distribution of food, clothing, and furniture, according to Cullipher. 

The nonprofit People Project is an organization founded as Shekinah Gloria Ministries, Inc. in 2005 in Syracuse. It has “since touched over 400,000 lives in 12 countries across the globe,” per its website.

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