Pair of new businesses are signs of ongoing progress

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This past week brought us two items of interest that may have been overlooked by some amid the more pressing news of the week.

Even if you are not necessarily a fan of grande vanilla bean frappuccinos or artisan soups, sandwiches or pizzas, the recently approved plans for a Starbucks coffee shop in the Mohawk Acres Plaza on Black River Boulevard and the ribbon-cutting of the newly-opened Crust Kitchen & Bar, 86 Hangar Road West in the Air City Lofts complex on Griffiss Park are welcome — and important — news.

Both restaurants demonstrate not just a sizable investment — and commitment — to the community, but these developments show that efforts to diversify and grow the local economy — and the partnerships between state and local officials; the Griffiss Local Development Corp., MV EDGE, the Oneida County Industrial Development Agency, Empire State Development and other economic development organizations; and a host of private developers are working, despite the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.

Griffiss Park is bustling — from the Innovare Center to the Air City Lofts to the Orgill Distribution Center and just about all spots in-between. Employees at DFAS, at Rome Lab and other companies on the sprawling business and technology park, many of whom have all lived elsewhere, are demonstrating that Rome is a great place to live and the amenities they desire — from cappuccinos to calzones — are following.

We appreciate the investments of those in our community whether from new or longtime investors; however it is important to take note that among those investing in Rome’s future is a third generation entrepreneur, Chris Destito, whose grandparents — and later father and uncles — made both The Beeches and The Savoy nationally renown. We wish him equal success in his venture with the Crust Kitchen & Bar.

For those of us old enough to remember young Christopher’s father, the late Chris Destito, his son’s commitment to the community is hardly surprising. During his life, the elder Chris Destito was perhaps the region’s greatest advocate and cheerleader. No agency, organization nor individual’s problems or needs were too big or too insignificant to him. Though he would never take credit for a thing, there is nary a local philanthropic organization or non-profit human service agency that didn’t receive his assistance or wisdom. Decades after many of his efforts — almost all done on his own time and at his own expense — these agencies, this community, and a new generation continue to benefit.

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