SAGINAW (WJRT) (11/10/2017) - Leonard's Syrups of Detroit expanded into Grand Rapids recently and now wants to grow more to the north.
But the route that the second-generation owner of the company took to achieve that goal is somewhat atypical. Leonard Bugajewski ended up buying a vacant building on Saginaw's east side with plans to sink $250,000 into fixing it.
Leonard's Syrups, founded in 1964 by Bugajewski's father, makes a variety of beverage and fountain syrups. The company had sales topping $13 million last year.
"A lot of the bars and restaurants that we have in Detroit are expanding and they are expanding in this market," Bugajewski said of Saginaw.
So when he started looking for a place to open a distribution center in the Saginaw market, he began the search where most of the growth and development has been occurring.
"We looked at some different buildings on Bay Road, which was nice, some other places," Bugajewski said. "Then we came this way and we started coming down (M-46 from I-75) and we said, well, not sure about this area."
But as they traveled farther into Saginaw, their opinion changed.
"It was busy, it was really nice, so we turned around," Bugajewski said. "We have to put an offer in, lets do this. It's a central location, it's close to all the freeways."
He wound up purchasing the former Cicinelli Poultry building for $145,000.
"We are going to put a quarter of million into it to bring it back up to standards," Bugajewski said. "We are going to paint the outside. It's going to look very nice from the outside also."
Leonard's Syrups will employ three people in the Saginaw distribution center when it opens next spring with hopes to add more. Bugajewski expects the Saginaw area will support more growth for the company.
"I'm confident, I really am," he said. "I wouldn't have put this much money into it if I wasn't."