Cassano’s set to close Christmas Eve, Family Promise will use space for new shelter

Cassano’s set to close Christmas Eve, Family Promise will use space for new shelter

Monday will mark the end of an era for one historic Spokane business. Cassano’s Grocery will close its doors on Mission on Christmas Eve to make way for homeless families to move in.

Cassano’s has been serving families in Spokane for nearly 100 years. For the last ten, owner Carl Naccarato has welcomed them to his relatively new store on Mission. But for the last three years, he’s been looking to sell.

“We just are in a facility that’s actually too big for what we do,” said Naccarato. “So, we need to downsize it and kind of go back to what our original roots were.”

That search came to an end this year, when Family Promise executive director Steve Allen stopped by.

“It was perfect when Family Promise came by and the minute they looked at this property, they just fell in love with what they found here,” said Naccarato.

Family Promise first opened the city’s first and only 24/7 emergency shelter, the Open Doors Family Shelter, in 2017. It’s been growing ever since. So when Allen walked into Cassano’s, he saw an opportunity to expand the non-profit’s reach and help more families find permanent housing.

“Children never choose to be homeless, nor do they have the power not to be homeless. So that’s our mission: ‘how do we help the kids that are homeless by helping their families?,'” Allen told KXLY. “Problem was, is the last two months we’ve turned away families every single night. And I’ll never forget the night when we had a family of five show up with three young kids under the age of five. But we had no more room for them.”

Now, they will. Family Promise bought Cassano’s with a $950,000 community development block grant from the city. They’ll use the leftover grant money and community donations to renovate the 18,000-square foot space into a new family shelter, growing from its current capacity of 50 people to 80 people a night. Allen told KXLY the non-profit is planning to move into the space by mid-February.

“We know that we can’t change everything for everybody, but when you see a mom, a single mom with her two kids or you see a family and you give them a key, and they’re moving into their apartment, it makes it all worth it,” Allen told KXLY.

He said this was all made possible with Naccarato’s blessing.

“His heart for the homeless, his heart for the community is so huge and he has done all he can to help us,” Allen said.

Naccarato said both Cassano’s and Family Promise are benefitting from the sale.

“We’re just, we’re just so thankful everyday that this came about,” Naccarato said. “It just, I think was in the stars.”

He’s just happy the building will continue to serve Spokane’s families, no matter what the sign says above the door.

Naccarato told KXLY this isn’t the last Spokane will see of Cassano’s. He plans to reopen another location soon.

Get your weather forecast from people that actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.