Husband, wife combination plays key role in transformative development projects in county
By Lou Sorendo
They are Oswego’s version of the ultimate power couple.
Atom and Falecia (Murray) Avery have hardly hit their stride in the business world, but they are already heralded for their high level of entrepreneurial spirit while generating significant economic and community growth in the city and county of Oswego.
The couple’s latest creation is the Litatro building in downtown Oswego, one of several recent developments that have spurred a renaissance in the city.
Dominating the Oswego city skyline, Litatro features 20 housing units, private-access underground parking and a rooftop bar area.
“It is very fulfilling,” Falecia said. “Both of our families have business backgrounds and are from the Oswego area. We are very proud to be from Oswego and are happy to be a part of its growth and revitalization.”
Since 1999, Avery Rental Properties has provided housing for students, families and business professionals throughout the community.
In 2011, the couple teamed to transform Oswego’s historic Knights of Columbus building into the Beacon Hotel, a 14-room boutique style hotel.
The hotel project earned them the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Excellence Award in 2014.
They also partnered in the conversion of the former Loretto Health and Rehabilitation Center into The Gardens by Morningstar, a 106-bed assisted living complex in Oswego, in 2016.
Later that year, the couple was presented the Dee Heckethorn Entrepreneur Award from Operation Oswego County.
Other holdings include 5 Points Wine and Liquor at 1 Washington Boulevard at the forks of the road in Oswego.
Falecia said her husband is “the driving force to all of our endeavors.”
“Most of the time, I find out about our ‘opportunities’ and projects with a conversation that’s starts out with Atom telling someone, ‘I haven’t even told Falecia about this one yet, but … as he talks to friends, family or business associates about his next idea, business or project.”
She said after 25 years together, she has grown used to it.
“I sometimes am not always on board at first, but it’s what makes him tick and he really has been blessed with a gift for managing and developing businesses,” she said.
Falecia said it has also been quite fulfilling to carry on the hard work and commitment the couple learned from their parents and pass that on to the community and their children.
The couple has three children: Aubrey, 18; Azalia, 16; and Apollo, 8.
“For me, I spend a lot of time supporting each venture’s interior and exterior design. It comes naturally to me to be able to select all the paint colors, floorings, fixtures and finishes for each project,” she said. “I learned it all from my parents.”
Showing the example
For the past 50 years, her mother, Diane Murray, has worked alongside Falecia’s father, Thomas J. Murray, building homes and most recently airplanes.
“She can literally lay the foundation on your house, paint its walls and decorate it to feel like a home,” Falecia said. “She’s like Martha Stewart on steroids and has taught me so much.”
Diane has “done it with such grace and all while raising six children and 13 grandchildren,” her daughter said.
She said growing up and watching how her parents complement each other and support each other through tough times and successes has been pivotal in how she approaches projects with Atom.
“Growing up, I witnessed my parents’ hard work and pure grit to get just about any project done,” she said.
“I mean, whose parents have built multiple-family homes while working full-time, and during retirement have rebuilt a ‘55 Chevy and are currently building their third airplane?” Falecia asked. “Not many! It’s inspirational and they probably could outwork us in their sleep.”
“My siblings and I were all raised to believe we could do anything if we put our minds to it and work hard,” she added. “As a young girl, I can’t tell you how important that was to hear. I think that mentality and being raised with a strong Catholic faith that instilled helping others really fostered my ability to support anything Atom takes on.”
What Falecia enjoys most is watching Atom’s dreams come true and showing her children that they can do anything they put their minds to.
“Our children have grown up watching and being involved in the process,” she said. “We have shown them the ins and outs of many different processes and types of endeavors.
“I love that they are realizing you don’t have to stay in one lane to be happy and are also learning to pivot in tough times.”
Falecia said while her children have yet to focus on a career path to pursue, they have been shown with the right team and support, “the sky is the limit.”
“And that’s what I enjoy most.”