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County Job Retention Initiative Unveiled By Two Chambers, Saratoga Prosperity Partnership

April 7, 2016

Marty Vanags, president of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, speaks from a podium at Shmaltz Brewery in Clifton Park where the Business First Saratoga initiative was announced.

Courtesy Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership



The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, along with the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Southern Saratoga County, announced on March 29 the details of their new Saratoga County business retention and expansion initiative they have dubbed Business First Saratoga.

Through problem-solving and advocacy, Business First Saratoga serves local business owners by developing relationships to better understand the opportunities and challenges of doing businesses in our region, the three organizations said in a news release. Some areas that this program can assist businesses with are workforce development, financing, international markets access, government regulations, resources for small businesses, and utilities.

"When people think of economic development, they often think about the big attraction projects. While that's incredibly important, we also need to pay attention to the businesses that are already here in Saratoga County, whether they've been here for a year or are a multi-generational business," said Marty Vanags, president of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership. "A program like Business First Saratoga is an organized and deliberate way to build the foundation for our region's future growth."

The Partnership first outlined its intention to launch a business retention and expansion initiative in its two-year economic development plan, the Saratoga Strategy, released in December. In that plan, the Partnership also identified potential partners for the initiative and has since undergone training with both the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Southern Saratoga County.

"Our Chamber's board of directors voted unanimously to approve our participation in the Business First Saratoga initiative because we believe in pulling out all of the stops to help local employers to succeed, grow and thrive," said Todd L. Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.

"We believe working together with our partners in this venture and other organizations that might join us in the future will help us to open more doors and to close more deals creating more jobs and investment in Saratoga County." he said. "To win in economic development these days, you must first win by helping existing local employers to take advantage of new opportunities or to overcome challenges individually and collectively and that's what this initiative promises to do."

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Gov. Cuomo Signs Law Boosting Minimum Wage, Establishing 12-Week Paid Family Leave

April 7, 2016

The newly approved New York state budget includes a minimum wage increase that is the result of several compromises.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on April 4 signed legislation enacting a statewide $15 minimum wage plan and a 12-week paid family leave policy.

For workers in New York City employed by large businesses (those with at least 11 employees), the minimum wage would rise to $11 at the end of 2016, then another $2 each year after, reaching $15 on Dec. 31, 2018.

For workers in New York City employed by small businesses (those with 10 employees or fewer), the minimum wage would rise to $10.50 by the end of 2016, then another $1.50 each year after, reaching $15 on Dec. 31, 2019.

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SEDC 'Advance Saratoga' Plan Has Target Of Creating 9,000 Jobs, Expanding The Economy

April 7, 2016

By R.J. DeLuke

The Saratoga Economic Development Corp. (SEDC) has launched Advance Saratoga, a five-year action plan that continues to accelerate economic growth in our county.

Advance Saratoga, SEDC said in a statement, "is our private-sector-driven plan for continuing to accelerate economic growth in Saratoga County." It is a five-year plan with a budget of $3.5 million for which the agency is raising funds to support the effort.

A kickoff reception was held April 6 at the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs.

"In putting together the Advance Saratoga initiative, we first looked back at the economic development success stories that helped make Saratoga County the hub of activity it is today," said SEDC President Dennis Brobston. "You tally up the numbers and see that SEDC has played a role in the creation of more than 17,500 jobs. Projects we've been involved in generate over $34 million in tax revenues every year. And the cumulative investment of these projects total more than $13 billion.

"That's the environment Advance Saratoga comes out of. But this is about more than our rich past. It's about the future of Saratoga County. This is the private-sector plan that takes our economic development success and elevates it to the next level."

SEDC projects it could generate 9,460 new direct and indirect jobs, $352 million in new payroll and more than $15 billion in capital investment.

"Through our Advance Saratoga initiative, we are asking private-sector SEDC members to commit to continuing their investment, taking our economic development efforts to the next level," the agency said.

"Since our founding in 1978, SEDC has positioned Saratoga County as an ideal place to grow a business, invest in the future and create jobs. In that time, SEDC has assisted with more than 200 successful business attraction, retention and expansion projects, accounting for more than 17,000 new jobs, millions of dollars in annual tax revenue and $12 billion in business investments."

SEDC said its plan is targeted to five industry sectors "that have proven track records of success in our region and/or complement existing businesses. These success stories -- combined with SEDC's worldwide relationships, bold new marketing strategies and tactics, and the financial and intellectual capital of our private-sector partners -- will ensure that Saratoga County remains a premier destination to invest and grow a business for years to come."

The agency said the aim of Advance Saratoga is to aggressively sell Saratoga County's world-class assets with a new, highly targeted marketing campaign; accelerate highly strategic and targeted job creation and retention program to generate the highest possible return on investment; and build and strengthen Saratoga County's capacity to expand economic opportunity.

Targeted industries are semiconductor manufacturing and supply chain, light manufacturing, corporate headquarters and warehousing/distribution.

SEDC said those sectors "will be made vividly aware of our many advantages: a highly educated and skilled workforce, build-ready real estate, in-place infrastructure and competitive incentives."

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Chamber of Southern Saratoga County Hands Out Awards, Reviews Its 2015 Achievements

April 7, 2016

Three generations of DeCrescentes receive the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County's Angel Award from new Chamber board chairman Josh Spain and Chamber CEO Pete Bardunias.
Courtesy Chamber of Southern Saratoga County

The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County (CSSC) highlighted achievements and presented awards at its annual dinner on March 31 at the Hall of Springs at Gideon Putnam Resort, attended by 326 people.

"I'm honored to be the chairman this year," said Josh Spain of Momentive Performance Materials. "With our great staff, dedicated volunteers and a diverse membership, it's easy to see why this chamber is accomplishing so much."

Pete Bardunias, celebrating five years as president and CEO, said, "We've made many things happen together as a community and what's fueled our growth has been the generous financial support of our major partners and sponsors as well as the dedicated and active involvement of every member of this chamber."

Bardunias said the past five years have seen membership jump 15 percent, from 927 members to 1066, making it the third largest chamber of commerce in the Capital Region and among the largest in New York state. During that time span, the chamber's revenue has grown 25 percent, reversing negative trends and reeling off a four-year streak of finishing "in the black."

He said the money has been reinvested, allowing for projects such as maintaining historic Lock 19 in Vischer Ferry, work at the Brookside Museum, the creation of the three Community Business Alliances and more."

Eight awards were given out to members.

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New Mexican Restaurant, Blue Agave, Occupies Space Near Race Track That Was Once Leon's

April 7, 2016

Owner Brad Smith, left, is the owner of Blue Agave Cantina at 135 Crescent Ave. in Saratoga Springs. He hired Patrick Longton, right, as executive chef.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

By Maureen Werther

Blue Agave Cantina opened in mid-March at 135 Crescent Ave., the site of the former Leon's Restaurant.

Brad Smith is the new owner and Patrick Longton is the chef.

Native Saratogian Smith received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his master's degree from UNLV School of Hospitality. His credentials include managing some restaurants in Las Vegas, including Wynn, Bobby Flay's Mesa Grille and three of Wolfgang Puck's restaurants.

In 2011, Smith returned to Saratoga and worked for DZ Restaurants for a period of time, before becoming part owner in 2014 of the Mexican Connection. Blue Agave is his latest culinary adventure. He said he is excited about his collaboration with Longton.

Longton has an American/French culinary background, but when he and Smith got together to talk about Blue Agave, "It was like two musicians jamming and feeding off each other's passions," said Smith. The menu is "kind of like Bobby Flay meets Rick Bayless."

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Warren Tire Plans To Build New Facility In Halfmoon, Its 16th Location In The Region

April 7, 2016

Warren Tire Co. will build a 7,200-square-foot store at 159 Stone Quarry Road, just north of the Crescent Bridge, about two miles from this store in Clifton Park.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

By Jennifer Farnsworth

Warren Tire will build a full-service automotive repair shop in Halfmoon, about two miles from its long-standing shop at the corner of Routes 9 and 146.

The 7,200-square-foot store, with eight service bays, will be built at 159 Stone Quarry Road, just north of the Crescent Bridge. It could open this fall.

The location, on the west side of the road, is still a wooded lot. It is near two competitors: Adirondack Tire and The Tire Warehouse. Bob Kellogg, owner and president of Glens Falls-based Warren Tire, said he wasn't targeting the other businesses when he picked the site.

"We were just looking for a spot in Halfmoon or Clifton Park to secure our future there," he said.

The store at the corner of Routes 9 and 146 is leased property. Most of it sits within the town of Halfmoon and a small portion is in Clifton Park. Although Kellogg recently renewed the lease, he wanted the security of knowing he also owned a building in the town.

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Saratoga Springs Hotel Occupancy Rates Rose In 2015, Annual Tourism Bureau Report Says

April 7, 2016

Demand for hotel rooms, and hotel occupancy rates, were both at higher levels in 2015 than the years before, officials of the Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau said at its 31st annual meeting and dinner held on March 16 at the Saratoga Springs City Center.

In addition to highlighting the successes of 2015 and their initiatives for 2016, the bureau welcomed new members of the board of directors and Executive Committee.

A crowd of 175 members, government officials and others attended.

Bureau officials highlighted the 2015 annual report, noting that despite Saratoga County seeing a slight decrease in occupancy percentage because of new hotel inventory in Saratoga Springs and the county, overall demand and revenue were up significantly.

In Saratoga County, according to the report, demand for rooms was up 7.2 percent in 2015, over 2014. Revenue from hotel night stays was reported at $106.5 million in 2015, versus $96.5 million in 2014.

Occupancy rates, the report said, were at 68.7 percent in 2015, down 1.6 percent from 2014.

In Saratoga Springs, demand was up 10.2 percent from the previous year, according to the report. Revenue was as $71.3 million in 2015, 12.4 percent higher than the $63.5 million in 2014. Occupancy rates reached 69.2 percent, 4.9 percent above 2014, when the rate was 66 percent.

At the Saratoga Springs City Center, the report said the number of conventions/events held in 2015 was 420, versus 326 in 2014. That translated to an 80,185 room nights, compared to 66,191 in 2014. Estimated economic impact was reported at $29.5 million for last year, compared to $23.7 million in 2014.

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StoredTech Opens Office In Albany Business Park

April 7, 2016

By MAureen Werther

Mark Shaw, president of Stored Technology Solutions, has a simple and straightforward business philosophy.

"When clients ask for a product or service, we don't like to say 'no,'" he said.

So, when his company, Stored Technology Solutions, began receiving repeated inquiries from their customers for a training space, he decided it was time to give them one.

Storedtech offers clients a "comprehensive portfolio of voice, data, and video solutions," according to its website, and the company's rapid expansion is a result of being responsive to the needs of its customers.

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Saratoga Game Station Offers Chances For Kids And Families To Enjoy Pool, Air Hockey, More

April 7, 2016

Saratoga Game Station opened on March 1 at 18 Geyser Road in Milton.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

By Liz Witbeck

Marybeth Stacchini knows about teenagers. She has been working with them for the past 15 years as part of her driving school, Marybeth's School of Driving, located in Saratoga Springs.

An accident at work last year prevented her from continuing to do the driving lessons. Stacchini was at the kitchen table one night playing ping pong, when she came up with an idea for a new business: a venue where children and families could go to play games with each other.

Saratoga Game Station opened on March 1 at 18 Geyser Road in Milton.

The gaming center features table tennis, foosball, air hockey, billiards and darts. Customers come and pay $5 for each hour of unlimited games.

She hopes that this will be a resource of entertainment for adolescents, instead of getting involved with drugs and alcohol. "This gives them a safe place to go."

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Saratoga Springs Will Be Site Of Conference For Housing, Economic Development Officials

April 7, 2016

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen will host the third annual Strengthening Cities, Communities, and Homes Summit, a day-long gathering of housing and economic development professionals.

Also hosting will Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan; Amsterdam Mayor Mike Villa, Glens Falls Mayor John "Jack" Diamond, Schenectady, Mayor Gary McCarthy, Plattsburgh Mayor James Calnon and Troy Mayor Patrick Madden.

The summit is schedule for 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, April 11, at the Hilton Saratoga, 534 Broadway.

"This year's summit is targeted toward introducing and enhancing working partnerships focused on housing and community development," said Yepsen. "The agenda for this important summit promises to be outstanding, with exceptional keynote speakers and multiple break-out sessions."

"This summit truly exemplifies a model of federal, state and local governments partnering with the private sector to create stronger and more vibrant communities," she said. "It is partnerships such as these that not only allow us to present a successful summit but to tackle national issues on a local level, such as ending veteran homelessness."

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Inaugural SaratogaUnCorked Wine And Food Festival To Envelope Opening Of Track Season

April 7, 2016

Saratoga UnCorked, logo depicted here, will be a multi-day celebration of fine wine, gourmet cuisine, wellness and entertainment held for the first time in July.

Courtesy Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau

Townsquare Lifestyle Events in Saratoga Springs, in partnership with the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau (SCTB), announced plans to hold a wine and food festival in July.

Saratoga UnCorked will be a multi-day celebration of fine wine, gourmet cuisine, wellness and entertainment, officials said. It will serve as a kick-off to the racing season at Saratoga Race Course and give travelers and locals a chance to experience what the Spa City has to offer.

Organizers said the event will feature hundreds of artisans, including renowned chefs, sommeliers, vintners, brewers, distillers and local producers.

It will run July 20-24. The track opens July 22.

"We are thrilled to partner with the SCTB to launch Saratoga Uncorked, said AJ Bodden, Vice President, Townsquare Lifestyle Events. "There is no place better than Saratoga in the summer to host this world class, epicurean-focused event, showcasing the city's most appealing and unique assets. We are extremely fortunate to have such unique and diverse attractions to offer and it's a great honor to be involved with bringing new visitors to the area."

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Longtime Chef At Pasta Penne Rustic Italian Bistro In Clifton Park Becomes New Owner

April 7, 2016

Penne Rustic Italian Bistro 18 Park Ave. in Clifton Park recently changed ownership. It was purchased by Nicholas Porreca, a longtime chef at the establishment.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

By Jill Nagy

Nicholas Porreca, the chef when the Pasta Penne Rustic Italian Bistro in Clifton Park opened 15 years ago, now owns the restaurant.

He said he plans no major changes.

Porreca has been a "passionate chef for 20 years. It's something that I love to do."

For most of that time, he has been cooking at the Clifton Park bistro he now owns at 18 Park Ave.

He and his wife, Nicole, took a three-year hiatus in Hawaii, where he was a chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Maui. While in Maui, the Porrecas had twins, Sonny and Liea, now two years old. They returned to Clifton Park because, he said, it is their "home base" and family and support systems became more important with two small children to raise.

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Mazzone Hospitality To Run New Restaurant Inside Pavilion Grand Hotel On Lake Avenue

April 7, 2016

The Pavilion Grand Hotel on Lake Avenue in Saratoga Springs hired Mazzone Hospitality to oversee operations of a new restaurant inside the hotel. A May opening is expected. The restaurant is currently in development and is anticipated to open late May, hotel officials said.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

The Pavilion Grand Hotel on Lake Avenue in Saratoga Springs has hired Mazzone Hospitality to oversee operations of a new restaurant inside the hotel.

The restaurant is currently in development and is anticipated to open perhaps in June, hotel officials said.

Officials at Mazzone Hospitality said it will be named Fish at 30 Lake and it will offer fresh seafood, grilled fish and pizza and a raw bar.

The restaurant space on the ground floor of the facility had been occupied by a restaurant called Mingle on the Avenue, owned by Jose Filomeno. That was short-lived, and the restaurant closed early this year.

The restaurant, situated at the corner of Lake Avenue and Pavilion Place, will feature outdoor sidewalk dining at its ground floor location next to the main entrance of Pavilion Grand Hotel, officials said.

Mazzone Hospitality's newest addition to the region's culinary scene is expected to open at 2 p.m. daily for light fair and cocktails with dinner service beginning at 5:30 p.m. The restaurant will open for Sunday dinner service at 3 p.m.

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Tickets On Sale For 2016 Horse Racing Season; Perks Added For Season Pass, Ticket Holders

April 7, 2016

Horses charge to the finish line at historic Saratoga Race Track in Saratoga Springs. Season tickets and other passes are now on sale for the 2016 season that begins July 22.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

Season admission passes, dining reservations and group sales packages for the 2016 meet at historic Saratoga Race Course are now on sale.

Reserved seats for the full 40-day season are also on sale, said the New York Racing Association. Weekly reserved seat packages will go on sale beginning Wednesday, April 20, at 10 a.m.

The full-season and week-long plans are available online through NYRA AccountManager, using the all-new Saratoga Virtual Venue seating map, enabling fans to digitally preview seat locations and sightlines before purchasing tickets.

Daily reserved seats may be purchased through Ticketmaster.com beginning Tuesday, May 3, at 10 a.m.

All tickets to new subscribers will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, according to available inventory, NYRA officials said.

All reserved seats purchased in advance include admission. Full-season plans include 40 days of admission based on the cost of a season pass.

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Saratoga Stadium's New Ownership Provides Customers A 'Fresh Twist" On Menu

April 7, 2016

Stadium Cafe Hc.jpg
The Saratoga Stadium held a ribbon cutting on April 4. The establishment on Broadway in Saratoga Springs has new owners and went through some renovation work before re-opening.

Courtesy Saratoga Stadium

By Liz Witbeck

The Saratoga Stadium, formerly known as Stadium Café, on Broadway in Saratoga Springs is under new ownership.

Dave Harmon, who has owned and operated the restaurant for the past 14 years, recently sold the restaurant to Saratoga Hospitality LLC, which owns two other establishments in downtown Saratoga Springs: Max London's Restaurant and Mrs. London's Bakery and Café.

The restaurant at 389 Broadway reopened as Saratoga Stadium on March 17.

The establishment celebrated its grand re-opening on April with a ribbon cutting attended by local elected officials and former NBA star John Starks.

Zach Cutler, corporate executive chef, and one of the owners, moved to Saratoga Springs in 2014. He is also corporate executive chef at Max London's and at Mrs. London's.

Saratoga Stadium will feature an American tavern-style menu in a sports bar-themed atmosphere.

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University Of Wisconsin Group Study Says Saratoga Was Healthiest NY County In 2015

April 7, 2016

A study conducted annually by the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute has ranked Saratoga County as the top healthiest county in New York state.

The study is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 2013 an 2014, Saratoga County ranked number 5, as well as ranking number 3 for health outcomes in 2015.

"We want to applaud everyone in our community that has done something positive in their jobs or in their personal lives to make our county and themselves healthier," said Susan Halstead of Family Vision Care Center, chairwoman of the Chamber's Health and Wellness Council. "Being the number 1 healthiest county in all of New York state is something we can all be proud of because it represents the work and commitment to wellness of so many organizations and people."

In 2013, the board of directors authorized the formation of the Health and Wellness Council. In 2014, the council decided to celebrate June as Employee Wellness Month. They organized a series of #healthysaratoga events. The council's mission statement for the #healthysaratoga movement is "Ensure Saratoga County is one of the healthiest places to live and work."

Since that time, the council created a new Health & Wellness Week in January; the #healthysaratoga HORSE Basketball Challenge in March; a set of events to celebrate Employee Wellness Month in June; and a #healthysaratoga silent disco in October.

The council created a #healthysaratoga pledge program that now has 125 companies as signatories. Each has agreed to take action to ensure Saratoga County is one of the healthiest places to live and work.

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Love Of Good Food, Desire To Please People Drives Angelo Mazzone's Restaurant 'Empire'

April 7, 2016

Angelo Mazzone is owner of Mazzone Hospitality based in Clifton Park.

Courtesy Mazzone Hospitality

By Sarah Jean Worden

The tri-county area is well decorated with the names Mazzone Hospitality and Prime Business Dining, companies owned by restaurant mogul Angelo Mazzone.

Many area residents, business people and tourists of the area enjoy meals and meetings prepared by teams of his 1,000 employees.

In Saratoga County, his ventures include Angelo's Prime Bar + Grill in Clifton Park; Prime at Saratoga National at the renowned Saratoga Springs golf club; and the dining facility at the historic Hall of Springs in Spa State Park. Soon, he will run the restaurant at Pavilion Grand Hotel in Saratoga Springs.

Mazzone's name became established in and around the area long before he invested in the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia in 1988. In the early 1970s, he attended Hudson Valley Community College and then transferred to Schenectady County Community College to complete the hotel and restaurant management program. He "met a girl" who later became his wife and the mother of his children. The couple left New York briefly but ultimately came back to the area for work and to open Peggy's Restaurant on State Street in Schenectady at a time when that city was starting to rebuild its downtown.

"I was part of the redevelopment," Mazzone said. At that time, Peggy's was expanding its catering. While he was developing that project, he saw an opportunity at the Glen Sanders Mansion.

"This is the place," he said. And the decision was made to purchase the property on the Mohawk River. He added two ballrooms and a dining hall to the smaller historic house.

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Super Bowl Ad A Boon To Death Wish Coffee; Sales Soar, Production Triples, Staff Added

April 7, 2016

Deathwish-HcL.jpg
Michael Brown, owner of Death Wish Coffee, has seen a huge boost in production and sales of his product in the wake of a 30-second TV commercial that aired during the Super Bowl.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

By Jill Nagy

What a difference 30 seconds can make. Since a 30-second advertisement was televised during the NFL Super Bowl on Feb. 7, Death Wish Coffee in Round Lake has seen its sales multiply three to four times, has increased its staff, ordered new equipment, added new products and rented an additional warehouse, according to company owner Michael Brown.

Current sales volume is now 1,500 pounds per day, said Brown. Before the ad ran, it was less than 500 pounds per day.

After an initial surge, things leveled off somewhat but "it's been holding pretty steady." The company has more than 2,000 recurring customers and a mailing list of 250,000.

Consequently, Brown said, "I have a lot of big plans."

He is looking for a larger location so that he can bring all the company's activities under one roof. Currently, they have four separate warehouses. Most sales now are online but the new location will include a retail outlet. In addition, the coffee is sold at Price Chopper, Hannaford, Healthy Living Market, and Saratoga Coffee Traders.

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Christel And Colin MacLean Busy Themselves With Involvement In Many Business Ventures

April 7, 2016

MacLeans-Hc.jpg
Christel and Colin MacLean have run several businesses in Saratoga Springs and its Saratoga Juice Bar products can now be found in over 100 independent grocery and specialty markets.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

By Maureen Werther

Christel and Colin MacLean are not ones to wait for opportunity to knock on their door. The success of their newest business venture, Saratoga Juice Bar, shows their strength as an entrepreneurial team.

The area first got to know the MacLeans as restaurant owners. Christel was living in Manhattan and working on Wall Street when she had a serendipitous encounter with Auntie Moseley, the famous owner of Hattie's in Saratoga Springs. A year later, Christel became the owner of Hattie's. Together with Colin, they remained true to the vision and legacy of Hattie's.

Over a 20 year span they sold Hattie's and opened Circus Café on Broadway in Saratoga Springs. They also started a "boutique" realty company, purchased and helped revamp Sperry's restaurant in Saratoga Springs, then opened a new restaurant, the Crowne Grille.

Soon thereafter, they introduced the community to Saratoga Juice Bar, just a few doors down from Circus Café.

Christel calls it another instance of Saratoga serendipity. She and Colin had just completed the purchase of the Crowne Grill and were absorbed in getting that restaurant running, when, to their surprise, the storefront a few doors down suddenly became available.

"I went to Colin and said, 'Guess what?' We're going to open a juice bar,'" she said.

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Pediatric Nurse Develops Clothing Product To Widen Women's Jackets During A Pregnancy

April 7, 2016

Maria Messier, right, and Joanna Frank developed the Extendher, a jacket extender that widens coats during pregnancy, while keeping the child close and warm.

Courtesy of Extendher

By Katie Healey

A few years back, a pediatric nurse raising one young child and pregnant with her second baby had a dilemma. Her favorite winter coat would not zip up over her growing belly. She went to the coat closet to put on her husband's jacket and was not pleased how it fit or looked.

Maria Messier, a Saratoga County entrepreneur, said she always had a knack for finding solutions. After finding herself in need of way to expand her coat to fit, she decided to invent a jacket extender for herself and for other expectant mothers to widen their favorite coats during pregnancy. With it, they could stay warm in their current coat and avoid paying for a high-priced, short-lived, maternity jacket.

But like most busy, working mothers, Messier put the idea to the back of her mind.

In the fall of 2013, Messier found out she was expecting twins. She was talking with her aunt, Joanne Frank, a fashion designer by trade with over 40 years of experience. Frank thought she could partner with her niece to see if the idea could become an actual product.

Together, they designed a jacket extender system.

Along the way, they hit some stumbling blocks. Inserting a universal zipper to allow for extra fabric to cover the expanded belly was not as easy as it seemed. It wasn't feasible until Frank came up with a clip-on idea. They developed a clip process that is patent pending.

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Home Inspectors Help Ensure That Houses Being Sold Don't Have Unforseen Problems

April 7, 2016

Larry McGann has been operating Spire Inspections in Ballston Lake for 12 years.

Courtesy Spire Inspections

By Sarah Jean Worden

When buying or selling a home, licensed home inspectors are an important cog. They look at the structure of a building and determine its soundness. They examine other issues so buyers, sellers and real estate agents don't get caught up in unexpected predicaments.

Dave Digges of Amtec Inspections LLC in Clifton Park said getting a residential home inspection by a licensed inspector is comparable to taking out an insurance policy on one of the biggest investments a person will make. It's also why banks require it.

What people often refer to as a home inspection is actually a structural inspection, he said, which does not cover typical "after-market additions to the home, like water softeners or an unattached shed.

"Newer homes tend to have a whole lot less problems than a house that's 100 years old," said Larry McGann of Spire Inspections in Ballston Lake.

Although he said most home inspections are called for when a person is buying, some will call him if they are thinking of selling a house in order to educate themselves about the value and possibly gain some leverage over price negotiation.

An inspector will closely examine a house to determine if there are plumbing or electrical issues. They check the safety of the roof, windows and insulation.

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Showcase Of Homes Committee Already Busy Planning Event This Fall; 17 Homes Committed

April 7, 2016

The 2016 Saratoga Showcase of Homes Committee is busy planning this year's edition of its home tour, with more than 17 homes committed to the event.

Now in its 21st year, the event has contributed over $900,000 to local charities.

The 2016 Saratoga Showcase of Homes will be held over three weekends this fall, Sept. 17-18, Sept. 24-25 and Oct. 1-2. It features local builders showcasing new construction.

Tickets will remain at $20.

The committee has an extensive marketing and promotional campaign in development, which includes official media sponsors in newspapers, magazines, online, radio, television, billboards and social media.

Company sponsorships are now available and showcase home reservations are currently in progress. For a sponsorship opportunities packet or for information on entering a new home in the event, contact Barry Potoker, executive director, at 366-0946 or via email at bpotoker@saratogabuilders.org.

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Business Report: It's A Good Time For Finding A Home

April 7, 2016

Kim Salerno is the principal in Salerno Law PC in Ballston Spa.

Courtesy Salerno Law PC

By KIMBERLY A. SALERNO, ESQ

This is such an exciting time to be involved in our real estate market. The market is extremely healthy and, compared to last year, sales are higher than expected.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), "Total existing home-sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops... [are] 2.2 percent higher than a year ago."

In the Northeast, we were spared the effects of the large East Coast blizzard and were able to maintain our real estate "bubble." Our main challenge, however, continues to be a lack of inventory for potential buyers and being able to find the right property at an affordable price.

For example, I have a young couple I am representing who are purchasing their first home in Saratoga County. They are looking at homes in the $200,000-$300,000 price range. They found themselves in a multiple-offer situation (several potential buyers all putting in offers on the same listing and the seller can accept the "best" offer) on the first home they found and their offer was not accepted by the seller.

They found another home but again found themselves in a multiple-offer situation. This time they contacted me immediately so that we could "approve" the contract as quickly as possible. To further protect my client, I also added an "escalation clause" (if another offer came in their offer automatically increased $1,000.00 more than the highest offer). With these proactive measures in place, my clients were the successful bidders.

Let's take a step back from that contract and documentation.

Can you imagine being a first time home-buyer and looking for a home in this market? As their attorney, I must understand the nuances of real estate law, but it is even more important to understand your client fully. It is essential to be patient and listen to all of your client's concerns, acknowledging their stressors and providing reassurance by answering all of their questions and guiding them throughout the transaction.

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Saratoga Modular Homes Expands With New Capital District Design Center In Latham

April 7, 2016

Saratoga Modular Homes LLC, headquartered in Saratoga Springs, is expanding in Latham.

The company has opened Capital District Design Center at Newton Plaza, 582 New Loudon Road.

The company specializes in the design and construction of custom modular homes, multifamily and light commercial buildings, said Cecil Provost, owner of Saratoga Modular.

They new entity is a sister company to Saratoga Construction LLC, a custom modular home company.

"What makes us unique is that we combine the efficiency and cost savings of modular construction with the custom designs, master craftsmanship and attention to detail of a custom home builder" said Provost.

"We treat each job, whether a simple starter home or a magnificent mansion, as a custom home. We spend a lot of time listening to the customer's wants, needs, time frame and budget, and then develop a home plan and specifications that fit their situation," he said. "And our advantage over traditional modular home dealers in the region is that we offer complete turn-key construction service from permits to completion."

Provost said that the new office is already seeing success.

"We haven't even run our first ads yet," said Provost. "All we've done is put a 'Coming soon to Albany' note on our website, and our phones haven't stopped ringing."

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Weichert Family Of Companies Launches A Property Management Group Called 'Aureus'

April 7, 2016

The Weichert Family of Companies announced on March 29 the launch of its wholly owned property management company, Aureus Property Management.

Aureus builds upon Weichert's more than 30 years of experience and proficiency providing in-house property management services by consolidating its property management businesses into this new entity poised to become the industry leader in personalized property management solutions, the company said.

The name, Aureus, comes from the name of the gold coins that served as the primary monetary unit in ancient Rome, company officials said.

"This reflects Aureus's mission to deliver a level of service and trust that constitutes the gold standard in property management," said a company statement.

The company offers a broad range of property management services for property owners, relocating employees and renters, including tenant screening, marketing, property maintenance and rent collection.

Mike Williams, who has more than 15 years of experience in managing commercial and residential properties for corporations and retail customers, will serve as president of Aureus.

Most recently, he served as president of Penn Property Management and previously was vice president of property management for the Long & Foster Companies. In his new role, Williams will oversee all corporate functions and service teams and hold ultimate responsibility for the company's strategic growth and the execution of the Aureus value proposition.

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Cyber Security Is A Relatively New Concern For Businesses, Local Insurance Brokers Say

April 7, 2016

Fragomeni-Hc.jpg
David Fragomeni says storage of client financial info may require cyber coverage.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

By Jill Nagy

Even when insurance coverage is required by law, as with workers' compensation or unemployment coverage, brokers always check to be sure those coverages are included in a client's insurance portfolio.

According to local brokers, matters involving cyber security are relatively new for the industry. It can be complex, but necessary for many types of businesses.

Still, the traditional business coverages are always being dealt with. "A lot of folks don't know that they need workers' compensation and disability," Diane Mjaatvezt of Sutton and Tarantino said.

Once the required bases have been covered, the choices of insurance options are almost dizzying and limited only by what a business owner is willing to pay, say local brokers.

Brian Whitney, manager of Cote Insurance in Saratoga Springs, begins with the typical business owner's policy that covers liability, property damage. Then there are add-on issues to be addressed, like vehicle coverage, potential employment infractions such as discrimination or mismanagement of insurance benefits, and errors and omissions (particularly for licensed professionals).

Bruce Clements of Clements Insurance Brokers in Saratoga Springs, said business coverage "is much more complex than personal lines" and should be customized to meet the needs of different businesses.

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Woman Goes From Dance Lessons As A Child To Ownership Of 'Bloom, A Movement Studio'

April 7, 2016

Bloom-Hc-logo.jpg
Audrey Mangini, owner of Bloom, A Movement Studio, offers a number of different classes at her 153 Regent St. studio to meet the needs of a diverse population.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

By Maureen Werther

Audrey Mangini, owner of Bloom, A Movement Studio, is someone who doesn't like to be told "no."

Mangini has been dancing since the age of two and she played soccer throughout her school career. When she suffered a knee injury requiring surgery at age 18, she was told that she would never be able to run again.

Within two months of the surgery, Mangini proved her doctors wrong. During that time, she also began taking Zumba classes to aid in her therapy and recuperation. She loved the classes and became an avid student.

When her father said, "You're so good at this, why not just teach it yourself," Mangini followed his advice and, within a few months, she became a certified Zumba instructor. But, she took her love of movement, dance, and fitness even further.

Bloom originally opened in 2005, under different ownership, at the Regent Street Arts Studio, 153 Regent St. in Saratoga Springs. The building has a long history as home to dance studios, and Mangini fondly remembered taking classes there as a young child.

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Nurse Practitioner Practice Helps Patients To Deal With State's Medical Advantage Plans

April 7, 2016

Nurse Practitioner Diana Miller examines Rose Capen in an effort to work with her and her family in evaluating her health care needs both in and outside of the home.

Courtesy Capital Region NP Consulting

By Jennifer Farnsworth

Diana Miller of Stillwater has always envisioned herself on the front lines, advocating for quality health care.

Since the passing of the state Modernization Act, permitting nurse practitioners to work independently, she has been able to turn her vision into a practice. She recently opened a practice that allows her to provide the care she feels so passionately about.

Capital Region NP Consulting in Family Health focuses on providing patient assessments for Medicare Advantage patients and in the comfort of their own home.

Medicare Advantage plans, sometimes called Part C or MA plans, are offered by private companies approved by Medicare. People that join a Medicare Advantage plan still have Medicare. They get their Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) coverage from the Medicare Advantage Plan and not original Medicare.

Miller said the focus area is to provide patient assessments for Medicare Advantage, in order to allow those 55-plus to age healthy in the home, with the objective to measure the appropriate care levels when there are requirements necessitating transition care management.

The state Modernization Act, having taken effect Jan. 1, 2015, is now resonating throughout New York State, with the greatest impact felt in rural areas like northern Saratoga and Warren counties. The legislation eliminated the requirement for experienced NPs to have a written practice agreement with physicians.

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Business Briefs: April 2016

April 7, 2016

C.T. Male Associates was honored with a gold award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York in category of Surveying and Mapping Technology for the Empire State Plaza grand staircase rehabilitation high definition 3D laser scan project at the State Museum and Archives in Albany.

Winners were honored at the 49th annual Engineering Excellence awards gala at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City in March. In conjunction with the gala, ACEC New York's scholarship program awarded more than $50,000 to engineering students in the state.

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The LA Group in Saratoga Springs received a historic preservation merit award from the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) for its work done on the Grey Towers National Historic Site facilities master plan. The site is in Milford, Pa.

The LA Group was hired by the U.S. Forest Service to develop a comprehensive plan outlining steps for the preservation, development, and evolution of the renowned national historic site.

The final plan was reviewed by a jury of landscape architecture professionals and selected to receive the merit award because the project represented "significant quality, innovation, and professional impact." The firm was also recognized for its "efforts to provide access and modernization to the site while maintaining the integrity of historic context."

Built in 1886, Grey Towers is the ancestral home of Gifford Pinchot, the first director of the U.S. Forest Service.

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HomeBridge Financial Services Inc., a residential mortgage lender, will host a grand opening wine and cheese event from 5:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, April 28, at at 125 High Rock Ave., Suite 202, its Capital Region headquarters in downtown Saratoga Springs.

The event will feature giveaways, a raffle for an iPad mini, as well as a $500 coupon toward closing costs.

Staffed by branch sales manager and mortgage loan originator Heidi Ives, mortgage loan originator Christian LaBier and mortgage loan processor Melissa Hurd, the new location allows for further expansion of the HomeBridge organization into Upstate New York and New Jersey.

Those who would like to attend are asked to respond by April 25 to Ives at hives@homebridge.com or 438-1217.

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Saratoga Women In Business Group (SWIB) Is A Growing Saratoga County Networking Entity

April 7, 2016

From left, Dorothy Rogers-Bullis, Rachel Spensieri and Heidi Ives are group cofounders.

Courtesy Saratoga Women In Business

Just 12 months after its inception, the Saratoga Women in Business (SWIB) group is already making its mark in the Spa City.

The group targets female business leaders in the greater Saratoga Springs area and offers free bi-monthly fellowship opportunities, complete with wine, light hors d'oeuvres, and door prizes sponsored by area businesses.

"We formed this group because we believed that women needed an avenue to meet other successful female professionals in our area," said Heidi Ives, sales manager at HomeBridge Financial Services Inc., and one of the group's co-founders. "Men do a lot of their networking on the golf course, so we wanted to create an equivalent fun, casual atmosphere where women could meet each other and learn more about one another's businesses."

SWIB has over 140 members in its LinkedIn group and reports an increasing number of women attending the bi-monthly gatherings. At the most recent networking event on March 30 at The Gideon Putnam Hotel in the Saratoga Spa State Park attracted over 60 women professionals.

"We were thrilled to have such a great turnout," said Dorothy Rogers-Bullis, owner of drb Business Interiors and another of the group's co-founders. "The fact that we have more and more women joining our group and doing business with one another as a result is proof that professional women truly want to help one another succeed."

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County EOC Will Hold Its Fundraiser At Casino

April 7, 2016

The Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council (EOC) will hold its 27th annual fundraiser, the May Day Spring Fling, 5:30-9 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, at the Canfield Casino in Congress Park, Saratoga Springs.

Attendees will have the opportunity to help support EOC's new endeavor: a traveling food pantry. The pantry will serve as an outreach vehicle that will visit areas of the county where residents are in need of food as a first point of contact as well as other services such as weatherization.

Anita M. Paley, EOC executive director, said, "Each day, some of our neighbors in Saratoga County have to make a decision about food due to the lack of it, because that money has gone to pay the electric bill, increased co-pays, medicine which is not covered by health insurance, rent, and gas to get to work. Many of the people who seek our help are working and trying to get ahead, but need just that little bit extra to get to the next place. "

The event is sponsored by Longfellows Restaurant and the Olde Bryan Inn. It will include an open bar tended by VIP bartenders, dinner and dessert stations, a live and silent auction and music by J. Yager.

Paley said the annual fundraiser has been a key event bringing together people with a genuine interest in their community and a strong desire to help others.

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Personnel Briefs: March 2016

April 7, 2016

P Brief - Helen Wilson.jpgRoohan Realty announced that Helen P. Wilson has joined the company as a real estate sales professional.

She has an associate's degree with honors from Nassau Community College and graduated from George Washington University with a bachelor's degree in psychology.

Wilson served in the U.S. Marine Corps in various capacities, most notably as the enlisted Marine Corps liaison to the U.S. House of Representatives. She achieved meritorious promotions to sergeant, receiving an honorable discharge with a Navy Achievement Medal upon leaving the Marine Corps.

She attended Pace University Law School and obtained a juris doctor degree and a position on the Law Review. She began a career with the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, prosecuting various criminal offenses through trial.

She broadened her legal career as in house counsel to Liberty Mutual and State Farm Insurance Companies. She then became a claims professional in various departments at State Farm. She recently retired after 22 years at State Farm in June 2015.

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P Brief - Vanessa Cianfarani.jpgThe Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau hired Vanessa Cianfarani as association sales manager.

The hiring brings the number of sales professionals to four and the total staff to 11 full-time and two part-time employees.

A Saratoga native, Cianfarani has worked in the hospitality industry over seven years. After attending Schenectady County Community College, where she completed internships at the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, she began her hospitality sales and event management career with Total Events Inc.

Cianfarani has planned and executed hundreds of weddings, social events and trade shows in the Capital Region. She volunteers her time at the Stowe Weekend of Hope for cancer survivors and their families.

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P Brief - Michael Murray.jpgWhiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP has hired Michael P. Murray as director of marketing.

Murray previously served as marketing manager for the Albany accounting firm SaxBST LLP. He brings over 20 years of marketing and business development experience, with a focus on the professional services arena.

He will manage Whiteman Osterman & Hanna's marketing activities and work with the marketing team on specific firm and practice area initiatives.

Murray has a master's degree in business administration from the College of Saint Rose, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Seton Hall University.

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P Brief - Andrei Krasnokutski.jpgAndrei Krasnokutski was promoted to vice president/commercial relationship manager at Ballston Spa National Bank.

He is responsible for developing and managing commercial banking relationships.

Krasnokutski joined BSNB in 2012 as a senior credit analyst and was promoted to assistant vice president and commercial relationship manager in 2014. He has more than 10 years of experience in the banking industry, including the areas of commercial real estate, commercial and industrial lending and corporate debt restructuring. Krasnokutski earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from St. Bonaventure University and his master's in business administration with a concentration in finance from Cleveland State University.

Krasnokutski, of Malta, is part of the bank's Volunteers in Action program where he helps organize an annual Electronics Recycling and Document Shred Day at BSNB. In 2015, BSNB staff members donated more than 9,000 volunteer hours through the Volunteers in Action program.

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New Restaurant, Seven, In Park Manor Hotel, Has Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner In Bistro Setting

April 7, 2016

Seven is a bistro now located inside the Park Manor Hotel in Clifton Park.

Courtesy Park Manor Hotel

By Jill Nagy

A new restaurant called Seven opened in January at the Park Manor Hotel, formerly the Comfort Suites, near Northway Exit 10 in Clifton Park.

The hotel address is 7 Northside Drive, hence the name. Described as an American bistro, Seven serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a space with a bistro-influenced decor. It replaces what had been a small breakfast area, now expanded and re-decorated.

It is open to the public, not just hotel patrons.

Frank Ciacco, manager of the restaurant, said everything is made from scratch from fresh ingredients. Everything is made in-house, including marinades, roasts and smoked meats, he added.

The menu is "ever-changing, ever-evolving," he said, noting it has been revamped six times since January as chef Tyler Mullins tries out new recipes and seeks feedback from the clientele.

Ciacco described Mullins style as "classical," paying a great attention to details and creating "great plates."

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'Leap Of Kindness Day' Created By Chamber Has Influence That Extends Around The Globe

March 4, 2016

Cindy Hollowood, general manager of the Holiday Inn Saratoga, in the forefront, poses with her staff on Leap of Faith Day. The hotel offered a free entree and beverage for military veterans that day.

Courtesy Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce

The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce asked members 'What would you do with one extra day?' in reference to the leap year day of Feb. 29.

According to Todd Shimkus, Chamber president, the question was asked of a special task force formed by the Chamber. last fall During the discussion, Bo Goliber of Fingerpaint Marketing offered an idea: Leap of Kindness Day.

The group decided to invite people to use the extra day to do something kind for someone else.

"Little did anyone on the task force know at the time. But this idea spread like wildfire after being announced at the Chamber's annual dinner on Jan. 28," said Shimkus. "Since that time, dozens of organizations across Saratoga County and hundreds of volunteers decided to thank or help thousands of their neighbors on this day."

He said beyond Saratoga County, local chambers of commerce in 30 states as far away as Alaska decided to encourage members and communities to participate in the Leap of Kindness Day celebration. Viewing social media posts, the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce has seen people doing something kind for someone else using the hashtag #leapofkindnessday as far away as Bangalore, India.

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SUNY Adirondack Has $2M To Help Students Complete Degrees, Make Higher Ed Attainable

March 4, 2016

SUNY Adirondack has been awarded nearly $2 million to expand completion initiatives and to establish an Educational Opportunity Program to aid more students in completing their desired degrees and graduating on time, in addition to making higher education obtainable for more students.

Earlier this month, the State University of New York announced a $4.6 million award from the Investment and Performance Fund benefitting North Country campuses. SUNY Adirondack is set to receive $1.8 million of that funding to be used towards three projects--the creation of a Student Success Advisement Center, the expansion of the Adirondack Completes initiative and the development of a web-based student tool called Adirondack Experience.

College officials said Adirondack Completes is an expansion of existing completion efforts providing additional academic support in math and other subjects, advisement and leveraging the degree works program to increase the number of graduates. The Adirondack Experience will be developed as a tool to help students plan and monitor their entire college experience, from application to graduation.

"The Investment and Performance funds will help SUNY Adirondack scale up its efforts to support student success and move us closer to our goal of increasing the number of graduates by fifty percent by 2020," said SUNY Adirondack President Kristine D. Duffy. "We are excited about sharing our best practices with our North Country colleagues and will continue to work in collaboration to support the vitality of this great region of New York."

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Harvest Moon Market Opens In Clifton Park, Offers Fresh Fish Received Daily From Boston

March 4, 2016

Jim Laiacona recently opened Harvest Moon Market in Clifton Park.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

By Liz Witbeck

People looking for places to buy fresh fish may be excited to know about the opening of Harvest Moon Market in Clifton Park.

Harvest Moon Market opened at 1512 Route 9 in the Save More Beverages Plaza.

Owner Jim Laiacona has been involved in the fresh produce industry his entire life. He previously worked with his father at Michael Laiacona Produce, and was also the owner of Harvest Cut Produce. He sold the business two years ago, which now operates as Capital City Produce.

Laiacona said he decided to partner with friends and family to create a fish market. Doug Freeman is the fish specialist at the store. Laiacona's wife, Jeanne, and their son, Jesse, help with the cooking of many products at the store.

Harvest Moon Market receives deliveries five days a week from Boston, the owner said. All of the fish is thoroughly inspected for quality and arrives fresh each day.

Some of the fish at the market includes cod, haddock, monk fish, Chilean sea bass, scallops, shrimp, lobsters, and more.

"If it swims, we own it," said Laiacona. "Our salmon we're featuring right now is a Norwegian salmon. It's delicious."

For those who have never been to a specialty fish market for their purchases, Laiacona said customers will see a significant increase in the quality of the product at a store like Harvest Moon Market.

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Palio Plans To Close Saratoga Springs Office In June; To Consolidate In NYC And Los Angeles

March 4, 2016

By R.J. DeLuke

Palio Communications, the area's largest communications and advertising firm, is closing its office on Broadway in Saratoga Springs and moving its headquarters to New York City.

Lori Goodale, corporate relations director for the company, said Palio will consolidate operations at its New York City headquarters and Los Angeles office.

The Saratoga Springs office will close in June, she said. Some staff will continue to work at Palio, relocating to New York City. Other staff will transition to other agencies inside inVentiv Health.

The company employed 108 people in Saratoga Springs at the end of 2014 when it reportedly finished the year with $31.7 million in revenue.

"The move to consolidate our Saratoga Springs office with our existing New York and Los Angeles hub locations is the latest chapter in Palio's journey and supports the agency's growth strategy," said Goodale.

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Laura Farrar-Pileckas' Love Of Fashion Led To Creation Of Her 'Violet's Of Saratoga' Shop

March 4, 2016

Laura Farrar-Pileckas is the owner of Violet's of Saratoga at 494 Broadway.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

By Jill Nagy

Violet's of Saratoga, a women's clothing and accessories store at 494 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, reopened in February after a major makeover. Owner Laura Farrar-Pileckas plans a party on March 10 to show off the new look and celebrate the reopening.

In the meantime, the shop is fully stocked and open for business.

Violet's has "a fresh new feel," more modern and plush, with new furnishings and light fixtures, as well as a few new brands of merchandise, according to Pilleckas. "I'm excited about the season coming up," she said, and she hopes that customers will share her enthusiasm.

Pileckas opened Violet's nine years ago as a women's clothing store. A few years later, she opened Stella's, a women's shoe store. The two were later combined into the store at its present site in the Collamer Building, near the Saratoga Springs City Hall.

Pileckas said that she "always loved fashion" and also enjoyed business, including working in retail. She has a bachelors degree in finance and worked for five years in that field in Boston.

Then, she "decided to become an entrepreneur. ... I couldn't see myself sitting at a desk for the rest of my life."

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Leon's Mexican Restaurant Finds New Home In Carousel Village Off Route 50, Ballston Spa

March 4, 2016

After some 14 years of operating in Saratoga Springs, not far from Saratoga Race Course, Leon's Mexican Restaurant has moved to the Carousel Village off Route 50 in Ballston Spa.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

By Liz Witbeck

Leon's Mexican Restaurant recently moved to a new location, opening at 2100 Doubleday Ave. (Route 50) in Ballston Spa in January.

The restaurant was previously located on Crescent Avenue in Saratoga Springs.

Leon's Mexican Restaurant is located in Carousel Village, the previous location of the Three Olives restaurant.

The business has been operating for the past 14 years. Roberta Acosta is owner of the establishment. Her entire family helps with the business.

"We sold the property and we were looking for a more modern building," said Acosta. "We wanted something with more traffic. As a mom, I was excited because this has parking. It's in a plaza. We looked at things in downtown Saratoga, but we didn't like anything because there was no parking. This came up and it was the perfect fit. I was really happy."

Renovations done prior to opening included adding new equipment to the kitchen, painting, new signs and decorating the interior. Leon's Mexican Restaurant has shipped in many interior decorations from Mexico, including their lights and their glassware.

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Saratoga Native Justin Wilock Opens Second Men's Formal Wear Shop Off Weibel Avenue

March 4, 2016

Justin Wilock, owner of Mr. Formal Wear, says he dreamed of owning a business in Saratoga Springs. His shop on Weibel Avenue opened recently and he also owns one in Clifton Park.

©2016 Saratoga Photographer.com

By Jennifer Farnsworth

Justin Wilock dreamed of owning a business in his hometown of Saratoga Springs. A 2007 graduate of Spa Catholic High School, he made that dream a reality with the opening of Mr. Formal Wear, off of Weibel Avenue at Hempstead Place.

The tuxedo shop is Wilock's second Saratoga County location.

Mr. Formal Wear, also located on Route 9 in Clifton Park, is a full service formal men's wear operation.

"I have always wanted to open up a store in Saratoga. I know how popular Saratoga is and now more than ever a destination place for weddings with all the wedding venues around this beautiful city," said Wilock.

Wilock said his business differs from most traditional men's formal wear because of a commitment to keeping up with the latest fashion trends and its ability to add a modern "twist" on the tuxedos. They also sell suits, ties and, dress shirts.

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