The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has reached a three-year extension of its television programming deal with FOX Sports to broadcast NYRA’s flagship TV program “Saratoga Live” on the FS2 channel. The agreement means live daily coverage of racing from Saratoga Race Course will be available to a national television audience through 2020. “There’s...
The Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce announced the appointment of Gina Mintzer, CMP, as its new executive director, replacing Michael Consuelo, who is retiring.
Mintzer will begin her new role under the tutelage of Consuelo on Sept. 11. Consuelo announced in April that he was retiring at the end of September.
Mintzer has served as the director of sales for the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACCVB) for 19 years. In this role, she assisted in the stabilization, expansion, and evolution of Albany as a visitor destination despite economic and national conditions throughout the last two decades.
She managed a team of six convention sales and services professionals dedicated to quality client, colleague, and community customer service, officials said. She was the information resource for meeting and sports event planners working closely with the Times Union Center, Empire State Plaza Convention Center and all the Albany County hotels on client events ranging from the NCAA tournament to the Maccabi Games.
Mintzer also assisted efforts to ensure strong business for the new Albany Capital Center.
She managed programs, activities, and connections to build and sustain a healthy meetings and convention visitor industry.
By Margaret MacDonald
Thomas Grouard Lillelund, a native of France with a passion for wine, has opened French Corner, a small wine importation and distribution company in Saratoga Springs.
The company is small but encompasses what Lillelund terms the “art form” of what he does.
It brings French wines to the U.S. market, focusing on vineyards from well-known and new wine regions
Having left France 20 years ago, Lillelund and his wife moved from London to settle in Saratoga five years ago to begin the company.
A passion for wine began to express itself around 15 years of age. He said he traveled often and loved visiting the scenic vineyards. Upon moving to the U.S., he sought to establish a smaller production company like those abundant in Europe.
As the only link between customer and winemaker, the French Corner serves primarily restaurants and retail from New York City to Lake Placid—the Hudson River corridor—no further west than Schenectady.
STEADfast IT, a managed service provider, announced the launch of an in-house SOS center, an end-user support service designed to eliminate delays associated with requests for help.
The STEADfast IT SOS Center applies concepts from just-in-time manufacturing and hospital emergency rooms to the IT industry. By re-engineering the support process, the level of customer service is elevated beyond industry norms, according to the company.
Dedicated SOS engineers are trained in new methods and utilize proprietary software built specifically for the SOS Center.
STEADfast’s software manages all requests in real-time so that every call for assistance is treated as an emergency triage and is routed directly to the appropriate individual best qualified to address the issue, officials said. This approach to IT support eliminates the traditional ticket escalation process and its support tiers.
Mazzone Hospitality LLC, headquartered in Clifton Park, has added to its portfolio of special events facilities with the opening of its new venue at Courtyard Marriott Lake George.
The 3,900-square-foot banquet hall is located at the lakeside hotel property at 365 Canada St., in Lake George. It opened in late July.
Mazzone Catering will oversee all catering operations at the private event space, which will host weddings, business functions, fundraisers and other special events.
The Courtyard Marriott Lake George brings the total number of exclusive Mazzone Catering properties to seven. The company also maintains a robust off-premise catering division.
“We are excited to introduce our first exclusive ‘venue with a view’ at the Courtyard Marriott Lake George. It is a true delight to expand our operations in this beautiful community,” said Mazzone Catering chief operating officer Sean Willcoxon. “We pride ourselves on providing impeccable food and service, and pledge to continue to uphold this standard in Lake George. We look forward to welcoming the community to tour this exciting new space, which provides a unique range of amenities for truly memorable special events.”
The Courtyard Marriott Lake George features lake and mountain views and access to the signature Mazzone Catering culinary menu.
By Maureen Werther
As thoroughbred racing fans leave the 2017 Saratoga Race Course season behind,the Breeders Cup Association continues to gear up for its own two-day event being held this year in Del Mar racetrack in California.
The Breeders Cup, slated for Nov. 3 and 4, is the culmination of grade one stakes races held at tracks across the country and around the world. It’s the equivalent of the Super Bowl for the thoroughbred industry.
Peter Rotondo, vice president of the Breeders’ Cup, was a very busy man during the running of the 2017 Whitney Stakes in Saratoga Springs. The race became part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series in 2007. The race winner—Gun Runner this year—gets an automatic bid to the racing’s big event in November.
Rotondo’s activities in and around the track continued throughout the course of the meet, with appearances on panel groups and sponsorship of Equestricon, the first trade show of its kind in the world of thoroughbred racing.
Rotondo said when people think of the Breeders’ Cup, they usually think of just one race, the Classic, which is has a $6 million purse and is the marquis event.
The colorful and multi-themed hot air balloons will take to the skies again in the Glens Falls/Lake George area when the Adirondack Balloon Festival takes place Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 21-24.
It will be the 45th annual event.
It kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 21 at Crandall Park in Glens Falls. Events continue through the weekend at Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport in Queensbury.
Some of the unusual balloons will include Owlbert Einstein, Scortch the Dragon, Smiley the Scarecrow and Pokey the Turtle. An American Flag balloon piloted by Barry Delibero will appear for the first time at the festival. It is 70 feet tall and 78 feet wide, organizers said.
Scortch the Dragon also makes his first appearance, piloted by Keith Sproul. He stands 145 feet tall.
This year’s event has band performances during the weekend by the Master Cylinders, North and South Dakotas, Buckeye Rooster, the Old Main and Across the Pond.
Parking passes can be purchased online at www.adirondackballoonfest.org.
The board of directors of the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce (ARCC) announced that President and CEO Tori J.E. Riley has decided to leave her position, effective Tuesday, Sept. 5.
She will return to a job she held previously, taking the position of vice president with the Saratoga Economic Development Corp. (SEDC).
The ARCC board will form a committee to lead a search for a new president. In the interim, members of the board’s Executive Committee will work closely with staff on a day-to-day basis to ensure Chamber programs and services continue uninterrupted.
“The ARCC has regretfully accepted Tori’s resignation,” said board Chairwoman Dianne Shugrue, president of Glens Falls Hospital. “Tori is a tremendous ambassador for our region and a dedicated advocate for ARCC members. We wish her the very best as she continues her good work on behalf of our regional business community.”
“I love the ARCC,” said Riley. “It is a phenomenal organization and a tremendous resource for businesses of all sizes. But I have come to realize that my greatest passion lies in the economic development sector and the direct recruitment and retention of businesses that SEDC does so well.
“I am proud of the many accomplishments my staff, the board of directors and I achieved together, particularly in adding new educational programs to the Chamber’s offerings and strengthening the organization’s financial foundation. I look forward to watching and supporting the ARCC as they continue to do great things in the future.”
**8/17/17 Updated to correct ownership.
By Maureen Werther
Dehn’s Flowers is celebrating its 125th year in business throughout the summer, with sales and special events for long-time customers as well as new ones. While some things at Dehn’s have changed, other things have remained the same, the most important of which is the family’s work ethic and their commitment to the business.
Christian Dehn made the trip from Germany to the United States in 1890 specifically to visit the World’s Fair. While he was there, he met people who told him about the upstate New York city of Saratoga Springs and its growing popularity as a place to relax and enjoy the restorative properties of its healing springs.
Dehn decided to see for himself what all the fuss was about and, soon after arriving here, he opened a flower business on Clark Street. However, he had left his wife, Sophie and their young son, Charles in Germany. Within a year, he closed the Clark Street shop, made the trip back to Europe and brought his family back to Saratoga Springs. In February of 1892, he purchased an existing flower shop on Beekman Street. Five generations and 125 years later, the family business continues to thrive.
By R.J. DeLuke
The New York Racing Association continues to invest money into Saratoga Race Course, in an effort to draw younger fans. It is also proud of the way it has worked with local businesses to enhance the economic viability of the track and the city.
Those were among the messages NYRA CEO Chris Kay relayed at a breakfast meeting of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, held at the National Museum of Racing on the eve of the opening of this year’s meet.
The following day, NYRA reported that Saratoga Race Course saw an all-sources handle of $20,332,051, a 14.47 percent increase over the 2016 opening day total.
Kay cited the 2015 study that showed the race track had an economic impact in the county of $237 million. There hasn’t been a study since, but he said, based on the number of new hotels and the price increases at restaurants, he estimated that economic impact has probably grown to $245-$250 million.
Regarding current investments, Kay said an improved children’s playground area “is as important and as strategic a capital improvement as we will ever make when it comes to the sustainability of our organization and, therefore, the sustainability of the Saratoga economy.”
Over the years, he noted, many people became fans because they visited the track with their parents and had fond memories that brought them back. Today, that is not necessarily the case; so, getting younger fans to perpetuate the attendance at the track is important.
Other changes this year, he said, include technological enhancements that more than doubled the facility’s Wi-Fi capacity; the Saratoga debut of NYRA XP, a new all-in-one Saratoga mobile app that provides all kinds of information as well as streaming of live races; and the unveiling of a restored historic paddock pari-mutuel building.