“The whole concept of GlobalFoundries is trickling down to other businesses and it has indeed trickled down to us,” said Beale. “I have had to hire additional front end staff and put more people in the kitchen. It’s been great.”
Beale isn’t alone. Malta business owners and residents, even GlobalFoundries employees, are recognizing the signature signs of economic growth. Restaurants are filled to the brim at lunch hour, hair salons are busier than ever, local banks are thriving, new development is underway, and GlobalFoundries representatives say this is just the “tip of the iceberg.”
Fab 8 currently has 1,200 employees on-site, about half of which were local hires, and the company expects to reach 1,600 by the end of this year. In addition, ancillary businesses and key semiconductor suppliers have already moved into the area, bringing with them hundreds of new jobs.
“We are starting to see the tell-tale signs of [the] clustering effect indicative of our industry and it’s having positive impacts throughout upstate New York,” said Jessica Kerley, GlobalFoundries representative.
What this all boils down to is opportunity at the hometown level, an increased demand for the goods and everyday services that our local businesses provide.
Just up the street from Bentley’s, Cristina and William Connelly, owners of Beauty Society Salon, have also experienced significant growth. They’ve welcomed dozens of new customers that work for GlobalFoundries and M+W Group (the construction company building Fab 8), and have hired two part-time employees in the past six months – an assistant and a stylist.
“It’s a really exciting time for local businesses,” Cristina said. “We can see it for ourselves; we can see it during lunchtime when people are coming to Dunning Street to get pizza and Chinese food; we see people running to the dry cleaners and to the bank.”
The Adirondack Trust Company branch at the intersection of routes 9 and 67 (Dunning Street), has also experienced a steady increase in demand for services, which President and CEO Charles V. Wait said is a direct result of the GlobalFoundries project.
But this isn’t just a workday phenomenon. Many of the employees that head downtown on their lunch break live in Malta and neighboring communities. As their town continues to offer more goods and services so will their ability to keep more local dollars local.
That couldn’t be truer for Regan Bouleris, a registered nurse, who moved to Malta seven years ago and has been witnessing change ever since. Last year, the 1992 Queensbury High School graduate gave up her 45-minute commute to Albany, when she was hired at GlobalFoundries as an occupational nurse. Bouleris, who received her RN from SUNY Adirondack, said that working three miles away from home has greatly improved her quality of life. She spends less cash at the gas pump, does all of her grocery shopping locally at the Price Chopper on Route 9, and comfortably spends the majority of her time and money in Malta.
“My car doesn’t leave the area very often. The farthest I probably travel is over to Ballston Spa to drop my kids off at day care, and then it’s back to work,” she said.
Scott Courtright, 28, a marine, is in a similar situation. The 2003 Schenectady High School grad works at GlobalFoundries as a principal technician, a job that finally brought him back to the Capital Region and his family after 10 years living out of state.
“I had been waiting and watching patiently since 2006,” he said. “Coming home to a job was nice.”
Courtright said he was pleasantly surprised to see so much growth upon returning to the area for his job interview. Both he and Bouleris remember a time when the Malta Drive-In was one of a few draws to the small town.
Now, a year-and-a-half after his first day of work, Courtright is taking advantage of all the new amenities Malta has to offer.
“I eat out quite often – every restaurant around here gets my business,” he said, giving a nod to Bentley’s Tavern, his favorite.
Courtright currently lives in Saratoga Springs with his wife, but they’re planning to buy a house in Malta. He predicts the town will continue to grow, and said the move is a great investment.
“There’s going to be a lot more growth,” he said.
From restaurant jobs to high-tech careers, these signs of growth point to a much bigger picture:
“The project was never solely about GlobalFoundries,” said Jim Angus, vice president of Saratoga Economic Development Corporation. “It has always been about the opportunity for not only Saratoga County but the entire Capital Region to grow jobs, to grow opportunities.”