Opal Jessica Bogdan
BALLSTON SPA — The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) can now provide financial assistance to COVID-19 impacted small businesses and nonprofits within the county.
This past month, Govonor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that gives IDAs the authority to provide grants and loans to businesses and nonprofits with 50 or fewer employees. The new bill will expire on Dec. 31, 2021 or when the state of emergency for coronavirus ends.
A grant of up to $10,000 per applicant is one option IDAs can provide. The grants can be used for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and, according to the law, “installing fixtures necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” such as safety shields. IDAs can also provide interest free loans up to $25,000 per applicant to pay for employee salaries, rent, utilities and other expenses. The loans have a one-year term after a grace period.
How each IDA loan program works, however, is based on local agency leaders. Rod Sutton, president of Saratoga County IDA, said the board would host a discussion this week about their program.
“Right now we are going to gather and review the legislation. We’re going to get our seven-member board to sit down and discuss the grant loan program,” Sutton said. “One of the biggest problems we have now is we can’t meet in public, so we are going to coordinate a Zoom or phone meeting. We expect to meet sooner rather than later to set up a program so we can go public with it and decide what the parameters will be for any applicant.”
Sutton said they would discuss the terms of how much they have to offer for each grant and loan. The board plans to project a three-year income expense that allows them to have a better idea on the monies available for the grant and loan.
“We’ll be sitting down with our chief financial officer and the full board to see how much money we can afford to allocate,” Sutton said.
When the legislation passed to make this program possible, Clifton Park IDA Chairman and Clifton Park County Supervisor Jonathan Schopf, with the unanimous support of the Board of the IDA, made the decision to provide direct grant support to our small business community, allocating $100,000 of its fund balance towards this grant program which will be available to businesses located within Clifton Park, according to their website. Grants will be available in tiers of $1,000, $3,000, $5,000, and $7,000.
Schopf said in the release: “Simple, easy to apply for financial relief for our small business community is a priority for the IDA. These grants are easy to apply for, 100% forgivable, come with no strings attached and will be locally distributed and administered to support our business community.”
To receive any funding from IDAs, businesses and nonprofits must be located within the County or Town of the IDA agency. Notification will be given to the community for any public meeting of the IDA.
The Saratoga County IDA is located at 50 West High Street in Ballston Spa and can be reached online at www.saratogacountyida.org/about-us/ or phone at 518-884-4705.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Members of the community should smash their piggy banks and collect change to deposit at local banks this upcoming month.
To help aid the nation-wide coin shortage or coin circulation disruption, the Adirondack Trust Company along with other banks have started an initiative to motivate the community to deposit coins.
“Like other banks, we’re taking certain steps to be aware of what our positions are. There are certain things happening in retail all over the country that lots of different banks are responding to,” Patrick Reilly, chief marketing officer at Adirondack Trust, said.
USA Today reported the coin shortage is due to an increased demand in coins. As the coronavirus spread across the world earlier this year, business closures and crippled economic activity in the United States developed as a result. That caused the circulation of coins to drop off significantly. The U.S. Mint, which manufactures the nation’s coin supply, also decreased staffing in response to the pandemic.
On June 11, the Federal Reserve acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the “normal circulation patterns for U.S. coin.”
“In the past few months, coin deposits from depository institutions to the Federal Reserve have declined significantly and the U.S. Mint’s production of coin also decreased due to measures put in place to protect its employees,” the Federal Reserve wrote in a statement. “The Federal Reserve is working on several fronts to mitigate the effects of low coin inventories.”
Now, as the nation’s businesses have reopened, demand for coins has exceeded the available supply. Many businesses are posting signs outside asking for exact change or another form of payment.
To help out these places of business, Adirondack Trust is going to start a mini campaign for coin return. Reilly said their financial institution has coin machines that sort and deposit coins for a fee.
“We are implanting to make our customers and the community aware that they can take their coins and turn them in fee free,” Reilly said.
The goal is to encourage members of the community to return change that the bank then recycles. The machines allow a direct deposit or can be converted into cash and other banks are thinking along similar lines in regards to returning coins. CNN reported the Community State Bank in Wisconsin launched a Coin Buy Back Program, which offers a $5 bonus for every $100 worth of coins turned in to any of its seven locations. Anyone who brings by coins, whether they’re a bank customer or not, can receive up to a maximum coin bonus of $500.
Forbes reported that actions were being taken to try and boost coins back into normal circulation to help stop the shortage. The Federal Reserve said they’re working with the U.S. Mint to minimize any constraints on Mint production and is advising banks and other depository institutions to only order what they absolutely need in terms of coins.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Local Paint and Sip studio announced the start of its weekly Kids Day Camp Painting program.
Hosted every Tuesday and Thursday, each class features a different theme to incorporate different painting techniques. The students will create and complete different paintings each class.
“We’ve never done summer camp at Paint and Sip before, so its been a whole new world for us to start this journey,” Catherine Hover, owner of Paint and Sip said.
A main focus of the day camp is to give an outlet to kids who are ready to get out of the house. Socialization is important and right now everyone is losing that aspect as time goes on.
“It’s important to provide these programs that will get kids out of the house and get them creating. It’s a great therapy for kids who are feeling frustrated too,” Hover said.
There is limited seating allowed to practicing safe social distancing. The camp will be offered through August, and a schedule of the July camps can be seen on their website. Each camper will be seated six-feet apart and have their own set of brushes to use and keep. A painting will be completed each class on 11×14 inch canvas panel to bring home. Paints will also be portioned out into 2-ounce paint tubes the campers can keep.
Amanda Demarco of Paint and Sip said interested community members can sign up directly on their website. Currently classes run from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. but Demarco said the hours will change to 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for the month of August.
“The camp is $50 for the week and includes equipment the students can take home. Tables are six-feet apart and although seating is limited, parents can request to sit with friends or family they are comfortable with,” Demarco said.
Hover added: “[the campers] are accumulating different arts and crafts and by the end of the session we’ll do a little art show, which may be done digitally.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The official First Edition City of Saratoga Springs Monopoly game was released this week, featuring beloved businesses, destinations and attractions that make the area unique.
The Hasbro-produced classic Monopoly game is completely customized to celebrate the City of Saratoga Springs. Created by the Adirondack Trust Company Community Fund (ATCCF), 100% of the proceeds from game sales will go directly to ATCCF’s Lend-A-Hand Grant program. The program puts dollars in the hands of nonprofits that impact the communities in Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties.
Leah Ferrone, Marketing Operations and Outreach manager at ATC, says everyone who has grown up, lived, moved or studied in Saratoga can relate to this customized board.
“The whole board is completely customized, from the tokens to different real estate properties and the photographs that are on the board. But I think one of the things that make it so special and unique are the ‘Community Chest’ and ‘Chance’ cards. For our board, we reference something unique in Saratoga on every card,” Ferrone said. “Whether you come to Saratoga for what you love—the track, SPAC, the healing aspects of the waters—there is something in those cards that everyone can relate to that will bring up a really fun memory of Saratoga.”
Each board costs $50 and references Congress Park, the Saratoga County Fair, being a Blue Streak, and even attending Skidmore. This isn’t the first time Saratoga was featured on a Monopoly game board. In the early 1980’s, a custom game board called Saratogaopoly was created. Photos reveal the collectors box saying “a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Saratoga Hospital Foundation.”
The creation of the new game board started in February and was created with help from the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Cooley Group in Rochester, NY.
“When we heard about all of the success the game could have, we knew it would be a lot of work, but it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Ferrone said.
ATCCF Chair Brian Straughter said in a release: “at a time when local nonprofits need our support more than ever, we are thrilled to introduce the City of Saratoga Springs Monopoly game as a way to not only create memories with your loved ones, but to also give back to the community. This game has been made possible through the support of local community members, many of which are featured on the game board. We are proud to share this project with all Saratoga Springs enthusiasts.”
There is only a limited quantity of games, and sales will last until they are sold out. However, Ferrone said they have the ability to order a second edition depending on demand.
“We wanted to announce the game though a big launch party, but the world had different plans. While it’s not how we envisioned it, this is a really special time to be putting this out there. The game celebrates the community and brings us together…this is something that will bring joy to people,” Ferrone said.
The local retailers who will be selling the game includes: Allerdice Building Supplies, Cudney’s Cleaners, Dark Horse Mercantile, Hampton Inn & Suites Saratoga Springs, Homewood Suites by Hilton Saratoga Springs, Impressions of Saratoga, Northshire Bookstore Saratoga Springs, PJ’s BBQSA, Putnam Market, Saratoga Hospital, Spoken Boutique, and all Adirondack Trust Company convenient branch locations. Games also may be purchased online at SaratogaSpringsMonopoly.org.
ATCCF’s website is ATCCF.org and is located at 31 Church Street. They can be reached at 518-584-5844.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Henry Street welcomed outdoor tables filled with customers this past weekend as local eateries in Saratoga have expanded their outdoor dining to the streets.
Participating restaurants such as Scallions, Henry Street Taproom, Flatbread Social, Paint and Sip and other businesses can now offer outdoor seating on the street with concrete safety barriers between customers and traffic. The concrete blocks extend down Henry Street and Short Alley between Lake Avenue and Caroline Street. Eateries saw full capacity after beginning the street dining this past Friday.
“It was really exciting to see so many people enjoying it,” said Erin Maciel, Complete Streets Advisory Board committee member. “This is the step we need to take as a city. I think by working with the business association, we have really seen how streets can be flexible. That’s really what we are promoting with Complete Streets. Streets are public space and this is a great example of how streets can keep us safe as a community, allow for social distancing and allow for people to be outdoors and support businesses.”
The Complete Streets Advisory Board was established via the Complete Streets Policy as adopted by City Council on May 1, 2012.
“Having that outdoor space is pivotal. People do feel safer outdoors and that’s something that we have to acknowledge and support. We want them to come out and feel safe downtown. The outdoor step is essential and necessary to save our local economy,” said Catherine Hover, owner of Paint and Sip.
Street dining helps to increase revenue for participating businesses and allows for COVID-19 safe dining. To help this initiative, Maciel said she’s happy the city passed a temporary outdoor seating that allows businesses to expand to city property, which streets are included in.
“With the ordinance that is out there right now, each business needs to provide insurance that allows them to go out onto sidewalks and into the street. That’s our next step throughout our community…to expand outdoor dining.”
The Saratoga City Council approved the permit system late June, which allows city restaurants to expand their outdoor seating to sidewalks and other public locations. The permits have no cost.
Henry Street isn’t the only roadway to see outdoor dining. Maciel said she has seen businesses on other streets joining together to take over parking lanes or shift around the cross section of the roadway to accommodate seating in the street. Hover, also owner of Palette Café, expanded her outdoor seating to the sidewalks on Broadway.
“Right now, I think we are seeing a silver lining and I think that’s something we need to talk about…that we can accommodate and support local businesses with new ideas and thinking creatively,” Maciel said. “We on the Complete Streets Board and design professionals here in the city just want to support businesses to keep our city what it is and make sure everyone can weather this storm.”
Maciel is also a Senior Landscape Architect at CLA SITE Landscape Architecture, Engineering & Planning, P.C, which is located at 58 Church St in Saratoga Springs.
Hover added: “We have to keep moving forward and we have to have hope. We have to evolve and we have to adapt. We need people to be vocal and speak up. There is real change coming and it’s exciting.”
Dining on the road will continue through Labor Day, at which point the Complete Streets Advisory Board and city officials will re-evaluate to determine if the ordinance and permits should be extended.
“It really depends on COVID and how safe we can be indoors,” Maciel said. “We have a climate here that does not allow us to be outdoors year-round. Talking with everyone, why can’t we have heaters out there? You look at a lot of cities around the globe and I think there are ways to make accommodations for folks to enjoy it longer. Once we go into winter and if we are not able to be indoors safely, that’s going to be a huge hit for our small businesses. We really need to expand it as far as it can.”
MALTA — Recently known as 101 State Farm Place, Malta Grove was auctioned off earlier this year to the new property owner Flaum Management Co. Inc.
Flaum Management is a commercial real estate agency based in Rochester, New York. They purchased the 25-acre property for $2 million, which holds a 120,000 sq-ft building.
Flaum Management is highly motivated to fill the building and will demise the space to accommodate tenants requirements. The building is currently available for lease in suites ranging starting at 10,000 sq-ft. Loren Flaum, CFO of Flaum Management, said the family business is very tenant-orientated.
“We are very tenant focused…good tenants come first in our business. We’re very hands-on, we're not an absentee landlord, with over 500 tenants we put them all first,” Flaum said. “We service our tenants and give them whatever they need such as a cost effective solution. We have a very attentive 24/7-customer-service.”
Flaum said the management team enjoys the redevelopment opportunities Saratoga County and the Capital Region offers.
“We found that the economy in the capital region is very strong we like the prospects,” Flaum said. “We have a property management team in Albany and we’re gearing up to do more in the capital region.”
Flaum management is known for taking vacant properties and used properties to redevelop them and bring life back to them. Flaum mentioned re-naming the property to Malta Grove would fit better within the landscape.
“The location is phenomenal, it’s right off the highway and across the street from the new hospital and YMCA. We have been very successful in re-developing and we will use that same model for this building,” Flaum said. “We love the economic prospect of the area and the growth. We only look at acquisitions that we can really help benefit tenants because without them, we would have nothing.”
Flaum Management worked with Peter Struzzi, SIOR at Cushman & Wakefield. Struzzi joined the company in 1998 and serves as the Real Estate Broker for the Albany Office. As for the future of Malta Grove, Flaum and his family are excited for the opportunity to expand in Saratoga County.
“We just want to see this building become vibrant again and have more life,” Flaum said.
Flaum Management is also the owner of Latham Farms, located at 579 Troy Schenectady Rd and Queensbury Plaza.
MALTA — This store’s new location has become the one-stop-shop for local home décor complete with a sweet treat: an ice cream parlor.
Finishing Touches Home Décor opened the doors to their new location this past Thursday. Exclusively a home décor store before moving to their new location, owner Shelly Walker said her husband has always wanted to open an ice cream store. When the new location offered the opportunity to open one, the couple knew they had to take advantage of it.
“The ice cream parlor is called Cookies and Cream. It’s a full-blown ice cream shop. We offer hard ice cream, soft ice cream, shakes, banana splits and ice cream cookies to name a few. We’ve been really busy,” Walker said.
The ice cream parlor was not the only addition to Finishing Touches. The decor store now features a baby and child section, pet section and displays several window treatment options.
“We have a lot more windows in this building so I put sample designs in most of the windows. People can now see the different styles of stain of window shades on the windows rather than just look at a tiny sample or online,” Walker said.
Since opening their doors at 450 East High Street in Malta, business has been busy. Walker said the store felt “tucked away” at its previous location at 217 Ballard Rd Wilton and was looking forward to the move.
“It’s been great. We’ve had steady traffic every day and it’s so much better than what we had in Wilton,” Walker said. “The people here are so nice, friendly and are always saying ‘we love that you’re here.’ Everyone in Malta is excited that we are there.”
The store is located on the corner of Route 9 and East High Street. Walker said the new store is aimed to sell gifts for special occasions. They are trying to offer more items for weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. Finishing Touches also offers gift cards and gift bags sets.
“There’s nothing like that in Malta, really,” Walker said.
The store aims to provide the “finishing touches” to anyone’s home. They not only offer artwork, mirrors, furniture, bedding and accessories, but also room re-styling as well. Walker focuses on items made in the United States as well.
Walker previously hoped to open her doors this past spring, but the pandemic put her on pause. She and her husband have spent their effort in remodeling, placing patio furniture outside and designing the ice cream parlor.
“We’re excited that we're busy. Even though we are at a new location, we still offer interior design along with other services,” Walker said.
Other services include: renovations, model home staging, artwork and accessories selection and placement and outdoor patios. Walker has over 20 years of experience in the design field after earning her degree at the Interior Design Institute in CA. She has participated in the Saratoga Builders Association Showcase of Homes and the Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association Parade of Home.
BALLSTON SPA — The Village of Ballston Spa is offering the community a unique dining experience where customers can eat on the street.
Any restaurant located on Front Street can expand their outdoor dining area three nights a week during dining hours. The Village Board voted the new dining rules into effect this past month.
Street dining began June 18 and restaurants located between Low and Bath have expanded their tables to the street. The outdoor dining will be offered from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Larry Woolbright, village mayor, said business has been great for street dining.
“The restaurants have been participating in outdoor dining and they have been doing really good business. It’s been a popular thing. I’ve been down here a few evenings and they have all been doing brisk business. It’s great to see people walking around,” Woolbright said.
The effort is to boost business at local eateries including the Front Street Social Club, Henry’s Irish Tavern, Next Door Restaurant and Sunset Grill. Craig Favreau, manager at Front Street Delicatessen and Pizzeria, said he’s noticed a massive decrease in people dining out since restaurants were allowed to open at half occupancy. He did notice, however, that the community utilized the expanded outdoor seating when it was available.
“We don’t really sell much nowadays with people dining in. People are still eating in, but not like they used to. But they are utilizing the outdoor tables weather permitting,” Favreau said.
Woolbright added: “The restaurants on Front Street are pretty small spaces. When they were allowed to open up with appropriate social distancing, it’s questionable whether some of them will have enough tables to cover their expenses. We felt that in order to help them, we had to give them the opportunity to expand the location of their tables.”
Being closed or exclusively offering takeout has taken a toll on eateries across the world, but Favreau is happy to have the opportunity to expand. Front Street Deli currently allows half of the occupancy of the store. When Front Street is shut down, Favreau takes the unused tables and places them on the street.
“Right now, half of our tables inside are not in use. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday we get the ones that we are not using inside and put them outside,” Favreau said. “I think having this makes people more inclined to dine out.”
The community of Saratoga Springs is hoping for a similar dining opportunity on Broadway. However, expanding outdoor seating won't be an option, as Broadway is also State Route 50 which is controlled by the state. Two weeks ago, the City Council approved a permit system that will allow the city’s restaurants to expand their outdoor dining. The permit will allow eateries to place their chairs and tables on sidewalks and streets.
Front Street Deli is located at 39 Front Street. They can be reached at thefsdeli.com or 518-884-0456.
“It’s been tough on these small outfits to be closed for so long,” Woolbright said. “Unless something changes with indoor dining, we reserved the right to change the system anytime that it appears that it needs to be changed. My guess is until the restaurants are allowed to open back up at their full capacity we’ll probably continue to do this.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — While hundreds of high school graduates celebrate their academic achievements for the school year, one local graduate was recognized for her key personality traits.
Eve Crossett, a graduate at the Saratoga Springs High School, was honored for embodying key traits such as anti-bullying and respect throughout the school year. She was featured on the Act with Respect Always (AWRA) website as a “spotlight.” The spotlight highlights individuals from schools and in the community who have taken it upon themselves to “pay it forward” as AWRA Ambassadors.
“Being a spotlight was a surprise. It feels really good to be recognized and I’m really excited for what the future will bring,” Crossett said.
AWRA stresses the importance of one’s personal character both on and off the school campus. It was founded by Rich Johns as a pay it forward movement. Every year, Johns selects a student who embodies traits such as kindness, teamwork, courage, honesty and anti-bullying. Johns said he selected Crossett for not only her personality traits, but also the scholarship she received. Crossett received the West Point Association of
“West Point is sponsoring me to go to a preparatory school. I will attend Marion Military Institute in Marion, AL as a cadet in the Service Academy Preparatory Program this year, and upon completion of the program I will receive a Letter of Assurance from West Point. This guarantees a spot in the class of 2025 if I remain academically, medically, and physically qualified,” Crossett said.
Johns first met Crossett while helping the Saratoga girl’s tennis team. He began to help her on the tennis court, and grew to learn her personality both on and off the court.
“I was on the girls’ varsity tennis team in Saratoga for a few years and he always came in and spoke. We didn’t become closer until this year as he came to our matches more often and I had more opportunities to talk to him. He then asked me to be a member of his program and I felt so honored,” Crossett said.
Johns added: “She is so open and honest. She has impressed me so much over the last year. The path that Eve has wanted to take is becoming a reality. She is one of the most caring, gifted, modest students I have ever met. I feel connected to Eve and all of the past spotlights.”
Crossett said Johns has reached out weekly throughout the COVID pandemic to check in with the members of AWRA.
“He is a great role model in the community,” Crossett said. “I’m so excited to finally be able to live out my dream of going to West Point.”
Johns founded AWRA after growing up in South Glens Falls. There, he learned core values that he has used throughout his life.
“My mom and dad were from large families that immigrated to the United States to create a new life for themselves. Each of them taught me from a very young age that you must always work hard and respect all people that are in your life,” Johns wrote on his website. “As a young student and athlete, I soon learned that teachers and coaches were there to help me improve my abilities. Respecting these individuals was first and foremost to me. As years have passed, the core value of respect continues to be even more important to me. I believe that respect is at the center of all things we do in life.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The community is invited to get active, stay safe and join together to take a slow roll bike ride.
Local biker Ian Klepetar developed the Social Distance Slow Roll bike ride through his own interest in bikes. He teamed up with two downtown Saratoga businesses to create this slow paced bike tour. The idea is to gather every last Sunday of the month and bike certain routes Klepetar has planned out.
“The ride will have a front leader and a rear leader. Any type of bikes are welcomed; electric bikes, road bikes, cruisers, anything,” Klepetar said.
The Social Distance Slow Roll is co-hosted with The Palette Café and Impressions of Saratoga. Each ride will begin at 10 a.m. on the last Sunday of every month. Facemasks and helmets are required as everyone in the community is welcomed to join. Klepetar mentioned the riders averaged 10 mph on their last slow roll.
Each tour will finish at Humpty Dumpty Ice Cream & Subs. Klepetar mentioned riders can use a buy-one-get-one deal on the ice cream after the slow roll. The next slow roll will happen June 28.
“A lot of people want to keep it safe out there. Being out in the fresh air where there is more air circulating is great. We try to keep our distance and ask all participants to wear a mask,” Klepetar said. “We usually play music and everyone is welcome to attend.”
Klepetar wanted to host the slow roll after being inspired through his monthly “Bike Talk.” The talk features different experts in the world of biking, covering topics from bicycling safety and trail riding. Palette Café teamed up with Klepetar and Maddy Zanetti, co-owner of Impressions of Saratoga, to start the weekly “Bike Talk.” They began this past May as a way to educate and engage the community in all things bicycle related.
“We hosted a slow roll at the end of last month as a celebration of the regular Bike Talks. The ride was such a success…we will continue doing the bike ride throughout the summer,” Klepetar said.