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Store Offers Shoppers Top Line Apparel, Footwear, Archery and Firearms
COHOES – The Capital District’s premier outdoor outfitters, American Trade & Goods, is offering shoppers 20 percent off select products in the store until Christmas. Located at 1213 Loudon Road in Cohoes, the store carries the best selection of top line apparel, western wear, footwear, eyewear, archery and firearms.
There are eight American Trade & Goods stores, with the Cohoes location being the first “concept store” with clothing, firearms and archery. Owned by the Capital Gun Group, American Trade & Goods will celebrate its first anniversary this month as well.
From brands such as Lucchese, Remington, Ariat, Pendleton and Woolrich, to name a few, employees say there’s something for everyone at American Trade & Goods. Most importantly, the store prides itself on delivering quality pieces without compromise. Roughly 50 to 60 percent of all products in the store are made in the United States.
“Our concept is to marry the outdoor sportsman with the classic outfitter, Adirondack-wearer, quality clothing without compromise,” said David La Mar, retail guru for American Trade & Goods.
The locally-owned store saw a myriad of customers over the weekend for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. La Mar says a popular trend this winter is wool.
“There are wonderful trends with wool and better-grade fabrics,” said La Mar. “Lots of wool, lots of Pendleton.”
American Trade & Goods carries a variety of Pendleton products, from blankets, shirts and even bags. Under Armour has also been a popular vendor with shoppers.
“We’re also seeing a lot of belts and buckles – things that are unique,” said La Mar. “Lucchese snip toe boots have also been popular. We’re also seeing a lot of color in our Buck Knives case; they have pink camo, white camo, snakeskin…so they become gifts for women as well.”
When buying items for the store, La Mar says he keeps in mind colorations, pattern, fabric, feel and quality. He says shoppers should feel comfortable knowing each piece is timeless and can be passed down through generations.
“The devil is in the details,” said La Mar. “That’s my favorite saying. When you’re buying clothing, does the zipper work easily? On jeans, is the stitching on the pocket unique? Water-repellant clothing that doesn’t feel like plastic…silk lining…virgin wool, which means the first cutting of the lamb or sheep. We look for unique designs that are outstanding. They’re pieces that hand down from father to son.”
Aside from clothing, footwear and accessories, the store also carries a wide variety of firearms, archery equipment, knives and even eyewear. In addition, American Trade & Goods also offers educational/safety classes for gun and archery purchasers. The retail staff is also knowledgeable on all products in the store.
American Trade & Goods also caters to female clients and offers plenty of items for women.
American Trade & Goods is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
Rebuilding Together Modifies Saratoga Home for Beloved Neighbor
SARATOGA SPRINGS – It’s the season of giving and the Saratoga Springs community is giving one of its neighbors the gift of a lifetime – a newly modified home.
Mike Shpur, of Saratoga Springs, suffered a severe spinal cord injury in late June. He is now a quadriplegic. After five weeks in the Intensive Care Unit at Albany Medical Center, Shpur was moved to Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital, where is receiving intensive therapy. While Shpur’s family and friends say he’s receiving excellent care, there truly is no place like home.
Rebuilding Together Saratoga County joined forces with Shpur’s family, friends and neighbors to completely modify the home he shares with his wife, Cindy. The home is now ready and equipped to welcome him just in time for Christmas.
“The goal was to get him home, but he needed to have modifications to his home,” said Michelle Larkin, executive director of Rebuilding Together Saratoga County. “He’s going to be in a large chair, so he needed a wide, roll-in shower.”
But the modifications didn’t stop there. Crews also remodeled toilets and sinks, widened doorways, installed new flooring and constructed ramps to get Shpur in and out of the house.
“Mike was part of the golfing community and it was interesting because I had a lot of people calling me about him,” said Larkin. “People immediately reached out to Rebuilding Together Saratoga County to try to do something for him, which I thought was pretty cool.”
Rebuilding Together heard of Shpur’s story in early October and was able to gather enough volunteers, donors and contractors to assist with the project, despite the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
“Being that it was the end of the year, budgets were already made; but everybody was on the same page and everybody wanted to do something,” said Larkin. “We also had help from a family who cares a lot about their community and felt particularly touched by this story.”
Shpur’s home remodel was one of the many projects Rebuilding Together Saratoga County completed throughout the year. The group assisted over 107 households and non-profit organizations in 2014 with help from over 1,000 volunteers. Larkin says Shpur’s project is an example of the good work that is possible when the community comes together.
“The community did rally to help this family,” said Larkin. “It’s a story that touches everybody because it was so out of the blue; it could happen to anybody. The folks who volunteer and work with us are amazing people because they’re helping strangers. One of our homeowners once said to me, ‘They came as strangers and left as friends,’ and that’s what we’re all about.”
To volunteer or to donate to Shpur’s project or any other project Rebuilding Together Saratoga County is working on, visit their website at www.rtsaratoga.org
Wilton Food Pantry Breaks Records this Fall
WILTON – Thanksgiving is a chance to give thanks for a life that’s good. Of course, it’s also a great time to think about helping those who might not have enough to eat by donating food and volunteering your time. Local food banks help feed millions of Americans every year and at the Wilton Food Pantry, volunteers have been extremely busy this fall.
“We have far outdone what we distributed last year,” said Debi Zellan, President of the Wilton Food Pantry. “The last three months have all been record-breakers for us. Each month our distribution has increased, so the need is clearly growing.”
In 2013, Wilton Food Pantry distributed groceries – not including holidays – equal to 22,752 meals. The pantry hit that number in October; close to 26,000 meals have been distributed so far this year, not including holidays.
Last Saturday, 80 families received complete ingredients for Thanksgiving meals based on family size. Additionally, Wilton Food Pantry continued with regular service and distributed food to 21…all in under three hours.
“A month or so we looked around and thought, ‘the shelves are bare, what are we going to do?’ And we put out the word and the community came together,” said Zellan. “We were able to put together magnificent Thanksgiving baskets and we’ve been able to meet the increased need each month and each week and each day.”
The Thanksgiving baskets included 1,360 pounds of turkey; 280 pounds of potatoes; 256 pounds of applesauce; 188 pounds of stuffing, 144 pounds of cranberries; 100 pounds of green beans; 100 pounds of yams; and 100 pounds of carrots, among many other food items as well.
But with every food pick-up and donations received, the pantry needs volunteers for intake, distribution, and inventory and stocking shifts. Although Wilton Food Pantry has a long list of volunteers, it always comes down to the same devoted neighbors, ranging in age from 15 to 70, who are always willing to lend a hand.
New Wilton resident, Roger Flynn, started volunteering with Wilton Food Pantry in July and helps out multiple times a week.
“I’m retired and I felt like I needed to do something. It’s the right thing to do – help people out,” said Flynn. “That’s the main reason…that’s the way my father raised me. If you have the time to do it, do it. I like doing something good for somebody else.”
Way before Wilton Food Pantry opened its doors, Wilton resident, Rose Nesbitt, got involved right when discussions on opening a food pantry were taking place in December of 2010.
“As a mother of six kids, I can’t imagine being a mother and not being able to feed your children,” said Nesbitt. “It makes you think…I’m thankful I was able to feed my children, but think about how many women can’t.”
The Wilton Food Pantry is in need of monetary and food donations; but most importantly, the pantry is also in need of volunteers. Visit the pantry's website at www.wiltonfoodpantry.org for more information on donating and volunteer sign-up.
Community Members Create Turkey Centerpieces out of Potatoes, Pipe Cleaners
SARATOGA SPRINGS – More than 100 community members gathered together at Skidmore’s Tang Teaching Museum Saturday, Nov. 22 for the 12th annual Make-a-Turkey-Out-of-a-Potato Extravaganza.
The event, part of the museum’s Family Saturday programs, has become a staple event for many. What started out as an art-making project more than a decade ago has turned into a Thanksgiving tradition not to be missed.
“This is my favorite thing we do all year long,” said Ginger Ertz, museum educator for K-12 and community programs.
Ertz is the founder of the beloved Make-a-Turkey-Out-of-a-Potato Extravaganza and started the event in 2002. Participants are given a russet potato and a collection of colorful feathers, pipe cleaners, beads, frill picks and potato sticks, and are tasked with creating turkey to display as a centerpiece during Thanksgiving.
“When I was little, we always made a turkey out of a potato but we cut the feathers and wings and everything out of cardboard and sort of shoved them into the potato,” said Ertz. “So when I started this job and became in charge of Family Saturdays I thought, ‘Well, let’s up that.’ Also, I’m a pipe cleaner artist.”
11-year-old Ellie Sweeney Benzon and her brother, 5-year-old Jack, were hard at work, creating colorful turkeys to place at the center of their table on Thanksgiving.
“I like it a lot,” said Ellie. “I like the peacock colors and I’m using a lot of twirly pipe cleaners.”
Meanwhile, Jack was decorating his turkey using his favorite colors – blue and green.
“It’s a fancy turkey,” said Zoe Shapiro, 8. “I used pipe cleaners and beads…I’m going to put it on the table for Thanksgiving!”
“I love it,” said Ertz. “I wish I could go to all of their houses and see their tables!”
The Make-a-Turkey-Out-of-a-Potato Extravaganza is held every Saturday right before Thanksgiving.
Glamour Paws Adds New Groomer, Accepting New Customers
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The holidays are going to the dogs. Studies show more than 60 percent of owners include their pets in holiday cards or give them a gift. Furthermore, 80 percent of pets participate in holiday celebrations. Glamour Paws, located at 426 Maple Ave in Saratoga Springs, is taking reservations and looking for new customers for dog grooming.
No matter what festivities your dog partakes in, grooming is essential to avoid smelly pet odors and keep the seasonal scents of cinnamon and pine trees alive. Getting your pooch cleaned up and looking (and not to mention, smelling) their best before company starts arriving is what Glamour Paws can help you do.
Glamour Paws opened seven months ago and owner, Andrea Ott, says business has been steady busy. With the new addition of groomer, Liz Nudo, Ott is able to increase clientele.
“It’s a great location and we’re in a dog-friendly town so you have a lot of dogs but not really a lot of groomers,” said Ott.
Glamour Paws offers grooming for all breeds, professional baths, spa treatments, express visits and a pet boutique. Ott says one of the benefits of taking pets to a local groomer instead of a big-box or chain grooming salon, is the calm atmosphere.
“A less stressful environment is very beneficial in the grooming session,” said Ott. “Not having three or four groomers working at once and chaos. Liz and I are the kind of groomers who limit what we do in a day. We space them apart and we like to take our time and do a good job. We’re more focused on quality instead of quantity. We’ll see about four to five dogs a day, which is really low compared to what I hear other groomers do.”
Ott has 15 years of experience and is a graduate of the New York School of Grooming in Manhattan. New York State does not require approved training for animal groomers, so Ott says her education is something she’s extremely proud of.
“I wanted to do it the right way,” said Ott.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, Glamour Paws is now offering new packages. Customers can choose from candy cane, gingerbread or sugar plum fairy, which includes a coconut oil sugar scrub for the pads, nail file, teeth cleaning, and matching cologne. These head to tail pampering packages are only $15.
Usual hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling 584-1560. Glamour Paws can also be found on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/onlyglamourpaws.
Local Kid Creates Big Balls the Adventure, Partners with The Soul Arts Center
SARATOGA SPRINGS – He can’t drive a car or purchase a lottery ticket…at least not for now; but 10-year-old Nick Scialdone Jr. is doing something most adults only dream about – running his own business.
Scialdone Jr. is the mastermind behind Big Balls the Adventure, a business all about zorbing. Zorbing, which has been popularized in Europe and Asia, is a fun and recreational activity using zorb balls. Zorbs are big, inflatable orbs that are generally made of clear plastic. Participants are able to run, bounce, flip and tackle while inside a zorb.
Nick Scialdone said his son’s idea stemmed from a spring break trip they took in South Carolina.
“We were down there and we saw the giant hamster balls, the ones you can take out in the water, and he said ‘Dad, I wanna do it!’ so he got in it and then he goes ‘Dad, I want to own it,’” said Scialdone. “Ever since he was about three or four, he’s had a fascination with buying and selling things. I’m a commercial contractor by trade and I have a business, so he’s been around it.”
Once he got the OK from dad, Scialdone Jr. got right to work.
“He gave me $1 and I went to a farmer’s market called John Hands and started a produce stand in front of our house,” said Scialdone Jr. “I bought my first melon and then I sold it for $5 and just did that until I got enough for the balls.”
$5,500 and four years later, Big Balls the Adventure now has close to 40 zorb balls. But even though Scialdone had plenty of zorbs, he still needed an open, weather-proof space where people could safely zorb. The Scialdones decided to partner with Brian Miller, Master Instructor at Cutting Edge Martial Arts and owner of The Soul Center in Saratoga Springs. Scialdone is a student of Miller’s, taking multiple classes a week.
“We want to make it an experience, an adventure,” said Miller. “We like the lights and loud music. There’s exercise involved and it’s fun. If you think about it, what do kids want to do? They want to bounce off the walls and have fun. What do parents want to do? They want to protect them from bouncing off walls. Well, what if we could put them in a giant bubble where they could safely bounce off walls? That’s what I think we’re on to.”
The Scaldiones and Miller officially signed their legal agreement with attorney Alex Shmulsky at Cutting Edge Martial Arts Monday, Nov. 17, officially making Big Balls the Adventure an entity and partnership with The Soul Arts Center.
“We had our first event Monday, Nov. 10 and I had to start turning kids away when we got to 100,” said Miller.
“It was like a rave,” added Scialdone Jr.
The Scialdones and Miller will be back at it again with their next event planned for Black Friday on Nov. 28, so kids can have fun and be active while their parents shop. Eventually, the team hopes to set up an inflatable arena, outdoor arena, and host private birthday parties and corporate parties.
For rates, event schedules and times, visit www.bigballszorbing.com or call 518-538-1266. After Black Friday, Big Balls the Adventure will be open every Saturday and Sunday. Alexander Shmulsky can be reached at www.shmulskylaw.com.
“This is an adventure for us,” said Scialdone. “I’m more proud of him than you’ll ever know.”
New Boutique Finds Niche with Babies and Young Children
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Finding a gift for a new baby in downtown Saratoga Springs has been a challenge for many shoppers, including Saratoga natives Elizabeth Straus and her daughter, Lucy Moran. Both veteran entrepreneurs – and inspired by their respective roles as devoted grandmother and doting aunt – they decided to make that search much simpler and more convenient with Lex & Cleo “Darling Gifts for Baby.”
“Lex and Cleo are Lucy’s niece and nephew and my two adorable grandchildren,” said Straus. “They live in Hollywood and they’re beautiful little kids.”
“They have wonderful names so we thought, ‘Why not?’” added Moran. “They’re our favorite little kids.”
The unique boutique, located in the Saratoga Marketplace at 454 Broadway, offers clothing; blankets and toys made with soft, natural materials; books for parents and children; and a wide range of heirloom-quality gifts.
The mother-daughter duo held a soft opening for Lex & Cleo in October, but the grand opening of the boutique was Saturday, Nov. 15. The pair says Lex & Cleo fills a void for consumers looking to purchase baby-related items either for themselves or as gifts.
“Shopping for a new baby gift or a baby shower gift was impossible to do in downtown Saratoga, without having to go to a chain store,” explains Moran. “We felt that people within walking distance could come here and find a new baby gift or a baby shower gift and things of quality.”
Quality and organic, natural materials are two attributes Moran and Straus keep in mind when looking for products to sell in their store. Whether its cashmere sweaters, embroidered onesies and rattles, or organic Disney plush toys, every item in the boutique is beautiful and hand-picked by the pair.
“I also wanted to introduce people to the Waldorf approach to childhood development,” said Straus. “It’s non-academic, natural materials with the toys and just a very gentle approach to the child that’s coming into the world.”
“There’s an emphasis on play rather than academics,” added Moran.
And there are plenty of options to choose from for play time. Lex & Cleo carries a variety of toys from Grimm’s toys all the way from Germany to Maileg’s “Mouse in a Box” toys from Denmark. Lex & Cleo also carries the infamous KicKee Pants – a clothing line for infants and toddlers; as well as bibs and onesies from Catfish, made in Brooklyn from 100 percent organic cotton, among other products.
“I think we’re making a good team because I’m bringing the younger, what people are buying now vision and she [Straus] is bringing the grandparent point of view, so it’s a happy medium of what we think both consumers would like.”
Moran and Straus are currently working on setting up baby registries and hope to eventually establish an e-commerce website.
Straus currently owns gift boutique Pangea and owned long-time downtown staple, Mabou, with her husband, Mark, from 1971 to 2005. Moran is the owner of Lucia, specialty clothing and jewelry shop. Her husband, Rory, owns and operates Comfort Kitchen.
Lex & Cleo is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The boutique is closed Tuesdays. You can also check them out at www.lexandcleo.com.
Snowshoeing, Skiing Among Activities Allowed on 380-Acre Brookhaven Site this Winter
PORTER CORNERS – It’s that time of year again! While preparations are being made for the holidays, the newly remodeled Haven Tee Room at Brookhaven Golf Course in Porter Corners is already gearing up for snow.
The Haven Tee Room, open to both golfers and the general public, has made a name for itself with its lunch and dinner menu, banquets, weddings, full-service bar and comfortable atmosphere. Offering delicious homemade recipes using the freshest and finest ingredients available, many have made The Haven Tee Room their go-to spot. Now, owner and co-manager Kevin Canale and manager Van Johnson are preparing to extend those services through the winter months.
This snow season, a variety of winter activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and sledding will be allowed on Brookhaven’s 380-acre site at no cost. With around 20 miles of trails that have been groomed for the last six years, the public park will be a great option for those looking to have some winter fun at snowfall.
“Brookhaven has made it a park, so it will forever be a town park,” said Canale. “We’ve got the opportunity to have groomed trails so we’re trying to build on that and offer indoor shelter, plumbing, warmth, and a bar and a restaurant which is uncommon at most cross-country places.”
Canale and Johnson say Brookhaven will be the only place in Saratoga County where people can do free winter activities and have an indoor facility with restrooms on site where they can warm up, get a bite to eat, have a drink and relax in a comfortable setting; thanks to The Haven Tee Room and Brookhaven Golf Course.
“Say if you have a family of four and the father wants to watch football but the other three want to go skiing, we can do it,” said Johnson. “He can come in here, watch football, grab a drink, and the others go skiing and when they’re done, they can all sit down and have dinner.”
While using the trails is free of cost, those looking to take advantage will have to bring their own equipment. Johnson and Canale are hoping equipment rentals will eventually be offered. There are also dog-friendly trails for Fido.
“We can have 140 people in here, 40 or so in the snack bar, we can offer them chili and soup and anything on the menu,” said Johnson. “We’ll have the fireplace going inside and we’re going to try to have a fire pit on the patio. We’re basically going to take a little bit of the lodge that you have at a ski center and apply it to ski trips here.”
After a successful summer and fall full of golf competitions, weddings, banquets, parties and other events with custom-arranged menus for parties of every size, Johnson and Canale are ready to welcome even more people to The Haven Tee Room this winter.
“I think this thing is going to take off,” said Johnson. “We’re hoping for snow, obviously. If we get an average snowfall, which we normally get, then we’re set. We’re just trying to give Saratoga, Wilton, the neighboring towns, a place to go that is very affordable. There’s nothing like this.”
The Haven Tee Room is now booking holiday parties and company events for the holiday season. Contact them at 222-9000 or 810-4152 for more information. Also, be sure to check www.thehaventeeroom.com for hours, as they are subject to change.
School Sports Media Offers Solution for School Sports Programs, Local Businesses
SARATOGA SPRINGS – For the last decade, perhaps even longer, school districts across the country have faced significant budget cuts that only escalate every year. As a result, programs and extracurricular activities lose much needed funding. However, a business new to Saratoga Springs, School Sports Media, has a business model that’s saving many school sports from the death penalty.
How it works is SSM offers brand relationships with companies that are relevant and interested in sponsoring school sports program; each sponsorship is tailored to that particular school and business.
“We’re basically aligning local and regional sponsors who have marketing objectives in those local regions with school athletics that need to find new lines of revenue to keep those sports alive,” said Dave Shamberger, President of School Sports Media. “That’s essentially what we’re all about. Our business model is to drive revenue into school athletics through local sponsors.”
School Sports Media was created in 2010 by advertising sales veterans, including Shamberger. Owners of a leading advertising representation firm, Winstar Interactive Media, the SSM team has spent the better part of the past 20 years working closely with top brands. SSM opened its Saratoga Springs office five months ago. Since then, the company now exclusively represents Section II athletic championship games.
“We were down at SUNY Albany for the Class AA Football Championships with Price Chopper last weekend,” said Shamberger. “We were also at Shenendehowa with Price Chopper again. We had a couple of other sponsors working with us in Spa Park for cross country like Wheatfields and Healthy Living Market and Café. It’s neat what we’re doing.”
The SSM team is comprised of parents who have children in the public school system and have seen first-hand how budget cuts have affected students and student-athletes.
“I have three children and they’re in public schools and my business partners in Florida also have children that are in public school,” said Shamberger. “We started to see that budgets were impacting our children’s lives and schools were cutting programs, so we came up with the idea to bring sponsors in.”
SSM is a sponsor-driven organization, which means the company will approach schools when they find a sponsor that’s interested in a particular school. At the moment, SSM is working on sponsorships for the hockey team at Saratoga Springs High School.
“We’re working closely with the Saratoga Hockey program because we have a lot of local businesses that are interested in the hockey program because they happen to be a really good hockey team and they also get a lot of attendance at their games,” said Shamberger. “From a marketing perspective, it’s good to be there.”
Businesses and organizations that sponsor teams and programs are able to put up signage and booths, among dozens of other marketing tools, at games and events. Shamberger says it’s a win-win for both sides – the businesses get exposure but most importantly, the team gets much needed revenue so the student-athletes have the opportunity to continue playing the game that they love.
Students Listen to Stories from Those Who Have Served, Present Certificates
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Schools have the day off Veterans Day, but Division Street Elementary School students invited United States military veterans to their campus to honor them a few days early.
Second grade students invited around a dozen local veterans to a ceremony at the school Friday, Nov. 7. The students listened curiously to the stories and experiences several veterans shared with them.
“I am an Army medic. I work in a hospital, I help run the hospital and I can drive around in an ambulance,” explained Sgt. Esther Rodriguez. “I want to let everyone know that whether it be the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard, there are a lot of different jobs for soldiers and sailors that anyone can do.”
From land to sea, Senior Chief Petty Officer Aaron Dunk shared stories from his 15-year career in the U.S. Navy and his work with aircraft carriers.
“They’re giant ships, probably bigger than your school,” said Dunk to the group of students. “On that ship you have about 6,000 people; it’s like a small city that floats on the water. We have a Post Office, stores, everything we need so we can live out at sea for six months, eight months, or nine months at a time. We travel all over the world; I’ve been to Australia, Hawaii, China, Korea, Italy, Spain, [and] Portugal.”
The students were taught the proper way to execute a hand salute, led by Vietnam veteran, Jim Hartman. The second graders practiced raising their right hand so the tip of their forefinger touched the outer edge of their right eyebrow, which is sometimes easier said than done for most 7 and 8-year-olds.
Regardless, it’s the thought and effort that counts and Hartman said it was a fun activity. Hartman also explained the history and significance surrounding Veterans Day.
“I find that a lot of these kids hear these stories and they’ll go home and ask their parents if any of their relatives served in the military and the parents will say yes,” said Hartman. “I think it’s something like four out of every five have had a family member serve in war. It’s a step forward; I always enjoy spending time with the kids.”
"We really wanted students to connect with local veterans, hear their stories and learn something new that they maybe don't learn in their everyday curriculum," said Christine Delaney, second grade teacher at Division Street. "We like to reach out to the community and get the kids involved. The students made these awards special for each of the veterans, so every [award] is different. They worked on them for weeks; it was really fun."