Marissa Gonzalez

Marissa Gonzalez

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A new veterinarian practice, now open in Saratoga Springs is utilizing a fairly new concept in the world of animal care called “fear free.” The fear-free approach is similar to that of pediatric dentists, that focus on the patient’s comfort and experience from beginning to end.

“I wanted it to be kind of small, family-oriented, community-oriented, and have a personal touch. Where I worked previously was good in that it shaped what I wanted in a practice,” said Dr. Sara Ryan, owner and veterinarian at Spring Family Veterinary Hospital.

According to Ryan, fear-free practice starts with the hospital design. This includes minimizing wait times and making adjustments to waiting rooms that are separated for cats and dogs.

“Cats are, in particular, very sensitive to the pheromones or like that sixth sense sort of smell of dogs and other cats... They don’t want to have a dog sticking their nose in the carrier if they’re in a crowded waiting room,” Ryan said. The separate waiting rooms offer natural light and use pheromones to help ease the animal’s anxiety. Pets can walk freely in their designated waiting room or be kept away from other animals.

Pet owners can also now be present when x-rays or other treatments are administered so the pet does not have to be away from the owner.

There is a certification and evaluation process in order to be a fear-free veterinarian hospital, along with required continuing education.

Ryan says that the concept originated on the West coast of the United States; “probably in 10 to 15 years everybody will have the same idea but it’s kind of new for now,” said Ryan.

Located at 9 Hampstead Place Suite in Saratoga Springs, Spring Family Veterinary Hospital is 3,100 square feet and has day and weekend hours. For more information visit

Photos by SuperSource Media, LLC. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Palette Café, a new collaborative workspace and café in Saratoga Springs, is slated to open on Wednesday, June 5. Owner and creator of the new space, Catherine Hover, hopes the Palette Café will create social destination dedicated to successful women in career and in life.

Hover, decided to create Palette Café after attending a Girl Boss rally in New York City last year. “It just lit me up,” she said.

“You need a palette to create everything, and that’s what we hope to provide for any woman or man who wants to do better for themselves... Just have an inspiring place, a new innovative place to hang out and to be, that isn’t a bar,” says Hover and adds that the name is also a play off another business she owns, Saratoga Paint and Sip Studio.

Palette Café, located at 493 Broadway, will serve up a variety of coffee drinks, wines, cocktails and even boozy coffee drinks along with grab-and-go snacks and desserts on its first floor. Also on the first floor is a semi-private workspace complete with a private phone booth. Here, guests will be able to connect to Wi-Fi and grab a drink.

In the space, is also a gallery wall dedicated to an artist in residence. The art is for sale and the artist will receive 70% of all sales while staff receives 10% commission. Hover also plans to host painting in the patio events once a month.

“My thought was, I needed decor and why not put bad ass art on the walls,” said Hover.

Hover plans to expand in the coming months for a phase two of the new business, which will be located upstairs and will be a co-working community space. Phase two will include elevated amenities like high-speed Internet, a full-time concierge, a conference room and desks, as well as a community space for programming, events and speakers.

“I always meet people out at coffee shops and I’m not being met with what I personally need and I felt like I couldn’t be the only one,” says Hover about her inspiration behind Palette Café.

The Palette Café will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and celebrate a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, June 5.

Thursday, 23 May 2019 12:48

Hatsational Voted Retailer of the Year

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Hatsational, a hat shop in Saratoga Springs, was named ‘Retailer of the Year’ by The Headwear Association (THA) last month. Hatsational has not one but three locations on the span of Broadway.

THA is a 111-year-old trade association, the oldest in the fashion industry. Their mission is to promote hats and the headwear industry internationally, and to foster goodwill and fellowship among those engaged in the headwear industry. Winners are voted based on their stores and volume.

“It’s really about what they feel is the best stores that represent the headwear association,” said Joyce Locks, owner of Hatsational.

Hatsational began in 2007 after a trip to the horseraces at Gulf Stream Park in South Florida. Locks was a licensed horseman attending a race, hoping to be in the winner’s circle and realized she left her hat at home.There were no hat stores to be found elsewhere.

“So I just came home and I was impassioned,” said Locks.

Hatsational began as a pop-up in Congress Park 12 years ago. Soon Locks was hosting hat salons in her 1890 Queen Anne Victorian era home, National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and both Belmont and Saratoga Racetracks.

Locks opened her first brick and mortar store in 2013, selling men and women hats which became a regular stop for people attending the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont and Saratoga races.

“When doing my business, more and more people were enthusiastic; and then they wanted accessories, and they wanted this and they wanted that... That started growing like a weed and it just, evolved to what it is today which is a great business,” Locks said.

“I love what I do,” she added. Hatsational has expanded to men and women’s dress hats, fascinators, wool hats and caps, as well as accessories and clothing. “Our inventory is beyond what you could ever imagine, it’s pretty intense,” said Locks.

Locks still hosts hat shows, derby parties, private parties and kiosks at the Saratoga racetrack.

“People buy hats and they just put them on and feel happy... So all we do is make them happy,” Locks said.

Thursday, 23 May 2019 12:25

AIM Services Adds New Wing

Photos provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — AIM Services, Inc., a non-profit organization that assists people with disabilities in gaining independence, has added a two-story wing to accommodate nearly 2,000 employees under one roof.  Previously, AIM Services rented office space on Ballard Road in Wilton.

On May 21, a dedication and ribbon cutting was held to celebrate the new wing at AIM Services which is located at 4227 Route 50 in Saratoga Springs. Bonacio Construction, Inc. served as the contractor and Phinney Design Group, as the architect. 

“…We started out today’s dedication with two (employees) that have just moved into the new offices and their story was about how they can just do their job so much better now with the new facility and how thankful they were to be able to have this and give them the tools they needed to do the job,” said Walt Adams, Director of Public Relations at AIM Services. 

On staff at AIM Services clinical physicians, including psychologists, nurses and employees called Direct Support People (DSP) that are trained once hired to work with individuals. 

AIM Services helps individuals with of all ages, and all degrees of developmental disabilities as well as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) with all aspects of life. 

“From just needing a helping hand around their assisted apartment, to living in a residential setting, and people who need 24-hour-care,” said Adams. 

The agency, which serves Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties, has grown rapidly in the last couple of years, according to Adams. 

Their list of services also includes, respite, family education training, community habilitation and employment services. According to Adams, AIM Services are between 150 to 200 people at any one given time. 

AIM Services helps people from Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties, and has recently expanded to Long Island just a few years ago.

WILTON — Following a string of black bear sightings in the town of Wilton last year, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has again decided to shift “from an educational mode to an enforcement mode,” according to a notice posted to Wilton’s town website. The shift is due to residents’ non-compliance with direction to avoid attracting bears.

Last year bear sightings in Wilton occurred near Lake Elizabeth as well as near Timberlane Drive. The bears repeatedly went into residents’ garbage and bird feeders, and resisted attempts to chase off. By August of 2018, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recorded 50 nuisance bear complaints in Saratoga County, 30 of which were from Wilton that year.

According to the DEC there are currently an estimated minimum of 6,000 to 8,000 bears in areas open to hunting. 50 to 60% inhabit the Adirondack region, which includes Saratoga County.

Residents with bird feeders and other bear attractants will now receive a written warning by the DEC; failure to heed the warning will result in a ticket with a maximum penalty of $250 fine and 15 days in jail. Bear attractants include open garbage cans, household pet foods, food grills and outdoor refrigeration systems.

However, feeding bears intentionally is already illegal and a ticket-able offense, because once bears get food from humans it will continue to seek food from humans.

Wilton’s website goes on to list ways residents can avoid a warning and or ticket:

• Eliminate or secure any material that may attract bears.
• Properly store and manage garbage.
• Do not feed animals outside.
• Prevent bears from obtaining human food.

The DEC also recommends bird feeding activities cease by April 1 and resume Nov. 30. Anyone who sees a bear is asked to report it immediately to the DEC wildlife unit at 518-897-1291.

Thursday, 09 May 2019 13:03

Sunmark Acquires Six Acres in Malta

MALTA — Sunmark Federal Credit Union has acquired roughly six acres of land in Malta through foreclosure.

The two parcels were previously owned by Bruce Schnitz and Neil Swingruber of Blacksmith Square Partners. The properties, located at 2458 Route 9 and 11 Blacksmith Drive in Malta, had town approval to construct a four-story building with 170 residential apartment units, 28,000 square feet of retail space and a parking garage. It is 2.8 miles away from GlobalFoundries. However, construction never began and Blacksmith Square Partners later filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Sunmark Federal Credit Union is selling the property with Carrow Real Estate and is listed for $2.9 million.

Photos provided. 

SARATOGA — Byron Dane Turner, creator, writer and illustrator from Saratoga is debuting his new comic book series at Albany Comic-Con on June 2. The comic is based on a children’s book series, The Caped Costumers Costumed Capers, created by Turner in 2015. The first issue will be a 48-page double-sized origin issue of the main characters.

The book series, The Caped Costumers Costumed Capers, is about five pre-teen heroes; Ice Tween, Hotfoot, Bananapants, Kid Superflex and the Rainbow Bat. Since then, four other books have been published and enjoyed by children worldwide. The books are recommended for kids between 7 and 11 years old. However, the comics are for all ages, children as well as adults.

Turner has been writing and drawing for over 20 years, but says he first got into writing children’s books by becoming a father.

“I was doing comic material that would be... more adult-oriented something that you would see in like heavy metal magazines, then I became a dad and I shift focus,” Turner said.

“I started looking at the comic book medium and there wasn’t a lot of things out there for kids anymore so instead of doing comics I decided to do some kids picture books first; I wanted to do them for my daughters,” he added. Of the five main characters in the comic book series, three of them are girls.

Albany Comic-Con will take place on June 2 at the Red Lion Hotel located at 205 Wolf Rd. in Albany where Turner can be found in “Artist Alley.” There will be a limited run of 100 copies of the comic book. Each one will be individually numbered and signed by Turner. Also available will be his original children’s book and other original artwork. More copies will be made available at a later date at comic book specialty shops throughout the Northeast.

BALLSTON SPA — Gateway House of Peace, a non-profit hospice home located in Ballston Spa, is celebrating its five-year anniversary. The organization opened its doors in 2014, but was founded in 2006 by Joni Hanchett. On Wednesday, May 1, a ribbon cutting took place to celebrate the anniversary as well as the launch their remembrance garden brick campaign.

The remembrance garden will incorporate a memorial wall where people can purchase a brick in memory of their loved ones and put in on the wall. It will be completed in 2020. The Gateway House of Peace functions completely on fundraisers and donations. In collaboration with Saratoga Community Hospice provides medications and medical oversight.

With 13 part-time staff members and 30 volunteers, 24-hour around the clock care is offered to community residents free of charge. Even the house in which community members reside was donated by Saratoga County. Every year the Gateway House of Peace hosts about six fundraising event. Their annual spring yard sale, where donated items are for sale, will take place May 17 through May 19.

To find out more or purchase a brick visit or call 518-450-1273. 

BALLSTON SPA — Sterling Homes, Inc. welcomes Lisa M. Licata as their new Director of Sales and Marketing. Lisa joins with over 25 years of sales, customer service and management experience under her belt. She looks to grow the business and strengthen the already successful team.

Licata was named Top Sales Agent in 2017 at her previous brokerage. Lisa has also received several President’s Choice Awards in prior years. Born and raised in Saratoga Springs and working in local real estate since 2003, Lisa has overseen projects within a 60-mile radius from Albany to Queensbury. She has represented some of the area’s top builders and converted hundreds of listings into sales, from new construction to condominiums, custom, and luxury homes, townhouses and re-sales.

A dedicated professional, Lisa regularly completes continuous training and education so that she can offer her clients the most current and accurate information on the real estate industry. Deeply embedded in the business and real estate community, Lisa has become a market leader. She works selflessly to train and supervise many of the Capital Region’s up-and-coming agents. Known for her strong work ethic and an exceptional focus on customer service, Lisa is highly regarded by both her clients and peers. She is trusted to deliver the best outcome for everyone – buyers, sellers, builders or agents.

MALTA — On April 24 Cumberland Farms opened its third “next generation” store in Saratoga County. There are roughly 60 Cumberland Farms in the Albany area and Capital Region. Cumberland Farms’ next generation stores are expanded and rebranded to offer more options to consumers. Located in Malta at 527 Route 67, the groundbreaking for this new location began in early November.

In around 2009 the gas station chain began to remodel locations in order to enhance customer experience and compete with fast-casual restaurants. These new concept stores are larger in size, roughly 5,000 square feet and offer an expanded menu list with items such as ciabatta sandwiches, Mac N’ Cheese Bites, and more beverage options like smoothies, frozen espresso and milkshakes.

The biggest improvement to next generation stores is the self- service electronic ordering terminals which are ordering stations where customers can manually place their orders on tablet-like screens and proceed to pay and pick up at the counter. This Cumberland Farms will have additional seating with a 12-foot dining counter as well as three outdoor patio tables.

“This year we have a decent

amount of stores that we’re looking to open up, not just in the Albany region but Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and even down in Florida. Coming up, they think Malta is the last next generation store for a bit, maybe toward the fall there might be more in the works. Every year I think we’re looking to expand to different areas in the states we operate. So this year is pretty much what we’ve been doing the last three or four months with this type of project,” said Bryan Pierce, Senior Marketing Specialist at Cumberland Farms.

An official ribbon cutting and grand opening event will take place in the weeks to come where typically Cumberland Farms will partner with a local charity to create a fundraiser to coincide with the ribbon cutting.

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