Chamber recognizes area businesses

From left: Assemblyman Marc Butler, Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce President Mark Kilmer and Chamber Board of Directors Chair Elect Amy Karas of Ruby and Quiri present Jim Landrio and Angelo Solomos of the Holiday Inn Johnstown-Gloversville with the chamber’s Edward J. Wilkinson Industry of the Year Award on Friday. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

MAYFIELD — A festive winter atmosphere greeted visitors to the Paul Nigra Center on Friday as the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce held its 2018 Annual Celebration and Cocktail Party.

Flanked by winter decor, members of the region’s business, non-profit and government agencies gathered to celebrate a new year for businesses.

The Nigra center was decked out for the theme of the night — “A Midwinter Night’s Dream” — with wintery branches and silver themed decor.

Around 220 guests got a chance to mingle along and sample food from Wine and Roses Restaurant while trying their hand at winning one of the dozen raffle baskets. The event honored local businesses and chamber members for their work in 2017.

The recipients were chosen from nominations made by other chamber members. From the nominees, a selection committee then chooses the final award winners.

Chamber President Mark Kilmer said the awards display a wide variety of businesses and organizations, including ones that have been around for more than a century to those that are just getting started. He said the awards also show service to the chamber to make the region better.

“I think this shows the value of all the businesses in the region,” Kilmer said. “It’s a great night to honor those people that have been in business for a long time, and those that are just starting in business.”

Kilmer said it is always good for businesses to have their work recognized by those in the community.

“Anybody that receives an award is deserving. I think any business in this region is deserving of an award anyway. Business is always tough. Being in business is a hard thing. So, we want to honor all of them,” Kilmer said.

The night also represented a night to relax and have some fun for business owners who may not get many nights away from their work.

“It’s a good group of winners. It’s a very diverse group, from small businesses right up to larger winners and non-profits. We, as a chamber, are not restrictive with regard to who receives the award,” Kilmer said.

Vern Duesler, III of Mud Road Sugar House said both he and his family are honored and surprised by the award.

“It makes me feel really good. We put a lot of hard work into it, 45 years of making [maple syrup]. It makes me feel good that all the hard work is paying off,” Duesler said.

Mud Road Sugar House announced during the event that they are looking at potentially creating a maple bourbon.

The winners for the event were as follows:

∫ Small business of the year: Adirondack Country Store in Northville.

The Adirondack Country Store on Main Street in Northville will be celebrating 30 years in business this May. The gift store, established in 1988, started in its current location and has grown over the years right alongside the village itself.

“The Adirondack Country Store specializes in cabin, lodge and rustic Adirondack-style home decor, distinctive hand-crafted furnishings and unique one-of-a-kind gifts. The store and its owner Joyce Teshoney not only serve local shoppers, but also sell to customers who live across the U.S. and beyond via the store’s website, social media platforms, Etsy and even Amazon,” the chamber said in their awards announcement.

“I know anyone who has been to Northville has been to The Adirondack Country Store and people come from all over the Northeast just to go there. You are a great asset to the tourism of the North Country,” Kilmer said.

Carla Kolbe, who nominated Adirondack Country Store, wrote in her nomination, “I am proud to be an acquaintance of Joyce. She has shown incredible insight, strong perseverance, and an extraordinary business sense to remain a woman in business in this small, seasonal village. From my years of observation, I can tell you this accomplishment was no easy task. Joyce has poured her heart and soul into her store. She has worked diligently, but her dedication has really paid off.”

∫ Edward L. Wilkinson Industry of the Year Award: Holiday Inn Johnstown-Gloversville

The year 2017 was a landmark year for the Holiday Inn Johnstown-Gloversville, which celebrated its 50th year in business and completed a $500,000 investment in updates to the decor of its banquet facilities, restaurant, bar and common areas inside and out including a new fire pit area on the patio.

The history of the hotel began when five local friends — Mario Albanese, Angelo Clemente, Albert Clemente, John Shahda and Paul Vagianelis — had an idea to open a hotel in the community. When it opened it had 80 rooms in addition to banquet rooms and a restaurant that could seat 100 people.

They have completed four renovation upgrades over the last 50 years, including turning the motel into a hotel by making it an interior hallway hotel from its original drive-up motel set up.

The award was accepted by James Landrio and Angelo Solomos. Landrio has been with Holiday Inn since 1973 when he began as a dishwasher and Solomos has been with the Holiday Inn in Johnstown since 1967.

“Not all Holiday Inn properties have the relationship that ours does in our community, but it has been the owner’s culture since the day it opened — they are open to the community and exist because of the community’s support. They believe it is the loyalty of the local people that keeps them going, and the owners also like to support those who support the hotel and restaurant. They use local businesses whenever they are able for all kinds of services — from construction, to roofing, plumbing and carpeting to food for the restaurant and banquets, and more. In addition, the Holiday Inn supports so many organizations and programs in our region — including a recently sponsored complete dinner for the many first responders in our area, that featured the Angel Flight organization bringing a lot of attention to our community. The Holiday Inn not only spends money in, and supports the community and its organizations, but employs between 67 and 100 people during its peak summer months,” The Chamber stated in its award announcement about the Holiday Inn.

∫ Young Professional of the Year Award: James Izzano, M.D. — St. Mary’s Healthcare.

Izzano was nominated by Dr. William Mayer, Chief Medical Officer and VP of Medical Affairs at St. Mary’s.

Izzano grew up in Perth, and graduated from Broadalbin-Perth High School in 2001. Following graduation he enrolled in the Rochester Institute of Technology and graduated with an Industrial Systems Engineering degree in 2005. He was later accepted at Albany Medical College, and decided to enter the specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He completed his additional four years of training at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.

Upon completion of his training, he returned and became a member of the St. Mary’s Healthcare Medical Staff while engaged in a fulltime OB/GYN practice, including being on-call, for more than a year.

∫ Centennial Business of the Year: Betz, Rossi, Bellinger & Stewart Funeral Homes

These businesses have been in operation in Montgomery and Fulton Counties for the past 145 years. Their six facilities throughout the region offer families the finest in funeral care before, during and long after the service has concluded. Each of the facilities has a rich history and is run by a great team.

Peter Rose of Betz, Rossi, Bellinger & Stewart Family Funeral Homes, which was given the Centennial Business of the Year award said his businesses’ roots go back to 1870, what has kept their business going has not changed — a commitment to families served.

“I’d like to thank our incredible team. The names and faces have changed over the years, but our commitment to the communities that we serve will never change,” Rose said. “And that’s through professionalism, integrity and to the families that we serve.”

∫ Barbara V. Spraker Tourism Partner Award: City of Amsterdam Recreation

Since the opening of the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge in 2016, Amsterdam’s Recreation Department has added a number of events from spring through late fall in downtown Amsterdam, Riverlink Park, on the MVGO, Shuttleworth Park and the southside of the city. Many of these events have attracted between 6,000 and 11,000 individuals to see what the city has to offer.

For 2018, they have added even more events to draw people to the city, as well as to enhance the quality of life for the residents in the city and in the region. Future projects have been sparked in the City due to the success of the Recreation Department’s leadership, marketing and creativity on projects and events.

∫ Agricultural Business of the Year: Mud Road Sugar House

In the early 1960s, Vern Duesler, III, the current owner/operator of Mud Road Sugar House in Ephratah, and his grandfather Vern would gather sap and sell it to Popp’s Farm at two cents a gallon.

A few years later Duesler’s grandfather said, “You know I think we can make maple syrup ourselves.” And with that, they started making maple syrup together.

Today, Mud Road Sugar House is owned and operated by Vern Duesler and his sons.

All their taps are still located in Ephratah, and they continue to increase their production by buying sap from other collectors. They are now producing between 500 to 600 gallons-per-year, but hope to produce more. They sell syrup via both retail and wholesale, and with the making of additional syrup byproducts, the business has now become year-round.

The menu of maple items they make now includes maple candy, maple cream and maple roasted peanuts among many others. They sell the products online, locally in retailers, or by contacting one of the Mud Road Sugar House family members. Their products can be found in many areas across the region from shops to local restaurants.

∫ Chamber Family Award: Gelman Family of EMVI Chocolate

From their current Broadalbin location, Victor and Irina Gelman have created a chocolate wonderland in the form of EMVI Chocolate.

They sell their creations locally from their factory and store, but you can find their chocolate art pieces in national chains, like Whole Foods, and others.

Their children are also an important part of the business — they help their parents decorate the store for each holiday, a family tradition, and appear in some of EMVI Chocolate’s marketing and advertising materials. The chamber said the Gelman’s believe that children are our future and everything the couple does is for their kids.

∫ Thomas B. Constantino Entrepreneurial Award: Nicholas Sherman, Matthew Sherman, Jerry Sherman and Casey Oare — Stump City Brewing

Named in memory of Thomas B. Constantino — founder of The Noteworthy Company in Amsterdam, who exhibited exemplary leadership skills, determination, creativity and vision — this year’s entrepreneurial winner went to the people behind the Fulton County brewery and tap room.

Stump City Brewing owners Nick Sherman, Casey Oare, Matt Sherman and Jerry Sherman “have been beer enthusiasts and homebrewers for years.” They decided to turn that love of brewing into a business, opening up shop at 521 W. Fulton St. in Gloversville.

Stump City sources much of their ingredients locally — including at Goderie’s Tree Farm in Johnstown — and from New York farms; getting them a “Farm Brewery” designation because of this.

Also during the awards, the Fulton-Montgomery-Schoharie Workforce Solutions Center gave out their 2017 Partner of the Year Awards. The winners were:

∫ Montgomery County 2017 Business Partner of the Year: The Amsterdam Housing Authority/Rivercrest Development Corporation

The Amsterdam Housing Authority was established in 1957 by residents and leaders in Amsterdam concerned about the need for clean, safe, affordable housing for senior citizens and families in the community. In 1970, the dream and vision of such housing became a reality through opening the New Amsterdam Apartments; the High Rise for senior citizens and persons with disabilities and the Garden Apartments for families.

Today AHA owns 265 apartments and provides rental subsidy to more than 450 low income families and senior citizens in the Amsterdam community.

∫ Fulton County 2017 Business Partner of the Year: The Gloversville Senior Center

The Gloversville Senior Center, with director Ellie DiSciosica-, is a not-for-profit agency that serves men and women 50 years old and older. Many of the senior citizens in our area live with an income below poverty level. In trying to aid the local senior population, the center provides services that are free or at a minimal cost to the participants. They provide daily, weekly and monthly activities, programs, events and services such as blood drives, exercise classes, health screenings, peer socialization activities, meal programs, support services, and educational opportunities. The Center and their services are vital to our community. The Center is funded by private donations, grants, fundraising and a city contribution.

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