Women-owned Business


Cross Eyed Owl Gift Shop
3143 US Highway 9, Suite 8 Valatie, NY 12184
758.6755; www.crosseyedowl.com
Patricia Varga, owner
Describe your business:
The Cross Eyed Owl is a gift shop that has a little something for everyone within its four walls. Every nook and cranny of the shop is filled to the brim with home decor, gourmet goodies, children’s toys, baby and wedding gifts, jewelry, scarves, cards, candles and so much more.
How did you choose this field? Were you involved in it before you opened your business?
This business chose me, I did not choose it. I started out in college as a computer major, but transferred over to horticulture for my degree and the rest just fell into place. When I was a teen, I used to make and sell my own items at craft fairs and the shop just became and extension of that experience. Twenty-three years ago when this all started, I never dreamed I’d even still have the shop today, let alone that it would be an integral part of our local community.
How have your principles and personality shaped the business?
My principles and personality have shaped the business to be an extension of me, the things I love and the way I feel people should treat each other. We make it our goal at the Cross Eyed Owl to make sure that everyone who comes through our door feels welcome. Our customers are family and we love getting to know them, hearing about their day, their sorrows and joys. The Cross Eyed Owl is a place where you can come to de-stress, relax, take a moment for yourself and leave with a smile on your face (even if you didn’t make a purchase)! A large part of what we do is our community involvement. Whenever possible, we engage with our community in charitable causes and support the work done to make our world a better place.
How do you enjoy the Capital Region when you are not working?
When I’m not working, I love hiking the many trails of the Capital Region. The rivers, the mountains and the lakes—the Capital Region has it all. We live in a beautiful area of the country and I love to explore it as much as I can when I get free time.

Fusco Personnel, Inc.
4 Executive Park Drive Albany, NY 12203
869.6100; www.fuscopersonnel.net
Patricia A. Fusco, President/CEO, owner
Describe your business:
• Award winning executive search, recruiting, and staffing firm located in Albany, NY – providing services nationally • NYS-certified Women Business Enterprise • 22 years in business • 8 specialized recruiters • exceeding 500 placements annually • 5-time winner of “Best Places to Work” • ranked #1 recruiting firm in the Capital Region.
How did you choose this field? Were you involved in it before you opened your business?
I worked in the field for another women-owned business, as well as, a national firm. I was recently married with a baby on the way and I decided I wanted to start my own firm to have the flexibility with my family.
How have your principles and personality shaped the business?
Respect – honesty – gratitude – just a few of the fundamentals that we live by. As my father taught me early on in business – “Treat the Janitor the same way you would the President.” I have never forgotten that and will always do so. Everyone’s role is just as important to make the business run. We all appreciate everyone and I feel honored and blessed to work with such an amazing team!
How do you enjoy the Capital Region when you are not working?
I love to be at home or at the lake enjoying family, friends and good food!

Culinary Square
251 River Street,Troy, NY 12180
326.5818; www.culinarysquaretroy.com
Samantha Fagan and Carolyn Fagan, owner(s)
Describe your business:
Culinary Square is a locally owned kitchen goods store located in the heart of Downtown Troy. Owned by mother-daughter duo Samantha and Carolyn Fagan, our goal is for customers, whether seasoned chefs or college students cooking for themselves for the first time, to feel at ease walking into the store. Stop in, say hi and browse our collection!
How did you choose this field? Were you involved in it before you opened your business?
We chose opening a kitchen goods store because we both love to cook and felt it would be a great addition to Downtown Troy. Prior to opening Culinary Square, my mom and I were both librarians.
How have your principles and personality shaped the business?
Having two generations working together and buying for the store have made for a really interesting collection of items. It’s been fun to see what the other chooses and we each have our own roles within the business.
How do you enjoy the Capital Region when you are not working?
We both enjoy trying new restaurants, although we do have our favorites! Cooking with and for friends and family is something we both really enjoy. We like attending shows at the Troy Music Hall and Proctors, seeing shows at SPAC during the summer, and visiting other locally owned businesses when we have time.

Oliva! Gourmet Olive Oil & Vinegars
Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany; 482.3866
27 Housatonic Street, Lenox MA; 413.637.0080;
Kathleen Connolly, owner
Describe your business:
Oliva! offers a large selection of high-end olive oils and balsamic vinegars, along with associated food products. We are a retail setting but we also try to educate our customers on how to select the perfect combination of olive oils and balsamic vinegars to enhance what they are preparing, and to possibly change the way they eat. We offer many recipes and suggestions for use that can simplify cooking while providing proven health benefits. Many people know Extra Virgin Olive Oil is good for you but not many know how to tell the difference between the “good, the bad, and the ugly” in the world of Olive Oil. We are here to help and educate.
How did you choose this field? Were you involved in it before you opened your business?
Prior to opening Oliva!, I spent 30 years selling software to cardiac centers worldwide. There was often discussion about how a Mediterranean Diet could help patients with heart disease. This, together with the desire to open my own business drew me to this business opportunity. Before starting Oliva!, I visited a similar store while on vacation and fell in love with the products.
How have your principles and personality shaped the business?
I very much believe that “you are what you eat.” The products we offer have been proven to provide long lasting health benefits, and they taste good. They can make cooking and eating so much more fun and interesting, without a lot of effort. I am all about keeping it simple, healthy and delicious! In addition, there has been a lot written lately about the “authenticity” of many food products. I want my customers to be informed about what they are buying and how it compares to other products that are offered in the marketplace. It is very important to me that my employees stay informed and sell the product with integrity.
How do you enjoy the Capital Region when you are not working?
My daughters and I enjoy the many diverse restaurants in the Capital Region as well as all that is offered for the arts and outdoor activities. We usually share the same taste in foods, but not always the same taste in music or the arts!

Southwoods Pediatric Dentistry
242.7800; www.southwoodspd.com
Dr. Kristina Gallo, Board–Certified Pediatric Dentist, owner
Describe your business:
We specialize in exceptional pediatric dental care by providing our patients with a safe, friendly, and warm environment. Our office is located in Albany, New York.  We are conveniently located off of I-90 in Corporate Woods. Southwoods Pediatric Dentistry is a place where all children can feel at home.
How did you choose this field? Were you involved in it before you opened your business?
I chose to become a pediatric dentist because I felt that I could really make a difference in the dental health of children and mentor them. I have been a board-certified pediatric dentist for over 10 years! My professional experiences have helped me become a well-rounded practitioner. I was pediatric dental residency director for a hospital in NYC. I led a team of residents and trained them to become pediatric dentists. I also worked as an associate in pediatric dental private practice in the Capital District and for St. Peter’s Hospital before deciding to open a practice of my own. I still work for St. Peter’s one day a week, which allows me to give back to the community and see children that may otherwise not have access to care.
How have your principles and personality shaped the business?
When you are treating children, you need to make it fun, be compassionate, and listen to their little voices to gain their trust and communicate with them in a way they can understand. Treating each child coming in the door as I would treat my own children is something that I pride myself on. Our team exudes happiness, compassion, and good communication with all our patients and their parents. We make sure that all of our patients leave with a smile! We want them to know that we are here to NURTURE THEIR SMILES and we want their smiles to LAST A LIFETIME!
How do you enjoy the Capital Region when you are not working?
When not at work, I love spending time with my husband and our three children. We enjoy going to our children’s sporting events and cheering for their teams. During the summer we take advantage of the lakes in area, love to go see baseball games in the spring and really enjoy the ski mountains in the winter!


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