Locally Owned Businesses

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The Cross Eyed Owl Gift Shop
3143 US Highway 9, suite 8, Valatie
518.758.6755; crosseyedowl.com

Owner:
Patti Varga

Describe your business with a brief history:
The Cross-Eyed Owl has been a ‘go-to’ gift shop in Columbia County for the past 25 years.  We hand select each greeting card, gift item, and home décor piece to have something for everyone.  Customers always tell us, ‘There’s no way you can’t find a gift for someone here.”  The shop is displayed by theme, so it makes it so easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.

What advantages does your business have being in the Capital Region rather than anywhere else?
What we love about the Capital Region is the diversity and friendliness of our customers.  Most everyone who walks through our door has an interesting story to share.  Spending time engaging with them is the best part of our day.

What about your service or products excites you? Do you have any new changes to tell our readers about?
Our inventory is constantly changing.  We are always seeking out the most fun and functional items for our customers, so there is always something new.  Right now we love the American-made wooden signs by one of our favorite new vendors P Graham Dunn.  We’ve been working on expanding our “Made in the USA” offerings.

What do you do to relax when you have a few moments to yourself?
When I have time, I like to work in my gardens both at home and at the shop, hike, and travel when I can.  That and a nap; naps are good too!

 

The Towne Tavern
2850 NY 43, Averill Park
518.674.3040; thetownetavern.com

Owner:
Larry Dickinson

Describe your business with a brief history:
We are a locally-owned restaurant focused on making food with quality ingredients from scratch. We smoke our own meats, make all of our own sauces and dressings and have daily specials to keep things interesting for our loyal regular customers.

What advantages does your business have being in the Capital Region rather than anywhere else?
An advantage of being located in the Capital Region is definitely the connection to our community. This is a place where people raise families and have ties that will keep them coming “home” for a long time.

What about your service or products excites you? Do you have any new changes to tell our readers about?
The hard work that our kitchen staff puts into preparing all of our menu items. Our food does not come from a frozen package, but rather, it is made from scratch by our staff here. You don’t see that in many places! We will be putting on some fresh salad specials and oysters for the summer.

How do you keep your business fresh for your Capital Region customers?
Our daily lunch and dinner specials are where we put new things out for our customers to try. We appreciate feedback and are always interested to know what our customers want to see more of. We also have an excellent selection of craft beers that are always changing.

What do you do to relax when you have a few moments to yourself?
Sit down for a nice meal with family and friends.

 

Truly Rhe
1 Broadway, Troy
518.273.1540; trulyrhe.com

Owner:
Rhe Potenza

Describe your business with a brief history:
Truly Rhe is a clothing boutique nestled in the heart of downtown Troy. We opened our doors in September 2007. This September on Troy Night Out we will celebrate our twelfth anniversary.

What advantage does your business have being in the Capital Region rather than anywhere else?
One of the advantages of being in Troy is that it is a walkable city. Our customers work and/or live in the downtown area. Troy has gone through a revitalization the past five years and has become a destination.

What about your service or products excites you? Do you have any new changes to tell our readers about?
Everything about my business excites me and better yet it continues to excite our customers. New merchandise arrives almost on a daily basis and we now have a denim department! We have a great assortment of jeans and overalls.

How do you keep your business fresh for your Capital Region customers?
Keeping the merchandise fresh and continually updating keeps my regular customers coming back.

What do you do to relax when you have a few moments to yourself?
When I am not in my shop you will probably find me in my garden during the Spring and Summer months. I keep the shop filled with fresh flowers and you will always smell the scent of fresh herbs throughout the shop.    

 

Awards by Walsh’s & Creative Marketing, Inc.
233 Ontario Street, Cohoes
518.235.6362; awardsbywalsh.com

Owner:
Steven A. Pesta

Describe your business with a brief history:
I would say I am as close to the American dream as possible. I started my business in a small office in Cohoes Bowl 29 years ago, outgrew that space many times over and, in 2004, I purchased the OCA building in Cohoes, which sits on the corner of 787 and Ontario Street. We now have over 28 full-time associates and a handful of part-time and seasonal employees. Our 10,000+ square foot building, has the largest showroom in the Capital District, and we have the capability of embroidering, screen-printing, heat sealing, and sublimating apparel and promotional items. In addition, we build and laser engrave our own custom trophies, plaques, and corporate awards right here on-site.

What advantage does your business have being in the Capital Region rather than anywhere else?
We are centrally located in New York State which makes it easy to serve the surrounding cities.

What about your service or products excites you? Do you have any new changes to tell our readers about?
We are the only member of the highly regarded Awards Association of America from NYS and one of only 63 companies to be recognized nationally by this organization.

We are constantly updating our equipment with the newest technology and have just added a new laser engraver, banner printing machine and a sandblasting machine to our arsenal of in-house equipment.

How do you keep your business fresh for your Capital Region customers?
We try to adapt to our customer’s needs by offering webstores and new product lines, as well as keeping up with the most up-to-date brands.

What do you do to relax when you have a few moments to yourself?
I go to my camp on Saratoga Lake and take my pontoon boat out for a ride with my wife.

 

The Wine Shop
265 New Scotland Avenue, Albany
518.438.1116; thewineshopalbany.com

Owner:
Joe Maloney

Describe your business with a brief history:
We are a full-service wine and spirits shop that has been in business since the day Prohibition ended in 1933. We feature rare, vintage and everyday wines as well as a wide variety of spirits including single-malt scotches, bourbons, and artisan vodkas, gins, liqueurs, and whiskeys.

What advantages does your business have being in the Capital Region rather than anywhere else?
We enjoy and appreciate the decades-long support of an amazing Albany neighborhood. The Capital Region is so accessible that it’s easy for out of town customers to shop our store for those rare, hard to find special bottles of wine.

Do you have any new changes to tell our readers about?
We have a customer base that is always eager to learn more about wine and spirits. Bringing in new products for them to try is the most satisfying aspect of our customer service. We now include a text marketing VIP Club platform to inform our customers of upcoming wine tastings, specials, and discounts.

How do you keep your business fresh for your Capital Region customers?
Our Friday night wine tastings are a big driver of customer excitement and engagement. The tasting hours are friendly, fun, and full of excitement for what we’re pouring. We even bring out some older vintage wines to sample. It’s like a block party every Friday night!

What do you do to relax when you have a few moments to yourself?
I enjoy cooking and baking with my wife and keeping in touch with our two college-aged children. I also love hiking, skiing, and golf. Walking with my dog Charlie in Thacher Park is an every-morning occurrence.

 

J. Hunziker Paving, LLC.
Wynantskill
518.585.7917; jhunzikerpavingllc.com

Owner:
Jason Hunziker

Describe your business with a brief history:
I founded the business when I was 25 years old after working in construction since I was old enough to work. I am self-motivated and goal oriented, and I wanted to provide my customers with an outstanding experience from the start of their project to the end.

We provide commercial and residential paving and seal coating to ensure the long life of your paved surface.

What advantages does your business have being in the Capital Region rather than anywhere else?
This area is seeing a lot of growth, and the economy is great. This is providing us with excellent opportunities to serve our customers and grow as a company.

What about your service or products excites you? Do you have any new changes to tell our readers about?
Because I am a younger business owner, I get to compete with more established companies. I push myself to stay on top of the technology and equipment and always make sure that we have the most up to date technology making for a better project, start to finish. I love seeing our finished projects all around the area!

How do you keep your business fresh for your Capital Region customers?
We make sure that our logos and marketing stay fresh and I make sure that my crews always arrive on site with a great, positive attitude.

What do you do to relax when you have a few moments to yourself?
We keep a boat on Lake George. We love to get away and spend time as a family, and of course, my three-year-old keeps me busy and smiling.

 

Precision Upstate, LLC.
115 Freeman’s Bridge Road, Scotia
518.631.2268; precisionupstate.com

Owner:
Peter Klein

Describe your business with a brief history:
Precision Upstate designs & installs quality custom closets, shower doors, glass and mirrors for homeowners, builders and contractors exclusively in Upstate NY. With over 50 employees, 15 installation trucks and 2 facilities, we are the largest installer in Upstate NY.

What advantage does your business have being in the Capital Region rather than anywhere else?
Focus… being a local company allows us to focus on our presence in the Capital Region.  We have our local design center in Scotia to inspire our customers and facilitate their choices in designing:

· Custom closets
· Shower enclosures
· Printed glass
· Custom glass
· Custom mirrors

We work with and for local builders, homeowners, architects, designers, and realtors to design & install quality custom closets and showers. And we do everything with “Precision”…you should too.

What about your service or products excites you? Do you have any new changes to tell our readers?
In 2018 we won the design award from CRBRA for printed glass. Since then we have developed a number of beautiful applications for glass countertops, backsplashes, fireplaces, and wine cellars. It’s truly an amazing look that couldn’t be achieved any other way. We are extremely excited and so are our customers who have seen it.

How do you keep your business fresh for your Capital Region customers?
We are investing; in people, systems, and procedures. We remodeled our design center in 2018 and added a second facility in Rotterdam for our commercial division. In addition, we launched a whole new product line of printed glass in 2019.

What do you do to relax when you have a few moments to yourself?
I enjoy fine dining, creative cooking, and traveling the world, experiencing different cultures and foods.

 

MKas Lika
2080 Western Avenue, Guilderland
518.456.6818; mkaslika.com

Owner:
Monica Kasongo Muamba

Describe your business with a brief history:
My business is to provide unique, captivating, affordable, hand-picked items from around the world. We carry men and women’s clothes and accessories that build confidence and help our customers reach their potentials.

What advantages does your business have being in the Capital Region rather than anywhere else?
Many people commute into the tri-cities for work, so there is an opportunity to serve customers from different regions.

What about your service or products excites you? Do you have any new changes to tell our readers about?
What excites me the most about my business is to see a client leaving my boutique with joy because they have purchased something that is unique that they feel good wearing. The confidence of my customer is my business and quality is the mission.

MKas Lika will begin offering CPR classes in our conference room starting June 2019. Check our website for more details.

How do you keep your business fresh for your Capital Region customers?
Not only do I keep the business fresh, but unique and captivating by supplying a small quantity of each product, there are times that I only have one!

What do you do to relax when you have a few moments to yourself?
Read, exercise, and meditate.

 

CeCe’s Wool Yarns and More
2080 Western Avenue, Guilderland
518.779.9985; ceceswool.com

Owner:
Cecilia Tkaczyk

Describe your business with a brief history:
I’m a sheep farmer that had a surplus of unique wool. We started the company in 2015 making wool bedding for people and pets. Our wool batting comes from local sheep farms and cleaned with only biodegradable soap and hot water. We’ve since expanded our retail store to include yarn, roving, wool fabric along with spinning and weaving tools to create a mecca for fiber enthusiasts and people interested in all natural materials for bedding products.

What advantages does your business have being in the Capital Region rather than anywhere else?
We just moved our store to Hamilton Square Mall in Guilderland, which is centrally located. Anyone looking for all natural bedding or just beautiful yarn can find it here.

What about your service or products excites you?  Do you have any new changes to tell our readers about?
Not only do we sell yarn, fiber, and pillows, but we also teach classes in the fiber arts and encourage new knitters and crocheters.

How do you keep your business fresh for your Capital Region customers?
We never stop learning and love making new products. We are excited to see those products or yarns and colors on our shelves and we are passionate about what we do.

What do you do to relax when you have a few minutes to yourself?
I love to take my dog Bayou for walks. You will also find me taking care of the sheep, attending fiber shows and playing with fiber!

 

Illium Bistro at Pinehaven Country Club
1151 Siver Road, Guilderland
518.805.1122; illiumcafe.com

Owner:
Marla & Brian Ortega

Describe your business with a brief history:
We opened in 2009 as a 30 seat restaurant without a real kitchen. We cooked only on butane and with an electric oven for years. Over the course of the 10 years we have been in business, we have expanded several times and now run food and beverage operations at Pinehaven Country Club in Guilderland as well.

What advantage does your business have being in the Capital Region rather than anywhere else?
The Capital Region is where I grew up. My heart belongs here and I have strong family roots here. The advantage of owning our business here versus anywhere else is the strong sense of community.

What about your service or products excites you? Do you have any new changes to tell our readers about?
We are always looking to grow and are looking for our next step.

How do you keep your business fresh for your capital region customers?
We feature specials daily along with our menu so our regular customers can enjoy a variety of new and fresh ingredients.

What do you do to relax when you have a few moments to yourself?
Relaxation moments are few and far between. With running the business and our three children we keep pretty busy. Family time is what we really look forward to though.

 

Daley’s on Yates
10 Yates Street, Schenectady
518.687.3561; daleysonyates.com

Owners:
James Pettit, Gene Coletti and Martin Keary

Describe your business with a brief history:
Daley’s on Yates is a Modern American Restaurant and the latest venture of Daley Hospitality.  We have been in the industry for over 40 years, and this project allows us to express ourselves in a more frequent client interaction than our catering business.

What advantages does your business have being in the Capital Region rather than anywhere else? 
We love that the area has many of the amenities of a larger metropolitan area while maintaining a home-town feel. We are excited to offer a weekly option for our dedicated customers.

What about your service or products excites you? Do you have any new changes to tell our readers about? 
We are excited to provide top-notch food in a mid-century modern appointed old taxi garage that feels like you are in New York City. We just started booking Sunday weddings to clients looking for an alternative to a banquet house setting.

How do you keep your business fresh for your Capital Region customers?
We all dine as a sport and travel all over, looking for new and exciting design trends and food recipes.

What do you do to relax when you have a few moments to yourself?
We travel with our friends and entertain at our homes.

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