Locally owned businesses

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Dr. Gerald Benjamin D.D.S., P.C.
The Lofts at 18 Division Street,
Suite 205, Saratoga Springs
583.1116; www.benjaminsmile.com

What qualities are desirable when looking for a dentist? Passion, talent, education and skill. Teaching at a University and writing are also desirable attributes.

How would you describe what you do? I am a general dentist who limits my practice to fixing teeth and restoring implants. My specialty is Esthetic Dentistry and I hold a Certificate of Proficiency in Esthetic Dentistry.

What do you do for fun? Work is my favorite thing to do; it is my life and my passion.

What makes you different than other general dentists?
I am a general dentist who limits my practice to fixing teeth and restoring implants from simple to complex.  My area of expertise is Esthetic Dentistry. I believe in the maximum preservation of natural tooth structure, which means that I place very few crowns.

Why did you move your practice to Saratoga?
Saratoga is a thriving area within the Capital District and I believe that many people believe that quality dentistry would be expected to be available in that thriving city. Saratoga Springs is a great area to do business in and live in.

Brix Wine and Liquor
2421 Route 9, Malta
899.9559
Owners:  Colleen & David Rosenberg

Describe your business
: Brix is a Wine and Liquor store conceived to make buying wine and spirits at a level that all can be comfortable with. We offer a diverse selection of products at competitive prices. Our focus is on educating customers and helping them get the information they want from both our knowledgeable staff and our Wine Kiosk. We have always felt the best way to learn is through experience, which is why our tasting format is another avenue our where customers can educate themselves about their purchases.  We hope this will allow the buying experience to be approachable and remove any intimidation factor.  It is our goal for our customers to feel informed about the choices they make so they know that when they return, their experience will only be better.

How did you become involved in this industry?
We have been lifelong restaurateurs whose passion for great food has also included an enthusiasm for great wines.  Having met in Northern California, we have had many opportunities to experience the wine country and meet with many veteran winemakers, which began our education process.  That process has continued by staying in touch with how the wine industry has changed and becoming more appreciative of international wines.

What do you love most about running a business?
We love the continuing education process that comes from interacting with our customers.  Learning what they enjoy and how we help them find great wines and spirits that match their preferences is very rewarding.

What do you love best about living/working in the Capital Region? What we love about working in Saratoga County is the different cultures and activities that come together.  We have a community of diverse backgrounds, arts and outdoor settings that makes this an extremely rounded, yet balanced, setting for families, young adults and the growing work force of our neighbor, Global Foundries.
 
What is your favorite wintertime activity? We have many favorites, but what ranks high is enjoying time with family and friends, toasting the occasion!

Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-9pm; Sunday Noon-6pm.

The Cross Eyed Owl Gift Shop
Route 9, Suite 8, Valatie
758.6755; www.crosseyedowl.com
Owner: Patti Varga

Describe your business: I like to say that the Cross Eyed Owl is in the joy business.  We offer a huge selection of affordable cards and gift items, from candles, jewelry, scarves, bath and body to sports, baby, wedding, and pretty much any animal or theme gift you could possibly be looking for.   We try to have something for all ages and all occasions.  Yankee Candles, Willow Tree Angels, Jim Shore figurines and Woodstock Chimes are just a few of our top product lines.  We have wedding and gift registries and try to make every customer who comes in the shop feel like family.

How did you become involved in this industry?  The shop started out 20 years ago as a way to sell my handcrafted items and evolved to what it is today, because of  customer’s requests and suggestions.

What do you love most about running a business?  The daily interaction with our customers is my favorite part of being a business owner.  Every day provides opportunities for meeting new folks that have discovered the shop for the first time, as well as catching up with customers who come back again and again.  I love hearing about their lives and families, their joys and their struggles.  We even get to see pictures of pets and grandkids along with all the stories!

What do you love best about living/working in the Capital Region?  The Capital Region is where I grew up; its home for me and I can’t imagine ever living anywhere else. I love the four seasons and I have the benefit of living in a rural part of the region so I can enjoy the quiet of nature at home or hop in the car and be with friends and family experiencing all sorts of food and fun in no time at all. 
What is your favorite wintertime activity? Sitting inside by a warm fire.

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10am-6pm; Wednesday 10am-8pm; Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday Noon-5pm.

Curtis Electrolysis
125 Wolf Road, Suite 317, Albany
459.4940; www.curtiselectrolysis.com
Owner: Diane Curtis

Describe your business: PERMANENT (that is PERMANENT) hair removal. Did I mention PERMANENT?

How did you become involved in this industry?
I went through four years of college, two years of graduate school, earned an M.S.Ed. in Student Personnel Administration and couldn’t get a job. It was 1975, the Baby Boomers were graduating from college, enrollments were plummeting and colleges weren’t hiring.  I heard of electrolysis through a friend (and I needed the service) so I broadened my horizons and decided to try this new business venture for a year.  I discovered I loved this career and love my clients! So here I am, 35 years later, having served over 7,500 clients. Go figure! God is good!

What do you love most about running a business?
The freedom to love on my clients as I would want to be loved on with a great staff that does the same!

What do you love best about living/working in the Capital Region? I was raised here, its home.  And we are blessed to have everything within a few hours – love NYC, love the Adirondacks and our family lake house, the ocean is nearby. We have FOUR seasons, so if you either don’t like the weather or are bored with it, just wait a minute and it’ll change!  (I have the attention span of a two-year-old, so this works well for me.)

What is your favorite wintertime activity?
Throwing on a pot of stew on a snowy day, inviting a bunch of people over, (family, friends, strangers) while my husband (and love of my life of 30 years!) builds a huge fire in the fireplace, then sitting around the dinner table for hours, talking over a second glass of wine or a cup of coffee and eating dessert and watching it snow!!

Hours: Every day but Sunday, when I rest, as per instructed. 

Delmar Dental Medicine
344 Delaware Avenue, Delmar
439-4228; www.delmardental.com
Owner: Dr. Thomas Abele

Describe your business: Our business is a family/general practice that encompasses most specialties.  I have been doing comprehensive/reconstructive dentistry including dental implants for 40+ years.

How did you become involved in this industry?
I went into this line of work because I have enjoyed working with people.  Also, as a teenager I enjoyed building model airplanes and ships so I enjoy technical and precise work.  My father, Harold T. Abele, was a dental laboratory technician and was one of the first certified dental technicians in New York State.  Dentistry has always been in the family.  My great uncle graduated from University of Michigan and practiced in Detroit.

What do you love most about running a business? What I find most rewarding about my business is working with my patients and helping them with their dental treatment and educating them so they achieve optimal dental health.

What do you love best about living/working in the Capital Region?
I love spending time with my family and boating and fishing together. My wife and I enjoy gardening and we spend a lot of time at our home, gardening and enjoying our surroundings with friends and family.

What is your favorite wintertime activity? We enjoy skiing and other winter sports.

Hours: Monday & Wednesday 8am-5pm; Tuesday & Thursday 7am-3pm.  We also have Friday hours by appointment.

Delmar Health and Fitness
28 Hudson Avenue,Delmar
813-4475; www.delmarhealthandfitness.com
Owner: Mike Mashuta

Describe your business: This is the fifth health club I designed and it blends individual program design, with the latest versions of high-end equipment. The brand new, 11,000 square-foot club is sized for comfortable fitness and privacy while exercising.

How did you become involved in this industry? John Harms introduced me to bodybuilding and fitness. He was a national competition winner, and started my path toward strength training for sports and sculpting. I was elected, and carried out the duties of NYS Bodybuilding Chairman for 16 years and even judged the early contests locally for Judy Torel and Marcie Frazier and was the number one judge for the Mr. Olympia in Helsinki Finland. Then I went to Rimini, Prague, Copenhagen, and Barcelona for the IFBB. The National Physique Committee flew me to Judge in Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose, Houston, New York City, Atlantic City, Pittsburgh and Atlanta. For continuing education credits I went to Ocala, Florida to Arthur Jones’ home (the inventor of nautilus) and was certified for participating in strength training studies. At the University of Florida he donated more than $15 million for strength training identical twins with different sets and reps to see what would work best for training results and early muscle fiber typing. Upon returning, I was very motivated that I could safely train clients to reach goals.

What do you love most about running a business?
This business yields great rewards and goals accomplished by so many.

What do you love best about living/working in the Capital Region? The proximity of the Capital Region to the Adirondacks is a premier benefit to the quality of life for my family.

What is your favorite wintertime activity?  For those of us in the health club or personal training business, it’s a busy time of year. It’s sort of like a retail store’s holiday sales season. For the next 12 to 20 weeks we will be getting people into bathing suit condition, or healthy enough to enjoy the spring and summer.

Hours: Monday-Friday 5am-11pm, Saturday and Sunday 7am-7pm. For a fitness tuneup make an appointment by calling 813.4475 or email mikemashuta@yahoo.com

E. Stewart Jones Law Firm
28 Second Street, Troy
(Offices also in Saratoga Springs and Albany)
274.5820; www.ESJlaw.com
Owner: E. Stewart Jones, Jr.

Describe your business: The E. Stewart Jones Law Firm is a small, locally-based law practice that has been specializing in Personal Injury and Criminal Defense law since 1898. Our attorneys and legal team are not only skilled and knowledgeable advocates, but also compassionate and sensitive to the needs of our clients and their families who have found themselves in tough circumstances – either injured or faced with criminal charges.

How did you become involved in this industry?
  E. Stewart Jones Law is a third-generation, family-owned law firm, which was founded by my grandfather, Abbott Jones, in downtown Troy more than 115 years ago.My father, E. Stewart Jones, Sr., succeeded him in the leadership of the firm and I assumed that role after he retired.

What do you love most about running a business in the Capital Region?
The Greater Capital Region is an exceptional place to own and operate a small business. Everyone in the business community is very supportive and always willing to help each other.  Also, I believe strongly in giving back to the local non-profit community and I feel our region tends to be very generous and supportive of the people and organizations that make it such a great place to live, work and raise a family.  

What would someone be surprised to learn about your business?
Many clients are surprised to learn that we handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis – which means we only receive a legal fee for our time and work efforts if we obtain compensation for the client either by way of settlement or a jury award.  This makes our firm affordable to anyone who has been injured and is in need of experienced and effective legal representation.

Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5pm.
Attorneys available 24/7 for urgent legal matters
www.ESJlaw.com

Just Cats Veterinary Clinic
2073 Western Ave Guilderland
3258 S. Broadway Saratoga
869.5779; www.justcatsvet.com
Owner: Susan Sikule, DVM

Describe your business: Just Cats Veterinary Clinic was started 20 years ago with the concept that “cats are not little dogs.” Cats have some unique diseases and behaviors that our staff and veterinarians have the experience and knowledge to treat and prevent.  We are proud to be known for our ability to provide exceptionally high-level feline veterinary medical and surgical care, including boarding and grooming.

How did you become involved in this industry?
I grew up on a small sheep farm in rural Albany County and have always had a deep love and appreciation for animals. Becoming a veterinarian seemed the natural path to helping animals. After graduating from veterinary school, I found myself drawn towards cats and really have connected with their uniqueness.

What do you love most about running a business?
Knowing that I am contributing to the area economy and providing high-quality feline veterinary care.

What do you love best about living/working in the Capital Region? Living in an area that offers a wide variety of activities to do outside of work; from performing events to participatory sports and recreation.

What is your favorite wintertime activity?
Being a runner, I love running on a sunny day!

Hours: Guilderland: Monday, Thursday, Friday 8am-5pm; Tuesday & Wednesday 8am-8pm; First & third Saturday of every month 8am-1pm.
Saratoga: Monday-Friday 10am-6pm.

River Stone Manor
1437 Amsterdam Road Glenville
382.8322; www.riverstonemanor.com
Owner: Angelo (Skip) Sgarlata

Describe your business: Banquet & off-premise catering facility.

How did you become involved in this industry?
I was born into it. The Sgarlata family has been in the hospitality business since 1915.

What do you love most about running a business? The people you meet.

What do you love best about living/working in the Capital Region? I have lived here my whole life. My roots are here. I could never leave my family and friends. I also love the Adirondack Mountains….gorgeous.  They are magical.

What is your favorite wintertime activity? Skiing.

Hours: Whenever needed.

S & B Staffing
220 Washington Ave. Ext., Albany
869.6780; www.S-BStaffing.com
Owners: Patricia Blais & Connie Sargent

Describe your business: We provide direct hire, temporary and temp-to-hire staffing options for businesses and individuals in the Capital Region.  We specialize in Administrative, Accounting, Sales, Technical and Management positions.

How did you become involved in this industry?
We met while working for a national staffing company. We had always wanted to run our own business with a goal to provide excellent customer service and top-notch recruiting based on our years of experience. Our goal was to establish a company that would set the standard in the staffing industry for a high-performance, quality service company.

What do you love most about running a business? While all business owners will say it’s a challenge, being able to guide our own destiny and make decisions based on our values and beliefs has been very important. Being able to do this while providing employment to thousands of individuals, and valued staff to hundreds of local companies, keeps us as enthusiastic today as the day we opened!

What do you love best about living/working in the Capital Region? We’re in a great community and have had the privilege to work with and to become business acquaintances with such dynamic individuals. We’ve seen businesses open and grow, and we’ve provided so many people with a start in their career or a different direction in their career.  It’s so rewarding to hear back from these people over the years. We’ve both lived here for so long and we take advantage of the opportunities provided to enjoy the outdoors, the culture and the local flavor. Working with Capital Region companies is like working with your close friends.  It’s a big area with a small town heart!

What is your favorite wintertime activity? 
We both enjoy walking and, though it gets cold here, there’s nothing more invigorating than a walk after a recent snowfall.  We both also love taking trips with our husbands to communities like Saratoga Springs, Lake George, Sacandaga and Hudson to enjoy the artwork, the culture and the scenery.

Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30am –5pm.

Lucas Confectionery
12 Second Street, Troy
www.lucasconfectionery.com
Owners: Heather LaVine & Vic Christopher

Describe your business: We are a community gathering space featuring unique and rare wines by the glass and bottle; along with craft beer, artisan coffee, domestic cheeses, small plates, confections and house-made desserts. Our setting pays tribute to the building’s confectionery history, as Lucas Confectionery was a mainstay in Troy from 1863-1951. The renovation utilized reclaimed materials to create a design inspired by the industrial era of the City of Troy.

How did you become involved in this industry? We met while working together for an organization that didn’t support our relationship. We enjoyed working together and serving the community, and we love wine; so reinventing the Lucas Confectionery was a great way to combine our passions.

What do you love most about running a business? Showcasing the talented, small companies that produce our wine, coffee and cheeses. We exclusively purchase products from boutique distributors that share our vision.

What do you love best about living/working in the Capital Region? There is an incredible momentum in our city, and we feel very lucky to play a part in the re-development of downtown Troy.
What is your favorite wintertime activity? Hot, spiced mulled wine by the fireplace.

Hours: Monday-Tuesday 4pm-11pm; Wednesday-Thursday 4pm-12am; Friday-Saturday 4pm -2am; Sunday 4pm-10pm.

Spa Broadway at The White Sands Massage
453 Broadway, Troy
272.3636; www.thewhitesandsmassage.com
Owner: Gretta Taglione

Describe your business: What started as a solo massage therapy practice has grown into a multi-service wellness & beauty boutique. We are now in our third location in five years, offering massage therapy, nail care, skin care, waxing, body treatments and organic airbrush tanning.

What are some of the hardest problems women business owners have today? When I started the business in 2008, I was single and childless. Five years later, I’m married with a wonderful 3-year-old daughter, and a growing business with several staff members to manage. It’s a constant struggle to balance the demands of work while making sure we spend quality time with family. Finding good child care is often difficult to coordinate, and if you’re like me, can sometimes bring on feelings of guilt for being away from my child. I know I’m not alone. Many of my peers struggle right along with me.

Is there one thing that really surprised you about owning a business? Owning a business is a seven-day a week job. I’m not only a Massage Therapist, but I’m also responsible for all of the administrative work. Prior to owning my business, I had no idea of what real “hard work” was. Surprise!

What is the most important piece of advice you were given before starting your business? The best advice I was given as I was starting up my business was to “start small” and “keep overhead low”. When I first started out, I was in a tiny one-room basement office. Soon after, we were bursting at the seams. Last March we expanded again and now have just the right amount of space, allowing us to offer our specialized services at a price that is affordable, which has always been important to me.

What is your favorite service? Our 90–minute hot stone massage!

What do you enjoy doing in your down time? In my free time, I enjoy reading stories to my daughter and baking for my husband.

Teakwood Builders, Inc.
8 Butler Place, Saratoga Springs
Owner:  Jim Sasko

Describe your business: Design/Build luxury home builder/remodeler and light commercial construction.

How did you become involved in this industry?  When I was twelve I worked with my father in his hardware store in Cohoes.  Most of his customers were small contractors that maintained or improved the older homes of Cohoes and Troy.  I got to know the “guts” of an older home from inside a building supply store. That experience, along with my interest in history and architecture, inspired me to take construction and engineering courses in high school.  I continued my education in the field as a framing carpenter and earned an AAS from HVCC and BS from Utica College.   

What do you love most about running a business?  I love the friendships that form with clients when we build their home. They come to me with a home that doesn’t work for them, and I get to be practical and creative and solve their problem in beautiful ways.  It’s a rewarding job.

What do you love best about living/working in the Capital Region?  I am always amazed at the diversity of architecture here: from the historic Albany brownstone to the Great Adirondack Camp to a streamlined modern residence. It provides an exciting range of inspiration and work for us.  

What is your favorite wintertime activity?  Teaching my daughters how to ski.

Hours:  Monday-Friday 8am – 5pm.
 

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