Keeping it in the family: Many north country business owners passing the torch to their offspring

Scott and Kelly Skinner and their daughter, Katie Skinner Youngs, in an aisle at their store. Photo by Amanda Morrison/NNY Business.

Operating a family business can be challenging and rewarding, yet at times, stressful and frustrating.

In many cases, families have to develop some type of “system” that allows them to work together during the day and still be talking to each other at night.

Several north country family businesses have not only made it work, but have been pretty successful at it. [Read more...]

Owens introduces bill for small business tax relief

Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, has introduced a bill that would offer small businesses a tax break that corresponds to increases in wages paid to certain employees in a given year. [Read more...]

Sales tax revenue up in 2012 for tri-county area

Three north country counties once again saw a spike in sales tax receipts in 2012, with each surpassing budget projections.

“It’s substantial,” Lewis County Legislature Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan, said after learning that his county had broken the $10 million mark for the first time. “That’s encouraging news.” [Read more...]

Experts say entrepreneurs need standout business plans to succeed in commercial real estate market

Compared to a decade ago, experts say, today’s entrepreneurs seeking to scoop up commercial real estate in the greater Watertown area need to jump through many more hoops to be successful. [Read more...]

A few key rules to start a business

Experts agree: For those who want to launch, preparation, building team critical to success

Following a period of holiday bliss, the New Year is a time when reality sinks in. One begins to ask what resolutions will be most attainable in the coming months. Is it losing that extra five pounds? Maybe it’s sleeping a full eight hours every night? Or perhaps just reading more, instead of spending so much time in front of the television.

For business owners, the New Year is a time to set new goals. Paint the storefront for some added curb appeal. Keep better records of business spending. Freshen up the advertising campaign in an effort to draw in new customers.

[Read more...]

Outlook 2013: Searching for some silver linings

Northern New York economy likely to see steady, calculated gains as uncertainty looms over policies that impact jobs

Uncertainty in Washington over what will become of the nation’s fiscal house has cast a pall over economic optimism like a wet blanket. Add a myriad of unknowns on how federal health care reform will impact job creation and a Congress content with inaction on a farm bill and many are left to wonder how optimism is even possible. And, as if that’s not enough, Albany is abuzz with talk about increasing New York’s minimum wage while also trying to market the Empire State as a business-friendly oasis for innovation and entrepreneurship. If this all sounds like a bad political thriller, welcome to 2013. Still, no matter the action — or lack thereof — in either capital city, Northern New York is poised to see some bright spots in the year ahead. [Read more...]

Coast to coast: California ideas come to NNY

New York the ‘right market’ for Wholeshare

California startup Wholeshare is market testing Northern New York as a location for future business growth.

When Peter Woo was looking for a market to test Wholeshare, his San Francisco-based startup company with the concept of group buying local, sustainable foods, he decided to uproot and move to the north country.

That move across the country has helped Mr. Woo and his team at Wholeshare gauge first-hand how his company may fare in markets across the United States.

“There are a lot of practical issues in Upstate New York that we probably wouldn’t have gathered if we sat in our offices in California and just speculated about how people live in other markets,” Mr. Woo said.

Mr. Woo and co-founder Matthew Hatoun, who both attended Brown University, Providence, R.I., began Wholeshare in 2009 as a way for groups of people to have access to high quality, affordable local food.

[Read more...]

Pages: 1 2

Putting job-seekers to work

Staffing firms connect the north country with opportunities

Robert J. Penski, owner of Penski Inc., outside his business at 50 Market St. in Potsdam. Photo by Jason Hunter.

The job hunt can be a tedious, yet gratifying, frustrating and fulfilling journey. Sometimes the search for work is in one’s field. Other times, job seekers decide — or are forced — to switch gears and take a completely different path.

Despite the reasons for the hunt, work force firms and staffing agencies are bringing the job search full circle bigger and better than before. Even during an economic downturn, these companies continue to help people and businesses find ways to thrive without enduring major financial challenges.

[Read more...]

The push for business innovation

How Northern New York is learning from Silicon Valley to become a test market for the next generation of great ideas

Mark Cornett, NexID Biometrics general manager, left, and owner Michael Schuckers hold fingerprint scanners with co-owner Stephanie Schuckers in a biometrics lab at Clarkson University last month. NexID Biometrics develops and licenses detection software that enables fingerprint-scanning technologies to function with greater accuracy by avoiding spoof-related risks. Photo by Jason Hunter.

Few would argue that Northern New York is a far cry from Central California. What with below-zero degree days the norm during a New York January, but a 50-degree day being considered a California cold snap.

However, the two regions have more in common than one might think. Linked by a shared passion for innovative ideas and an overwhelming entrepreneurial spirit, the relationship between Silicon Valley and the north country is growing surprisingly closer. Will Northern New York ever be deemed the next Silicon Valley? Not likely anytime soon. Although, local entrepreneurs say that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The advantages that the business environment throughout the north country offer cannot be found in the high-pressure, high-turnover world of California’s tech universe.

[Read more...]

Third quarter marked by robust tri-county home sales

Third-quarter residential home sales sizzled in Jefferson and Lewis counties, boosting purchases 12 percent over last year.

In St. Lawrence County, however, single-family home sales through three quarters dropped compared with last year, according to the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. From January through September, 428 homes were sold, a 6 percent drop from last year’s 454. This year’s median price through three quarters was $82,500, up from last year’s $75,000.

From July through September, 388 single-family houses were sold in the two counties through members of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors, up from last year’s 371 during the same period. A total of 911 residential home sales for the region were chalked up from January through September, a 12 percent increase from last year’s 803 sales.

[Read more...]