May 2016: Feature Story

Sky Skarf takes flight

Amber Stevens, left, and Heather E. Hlad are creators of the Sky Skarf. The product, which provides comfort when traveling, was launched with help from Clarkson University’s Shipley Center.

Amber Stevens, left, and Heather E. Hlad are creators of the Sky Skarf. The product, which provides comfort when traveling, was launched with help from Clarkson University’s Shipley Center.

Lewis women turn airline discomfort into entrepreneurial venture

By Alan Rizzo, NNY Business

When they invented a silk scarf to make traveling by air a warmer, quieter, more germ-free experience, Lewis County residents Heather E. Hlad and Amber Stevens never expected that their invention would get as much feedback as it has, and be used for purposes outside an airplane cabin. [Read more…]

January 2016 Cover Story: Economic Outlook

Slow and steady
growth wins the race

OUTLOOK 2016 / MILITARY: A soldier salutes during the presentation of the colors last year in an activation ceremony for the 10th Mountain Division Divarty. As the post avoided major cuts in 2015, Fort Drum officials remain positive that 2016 will be a healthy year for one of region’s top economic sectors. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

OUTLOOK 2016 / MILITARY: A soldier salutes during the presentation of the colors last year in an activation ceremony for the 10th Mountain Division Divarty. As the post avoided major cuts in 2015, Fort Drum officials remain positive that 2016 will be a healthy year for one of region’s top economic sectors. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

Despite a few challenges, experts say the region is on pace for a positive year in 2016. Six sectors of the north country’s economy are ripe with opportunities for growth.

By Karee Magee, NNY Business

A grim fate cast a pall over the north country in early 2015, as federal budget sequestration threatened to cut up to 16,000 personnel from Fort Drum in an effort by the army to trim its active duty force from 490,000 to 450,000 by fiscal year 2017. [Read more…]

Shoppers on both sides of the border hit stores for post-Christmas savings

Walking into Salmon Run Mall on Saturday morning, the holiday tunes over the sound system and countless flyers proclaiming “50% off” or “BOGO” may have given the false impression that Christmas was right around the corner.

But some shoppers argue the post-holiday sales were more giving than during the holiday shopping season.

“It’s cheaper,” said Nicole E. Odett, whose first stop for savings was the Christmas Tree Shop. She was pushing a cart of discounted wrapping paper, although she planned to see what the rest of the mall had marked down. “I usually get clothes [after Christmas]. I have five kids.”

In the Bon Ton, Deborah J. Hadfield had come with a friend to return an item, but she stayed to eye some of the discounts.

“Everything’s a lot cheaper, of course. The deals after Christmas are way better than they were before,” she said. “Especially clothing is marked down. Get them while you can.”

A majority of items across the mall — and even at stores across the Arsenal Street strip — were discounted anywhere from 30 percent to 75 percent.

“If you have kids and its Santa Claus, you want to get stuff before Christmas. But if anybody could wait, you should do it after,” advised Ms. Hadfield.

Outside Target on Towne Center Drive, sisters Erin L. Mallory and Lisa M. Mills were just about done with their shopping.

“It was 50 percent off, probably about the same as Black Friday but less crowded,” said Ms. Mallory.

Inside the store, discounts on regular items ranged from just under $1 to over $20. Christmas items, like ornaments and lights, were cheaper than that.

“Target had a better selection than Walmart,” Ms. Mallory added.

“The prices at both stores, Walmart and Target, were the same. But Walmart was very much picked over and Target had a better selection — more things available,” said Ms. Mills.

Angela Bratton decided to take her granddaughter Christmas shopping at Target.

“I was late with her Christmas, so this is it,” she said.

Although she wasn’t looking for deals, Ms. Bratton could not deny the prices were a steal.

“You’re going to save money after Christmas,” she said.

Farther north, Martin Labbee, of Montreal, was enjoying lunch in the food court at St. Lawrence Centre mall in Massena after spending the night before at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino.

The day after Christmas, or Boxing Day as it’s known in Canada, has turned into one of the biggest shopping days of the year with retailers north of the border offering Boxing Day sales and specials that often rival Black Friday sales here in the U.S. Not all Canadians, however, spend their money at home.

Mr. Labbee said while he doesn’t make special trips to the U.S. for shopping, he often finds himself shopping when in the country for other reasons.

“Since we were here, we decided to do a little bit of shopping,” he said. “We’re not really looking for the ‘big deal.’ When we’re here, it’s usually looking for stuff we can’t get at home.”

St. Lawrence Centre Marketing Assistant Lindsey S. Breitbeck said the traffic the mall sees on Boxing Day usually rivals that of what they see during the holiday shopping season.

“It’s definitely consistent with the holiday season,” she said. “It doesn’t drop off right away like people might think.”

Speaking early Friday afternoon, Ms. Breitbeck said she had already fielded calls from more than a dozen Canadian shoppers who wanted to make sure the mall was open.

“Since we opened this morning, we’ve received at least 15 calls from people looking to come over,” she said.

While the mall does rely heavily on Canadian traffic, many local shoppers also come out following the holidays to exchange gifts and spend money or gift cards they may have received.

“We get a lot of traffic because things that may be marked up because of the holidays are now marked down,” she said. “If there was something people wanted for Christmas, but they didn’t find it under their tree, today (Friday) is the day they’ll buy it.”

 

 

By Amanda Thomson-Tangalin and Benny Fairchild, Johnson Newspapers

’Tis the season for tech gadget

Sometimes techies can be the hardest people to buy for. Not only are they very particular about their gadgets but they do seem to already have the latest “thing”. This year you will find that technological gifts come in all shapes and sizes; here are a few great gift ideas to assist in your quest for the perfect “geek gift.”

[Read more…]