June 2016: Agri-Business

JeffersonCountyAgriculture.com goes live

Jay Matteson

Jay Matteson

Mark D. Waterhouse, president of Garnet Consulting Services, Pleasant Valley, Conn., spoke at the Jefferson County Economic Development Forum on May 18. Mr. Waterhouse is recognized within the economic development community for his success in helping communities attract new development and grow existing business. During Mr. Waterhouse’s commentary, he discussed effective marketing techniques to attract new business. His remarks and the data he presented demonstrated the needs for improved efforts and support for some of the actions we’ve taken to improve our presence. [Read more…]

Watertown Trust approves incentive program for downtown business district

The downtown business district will be getting another shot in the arm from the Watertown Local Development Corp. [Read more…]

JCIDA OKs 10-year tax break for Watertown business incubator

Finishing a nearly yearlong negotiation process, the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency’s board of directors approved a 10-year tax break on Thursday for the Watertown Center for Business and Industry. [Read more…]

February 2016: Business Briefcase

MILESTONES

Watertown Chamber names award winners

The Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce recently announced recipients of 2015 Business of the Year awards. [Read more…]

JCIDA chief: $15-an-hour proposal could drive ‘handful’ of area businesses out of state

A handful of area businesses “across the gamut of sizes and sectors” say they’d consider moving out of New York if the governor’s $15-an-hour minimum wage proposal materializes, according to the chief of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency. [Read more…]

Watertown meat plant developer: Proposed St. Lawrence County slaughterhouses could be outcompeted

This artist’s rendering shows how the New York Meat Co. at the Jefferson County Corporate Park would look when fully built. Submitted by Lunco Corp.

This artist’s rendering shows how the New York Meat Co. at the Jefferson County Corporate Park would look when fully built. Submitted photo by Lunco Corp.

Planners of small-scale slaughterhouses in Potsdam and Oswegatchie should be afraid of being overwhelmed by a larger meat plant being developed in the Watertown area, contends the developer of that plant. [Read more…]

December 2015: Business Briefcase

ECONOMY

St. Lawrence County sales tax revenues down

Sales tax revenues in St. Lawrence County are continuing to decline compared with a year ago. [Read more…]

October 2015 Business History: Car-Freshner

An international icon

The CarFreshner corporation building at the Jefferson County Corporate Park.

The CarFreshner corporation building at the Jefferson County Corporate Park.

Car-Freshner’s ‘Little Trees’ a global brand

By Lorna Oppedisano, NNY Business [Read more…]

Entecco unveils energy plan for Watertown manufacturers

The Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency’s board of directors on Thursday learned more about a Rochester energy consultant’s $5.4 million proposal to implement renewable energy sources for manufacturers at the City Center Industrial Park.

Entecco LLC has planned solar, biogas and natural gas energy sources, which would be used by Current Applications, Roth Industries Inc. and Renzi Brothers Inc. to reduce energy costs at the South Bellew Avenue park. In June, the consultant submitted a $4 million grant application on behalf of the agency for New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Cleaner, Greener Communities Program. The application also includes a loan request of $1.4 million from the NY Green Bank program needed to finance the project. NYSERDA will announce funding awards in October.

JCIDA paid Entecco $2,000 to submit the grant application. The agency’s board agreed to hire the consultant in April for $7,000 to conduct a preliminary energy study. That study originally was planned for Jefferson County-owned buildings, but the consultant changed its plan after learning a similar study already had been completed by Fourth Coast Inc., Clayton.

Smart-grid technology planned by Entecco is designed to reduce energy costs for manufacturers during times of peak demand, when delivery charges from National Grid are the highest, John Bay, Entecco’s president and COO, said during the meeting. He said technology would enable buildings to tap into energy from solar arrays or natural gas turbine generators during hours in which they use the most energy, which is typically from noon to 5 p.m.

“The idea is to control the peak demand to end up with a more level consumption rate,” Mr. Bay said.

Entecco analyzed the energy consumption of the three manufacturers to estimate their potential cost savings from the project, he said. Current Applications, which pays about 13 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity, would stand to save the most from the technology, he said. Renzi Brothers and Roth Industries, which pay 7 and 11 cents per kilowatt hour, respectively, would benefit less, because their buildings are more energy-efficient. “Renzi has their act together and is already very energy efficient,” Mr. Bay said.

He said manufacturers would each install $5,000 smart meters to accurately gauge their electrical consumption under the plan. Data from smart meters would be collected for a year to determine what energy sources would be used for the best results.

“This particular smart meter can do 400 data points every second — that’s how much data is gathered,” Mr. Bay told the board.

JCIDA board member W. Edward Walldroff advised Mr. Bay that Entecco should be familiar with efforts by Clarkson University to develop a similar energy plan in the village of Potsdam.

“I would stress that what we do here should be in concert with them, and there should be a familiarity with what they’re doing,” he said. “It’s going to take a regional approach to make this happen.”

Donald C. Alexander, CEO of the Jefferson County Local Development Corp., said Entecco plans eventually to collaborate with businesses across the county on similar projects. He said other large businesses, including New York Air Brake, have expressed interest. And JCIDA’s planned business park at Watertown International Airport, off Route 12F in the town of Hounsfield, also has potential to become a hub for renewable energy. “We have three businesses, and we’re going to be able to test this in a number of scenarios to see if it really works or not,” Mr. Alexander told the board. “We’re going to have to make believers of everyone for this to work. And over time, we hope to hear back from more businesses to see what their interest is going to be.”

By Ted Booker, Times Staff Writer

JCIDA committee tentatively OKs $40,000 loan to Skewed Brewing Co.

The Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency’s loan review committee tentatively approved a $40,000 loan request Tuesday made by RC Spot LLC, the parent company of Skewed Brewing Co. at Salmon Run Mall, to be used for cash flow.

The three-year loan for the restaurant, which opened in October, will be considered for final approval at the agency’s board meeting July 3. The committee’s unanimous approval of the loan comes after the agency issued a five-year, $50,000 loan in February 2013 needed to launch the business, co-owned by Ryan and Cheryl Chaif, owners of the Hops Spot restaurant in Sackets Harbor, and Mark P. Crandall.

Owners were notified by the agency about Tuesday’s meeting but did not attend. Mr. Chaif declined to comment after the meeting.

Committee members, who reviewed the financials of Skewed Brewing and the Hops Spot during the meeting, discovered the business has operated at a loss since it opened. The Hops Spot, which received a $27,500 loan from the agency in October 2011, finished 2013 with a net loss in revenue.

Lyle V. Eaton, JCIDA’s chief financial officer, declined to disclose financial figures for the two restaurants. He said a combined total of about $60,000 is owed on the two outstanding loans, and owners have consistently made payments.

Mr. Eaton said Skewed Brewing, staffed by 44 employees, needs cash flow after it encountered unexpected expenses.

“They had some overruns on the startup and loan fees to the (Small Business Development Center) they didn’t anticipate,” he said.

An unanticipated cost to install plumbing equipment also set back the restaurant, committee member Donald L. DiMonda said. He said a plumber installed equipment incorrectly, and another plumber was hired to complete the work.

“They had a bad experience with a plumber and took a $20,000 hit,” Mr. DiMonda said. “I don’t think I see anything unusual, other than the fits and starts of a new business. I haven’t heard anything bad about the food or the business.”

Committee member Michelle D. Pfaff said the operating loss at Skewed Brewing did not concern her, as startups typically operate at a loss during their first year. But she expressed concerns about the loss in 2013 at the Hops Spot.

“They showed a profit in 2012 at the Hops Spot, and I thought that was good because it would support their new business,” she said. “And in 2013, it shows a loss and negative cash flow — that’s my only concern.”

By Ted Booker, Times Staff Writer