Small Business Startup: River Golf Adventures – Sept. 2014

"We want to keep things interesting and continue incorporating the river. Developing activities for people to enjoy is just awesome." - Jill Bach, co-owner, River Golf Adventures. Photo by Justin Sorensen / NNY Business

“We want to keep things interesting and continue incorporating the river. Developing activities for people to enjoy is just awesome.” – Jill Bach, co-owner, River Golf Adventures. Photo by Justin Sorensen / NNY Business

THE INITIAL IDEA

Natives of the north country and the river, Karl A. and Jill D. Bach are no strangers to small business ownership. Mr. Bach owns and operates Bach & Co. Construction, Clayton, servicing all areas and phases of commercial, residential and environmental construction. Mrs. Bach owned a salon in Clayton for 13 years and still rents a booth 30 hours a week.

“It can get a little hectic,” Mrs. Bach explained. “But we just love it.” [Read more…]

Small Biz Startup – Old Garage Deli

Jaime Short, owner of Old Garage Deli on Route 11, holds the Thunderbird, a sandwich with turkey, ham, provolone, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle mayo. Photo by Justin Sorensen/NNY Business

THE INITIAL IDEA

Jaime L. Short, owner of Watertown’s newest though maybe most unexpected lunch spot, knew when it was time to go out on her own.

After working in kitchens and offices for local businesses for 20 years or more, it was time to start her own business. She’d worked for Dry Hill Ski Area for 16 years and spent last summer in the kitchen at the Crescent Bay Yacht Club, Chaumont. But when the former Ames Bros. Service Center left its longtime home on outer Washington Street vacant, her vision came to life. [Read more…]

Small Biz Startup: Massey Ranch

Shawn Massey holds jugs of his Massey Ranch maple syrup at his property in the town of Watertown. Photo by Amanda Morrison/NNY Business.

THE INITIAL IDEA

When Shawn E. Massey purchased approximately 220 acres on the Combs Road in the town of Watertown in 2009, he knew it wouldn’t be long before he turned it into something.

Given that he’s had entrepreneurial blood in his veins since birth, Mr. Massey, president of Massey’s Furniture Barn, Arsenal Street, Watertown, has a hard time sitting still.

After his house was built in 2009 on the property, Mr. Massey founded Massey Ranch, a hobby farm, you-pick pumpkin patch and maple syrup making operation, last year.

“It was humble beginnings and it’s all a labor of love,” Mr. Massey said about Massey Ranch. “I have all this land and I knew I wanted to do something with it to keep me busy but that would also be to the benefit of the community. The ranch does that.”

TARGET CLIENTELE

“Families and children, most definitely,” Mr. Massey said about his target customer.

Massey Ranch offers you-pick pumpkins in the late summer and fall months and tractor rides around the property, including a visit to the pond, which are aimed at bringing together families and getting them outdoors. A giant sand pile near the parking lot ensures that kids will go home just a little dirty from their day on the ranch.

“Another major customer is the soldiers and their families from Fort Drum,” Mr. Massey said. “They don’t always get to see the country and go for wagon rides. They are always overwhelmed by how much fun it is and they don’t have to go that far, or even pay a lot of money.”

THE JOURNEY

As if running one of Watertown’s longest-standing locally owned furniture stores for more than 15 years wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Mr. Massey decided to fill his free time at Massey Ranch by constantly adding to it.

“When I bought the property I had a vision to do something there, but I wasn’t sure what the best thing to do was,” he said.So he built a hay barn and began a hay baling operation. Last year he baled more than 5,000 bales of horse hay, which he sold to local farmers. During last year’s maple syrup season he decided to tap 200 trees and see where it led him.

“My dad tapped trees when I was younger,” he said of his experience with maple syrup production. “I was small at the time but I remember there being a sugar shack and a turkey fryer that he’d use to try and make syrup.”

This year, Mr. Massey tapped more than 500 maple trees and built a sugar shanty on the property, opening just in time for Maple Weekend in March. In the future, he hopes to tap more than 700 trees.

“We sell the maple syrup in a little cottage we have on the property,” he said. During the maple season he also is offering Amish baked goods and other treats for sale, including honey harvested from his own bees on the ranch.

Continuing with the ranch’s evolution, Mr. Massey will turn his property into a year-round destination. He said he does it for the love of being outdoors and seeing families enjoying themselves.

“[The ranch] is my hobby, it’s what I enjoy doing,” he said. “I’m not in it for the money really, I charge for pumpkins during the you-pick season, but it’s nothing meant to make me rich. The Furniture Barn pays my bills and with [the ranch] I try to give back a little.”

IN FIVE YEARS

Though one may think that Mr. Massey is content with his you-pick pumpkins, tractor tours, honey and maple syrup production and hay baling operations, he’s not.

“I planted grapes three years ago and should get my first harvest this year,” he said. “They take time to get established and grow. We will see how they mature, whether we turn them into wine or just sell a grape crop.”

This spring, Mr. Massey is planting 10 acres of raspberry plants as well, in hopes of having an offering of locally-grown fruits in coming years.

All of the excitement doesn’t reside only at Mr. Massey’s newest venture; there are some interesting plans in the works for his furniture business as well.

“[Massey’s Furniture Barn] is not going anywhere,” he said. “It’s been in business for more than 50 years and we’ve got some big plans coming up in the near future in terms of expansion. But I can’t talk about any of that yet.”

Kyle R. Hayes is associate editor of NNY Business. Contact him at 661-2381 or khayes@wdt.net

Small Biz Startup: Simplicity Cafe


Trevor Brunet, a Culinary Institute of American graduate and owner of Simplicity Cafe, Ogdensburg. Photo by Jason Hunter/NNY Business.

THE INITIAL IDEA

The Simplicity Café at Ogdensburg’s Dobisky Center is many things to owner Trevor R. Brunet.

It’s a foray into restaurant ownership, a market testing site for future expansion and the culmination of several business ideas he had while attending the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts. [Read more…]

Small Biz Startup: The Spicy Wench

Christine Hoffman, owner of "The Spicy Wench" brand of jams and jellies , a home grown business venture run from her Harris Drive home in the city of Watertown.

THE INITIAL IDEA

The Spicy Wench owner, Christine E. Hoffman, was looking for a way to utilize some sweet and spicy treats from her garden that she planted in 2009. Her husband and son had requested a myriad of peppers be planted, so she took to making pepper jelly and drying her harvest. She tested her products on her husband, a civilian contractor working in Iraq, and his friends overseas. Perfecting her recipes, she launched The Spicy Wench in 2011. [Read more…]

Small Biz Startup: Bedford Creek Press

Bedford Creek Press owner Lauren Eggleston in her print shop in Sackets Harbor. Photo by Justin Sorensen/NNY Business

THE INITIAL IDEA

Lauren Eggleston, Sackets Harbor, needed an artistic outlet from her history studies during her time at Wells College, Aurora. She’d been exposed to the art of letterpress printing as a teenager, as her piano teacher’s daughter had a press of her own. As she was looking to do something a little different from her regular studies, she took up letterpress printing for herself and ended up minoring in book arts at Wells. Following her artistic instincts, Bedford Creek Press, a small run letterpress printing shop, was born earlier this year. [Read more…]

Small Biz Startup: First Round Bar & Lounge

Owners Frank and Audrey "Jeany" Danielsen at the bar of the newly opened First Round Bar on Factory Street in Watertown. Photo by Amanda Morrison.

THE INITIAL IDEA

A neighborhood bar that is a friendly watering hole with good pub fare for the after-work crowd.

It was that simple for Watertown couple Frank G. and Audrey J. “Jeany” Danielsen, who bought the former Kicker’s Lounge at 498 Factory St. and renamed it First Round Bar & Lounge with the goal of bringing a vibrant bar back to life.

[Read more…]