Items tagged with 'small businesses'
There are all kinds of good ideas floating around the Capital Region. We hear about them all the time. And sometimes all a good idea needs to get off the ground is a little push. So, with the help of Berkshire Bank and Staff Ciampino & Company P.C., Certified Public Accountants, we're bringing back the AOA Startup Grant contest.
The idea: Provide $1,500 in cash to help a budding entrepreneur get a new project off the ground, or take an existing small business project to the next level.
It's also an opportunity to get a look at some of the good ideas circulating just below the radar in our region. The 2012 contest helped 3 Chicks and a P fund its hummus and tapenade business. And the first startup contest helped the Radix Center fund an aquaculture setup in which they raise fish, watercress and water lettuce, and help educate the public about urban sustainability.
This year Berkshire Bank is offering a $1,500 startup grant to help get another local micro-enterprise off the ground. And once again, you get to help decide who gets that funding. Or -- you know -- maybe even enter your own idea.
We're really looking forward to seeing what people come up with this year.
So, here's what we're looking for -- and how to apply...
Nine Pin Cider Works -- the startup cidery in the warehouse district in North Albany -- officially opened its tasting room on Broadway Friday. And it was jammed. Apparently Albany was ready for some locally-made cider. A handful of photos from the Friday's open house are after the jump.
The hours for the tasting room are Thursday and Friday 4-9 pm, and Saturday 1-9 pm. Nine Pin also now has a distributor, so it should be popping up in bars, restaurants, and retail stores around the area.
Last summer I received a few bouquets through Flower Scout, a local grower and purveyor of fresh-cut flowers that was also running a CSA. Flower Scout has since morphed into flower sales, event flowers (weddings, for example), and other ideas.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Colie Collen, creator of Flower Scout, about balancing creative projects, working for yourself, and Troy.
Last August we met Alejandro del Peral and got an early look at his startup cidery in North Albany, Nine Pin Cider Works. At the time, some of the equipment had just been installed and del Peral was waiting on the fall apple crop to start making his product.
Nine Pin has made a lot of progress -- and a lot of cider -- over the past six months, as we found out when we stopped by the cidery on Broadway this week for a tour. Here's a look.
The screens at the Madison Theater in Albany will flick back to life January 17 when the theater opens for the first time after a renovation.
The 85-year-old venue has lived through many different versions in its history. But this next life represents a significant transformation. The Madison is now operated by Tierra Farm, the Columbia County-based organic nuts/coffee/dried fruit company that also runs the coffee shop at the front of the building. Tierra has big plans for the space: upgraded theaters, digital projectors, a retail store for its products, and, eventually, an event space.
We stopped by the theater Monday to get a look at the renovations and hear a little bit more about what's planned for the neighborhood theater.
Thanks to my Ask @alloveralbany inquiry we had our chimney swept by Pete Looker who left this excellent receipt. [above]
I wish I was home to meet him. As the other commenters on @alloveralbany noted he did indeed wear a stovepipe hat!
And the judges award the win to Pete Looker, for execution and style!
After seeing this receipt, we were thinking we might enjoy those ridiculously long drugstore receipts if they had passages from Dickens or some sort of other Victorian literature on the back. Heck, some of them are long enough, you might be able to fit a whole chapter.
The new food market in downtown Troy -- The Grocery -- officially opened Tuesday on Broadway, half a block from Monument Square.
It's the latest project from Vic Christopher and Heather LaVine, owners of The Confectionery, located in an adjacent building. And much like the wine/coffee bar, Christopher and LaVine have created another space with a definite sense of place.
We stopped in Tuesday afternoon to have a look and talk with a few of the people involved, about how it came together and trying to find the right approach for a grocery store in downtown Troy.
I am looking for an experienced web developer to help me launch an online business, someone who is highly proficient in HTML to hit the ground running on my site.
It sounds like Anonymous is maybe looking for a developer who has experience setting up an online shop or e-commerce system, so that might narrow the range a bit.
And, of course, a developer doesn't necessarily have to be local -- but it's nice to be able to meet up and talk to face-to-face. (We do get the sense Anon is looking for someone in the area.)
Have a web developer or firm to suggest? Please share.
Traci Cornwell comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. Her grandparents opened Cornwell Appliance on Central Ave in Colonie over sixty years ago. And her great-grandfather owned a shuttle business in Coxsackie. So her current path probably shouldn't be a surprise.
Traci was a finalist in last year's startup grant contest with what was then called The Bridge Runner Express, a plan to transport people between Albany and Saratoga. She didn't win the grant, but the judges were big fans of her, and they liked the idea -- they just thought it needed some more development.
A little more than a year later, her idea is up and running as The Giddy Up, offering $10 rides between Albany, Clifton Park, and Saratoga for Track season -- with plans for more.
At the corner of 4th and Fulton in downtown Troy, in what was formerly an OTB space on the ground floor of a parking garage, is now a workshop with metal and wood working machinery, racks of tools and parts, 3-D scanners and printers, and biotech equipment.
But organizers see it as part of something even bigger.
The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza is one of three indie book stores that have filed a class action suit against Amazon and the "big six" book publishers alleging the companies have violated anti-trust law by forming agreements, and using digital rights management, to exclude indie book stores from the e-book market. The suit also alleges the arrangement is moving Amazon toward having an e-book monopoly. [Huffington Post Scribd]
As the book stores' lead attorney explained to the Huffington Post this week: "We are seeking relief for independent brick-and-mortar bookstores so that they would be able to sell open-source and DRM-free books that could be used on the Kindle or other electronic ereaders." [Huffington Post]
So, in other words, the books stores are looking to prohibit the publishers from publishing e-books that can only be read on a Kindle (or via a Kindle app), and Amazon would be required to allow e-books from any store to be read on a Kindle. They also want the publishers to allow indie brick-and-mortar book stores to be allowed to sell e-books with "open-source" digital rights management ("DRM" -- technology that makes it harder to copy something).
On November 3, 2011 Vic Christopher and his wife Heather LaVine bought the building at 12 Second Street in Troy and began the work of restoring it that very night. It had most recently been the Troy Insurance Agency, but stood vacant across the street from the Illium Cafe for several years.
However, from 1863-1951 this had been the site of the Charles F. Lucas Confectionery.
Mr. Lucas, an Austrian-born emigre, brought the people of Troy something special, something sweet from the place he called home. Mr. Christopher is doing the same thing, but he's drawing from his roots in Brooklyn. After almost a year of renovations, soon the Charles F. Lucas Confectionery will re-open as a wine bar.
Recently I had the opportunity to talk with one of Troy's most passionate supporters about how this project began, what baseball has in common with operating a wine bar, and why Vic and Heather are hoping this will be your home away from home.
Let's hear it for giant checks and hummus!
Yesterday the winner of this year's AOA/Sunmark Startup Grant -- 3 Chicks and a P, a small business in Rotterdam that makes hummus, bean dips, and tapenades -- got its prize money from the people at Sunmark.
The giant check came with $1,500 actual dollars (
in a smaller check via direct deposit) that 3 Chicks owner Jennifer Ritner-Paniccia and her husband Matthew say they'll use for nutritional labeling for some of their newer flavors. They're hoping the labeling will help get their products onto supermarket shelves. 3 Chicks currently sells at local farmers' markets and co-ops.
Everyone celebrated the giant check with broccoli and hummus.
We'll be checking back with 3 Chicks and a P in a few months to see how they're doing.
Sue Kerber thinks the Capital Region needs to use more soap.
More specifically, her soap.
A familiar face and vendor at local farmers markets, Cohoes-based RAD Soap Co. has grown quickly in its four years. Sue's soaps and lotions began as a natural remedy to her family's ailments, from eczema to muscle pain to sinusitis. Those home remedies eventually turned into a full line of soaps, lotions, crèmes, balms and teas made from all natural ingredients -- and shipped all over the country.
The three finalists in this year's AOA/Sunmark Startup Grant competition made their presentations to our panel of judges this week at the Albany Colonie Chamber of Commerce.
They all did well -- but there can only be one winner...
There were a lot of good submissions for this year's AOA Sunmark Startup Grant. Projects ranged from a resource for new parents, to car sharing, to art, to web apps, to food. If you haven't read through the applications, you should -- you might find a project with which you'd like to get involved.
But there can only be three finalists -- two selected through crowd voting, the other by the Editors.
Here they are...
Crowd voting will determine two of the finalists. And there's still time for a bunch of projects to claim those top two spots -- the middle of the pack is only about 100 votes out of the top two. (There have been more than 1000 votes so far.)
There are a lot of interesting projects this year -- you should have a look and check them out:
+ Albany Baby Book (a directory of Capital Region services for parents of babies)
+ Baker's Intuition (a bake shop in Troy)
+ Berrylicious Bouquets (bouquets made from berries dipped in chocolate)
+ Bridge Runner Express (a shuttle from Albany to Saratoga)
+ Car Sharing in the Capital Region (an independent car sharing startup)
+ Installation Art Exhibition (a multi-artist exhibition in Troy)
+ My Ride Board (a website for ride sharing)
+ PinkHouse Pottery (a pottery studio offering classes)
+ Real Time Albany (a website that tracks what people are talking about)
+ Saratoga Artisans and Crafters' Market (annual craft market)
+ Stories and Gables (a website for sharing the stories of old houses)
+ The Cheese Traveler and Tilldale Farm (a gourmet food shop)
+ Three Chicks and a P (hummus, bean dips, tapenades)
Big thanks to Sunmark Federal Credit Union for its continued support of the startup grant.
Two of the three finalists for the $1500 startup grant will be chosen by crowd voting. (The Editors pick the third finalist.) Voting ends this Friday, May 11, at noon.
The final three will get an entrepreneurial crash course with business coach Janet Tanguay next week at the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce. They'll then make short presentations to a panel of judges, who will pick the winner.
This year's group of applicants includes some interesting and potentially community-changing ideas -- ranging from food to art to transportation. Have a look and then go vote.
Big thanks to Sunmark Federal Credit Union for its continued support of the startup grant.
Update: The applications are now closed. Voting starts May 7.
Just a friendly reminder that the application deadline for this year's AOA/Sunmark Startup Grant is the end of the day Friday (May 4). Here are all the details you'll need to apply (please read them all before applying).
We already have a handful of applications in, and we're getting them posted online. The sooner you apply, the sooner your application will get posted.
Voting for two of the spots in the final round will begin the morning of May 7 (next Monday). The Editors will pick the third finalist.
I am looking for a media consultant. Someone to help our organization here in Albany with about 60 employees, with website redesign, and social media: facebook, twitter, etc. etc. We just don't l have the time to do it ourselves. Any leads on good local people?
There are a lot of people pitching this sort of service these days. We're not convinced all of them actually know what they're doing.
So, know of a local consultant or agency that would be good for a small or medium sized business? Please share.
Update: If you mention your own company or agency, please clearly state that you're affiliated with that organization.
Sometimes all a good idea needs to get off the ground is a little push. And we know there are a lot of great ideas floating around the Capital Region. So we've brought back the AOA Sunmark Startup Grant.
Sunmark Federal Credit Union is offering a $1,500 startup grant to help get one local micro-enterprise off the ground. And once again, you get to help decide who gets that funding. Or -- you know -- maybe even enter your own idea.
Last year more than 30 people or groups submitted entries to compete for the grant. It was inspiring to see the variety and creativity among the entries -- from cheesecakes and cell phone pods to public art and aquaculture. We're really looking forward to seeing what people come up with this year.
So, here's what we're looking for -- and how to apply...
The organizers of the TightKnit market have something new coming up: Troy Flea.
From the blurbage:
In 2012, Tight Knit is re-imagining its role as a presenter, reaching out to an expanded audience with the introduction of "Troy Flea: An Urban Bazaar". The areas best Artisans and Crafters will mingle with connoisseurs of Vintage clothing, Antiques, collectibles, oddities, and what-nots; curated to present you with only the best, most diverse market the area has to offer. With a strong focus on community and small business over big box globalization, Tight Knit's mission since inception is to organize and motivate local artists and citizens to share their perspectives, knowledge and creativity with others. Let's keep our dollars in our communities and grow together.
The bazaar will be Saturdays in June, July, and August from 9 am - 2 pm. It will be located on River Street between Broadway and State (the other side of Monument Square from the farmers' market).
Organizers are still taking applications for vendors. The deadline is May 1.
Just wondering if you could ask readers if they have any suggestions for tax preparers/accountants who are familiar with small businesses/sole proprietors? Thanks!
We've had a question before about accountants, but that was for personal taxes. Things can get a bit more (or a lot) more complicated when you have a small business.
Got a suggestion for Rebecca? Please share!
photo: Edinburgh City of Print (Flickr user edinburghcityofprint)
The first app from Deadmans Productions, a relatively new mobile app company in Troy, now available for both iPhone and Android. "Undecided" includes a handful of virtual methods for making choices: rolling dice, flipping a coin, drawing straws -- that sort of thing.
The app costs 99 cents. It's a little rough around the edges. Some of the touch objects (if that's the phrase) are a little hard to grab. But it is kind of fun to flip a quarter by giving your phone a little flick (screengrab right). The company is holding a contest to rename the app -- but the current name fits it pretty well.
Zooming out, there's a bit of a mobile app development scene sprouting in the Capital Region. Among the players:
+ Ghost Hand Games in Saratoga has developed a couple of successful (and great-looking) games.
+ Axeva, a Clifton Park company, developed a sudoku-like game called Cohabit and a coloring book app.
+ A group of RPI students created a popular Android utility app.
+ And 1st Playable, a well-established games studio, recently produced its first mobile app game.
Michael Ridley, the founder of Deadmans, told the TU he started the company specifically to develop mobile apps. "Undecided" is the first in a string of five that they're planning to produce.
It's not surprising a lot of companies are dipping their toes in the mobile app pool -- it's projected to become a zillion-something-dollar market over the next few years.
[via Troy Record]
When the people at Sunmark asked us if they could give one of those giant cardboard checks to the Radix Center for winning the AOA/Sunmark Startup Grant, our response was something along the lines of: "What other sort of check would you give them?!?"
It's true: everyone loves the giant check. And this afternoon, Sunmark CEO Bruce Beaudette and director of marketing David Weinstein stopped by the Radix Center's site in Albany's Grand Street neighborhood to present the money to Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew.
Thanks again to Sunmark for funding the startup grant. And congratulations to the Scott and Stacy -- we're excited to see their greenhouse and aquaculture system develop.
A few more pics -- of the giant check and the under-construction greenhouse -- after the jump.
36 entries, 3 finalists, 1 winner.
After hearing the presentations, the judges have made their decision in the Sunmark Startup Grant contest.
And the winner of the $1,500 startup grant from Sunmark Federal Credit Union is...
Last night was the final leg of the AOA/Sunmark Start-up Grant competition: the final presentations.
We'll announce the winner later this week. But first, the presentations:
We had 36 projects apply for the AOA/Sunmark Startup Grant. And if we had the money, we'd give a $1500 push to a bunch of them. Really -- there were a lot of worthy projects. Thank you to everyone who applied.
But we can choose only one. And to reach that decision, we needed to narrow the field down to three finalists. Two of the spots have been picked via crowd voting. The third spot is a pick by the Editors.
And here are the finalists...
We're just about at the halfway point in the voting to select the finalists for the AOA/Sunmark Startup Grant. The chart above has the top 10 vote getters, as of Thursday night (and 1,400 votes).
Two projects -- Fazana Saleem-Ismail's birthday parties for homeless children, and Katie Pray Designs -- have separated themselves as front runners. But we still have almost three days of voting to go. That's plenty of time for other projects, even those outside the top 10, to move into the top two.
The top two get a place in the finals. The Editors will choose the third finalist -- and it's going to be tough. There are a bunch of interesting ideas!
Voting ends at 6 pm on Sunday.
We're very happy to introduce the slate of entries for the Sunmark Startup Grant.
Thirty-five projects have submitted an application for the $1,500 grant. The projects range from bakeries to mobile apps to fashion design to jazz to birthday parties for homeless kids.
We wish we could give a push to a bunch of them! But there can be only one winner. To get there, we need three finalists -- and that's where you come in.
Two of the finalists will be picked via crowd voting. And it's now open! (You should probably browse the projects first.) The last spot in the finals will be chosen by the Editors.
Voting ends this Sunday at 6 pm!
The Sunmark Startup Grant is funded by Sunmark Federal Credit Union.
Cloth or paper? Which one would you prefer cradling your butt?
On second thought, don't answer that. I'll just jump right in to talking about diapers.
With my first baby, I chose cloth. It was soft. I liked that it "breathed" better than disposables. And I liked the fact that we weren't sending extra crap (ahem) to the landfill. But washing diapers at home was not an option: We were renting; the landlord had shut off the hot-water line to the washing machine, and you can't wash diapers in cold.
So we contracted with a diaper service. Easy: They provided the diapers. We just tossed the used ones into a bin, set them out once a week, and fresh clean diapers would magically appear the next morning.
But by the time our second daughter came around, the diaper service we'd used had gone out of business. We went with disposables. Yeah, she got diaper rash more often. Yeah, we threw out a lot of trash. But whether we deserved the eco-guilt we felt isn't completely clear: When you take the laundering into account, reusables aren't exactly guilt-free, either. Studies comparing the environmental impact of cloth and disposables have shown mixed results, and even the Natural Resources Defense Council has reported that "environmentalists from various organizations declared a draw, suggesting we all move on to issues where the costs and benefits were more clear-cut."
Me, my heart's still with cloth; but whatever your feelings, it's nice that parents have options. There are now several diapering businesses in the Capital Region, and they make it as easy as could be to go cloth with your baby.
Read on to learn more about three of the area's cloth diaper services.
Consider the aroma of slow-roasting cashews dusted in curry. Consider the chocolate-covered coffee beans. Or the maple-glazed pecans. Or -- woah, are those pistachios?
The warm, spicy fragrance of roasted nuts is only part of what's appealing about Tierra Farm. The company is working hard to create a product, a business model and a work environment that's consistent with their values. And they look like they're having lots of fun while doing it.
And wait till you taste the chocolate-covered Cajun cashews. ...
Updated with contact info.
We've talked a bit in the past about the push for coworking spaces in the Capital Region.
Well, yesterday we got a look at a space in Albany that points in that direction. It stops short of the ultra-flexible, hive-like coworking concept, but it's more flexible than a typical office rental.
The space is in the 747 Madison building in Albany. We met up with property manager Stephanie Means for a tour.