SCCC to offer marketing seminar

The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce is offering a marketing seminar entitled “Online Newsletters: Save Money and Track Your Marketing Dollars” on Tuesday, June 30. The course will be taught by Beth Moeller, President, Interactive Media Consulting, LLC.

One sure way to save money in today's economy is to move as many print publications online as possible. The immediate cost savings are evident. The long term benefits can be priceless. By moving publications online it is possible to track how many people open the emails and also what piques their interest. This creates the ability to tailor news to groups of recipients, making the most of precious marketing dollars. In addition to having better metrics for evaluating marketing dollars this practice is less wasteful for the environment.

The seminar is open to Chamber members; the cost is $25 per person. It will be held at the Saratoga County Chamber Office, 28 Clinton St., Saratoga Springs from 8 to 10 a.m.

For more information about the seminar or other Chamber events, or to make a reservation, visit the Chamber’s website at www.saratoga.org or call 584-3255.


Dinner at Beverly's

For the first time in its 20-year stint serving breakfast at 47 Phila St., Beverly’s is now open for dinner. From 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, owner Michael Bowman and his crew will serve up sandwiches, salads, meatloaf, mac and cheese and seafood stew, plus the full breakfast menu. Beverly herself is making desserts.
While the outdoor patio is now open, Beverly’s is getting an interior face-lift this summer, but the down-to-earth little diner won’t lose the things that really make it special: the local artwork, classical music and excellent service.
Call 583-2755 for more information.

Three summer staples

Feeling like a burger? The new Twilight Grille offers 40 different kinds, including turkey, seafood and veggie burgers. The most expensive creation goes for 12 bucks; most are $8 and a plain ol’ burger is just $5.
Also on the menu are hot dogs, steaks and barbecue. Look out for an oyster bar coming soon. Desserts will include fried ice cream, old-fashioned frozen bananas on a stick and chocolate soufflé.
Owners Casey and Alex Herrera opened the restaurant last week at 17 Maple Ave., where Mare nightclub is also housed. The two venues will operate side by side, with Twilight offering happy hour specials, live music on the patio, and a late night menu for club-goers.
The Herreras owned Havanas, a takeout joint on Caroline Street in 2005 and currently run a catering business.
Call 879-1509 for more information.

Chuck Fentekes is setting up a hot dog shop at 7 Caroline St., former home of Lime Restaurant. It’ll be the fifth shop owned by Fentekes, a Troy native and president of Capital Region food chain Hot Dog Charlie’s. The others are in Clifton Park, Lansingburgh, Cohoes and Rensselaer. Fentekes is a lifelong restaurateur, and the third generation at the helm of the hot dog business, established in 1922 by his grandfather.
“Growing up, that’s what I knew I wanted to do,” he said.
Fentekes’ sister, Florence Dimitriadis, is also a partner in the business.
he menu sticks to the basics — which are plentiful enough to send any fried-food lover into a blissful coma: hot dogs, burgers, fries, Italian sausage, popcorn chicken, onion rings, soft drinks and milkshakes round out the offerings.
One specialty is the mini dog with the works: onions, mustard and chili meat sauce slathered on the dog in a bakery roll.
The restaurant will be open late, but not for a few weeks. It’s currently undergoing a change from shades of green to something more “blueish,” Fentekes said.

Sports spectators, welcome again to heaven on Earth, er, on Phila Street, that is.
Peabody’s Sports Bar and Grille is scheduled to reopen July 1, say new owners Joe and Steph Richardson. They bought the building at 39 Phila St. this spring and will run the bar as a separate entity alongside Bailey’s Café, which Joe Richardson has owned for eight years.
The two restaurants now have adjoining patios.
Peabody’s will offer a full sports bar menu and 25 high-definition TVs, playing baseball, football, basketball, the NBA League Pass and the NFL Ticket on Direct TV.
“Any game you wanna watch, you can watch it,” Joe Richardson said.
The restaurant will be sectioned off into sports-themed areas: the Penalty Box (red light included), the Center Court (offering a full bar), the Back 9 patio, the end zone (with a variety of games) and the Outfield room, complete with a Yankee Stadium replica and home-theater-style seating in front of a giant main screen.
Peabody’s will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to midnight.


New site for moms

Check out saratogamama.com, a new site and blog created by two Capital Region working moms. It offers tips, event listings and a network for those busy working moms who want a social life too.

$35K, anyone?

Stimulus package provides interest-free loans to small businesses

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy announced that local small businesses may soon be eligible for interest-free loans under a new program created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The newly launched “America’s Recovery Capital” (ARC) program allows small businesses to take out loans of $35,000 to pay down existing business debts. Borrowers pay no interest on the ARC loans and repayment does not begin for one year.

The ARC loan program was established through the ARRA, which President Barack Obama signed into law in February. Congressman Murphy said the new loans are part of Congress’ ongoing work to help rebuild the economy.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy; it is imperative that we help them make it through these tough economic times,” Murphy said. “These loans will give our local entrepreneurs some breathing room as we work to turn our economy around. I strongly urge small businesses struggling to stay afloat to apply for an ARC loan as soon as possible.”

To qualify for the ARC loans, small firms must demonstrate they are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to the economic downturn, but are otherwise deemed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to be viable. The loans will be made by commercial lenders and can be used for payments of principal and interest for existing, qualifying small business debts like credit card obligations, mortgages, lines of credit, and balances due to suppliers, vendors and utilities.

In addition to the ARC loan program, the ARRA contained other measures aimed at helping small firms access credit:
  • it increases the percentage of a loan that the SBA can guarantee
  • it makes SBA-backed loans more affordable
  • it provides tools to unfreeze the small business credit markets, helping small companies access capital at affordable rates .

To apply for ARC loans, businesses should visit their local SBA-approved small business lenders. The loans will be available through Sept. 30, 2010, or until appropriated funding runs out.
For more information, go to http://www.sba.gov/recovery/arcloanprogram/index.html


Two for one

Update on Club Shadow:

The new venue opening soon (most likely in the next couple weeks) at 30 Caroline St. is a kind of two-for-one deal.

Business partners John Lucarelli and Dennis Campochiaro, of J Lucarelli & Sons Inc. in Mechanicville, took over the space formerly occupied by The Venue (upstairs) and The Clubhouse (downstairs) and will open Johnny Luc's (downstairs) and Club Shadow (upstairs).

The two are totally separate businesses sharing the same address, Campochiaro said Tuesday.

The club will enforce a strict dress code and cater to private parties and VIPs. The image change from The Venue will be most reflected in the music, which will include reggae, latin and 80s spun by Capital Region DJs.

"It's an opportunity for people to come to a sophisticated night club, dance their shoes off, have some cocktails ... and come back," Campochiaro said.

The club will be open until 3 a.m.

Downstairs, the atmosphere will be completely different. Johnny Luc's patrons can sit back and relax on couches that will replace the current wooden tables and chairs. The larger than life beer signs adorning the maroon walls will be swapped out for artwork; an espresso and dessert bar will be added; and a stage will be built for local blues and jazz musicians to croon from.

Campochiaro said they're considering outsourcing the space adjacent to the bar as a restaurant, which once housed a burger joint.

Speaking of food, (food of a very different kind, that is) Ravenous (21 Phila St.) is offering some tasty sounding new crepes: St. Tropez (sauteed chicken, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and sundried tomoatoes) and Last Mango in Paris (juicy mango chunks, fresh blueberries and lime curd.)

They also added Stella Artois beer and Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio to the drinks menu.

The restaurant's extended summer hours are 11:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays in June.
July and August hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Call 581-0560 for more info.


Hair, there, and everywhere

Choices for hair care in the Spa City are ever-expanding, it seems.
The Strand Hair Studio set up shop in the Granite Palace (358 Broadway) on Memorial Day.
Co-owners Kristen Mann and Kevin Barrows (the former owner of Hair Creations on Phila Street) grew up together in Saratoga Springs and Florida. Both of them have been doing hair for more than 20 years.
Mann and Barrows, along with hair extension specialist Keri Tanner, all trained at Bumble & Bumble at the Bumble University in Manhattan.
The four-chair salon's services include cuts, styling, coloring and hair extensions with natural hair. Mann said they're sticking to what they're good at, which is doing hair, rather than offering an extended menu of beautifying services.
“Staying focused on one thing that you’re good at,” is key to a successful salon, she said.
One customer having his hair done Tuesday described The Strand’s atmosphere as a “mixture of trés chic with palm beach fusion ... bringing sexy back.”
I'm not entirely sure what that means but ... find out more by calling 581-1800.
The Web site, saratogastrand.com, is under construction.

Another recently opened salon is Above and Beyond Hair and Makeup Studio LLC at 6 Franklin Square.
Olenka Ciolko and her crew (Kristen Stroebel, Amy Waters-Federico and Joanna Romanzo) provide a huge menu of services for nails, hair and makeup. They specialize in prom, wedding and special occasion 'dos and makeup. And, they'll make you feel right at home when you walk into their cozy reception room.

Turning 18 and still better than Blockbuster

Dawn Warfield, owner of the Drive-In Movie Store, called today to tell me she has renewed her lease at 170 S. Broadway, contrary to what she said was some talk about town that she might be shuttering her doors. "We'll be around for at least two more years," she said. The video rental shop has been in business for 18 years, and last year it survived the repaving and road construction of South Broadway, which caused many businesses to take a huge hit. Warfield said the store saw an immediate 30 percent drop in business the first month of the road work, in April 2008. The store ended the year by climbing halfway out of that hole.
"We didn't fully recover ... (but) things are starting to pick up a little bit," Warfield said. In 18 years, Warfield said the biggest change to the business is the switch from VHS tapes to DVDs. About six months ago, the store started what Warfield calls its biggest niche -- buying back used DVDs for cash ($1 or $2) or store credit. The store then sells the DVDs for $4.95.

"Especially with the bad economy, a lot of people are selling everything just to clean out their closets and make some money," she said.

It's super important to support local businesses, even as consumers face tough economic times, she added.

She plans an 18-year anniversary sale event this July, so update your list of Movies To See Before You Die and get ready to check a few off it.

Photo credit: Rick Gargiulo/The Saratogian


Get your green on

Niall Roche, a true-blue Irish lad from Wexford, and his wife Nikki, (New York-born) expect to open Irish Times Pub and Restaurant by the middle of June.
The venue at 14 Phila St., formerly O'Callaghans Fine Food and Spirit, was expected to open on St. Patrick's Day, Roche said, but the renovations got held up. The space is currently filled with sawhorses and tools and is roped off with yellow caution tape. However, from the looks of the bevy of muscled men in hard hats gettin' things done there this afternoon, it'll be ready to welcome thirsty patrons later this month as planned.
You can look forward to authentic fish and chips, Shepherd's Pie, a full bar with a fine Irish whiskey selection and a summer line-up of local and NYC bands.

According to a sign at 376 Broadway, Stacey's souvenir shop is moving to 439 Broadway and will reopen under new management as Elle CED.

Club Shadow is coming to 30 Caroline St., conveniently located across from The Saratogian's parking lot, so I can head there directly after work. Just kidding. I'm not really one for clubs, but I'm sure the crowds on Caroline Street will find it appealing. A phone number supplied on the sign in the window was not in operation -- guess you'll have to keep checking back for an update on when it opens.

Later this week, look in the print edition of The Saratogian for a full business article highlighting a new, green, home improvement store that just opened in the Mabee Building on Church Street. Apparently you can cover your walls with different colored natural clay mixtures instead of using smelly, toxic paint. The store also sells countertops that are made of recycled paper, which are as hard as a block of wood. Trust me. It is worth checking out.