7.27.2009

Honing the art of the mini story

Outerzone expands into multi-venue

Nothing to do on a rainy summer day? Laser tag and arcade games are two options found at Outerzone, a family-run business in Congress Plaza that’s been around for 11 years. With the recent addition of a 3,000-square-foot dance floor and a concession stand, it’s now more of a multi-venue, Outerzone Manager Stephanie Duell says. A bouncy bounce play area for toddlers is also new.
Duell, who helps run Outerzone with her father, owner Gordon Duell, and other relatives, said the expansion was their effort to appeal to a wider range of ages and boost business.
“We’re just trying to create some more revenue any way we can,” she said. “It’s a slow process, but we’re hoping when school starts it will pick up.”
Kids in grades six through eight can party on the glow-in-the-dark dance floor from 8 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights for $10; $15 includes the dance session and a game of laser tag. Duell said the space looks and feels like a nightclub, with a colored light display flashing along to the latest hip hop music.
“The dance (floor) was another fun, safe thing to do for teens, to get them off the streets,” Duell said.
She said the family is looking to build a new entertainment facility at its 66,000-square-foot property near Cramer Road on Route 9 in Malta. The venue would include two indoor go-cart tracks, laser tag, six birthday party rooms and a giant “ballicity” climbing course for adults and kids.
Outerzone plans to vacate its current rental space at 82 Congress Plaza and move to the new facility once it’s built, Duell said, which could take about a year.

General surgeon closing practice

After 17 years as a solo practitioner, a local general surgeon is liquidating his business and heading south. Dr. Howard Yeaton, 57, who has operated Saratoga General Surgery since 1992, says he’s one of the increasing numbers of solo practitioners joining the ranks of a larger health care company for economic reasons.
“There is strength in numbers, economy in size,” Yeaton said, explaining how the costs of malpractice insurance have risen while reimbursements from Medicaid and Medicare have steadily gone down over the last 10 years. Competition from growing group practices was another factor in his decision to find an alternative to solo practice, he said.
“I’m making more than 30 percent less than I did 15 years ago for the same procedures,” Yeaton said.
He plans to take patients through August and close the doors of his Maple Avenue office for good on Sept. 1. Yeaton’s next venture will take him to Valley Health hospital group in Virginia, a state with a more “business-friendly climate for doctors” than New York, he said.
“I’m looking forward to it and it provides a huge amount of financial and job security,” Yeaton said, adding that saying goodbye to friends and colleagues in the Saratoga community would be the toughest part the move.

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