8.17.2009

Algonquin building still a hot spot for retail

Care for some Mozart with that muffin?

Saratoga Mystique, the piano restoration gallery that began a flurry of retail developments on the northern end of Broadway with its opening this spring, is expanding into a new space.

Owners Maggie and Michael Prisco scooped up the coveted corner spot in the Algonquin Building vacated earlier this month by Saratoga Army & Navy Outfitters, which is moving to a bigger store in Wilton. Saratoga Mystique’s new location is just one door down from its original address, 514 Broadway.

Maggie Prisco said the move came on suddenly when she and her husband learned that the space was opening up.

“We’re hopefully creating a destination spot,” for both food and relaxing music, Maggie said.

The “diversification” effort includes a renovation of the floors and walls, expected to conclude by Sept. 1. The store will reopen as half piano showroom and half café, with artwork and antiques for sale and a stage for classical and jazz performances.

Adding to the arthouse atmosphere is artist Dave Snyder, who is currently painting pianos at the gallery during business hours. Latin jazz band Las Manos is slated to perform at Saratoga Mystique’s grand opening Sept. 19, and “Midday with Mozart” will be a regular weekday event featuring live piano music for café patrons.

Futon specialists to squeeze in between clothing boutiques

Furniture designers Joanne and Nikita Grigoriev have been streamlining that favorite functional possession of college students and apartment dwellers everywhere for 25 years — the futon.

Within a month, the Richfield Springs couple plans to open a new store, Nikita Indoor Outdoor Convertible Furnishings, at 508 Broadway. It will be their second showroom (the other is located in Oneonta) and will complement their manufacturing facility in Richfield Springs.

The longtime business owners, who are natives of Toronto and also happen to be professional musicians, chose Saratoga Springs to set up shop over many other potential locations, they said. Citing the construction of the GlobalFoundries plant, Skidmore College and the city’s proximity to New York as pluses, the Grigorievs said it was Saratoga’s “healthy, vibrant economy” that won them over.

Their Nikita furniture uses all American-made materials and hardwoods, mostly derived from local forests. The products, which include futons and reclining chairs, are unique in that they adjust to a person’s shape and efficiently respond to movement when someone wants to lie back or sit upright, all without using springs, metal contraptions or screws.

“You can’t explain it; you just have to sit on it and lean back,” Nikita said.

Customers choose wood and fabric offered in the Nikita line and the designers create a piece of furniture for them. Most futons start at around $400 and can go up to the thousands, owners said.

The business is in the midst of expansion as the Grigorievs look to expand their brand, with West Coast locations in mind.

“We’ve been green and sustainable all along,” Joanne said. “The market has finally caught up to us.”


Wondering what will be opening in the storefront Mystique vacated a couple doors down from Nikita? Here's a hint: It balances out the ratio of clothing and furniture stores in that building.
Check back soon for an update.


Keeping the House in the family

A Malta establishment known for its pizza since the 1960s is changing hands once again, but staying in the family.

After a 27-year run, Publik House proprietor Tim Squadere sold the restaurant and pub on Route 9 to his nephew, Joe Squadere III.

“He was looking to retire and I wanted to buy it,” Joe said.

The 42-year-old Malta resident left a career in commercial financing — or “jumped off the corporate wagon,” as he put it — to return to the restaurant business that he’s known since he was a kid.

“We’re keeping it in the family,” he said, adding that his mother does the bookkeeping and his grandfather, 90-year-old Joe Squadere Sr., still works five days a week at the restaurant.

As a new owner, Joe doesn’t plan to make any changes to the building or the food, save adding a few more dinner specials, like fresh fish, when autumn arrives.

“I kinda wanted everything to stay because we have a really good local following,” he said, noting that the business has seen continually good numbers over the years, protected from the recession by its realistically priced menu items. “It’s a casual dining atmosphere, so I don’t think it’s hitting me as far as it’s hitting your seafood houses and steakhouses, your $25- and $35-a-plate prices,” he said. “With GlobalFoundries coming and all the construction workers, I expect to stay real strong throughout winter.”


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