UPDATED 3/8: End-of-week roundup

A sign on the window shows Plum Dandy Frozen Yogurt will open this spring at the Broadway spot Eugenio's Cafe Gelato recently vacated. It will have some direct competition across the street, with Steve's Handcrafted Ice Cream and Italian Ice Johnny's Gourmet Italian Ices also opening this spring.

Look for more details on the owners and outlooks of those businesses in a column (print and online editions) in March.

And, after months of uncertainty, it appears that 80 West Boutique on North Broadway will indeed be reopening -- under new ownership. The store has been slowly emptied of most of its merchandise since around Christmas, but no word yet on who will be responsible for stocking it back up. As the sign says, stay tuned.


Eddie Bauer turning 90

The outdoor clothing retailer (not the man) Eddie Bauer is turning 90 this Saturday.

Saratoga's downtown store, along with more than 300 stores in the U.S. and Canada, is holding a special one-day event to celebrate, store manager Bridgett Cybulski called to say today.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the store at 338 Broadway.

Cybulski said customers will have the chance to win items from the store and gift certificates by playing scratch-off games.

"We just wanted to celebrate with our customers," she said.

Call the store at 581-8001 for more information.


New Leaf gallery closing

The New Leaf Contemporary Art Gallery & Gift Boutique on Beekman Street hasn’t seen enough interest to stay open and will end its short run in business Wednesday, its owner says.

“I’m not really upset for myself; I’m upset for the people who showed their stuff here,” said Jeromy McFarren, the art student and local homeowner who established the artist’s consignment shop last September.

His innovative concept initially garnered the interest of local crafters who submitted everything from hand-decorated shoes, handmade ceramics, makeup, jewelry, gifts and contemporary artwork for a majority-share of the profits.

But 30 Beekman St. is a hard spot to steer customer traffic to, despite the burgeoning artists’ community that resides farther north on the street.

“People are not participating,” McFarren said with disappointment. “They’d much rather go to the mall or Wal-Mart than they would a local mom-and-pop store.”

While the undergrad is heading back to his studies at Empire State College, he says he retains his belief that sustainable communities must rely on a strong culture of interdependence between local consumers and local business owners.

McFarren cited Burlington and Brattleboro, Vt., as successful examples of arts-minded, walkable communities where giant corporate businesses are kept at bay — at least from the downtown area.

Is there potential for Saratoga Springs to improve in that area? (Readers, feel free to post comments below to share your thoughts.)

“I would like to say yes, but I think the economy needs to be better for that to happen … but I hope so,” he said.

McFarren said he’ll turn his lease over to a French fabric artist, Francelise Dawkins, who plans to open a boutique there in March.

Check back with In the Biz for more details in the coming weeks.

Mineral skin care line new to Malta

Tina-Marie Mott was whipping up not dinners, but skin creams, in her kitchen for years before she decided to market the product. In the last few months, the Malta resident has opened up her natural skin care line, Renewed Body, to the public through her Web site.

“I gave them out as Christmas and birthday gifts to friends and family, and they would always be wanting more,” Mott said. “Once they try it they absolutely love it. It’s real true nourishment for the skin.”

Mott sent her recipes to a manufacturer in Nebraska and negotiated until the cream formulas were just right, she said. Customers order the products on the site and have them shipped directly to their homes.

There’s skin cream, lip balm and anti-aging creams with ingredients such as pharmaceutical-grade Magnesium Sulfate, emu oil and botanicals. Mott said the herbal creams can ease muscle pain while the emu oil is known for its transdermal quality, soothing burns and scars. The mineral-infused products help restore the body’s depleted natural supplies.

Mott, who lives with her thoroughbred horse trainer husband, William, and their three children, says her aim is to donate a percentage of her profits to the Christian charity World Vision once orders start rolling in.

“That’s what inspired me because I really didn’t need to do anything else to fill up my time, but being able to donate money to help children who are hungry is the main thing,” Mott said.


B'Spa Alumni Network on Facebook

This just in from a Board of Education meeting in Ballston Spa tonight: Alumni from the school have a new Facebook page to gather on and become fans of.

Superintendent Dr. Joseph P. Dragone said it's been up and running for about a week. Already it has about 1,200 fans.

A quick search of "Ballston Spa high school" on Facebook brings up dozens of pages for Scotties from all different class years, but the one he's referring to is Ballston Spa Alumni Network.

Happy reunions!


Mini laundromat in works on Phila Street

360 Broadway, the historic building that sits at the top of Phila Street, has swapped out its art gallery for a mini laundromat, the owner says.

Steve Chindamo, 46, bought the building that housed Sorelle Gallery — before it moved to the Shoe Depot — in the summer of 2008. He has named it the Chindamo Building.

If all goes well with the city Zoning Board next week, Chindamo plans to open the small space at 6 Phila St. as a commercial wash-and-dry, called Sara and Rob’s Laundromat.

With Cudney’s on South Broadway and S&S Friendly Laundry Services on Church Street, Chindamo says he hopes his position between them will draw downtown residents who have dirty clothes but who may not have cars.

Five washing machines and eight dryers were installed earlier this month and he expects to open for business by the end of February.

“It’ll be enough to service people that live in the immediate area so they don’t have to walk or drive to the closest laundromat, about 1 mile away,” Chindamo said.

A retired teacher from New York City, Chindamo moved his family to Saratoga Springs when he bought the property from downtown real estate titan Mark Straus in 2008.

“I bought it for an investment and also because I love Broadway in Saratoga,” Chindamo said. “It’s a piece of history. To be part of that is fantastic.”

The building houses 11 apartments and eight retail tenants, including Cole’s Woodwind Shop and James and Sons Tobacconists.

Needles for healing

Bridgette Jude Kinder is another tenant in the Chindamo Building, and a fairly new one. Kinder, 37, owns Ageless Acupuncture on the second floor at 360 Broadway.

She opened her aromatherapeutic healing clinic in October and has since grown the business to about 20 clients weekly. They come with various afflictions, such as depression, anxiety, infertility, digestive problems and skin disorders.

In Kinder’s practice, they find physical and mental solace in the ancient Chinese method that favors the insertion of slender stainless steel needles into different parts of the body — including the ears, the face and the gluteus maximus.

Acupuncture is “one of the most relaxing things you can do,” Kinder said. “It’s not a measurable phenomenon, (but) it unblocks blocked energy flow.”

It is also used by her arthritic patients to ease chronic pain, she said. Private and group treatment sessions are available by appointment.

Kinder also stocks a Chinese herbal apothecary and offers Ayurveda, a form of traditional Indian medicine. Kinder holds degrees in acupuncture and oriental medicine, and certifications in yoga and Reiki.

With her husband, Mark Kinder, she owned Urban Yoga in the same building from 2002 to 2005, before moving to Seattle to open a similar holistic medicine business.

Back on Broadway with a five-year lease, Kinder said: “I feel like I’m at home.” For more information, call 538-6568.


UPDATED 2/26: Mid-week roundup

  1. Signs show two new businesses are in the works on the east side of Broadway:
  • Steve's Handcrafted Ice Cream and Italian Ice is taking over 382 Broadway where KEM leather goods closed last year. It sounds like they will be offering vegan ice cream and/or gelato.
  • Zola Kids, an earth-friendly boutique, is planned to open in March in the space where Pink Paddock moved out of recently. Nicole Wilkie is the owner. Could be nice to have another toy store to balance out G Willikers on the other end of the street.

    2. A sign at Brindisi's last week said the restaurant was closed for the winter. Owner Andy Brindisi called Thursday to clarify: The restaurant has been open on a limited basis, for parties and such, for the last six weeks. It will be open Feb. 12-14 for Valentine's Day diners. He plans to return to a 7 day-a-week schedule on March 1st.

    3. A new emporium, Red Wolf, is in the works at 15 Spring St., in the Congress Building owned by Frank Panza of the Shoe Depot. The owners, Mark and Kendra Yale, are new to the area after spending years on Martha's Vineyard. They plan to sell a handpicked variety of clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and children, in addition to homegoods.

    Look for further details in an upcoming edition (print and online) of In the Biz.


Saratoga H+W grand opening

I toured the Saratoga Health and Wellness facility when it was under construction back in September, and though it's been up and running now for a couple months, the folks there are holding a grand opening event this Thursday. It's from 4 to 7 p.m. at the gym at 30 Gick Road.

Owners Mike Lapolla and Nick Galuardi will offer tours, membership discounts, door prizes, refreshments, a chance to meet the staff and other fun stuff.


Props closing at end of month

One-time business owner Patricia Wizner will close Props, her furniture and home accessories shop, at the end of February, saying she underestimated the investment necessary to sustain a small business.

Wizner began renting the space in the Algonquin building at 514 Broadway in August. She opened in October as the dust of departing summer tourists settled in the city.

“I thought being on Broadway — build it and they will come,” Wizner said. “From day one it was a struggle.”

She said sales didn’t meet expectations for the holidays and, in the end, she could no longer justify the cost of the monthly rent, $2,500.

Props sells new and vintage furniture, lighting, carpeting, artwork and various decorations — items that are set to be liquidated in the next few weeks.

Wizner said selling the business is a possibility. Her goal is to hand over the space as soon as possible and continue working as an interior design assistant from her home. She also plans to get back into renovating houses with her husband.

Props is a couple doors down from 80 West Boutique, the clothing store owned by Barbara Macina. A sign on the door promises it will reopen soon, but its shuttering seems imminent after sitting dark for more than a month.


UPDATED 2/09: Going high tech

In the Biz is very excited about the opportunity to start using Flip Mino camcorders out in the field. We just received a couple of the mini products in the newsroom this week.

Readers can expect to see brief videos here on the blog and on the video page in the near future.

Readers, what types of videos would you like to see?

P.S. -- As of Monday, Feb. 8, The Saratogian is on Facebook and Twitter.
We went from zero to 137 Facebook fans in 48 hours, and on Tuesday I broke my vow to myself and tweeted my first tweet (and it was surprisingly fun in a, 'Hey, I should probably be working on my story for tomorrow instead of doing this sort of way.) So check it out!

Mid-week roundup

Here's a quick rundown of recent business news in Spa City. Look for further details in the print edition and in this space coming soon.

  • Divinyl Records is opening soon where the city's last independent record store, Last Vestige, closed Jan. 31, with 24-year-old Brittany Nasser at the helm.
  • Props, the furniture and home accessories store at 514 Broadway, is folding at the end of February after a short run. Owner Patricia Wizner says she may sell the store before returning to her long-time occupation, renovating houses with her husband.
  • Common Thread, the successor of Saratoga Needle Arts, is set to open in March at 55 Beekman St. Owner Ashley Gardner is taking over the business.


Laundromat planned on Phila Street

Recently I spoke with New York City transplant Steve Chindamo, who is planning to open a small commercial laundromat on Phila Street. The space was vacated by Sorelle Gallery this winter and is part of the 150-year-old building that Chindamo recently purchased. Apartment-dwellers and retail tenants also fill out the building.

Chindamo is applying for permits from the city and says the washers and dryers could be installed this month.

Look for the full story in an upcoming edition of In the Biz.

Pasta Pane opening Friday

As reported Jan. 21, DZ Restaurant's third member, Pasta Pane, will open this Friday in Clifton Park. The Italian bistro-style restaurant is located in the plaza at 18 Park Ave.

The grand opening event is from 5 to 8 p.m. and will launch the Menu That Gives Back program, a charitable giving effort initiated by owner David Zecchini. Menu samplings will be available and proceeds from $2 beer and wine sold will be donated to Hannah’s Hope Fund, the first nonprofit recipient of the MTGB program.

The event is open to the public. For more information, call 583-1142.


Mare still Mare, managers say

Contrary to plans announced in September, managers of the nightclub at 17 Maple Ave. are not changing the venue’s name to The Metro, but are letting it remain, for now, as Mare Nightclub and Lounge.

Builder Scott Morgan, of Stillwater, said Sunday that he and business partner Fred Sharifipour, of Altamont, plan to buy the business from Chase Petrones LLC. They’ve been leasing the space since last fall.

The front room has been closed for the last few weeks while Morgan and company finish remodeling and painting and swap out the furniture, with an eye on creating a martini lounge-like atmosphere.

During the work, Mare’s dance club and second floor have remained open for partiers. The front room is expected to reopen within a week, Morgan said.

The multi-venue music house, known for its summertime patio crowd, has changed hands and its appearance seemingly every season or two; in previous incarnations it has been called The Metro and Luna Lounge; this summer, as Mare, it was home to the Twilight Grille burger joint.

Morgan acknowledged the venue’s fickle track record and implied it’s something he aims to change.

“This place needs a real identity and it hasn’t had an identity,” he said.

Call 583-6955 or look up Mare Nightclub on Facebook for more information.

Spoken boutique in the works

Adirondack Trust has closed a deal with a new tenant in its Mabee building, a bank official says.

First-time business owner Pam Worth, of Wilton, will today begin her lease on the space formerly occupied by Haute Mama at 27 Church St. Worth is planning to open a women’s clothing, jewelry and accessories store called Spoken this spring, when a major redecorating project is finished.

The space has been vacant since Sarah Otto closed her maternity clothing store in mid-November.

“I have lived in Saratoga my whole life and I am a huge fan of the downtown business area,” said Worth, 47. “This is something I have wanted to do for a long time.”

Worth, a longtime buyer and merchandiser for Sutton’s Marketplace in Queensbury, said she left the job after 22 years “to pursue a dream of mine.”

While she admits that women’s clothing stores are “a dime a dozen” in downtown Saratoga Springs, Worth expressed confidence about her new venture. “I’m catering to someone my age who wants to put something on and feel fabulous,” she said. “Customer service is my foundation, and I think that’s lacking in some stores.”

As an incubator business, Spoken has five years to establish itself in the Mabee building before Worth’s agreement with Adirondack Trust requires her to find a new venue.

“It’s considerably less to rent than what’s on Broadway,” Worth said of her location. “I’m grateful for the support of the bank. It’s a great fit for me.”

Check back for contact information when it's available.