Fundraiser fashion show Saturday at Eighty Twenty Boutique

Eighty Twenty Consignment and Gift Boutique is holding an open house and fundraiser for Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

A fashion show at 2 p.m. will highlight the daylong event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 at the boutique,
18 Congress St. Suite 3. Refreshments, a silent auction and raffle prizes will round out the day.

Sharon Byrne opened Eighty Twenty in downtown Saratoga Springs in August, after running another store on Ballard Road more than a year ago. The shop sells new and gently used clothing and accessories.

For more information, call the shop at 584-2011.


B'Spa's Movie Store, last of independent rental shops, shuts doors

Glenn Hamilton’s movie store business started 23 years ago in Cohoes, when his grandmother asked him “what those video things are” and suggested he look into it. Hamilton, then 26, promptly launched a store and a business that grew to include four other stores throughout the Capital District.

That era, from the late ’80s to early ’90s, was prime for the video rental business.

On Friday, his last remaining Movie Store closed for good after 3-1/2 years in Ballston Spa’s Carousel Village Plaza on Route 50.

Hamilton, who owned the store with his wife, Charlene, gave the same reason as other area rental store owners who have shuttered their doors in the last year: “Technology and delivery methods just got the best of us.”

“People are just more comfortable sitting at home and browsing titles than walking into a store,” Hamilton said. “As we’ve seen, Hollywood Video and The Movie Gallery were the first to go completely bankrupt and close their doors. I really think delivery methods are the big killer for the business.”

In September, Blockbuster joined the list of rental chains that have declared bankruptcy, after struggling to compete with Red Box kiosks and video-on-demand services like Netflix.

The recession also hit the Movie Store hard, as it did Saratoga Springs’ last independent rental business, the Drive-In Movie Store on South Broadway, which closed in May.

“We saw a big drop when the economy did fall out, and we’ve never really recovered from it,” Hamilton said.

The store had two employees at last count, in addition to the owners.

Amtrak station hosting gift shop, cafe

A local marketing and events planner is turning empty space in the Saratoga Springs Amtrak station into a one-stop destination for food, gifts, entertainment and charitable giving.

Lady Myah Brown of Saratoga Springs has rented a 400-plus square-foot alcove in the waiting area inside the train station and opened a café and gift shop.

For the last couple weeks, she’s been catering to travelers with a spread of coffee, pastries, sweet potato pie, muffins, fruit and sandwiches, along with T-shirts and gifts. Saratoga Springwater Co. water and Saratoga Chips are on sale, while the work of local artists is displayed on consignment.

The alcove has been home to several similar businesses throughout the years, but it’s sat empty for the last few years.

Brown, a world traveler who reached Saratoga Springs last spring via the Bronx and the Commonwealth of Dominica in the West Indies, said she’s looking to appeal to customers in transit as well as locals. The train station waiting area, for example, with its high ceilings and grand piano stationed in the lobby, could be used as a site for open mics, a jazz performance series and other events, she said.

“I want to turn it into a destination place rather than a drop-off and pick-up place,” Brown said.

A portion of the proceeds from the café and gift shop will be made available to Saratoga County residents in need through Focus on Humanity, a nonprofit organization Brown’s late husband founded 28 years ago.

Focus on Humanity (Not to be confused with the nonprofit Focus for Humanity) has provided disaster relief and recovery services, as well as assistance for families affected by homelessness, job separation, fire and other circumstances. Through the nonprofit, Brown also offers grant-writing seminars, which will be held Tuesdays in the train station starting Oct. 26.

“There are a lot of people in need constantly and we try to do what we can,” Brown said.

A grand opening event is planned for Friday, Oct. 15. The Amtrak station is located at 9 Station Way, off West Avenue. Call the café and shop at 306-6560.


Deadline tomorrow to order reverse trick-or-treating kits at Mango Tree Imports

Mango Tree Imports is offering free Reverse Trick-or-Treating chocolate kits at its store, 12 Washington St. in Ballston Spa, through tomorrow. 
This is the third year the fair-trade store is working to promote the importance of fair trade during October,   National Fair Trade month, by ordering vegan-friendly chocolate and card kits for Halloween.  
The idea is that while trick-or-treating, kids can hand back the chocolate and the card, which explains the labor and environmental problems in the cocoa industry and how Fair Trade provides a solution. 
For more information, contact Mango Tree Imports owner Kim Andersen at 884-4652 or go to www.mangotreeimports.com.


Updated 10/7: Saratoga Pizza House closed?

It looks like Saratoga Pizza House on South Broadway has closed ... for now. Whether it's a permanent closure -- as several sources have indicated -- I have yet to confirm. But a sign on the door says "Closed for renovations."

One patron of the business, Dave Hunter of Loughberry Road, wrote earlier this week to tell me he is "quite shocked" to see that the Pizza House is "closed up tighter than a drum, effective Sept 30th, 2010." 

Dave also says: "I have enjoyed all their food including pizza for the past 30 years going back to the location on Broadway downtown. We will miss them the most because they delivered to our home with friendly, accurate and punctual service. Carry on!"

Owners couldn't immediately be reached at the restaurant, and I'm trying to find another number to contact them.


Full story: Seven Horse Pub developments

 Roslyn and Nate Goldsmith, of the former Mother Goldsmith's, pose with Joe Mack, proprietor of Seven Horse Pub, which now occupies 43 Phila St. Mack is holding a caricature of Mr. Goldsmith drawn by Sy Wallick in the late 1940s. Other caricatures by Wallick hang on the restaurant's walls.
 (photo provided by Mark Bolles of Creative Photo and Graphic)

Business at Seven Horse Pub, a restaurant and bar at 43 Phila St., is picking up speed as the colder season gets under way.

Builder and restaurateur Joseph A. Mack, former owner of the Horseshoe Inn Bar & Grill, has quietly been serving dinner in his newly renovated second-floor dining room there since July, although the downstairs pub has been open since August 2009.

On Saturday, he held a grand opening event for the dining room, honoring Nate Goldsmith, the proprietor of Mother Goldsmith’s, a restaurant that occupied the building in the 1940s.

Built in 1885, the venue started as a three-story boarding house and, with the establishment of Mother Goldsmith’s, drew well-known Saratogians who mingled there during the mid-1900s. One of the patrons of the era was the artist Sy Wallick, who drew caricatures of those famous patrons.

Mack bought the building in 2008 and found Wallick’s drawings buried on the third floor. Now, they line the walls of the dining room. The third floor has been carved out and a post-and-beam structure, built with wood from a century-old barn, has been installed, giving diners on the second floor a high ceiling and lots of light.

“We’ve tried to stay familiar with what Saratoga would be like in years past, so the actual character of the building stays the same,” Mack said.

The dining room seats up to 50 people, and there’s room for a few more at the bar — a bird’s eye maple structure from when the venue was 43 Phila Bistro. The space can accommodate private parties of 30 people or more.

Dinner is served nightly, upstairs and downstairs. You’ll find $10 burgers and entrees for $14-$24, as well as salads, pasta, pizza, steaks and seafood. Several beers on tap and a dozen wines by the glass round out the offerings.

For more information, call Seven Horse Pub at 581-0777.


Seven Horse Pub developments

Just heard word that Seven Horse Pub, a bar on Phila Street, is holding a grand opening of its new, second-floor dining room this weekend.

Owner Joe Mack began renovations on the building, at 43 Phila, in 2008 and opened the first-floor pub in August 2009.

The second-floor dining room has apparently not been publicly accessible since the 1950s, according to Mack. Saturday it will feature artwork by Sy Wallick and pay tribute to Mother Goldsmith's, which occupied the building in the 1940s.

A time and other details for the event were not included on a press release from the bar and messages were not immediately returned. Check back for more info later today, and look for more in Monday's edition of In the Biz, online and in print.