Aerial fitness with NYCB instructors

Aerial fitness is the newest workout trend, offering a Cirque du Soleil-style experience rather closer to the ground. Fabric hammocks, silk ribbons, or hoops hang from the ceiling of workout rooms. Participants suspend themselves in midair, using slow, controlled movements to strengthen the body.

Now Saratoga Springs has the newest exercise studio to feature the sport. Zume Fitness, located at 4295 Rt. 50 in the Design Center Complex. This fall, the business is open in its Studio Space #2 around the back of the Design Center and will offer classes starting the week of Oct. 12.  Besides aerial fitness, you can take aerial yoga, trapeze work, Zumba, and spinning, with some sessions taught by the owners, former New York City Ballet principal dancer Miranda Weese and former corps de ballet dancer Henry Seth. Michelle Palladino, whose background is in theater and costumes, makes the third of their group.

Zume Fitness studio will emphasize complete health, not merely weight loss, according to Lizzie Sorensen of Hip Hello public relations. Instructors will be certified for yoga and antigravity classes.

The owners are building a juice bar and an oxygen bar in the part of the 9,000-square-foot space undergoing construction. Zume will offer personal sessions and information on nutrition.

Complimentary aerial yoga group classes are available through October 11. Classes are available now for free on Sundays. This fall, a Zume Pass will allow unlimited group classes for $65 monthly.

A grand opening will happen in the beginning of January. For an up-to-date class schedule, see zumefitstudio.com.


Mrs. London’s celebrates 15 years as Broadway’s French patisserie

 Is there really a Mrs. London? Some 80 percent of the city’s tourists come into the pastry shop on Broadway and ask this question, often of the man who is Mrs. London’s husband. Michael London assures these customers that his wife, Wendy, is rea

“She’s so large, we have to keep her in the kitchen,” he teases, then relents. “In reality, Olive Oyl is on the heavy side compared with Wendy. Wendy know a lot about nutrition and has great discipline. She is cooking and baking all the time—we have seven breakfasts and seven dinners at home every week. But we know you don’t gorge on pastries.”

It would be an easy thing to gorge yourself on pastries at Mrs. London’s, where the Londons combine all of Paris’s finest under one roof. Among the offerings in the glass case are such French and Italian delicacies as chocolate croissants, apple tarts, cannoli, and biscotti. Or you could try a cannelet, a small French pastry with a caramelized crust and custard in the center. American desserts such as apple pie and the humble brownie are also available.

“Almond croissants are our most popular item,” London said.

“For chocolate lovers, the nebula is the favorite,” added Kim Faiola, who has managed the bakery for the past 15 years, since the Londons reopened.

The Londons reopened in a new Broadway location September 1997 after a 12-year hiatus from the shop. London calls this their second incarnation.

“Among the baker’s dozen of reasons why we chose to reopen was to serve the city,” he said. “We had been doing a lot of consulting work, and we realized we wanted to share our knowledge with our own community. I also wanted a patisserie here where you could sit outdoors, like in Paris.”

The Londons’ road to Broadway led through Paris; Greenwich, N.Y.; and other locales. London grew up in Brooklyn and eventually worked as a poetry professor at Skidmore, his introduction to this area. When his interest in baking developed, he apprenticed himself to the Manhattan bakers’ union. Wendy London grew up in New Jersey and ended up working at a natural foods bakery in Greenwich Village. The couple began working together as pastry chefs. They have been married 36 years and baking together even longer, London calculates—about 40 years.

When they first opened up shop in Saratoga in 1977, their bakery was on Phila Street, where Four Seasons is now. They stayed there until 1985, then closed. During their dozen-year break from that business, the Londons baked bread from their farmhouse kitchen in Greenwich, N.Y.

“We baked bread for fancy-schmantzy restaurants in Manhattan,” London said. Their bread became famous throughout the region. Then London decided to return to pastries by going straight to the hub of the art.

For two years, he studied baking in Paris at the famous patisseries Gerard Mulot and Fauchon. He worked to reinvent his repertoire of pastries. Meanwhile, Wendy London baked at home with their children, Max and Sophie. When London finished his studies in France, the couple chose their new downtown Saratoga site and offered even more delicious items in the glass case.

“This baking ideal to which Wendy and I aspire is larger than the two of us,” London said. So he and his wife hired three pastry chefs, Lena Favaloro, Timothy Hangarter, and Corey Simmons. Lunch chef Larry Pratt creates the store’s soups, salads, and wraps. Holly O’Brien manages the office.

Son Max is connected to the pastry shop, not just by family and name, but by location. His Mediterranean restaurant, Max London’s, opened in 2007 right next-door. Wendy London makes all the ice cream, sorbets, and special desserts for Max’s menu.

“My husband and I eat at Max’s on the weekends,” said Elizabeth Silvers of Glenville, who also owns houses in Saratoga Springs and Arizona. “And I’ve come into Mrs. London’s every day for about two years now. I don’t think you could get better food anywhere. My friends love it here, too.”

Whether out west or up north, even in Canada, Silvers has yet to find any pastries to equal the Londons’. She mails them to relatives during the winter holidays.

 “The pastries are delightful. I can’t say enough good things about them,” she said.


FingerPaint Marketing plans announcement next week

Colorful advertising firm FingerPaint Marketing, which has been hunting for new office space, will make an announcement next week, according to agency partner Ed Mitzen.

Spa City rumors have placed FingerPaint in the old Borders building on Broadway, but Mitzen said he could not confirm any final decision yet. The agency has been considering several area locations.

“We have been looking more space for a while,” he said. “We haven’t signed anything yet.”

Started during the bleak economy of 2008 by Mitzen and partners Jaime Butler-Binley,­ Patrick O’Shea, and Andy Pyfer, FingerPaint has been expanding steadily. The agency has 42 employees at present and is advertising for five more to fill such positions as project management team member and creative team member—design. Mitzen estimates his firm will have 50 staff members by year’s end.

“We are adding positions as we bring on more client work,” he said. Current clients include the Adirondack Trust Company, Budweiser, Drake Laboratories, and United Way. The agency has grown from $4.3 million in revenue in 2011 to $6 million thus far in 2012.

FingerPaint currently occupies Suite 414 of The Lofts at 18 Division Street, a Bonacio Construction project completed in 2008. The agency’s office philosophy foregoes individual offices and job titles, according to Mitzen, who is identified among his staff under the job designation of  “marketing strategy.” Butler-Binley is “creative.”

On the agency’s Web site, the staff displays its annual fingerpainting shoots, where all the employees take gallons of paint and decorate canvases, a papered floor, and each other’s white T-shirts. FingerPaint will assuredly make good, creative use of its new space, wherever it will be.



Local business to rent Borders space

The late lamented Borders bookstore will hopefully stand vacant no longer. A local company plans to lease the space, according to Andrew Hunt, president of Myron Hunt, the firm that owns the building.

“We are in late-stage negotiations with a growing local business,” he said. “We expect to share more soon.”

Myron Hunt, a commercial real estate development company specializing in retail properties, has spent the past two years seeking a tenant for the Borders building. After waiting for the Borders company’s bankruptcy procedures to conclude, the development firm faced the issues of today’s economy.

“These are challenging retail conditions,” Hunt said. “Stores are not in expansion mode after the downturn.”

Myron Hunt also has been selective about its possible tenants, wanting to maximize the use of the building and its space. The firm wanted to find a business that would fit into Saratoga’s downtown.

“We love Saratoga and are very comfortable with our investment there,” said Hunt, whose main office is in Amherst, N.Y. Myron Hunt’s properties are a number of shopping centers in upstate New York and New England. “We passed on applicants who didn’t seem to fit the space. We didn’t want to make a poor decision.”

The size of the former Borders store has been another issue. The two-story space totals 34,848 square feet. Myron Hunt preferred to find a single tenant to take the whole building, rather than spending the capital and putting the design commitment into a reconfiguration of the store for two or more companies.

“We have luckily had the wherewithal to wait and find the right business,” Hunt said. “We are very excited to have such a suitable local tenant who can use the building as it is configured, with two stories and a central staircase.”

Myron Hunt will have an official announcement about the transaction in one week or two weeks, he said.



Broadway to shift lane during Bonacio constructio

Broadway will retain all four lanes throughout the erection of Bonacio Construction’s newest building at 422 Broadway. The lane in front of the job will shift over Broadway, according to Tony Bonacio, who oversees landscaping for the family business.

“The east lane will shift out into the road there, and so will the sidewalk,” he said. “Our neighbors on Broadway are satisfied with this, and we hope the shift will make very little impact on downtown traffic.”

The shift is necessary since the sidewalk is the only staging area for the job, he said. The old sidewalks will be replaced by new radiant-heat ones.

The city and the fire department have approved Bonacio’s traffic plan, which will be put in place Oct. 23 and remain in effect until mid-May 2013. By then, the neighboring restaurants will be able to set up their patios, and all the nearby businesses will be able to operate as usual. The construction company is trying to minimize disruption as it creates its latest building, Bonacio said. For example, water service was installed during the night.

“We want to make as little impact as possible during the construction of this beautiful building located right in the middle of town,” he said. “We are very appreciative of everyone’s patience.”


The buzz on local beekeepers

Betterbee, a wholesale and retail beekeeping supply business located in Greenwich, announces the sale of its business assets to Northeast Center for Beekeeping, and its principals, Dr. Chris Cripps and Dr. Joe Cali. Northeast Center for Beekeeping will operate under the Betterbee name at its current location at 8 Meader Rd., Greenwich.

A beekeeper for more than 25 years, Chris is a veterinarian by training. He started working with bees in the mid-1980s when he obtained his Boy Scout beekeeping merit badge in pursuit of his Eagle Award. Joe began beekeeping in 1972. Also a veterinarian, he cofounded the Battenkill Veterinary practice in Greenwich.

Former co-owner Margaret Stevens, whose late husband Bob founded Betterbee on the family farm in Greenwich in September 1979 said she warmly supports the transfer of ownership.

 “I enthusiastically welcome the new owners of Betterbee, who will continue Betterbee’s tradition of emphasis on beekeeping education, innovation, and production of products beneficial to the environment,” she said.



A new dentist back in her hometown

 A new Saratoga Springs dental practice, Arpei-McHugh Family Dentistry, is scheduled to open in mid-October at One West Ave., Ste. 135
Dr. Crystal Arpei-McHugh
’s practice will focus on general family dentistry for all ages, striving to make dentistry a comfortable experience, she said. New dental equipment will be available, along with patient monitors and music. Patients can relax and watch TV, listen to music, or view their treatment.

She is a current participating provider for several dental insurances, including Aetna, CIGNA, CSEA, Delta Dental, Empire Blue Cross, GHI/Emblem Health, Metlife, and United Concordia/Tricare.

Arpei-McHugh is a Saratoga Springs native who earned her dental degree at the New York University College of Dentistry with honors in pediatrics in 2007. She practiced as an associate in the York, Pa., area.

She returned to her hometown to open her general family dentistry practice and to give back to the community.  She has been working in the Albany area as an associate until the new office is finished, and has also served as a volunteer attending at the Ellis Hospital Dental Residency program in Schenectady.

”I am a very family- and community-oriented person,” Arpei-McHugh
said. “I wanted to return to Saratoga to practice dentistry and raise my family."

 The office space is still under construction by AOW Associates, with plans to complete construction within the next week and open for business about the week of October 15th.  Local vendors helping with the office include ADD Development, AOW Associates, George Olsen Architect, Henry Schein Dental Supply Company, Prost Logo, and Roohan Realty.

is a member of the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, which plans to do a ribbon-cutting ceremony for her opening.  Contact her at 518-871-1520 or drcrystal@amfamilydentistry.com; her Web site is www.amfamilydentistry.com.

Northshire Bookstore plans to move into new Bonacio building

As promised, here's our Northshire Books scoop:

By Jennie Grey

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The city is one page closer to a new bookshop. Tuesday, Northshire Books signed a letter of intent to move into 422 Broadway, the Bonacio building under construction between Cantina and Lillian’s restaurants. Northshire plans to occupy 9,000 square feet on both the ground floor and the second floor.
All this depends upon obtaining funds, however, according to Chris Morrow, the owner of Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vt.
“The plan is contingent upon raising enough money to make it happen,” he said. “I have only a short amount of time.”
Morrow said the financial process is going well, but he is hoping to get more people interested in being involved. Although he is exploring several avenues, he is hoping particularly for more private investors.

He has been eying possible locations in Saratoga for nearly a year, with most rumors placing Northshire in the former Borders building on Broadway. Morrow confirmed that he had considered renting the first floor of that space.
“The 422 Broadway location is a nicer space, though,” he said. “It’s new construction, so I can fix up the store the way I want to. The landlords are local, which is important to me. And now there is plenty of parking.”
The new building will be located on what was a small parking lot but a four-level parking garage was recently completed on Woodlawn Avenue.
Morrow said Saratoga won out as the location for Northshire’s second location due to its proximity to local colleges and its walkable downtown. The flagship Manchester, Vt. location will remain open.
“Saratoga is a great city,” Morrow said. “It deserves a great bookstore.”
A confirmation of the plan will come by year’s end, he said.

Stay tuned for a scoop...

Involving Northshire Books and a Broadway building (not the one you're thinking of)... Jennie Grey is writing right now, story will be coming shortly!

SPoT Coffee update

Got this press release yesterday from the folks at SPoT Coffee, the Canadian coffee shop chain that is planning to open a store in the new Market Center building on Railroad Place (the Bonacio building with the new Price Chopper Limited), here's the latest from SPoT:

Spot Coffee, a chain of progressive continental-style cafes, plan to open their 10th cafe in Saratoga Springs, NY in December, 2012. A second cafe in the region has been announced, located in Glens Falls, NY. Spot Coffee cafes serve all-day breakfast, made-to-order meals for lunch and dinner, as well as espresso and blended beverages. Each Spot is built and operated to reflect its unique community, from custom murals by local artists to hosting book clubs; becoming a part of the neighborhood is part of Spot's mission. From the Spot website:

"SPoT designs, builds and operates community- oriented cafés that provide its customers from every lifestyle and culture with the highest quality service, signature light meals and roasted in-house gourmet coffee. The current SPoT management team has been successfully operating company-owned cafés in New York State, Florida and Canada since 2004. Each SPoT café is a popular and friendly gathering place for its community where specialty coffee, upscale beverages, fresh baked goods, signature sandwiches, soups, salads and gourmet pizza, cakes, pastries and home baked goods are offered and enjoyed by its patrons in a warm, friendly and home-like environment."

The company first announced these plans back in February and said at the time they were planning to start construction in the spring. Seems like there may have been a bit of a delay, we'll keep you posted when they're ready to open.



Fine furnishings coming to Franklin Square

The uniquely named 23rd [and fourth] is moving into quarters at One Franklin Square. Behind the elegant white pillars of the historic building will be furniture, gifts, and accessories, some of which you can see on the store’s Facebook site. The business also offers interior design services, which are available now, according to owner Janet Longe. She plans to open the store later in the fall. See the Facebook page for 23rd and Fourth for more information.



Learning to Know Education Center Second Location

A new daycare option is coming to Saratoga Springs. Learning to Know Education Center will open its second location at Weibel Avenue’s Springs building on Oct. 15, according to owner Debra Horton. The center will hold 67 children from age six weeks to five years—more children at a younger age than at her Clifton Park center. Emphasis is placed on learning as an adventure, with activities including art, music, science, and literacy in a nurturing environment.

The daycare will be open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. From 10 to 12 staff members, whom Horton called experienced educators, will work there.

“We saw a huge need in Saratoga Springs for high-quality daycare,” she said. “I’m very excited to be expanding to this area and pleased to offer our service here.”

Learning to Know is now taking applications and will hold an open house in mid-October. For more information, visit learningtoknow.net or call 371-3722.


Where is Virgil's?

Virgil's House and Coffee ShopKathleen Quartararo, owner of Virgil’s Coffee House of Cards and the Inn at Ballston Spa, is still working out the details of Virgil’s move to 37 Henry Street. She said she probably won’t have more information until October, when she hopes to update everyone. Hang on to your Living Social certificates and other coupons.

“Our coupons never expire,” Quartararo said.



A bag of tricks

Patronize our local vendors and save money at the same time, simply by buying a $1.50 bag from the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association. This red, reusable nonwoven tote made from recycled material nets you 20 percent off any one item at participating businesses, on three special shopping days.

This season’s Bag Day Shopping Sprees will be Dec. 8, Jan. 19, and Feb. 16. Shoppers may buy the bags beginning the day of the Victorian Streetwalk: Nov. 29.


Finding Hidden Gardens

Looking for a florist and an antique dealer? You can find it all at Hidden Gardens Extraordinary Floral Designs Antiques, which has moved from Church Street to 35 Maple Avenue. Setting up shop in a converted carriage house, the relocated Hidden Gardens is still under construction, but hopes to have a grand opening in several weeks.

The floral department is up and running. Call the new shop at 583-3335.