Eastern Mountain Sports sold to private equity firm

 Eastern Mountain Sports logo 

Philadelphia-based private equity firm Versa Capital Management recently acquired Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), according to First Tracks Online Media. EMS has 69 stores and does outdoor retailing in 12 eastern states, with a growing online presence. Mark Walsh, a Versa principal and chairman of Bob’s Stores, a northeastern apparel retailer and part of the Versa portfolio, will serve as chairman of the EMS board. Purchase terms were not disclosed. 

Eastern Mountain Sports began in 1967 when two Massachusetts rock climbers opened a store to address the needs of quality climbers. That first store in Wellesley, Mass., was followed by growth opportunities in the 1980s and 1990s. Today, the Peterborough, N.H.-based retailer employs approximately 1,500 people.

According to Walsh, all the current EMS stores will be maintained, although Versa is exploring opportunities for Bob’s Stores and EMS to collaborate. No major initiatives will be considered until the company finishes the important holiday season.  

Versa is a private equity investment firm with $1.2 billion of assets under management focused on investments in middle market companies where value and performance growth can be achieved through enhanced operational and financial management. Versa’s portfolio includes Bob’s Stores, Avenue Stores and Black Angus Steakhouses.


Healthy Living market and café celebrates the holidays

Healthy Living Market and Cafe - South Burlington, VT 

Healthy Living Market and Café, a natural food market opening at the Wilton Mall in early 2013, will join in on Saratoga’s annual holiday festivities.

At tonight’s 26th Victorian Streetwalk, Healthy Living will display a banner during the opening parade. The market will also have a table in the Visitor’s Center where the elegantly dressed and costumed carolers can stop by for fruit, chocolate, hot tea, and other delicious treats.
Healthy Living is the presenting sponsor at the Festival of Trees’ Family Day Saturday, Dec. 1. Kids and adults alike can join Healthy Living co-owners Katy Lesser and Eli Lesser-Goldsmith in the City Center to make their very own potato-stamp wrapping paper. The Healthy Living team is eager to be a part of Saratoga’s holiday traditions. For more information, visit www.healthylivingmarket.com.


Sperry’s holiday plans

Sperry's - A Saratoga Tradition since 1932 
If you’d rather spend your holidays roasting chestnuts by an open fire than actually cooking, Sperry’s certified master chef, Dale Miller, can create for you a Home for the Holidays meal. This holiday a la carte menu includes Lollipop Lamb Chops, Apple Smoked Bacon Wrapped Scallops, Crown Roast of Pork, and more. Orders must be placed five days in advance of pickup and paid in full at the time of order.

If you’d rather celebrate at a heated and covered patio bar, Sperry’s offers happy hour every Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, all wines by the glass are $2 off , and appetizers are 15 percent off at both the inside bar and the patio bar.

Finally, if New Year’s Eve in Bollywood appeals to you, Sperry’s is the place. Call 584-9618 for reservations.


New moms can get healthy at Baby Boot Camp

Baby Boot Camp Saratoga Springs is marching into the Wilton Mall, with a grand opening celebration Dec. 8 and 9. This national fitness and nutrition program helps mothers lose pregnancy weight and battle postpartum depression. Joslyn Fadden is the owner of the new location.

Delivered by nationally certified fitness professionals, Baby Boot Camp stroller fitness classes combine strength-training exercises with cardiovascular drills in 60-minute sessions. Pilates, yoga and abdominal exercises help improve core strength.

“We are thrilled to help increase the health and wellness of Saratoga area families,” said Kristen Horler, CEO and founder of Baby Boot Camp. “These classes are not just about losing weight. We are so pleased to welcome Joslyn as she helps moms seeking to support nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyle habits in their families and their communities. ”

In addition to Strollerfit and Strollga stroller fitness classes, Baby Boot Camp offers the 5K Training Program and Nutrition Solutions, a four-week nutrition program for women. Earth’s Best StrollerFriends, a free moms’ club to support healthy families, is also available.

 “Fitness has always been an important part of my lifestyle,” Fadden said. “I am excited to bring the Baby Boot Camp program to my community.”

Fadden is a 2001 graduate of Champlain College, where she earned her B.S. in business administration. She is an Aerobics & Fitness Association of America  certified group fitness instructor with one child.

During the program’s opening days, you can meet members of the Baby Boot Camp team, buy discounted memberships and enter to win a Mountain Buggy Stroller. For additional details, contact joslyn.fadden@babybootcamp.com.

Beginning January 2013, Baby Boot Camp classes will be offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Wilton Mall. Go to babybootcamp.com for more information and to sign up for the first class free.



Bag Days mean savings in downtown Saratoga

Fifteen downtown businesses, members of the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association (DBA), are participating in what's becoming a tradition: the DBA Bag Days. The bright red bags, which will be available for pickup from the participating businesses during the Victorian Streetwalk and after until they are gone, work as a coupon for 20 percent off on three dates: December 8, January 19 and February 16. 

The bags are made from recycled material and are reusable not only for this year's sale dates, but next year's. 

Look for the red Bag Day bags in the windows of the following downtown businesses: the Candy Company of Saratoga, Celtic Treasures, the Clothes Horse, the Clothes Line, Compliments to the Chef, Crafters Gallery, Impressions, Lifestyles, the Loft, Mountainman Saratoga Outfitters, Pipits, Reform Pilates, Saratoga Salsa & Spice, Symmetry, and Violet's & Stella's of Saratoga.  

Go to www.saratogadowntown.com for more information.


Greenfield Animal Hospital now offers pet grooming

Greenfield Animal Hospital

If you just can’t do a thing with your hound’s hair, Greenfield Animal Hospital can help. In an effort to become an all-inclusive veterinary facility, the hospital has started a grooming service. Andrea Ott, a 2000 graduate of the New York School of Dog Grooming, has relocated from Florida to take on the bathing and brushing.

Besides typical grooming, the facility now offers such unique services as acupuncture done by the veterinarians, spa packages, and organic products. An organic session might include a bath with Epson salts, an oatmeal scrub, organic soap, and grapeseed oil for pets’ winter feet, Ott said. She can also perform facials for the animals.

“I’ve been researching all the possible spa services for pets,” she said.

The latest trend is colored dying: turning your poodle purple, for example. You might rather give him a brilliantly shaded Mohawk. Ott can do that, too.

Competitive costs extend from $25 for a bath to $99 for grooming, with all prices depending on the pet’s size. With 12 years of experience, Ott has groomed dogs ranging from a three-pound toy Yorkshire terrier to a 150-pound Great Bernard. She’s also tended to cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs.

“I became a pet groomer because I love animals,” Ott said. “Also, this is the happy end of the veterinary business. Dogs feel so good after they are groomed. They just prance around.”



Wear polar pajamas to the Circus Café

 If you keep your pajamas on before or after riding Saratoga’s Polar Express train, you can go to the Circus Café, and get free homemade cotton candy with your lunch or dinner.

The Polar Express leaves Saratoga for a round trip to its own North Pole. Caroling, hot cocoa, special gifts, and a meeting with Santa are part of the fun. Children are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the trip.

“The Polar Express train ride that leaves from Saratoga has really taken off! We have seen so many children (and parents) come in to Circus Café wearing their pajamas before/after the train ride that we had to join the festivities,” said Christel MacLean, co-owner of the restaurant.

This offer starts now and runs through Sunday, Jan. 6, which is the last day for the Polar Express.

For more information about Circus Café, visit www.circuscafe.com or call 583-1106. For more information about the Polar Express, visit https://www.sncrr.com/


Pink Raven art show will benefit Franklin Community Center

Franklin Community Center

This Saturday, Dec. 1, Franklin Community Center, the local human service agency at 10 Franklin Street, will benefit from partnering with Pink Raven Tattoo Studio and Art Gallery. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Pink Raven will host an open house and art exhibition at its 55 Beekman St. studio, with proceeds going to the center. Liquid libations will be provided by Crush and Cask.

The art in question will be close-up views of the world around us, in the form of eclectic cell phone snapshots and Instagrams taken by people throughout the community. Pink Raven’s owners, Chris DiBiase and Doug Gruse, were hoping for 100 pictures when they put out the call. Instead, they received 200. There are family photos, artistic shots, landscapes, and silly things, Gruse said.

“Each picture in our exhibition has a number, and people can write down the numbers they like and come buy custom 6x6-inch Instagram prints right here,” he said. “The $10 cost per photo will all go to the community center.” 

Should customers want to give something more than the photographs, Pink Raven offers another option. Mention Franklin Community Center when buying a gift card during December, and the studio will give the center 20 percent of the card’s cost. Cards are available in any amount and are good for a year.



The Prevention Council moves to new offices at the Mill

In a proactive move to reduce overhead and to attempt to cushion the effects of an uncertain fiscal climate, the Prevention Council has moved from its long-time quarters on Phila Street to smaller offices at the Mill, 125 High Rock Ave. All programs and initiatives remain intact.

“I am extremely grateful to Tom Roohan and Amy Sutton at Roohan Realty, and also to Bonacio Construction for creating a workable arrangement for us,” said Executive Director Heather Kisselback. “They were patient with our transition process, and very attentive to our budget and our needs.”

Certain amenities and utilities--including heat, electric, and janitorial services--are included in the monthly rent at the Mill, and provide a substantial annual savings. Reducing overhead was an important consideration, with funding from two large federal grants ending in 2013-14.

“We had an excellent relationship with our past landlords, Dan and Mary Conboy, and we were sorry to leave our old space,” Kisselback said. “But this is the reality we’re facing right now.”

Aside from the address at the new location, everything else at the agency remains the same, including e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

The Prevention Council has provided services to Saratoga County residents for more than 30 years, giving young people the skills to choose healthy behaviors, providing families with the tools to foster positive child development, helping communities build environments that support healthy choices, and helping schools build supportive climates for students. For more information, visit www.preventioncouncil.org.


Ballston Spa Bancorp reports third-quarter earnings

BSNB - Ballston Spa, NY 

Ballston Spa Bancorp, the parent company of Ballston Spa National Bank (BSNB), reports solid financial performance this year. Net income for the nine-month period ending Sept. 30 totaled $1.9 million, or $2.59 per share, up 5.9 percent from the $1.8 million, or $2.45 per share, reported for the same period in 2011. Strong growth in the company’s commercial loan portfolios as well as in non-interest income offset the effects of a tighter net interest margin, and the carrying costs of the company’s new sales and operations center.

“We are encouraged by the overall uptick in economic activity in our region,” said Christopher R. Dowd, president and chief executive officer of the bank. “In light of our growth, our strong balance sheet, and our seasoned employees, we remain well-positioned to enhance the value we provide to our shareholders, customers, and community.”

With a combination of personal service and high-tech convenience, BSNB offers a wide range of products and services to individuals, families, municipalities, nonprofits, and businesses. Offices are located in Ballston Spa, Burnt Hills, Clifton Park, Galway, Greenfield Center, Malta, Milton, Stillwater, and Wilton. To become part of BSNB’s online community, visit www.bsnb.com, www.facebook.com/YourBSNB, or www.twitter.com/BSNB.


News from Sperry’s restaurant: Booking holiday parties, planning New Year’s Eve, chef wins award

Sperry's - A Saratoga Tradition since 1932Sperry’s restaurant is now celebrating the holiday season with its patrons. The restaurant will arrange on- and off-premises gatherings, with 10 percent off parties booked from Sunday through Wednesday. Holiday gift certificates are also available.

For those entertaining at home, the restaurant offers a holiday a la carte menu, which includes such dishes as Autumn Spiced Pumpkin Bisque, All Natural Boneless Turkey Breast, and Bourbon Pecan Pie.

Sperry’s New Year's Eve theme this year is Bollywood. The proprietors are planning a night full of color, music, film, fun, and great food. Special prix fixe and regular menus will be available. To make a New Year’s Eve, reservation, call 584-9618.

In other news, Sperry’s Chef Mike Spain recently won a Gold Medal and the Grand Award at the 22nd Annual Culinary Cornucopia. The winning entree was an Autumn Spiced Venison Chop with Sweet Potato Spaetzle, Swiss Chard with Toasted Pine Nuts, and Lingonberry Sauce. For more information about the Culinary Cornucopia, visit http://livingresources.org/FOUNDATION/Cornucopia.htm.

Sperry’s is at 30 1/2 Caroline St.; see www.sperrysrestaurant.com.



Craft Marketplace on Small-Business Saturday

After Black Friday comes Small-Business Saturday, a second opportunity for every holiday-shopping enthusiast. To celebrate, the 37th Annual Saratoga Craft Marketplace will be held at the Saratoga Springs City Center Sat., Nov. 24, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Craft Marketplace is the epitome of Saratoga’s small-business sector, mirroring the character of downtown. Attendance at the Craft Marketplace exceeds 3,000.

More than 115 artisans will offer an array of unique handmade products perfect for holiday gifts. This year, a raffle and celebrity auction will enhance the festivities. Auction items include autographed New York City Ballet objects, Beach Boys autographs, a Saratoga Jockey Autograph Book, U.S. Tennis Open Champions’ autographs, and more.

Tickets to the event are $4; however, discount coupons for admission can be obtained at participating Downtown Saratoga Small Business merchants and on www.saratogacraft.org. To entice customers to continue shopping, admission tickets can be used to get specials from participating Downtown Saratoga Small Businesses. All proceeds from the show benefit the Saratoga Center for the Family’s mission to prevent and treat child abuse, neglect, and trauma in our community.

Celebrate Small Business Saturday and support a worthy cause while you shop. Enrich your holiday shopping with a visit to our marketplace while you strengthen Saratoga County families. For more information on the show, please call 587-7244.



Ballston Spa National Bank gives to Red Cross; helps Superstorm Sandy victims

BSNB - Ballston Spa, NY 

Ballston Spa National Bank (BSNB) contributed $1,000 to the American Red Cross in support of the ongoing relief efforts resulting from Superstorm Sandy.

“The Red Cross continues to provide shelter, supplies, and services to thousands of people who are still being affected by the aftermath of the storm,” said Christopher R. Dowd, president and CEO of the bank. “We hope this contribution will provide assistance to those who have been impacted and their communities.” 

With a combination of personal service and high-tech convenience, BSNB offers a wide range of products and services to individuals, families, municipalities, nonprofits, and businesses. Offices are located in Ballston Spa, Burnt Hills,
Clifton Park, Galway, Greenfield Center, Malta, Milton, Stillwater, and Wilton. To become part of BSNB’s online community, please visit www.bsnb.com, www.facebook.com/YourBSNB, or www.twitter.com/BSNB.



Fine furnishings move into Franklin Square

23rd and Fourth - Saratoga Springs, NYThe uniquely named 23rd [and Fourth] store is opening at One Franklin Square in Saratoga Springs. Owner Janet Longe will hold a ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m. Nov. 20.
Behind the elegant white pillars of the historic building, shoppers will find furniture, gifts and accessories, some of which can be seen on the store’s Facebook site.

The business also offers interior design services. Go to www.23rdandfourth.com for more information.


Get a new massage at Bodywork Professional

Albany Massage 
Nick Pavoldi, owner of Latham’s Bodywork Professionals, is on the move yet again. He recently opened a downtown Saratoga Springs office in Franklin Square, but found his business needed more rooms, since massage clients often wanted to have simultaneous appointments.

“Couples and friends wanted to schedule their sessions together, and in Franklin Square, we had only one massage room,” he said. “In our new location at 79 Washington St., we will have two. We’ll also be sharing the office with acupuncturist Danielle Devivo of Phoenix Rising, which is great. Massage and acupuncture are often used together.”

 Bodywork Professionals offers the Capital Region a full range of bodywork and massage therapy services in an environment Pavoldi calls professional and relaxing. The fully licensed and insured staff are some of the most seasoned therapists in the region with an average of 11 years’ experience. Established in 2003, Bodywork Professionals specializes in deep-tissue work, Rolf structural integration, Thai yoga massage, Swedish massage therapy, and pre- and postnatal massage. The business will offer a unique service of babysitting during massage from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.

“We are excited to have a Saratoga location,” Pavoldi said. “For years, I’ve wanted to have a location here in my hometown, but I didn’t think the time was right until now. It’s great to see that goal turn into a reality and be able to offer our services to the Saratoga clientele. I have an amazing staff working here, and we are delighted to be part of the movement toward natural health and the history of health in Saratoga Springs.”

Pavoldi has been a bodywork practitioner for 16 years, working on members of the New York City Ballet, the New York Giants football team, and the Salt Lake City Olympic athletes. He was voted the Albany region’s best massage therapist four times in “Metroland.” He teaches at the Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy in Albany.

He focuses on encouraging and supporting local and sustainable products in his business. This includes offering products from local entrepreneurs and using an antique letterpress for hand-printing gift certificates. Pavoldi is a founding member of the Pregnancy Project, a group of Capital District providers offering services to pregnant women, their babies, and their families. Recently, he has become interested in vibrational therapy through gonging.

For more information on massage services, visit BodyworkProfessionals.com or call 389-2200.



Music businesses to live in harmony at Clifton Park Center


Clark Music pianos and the teaching studios of Dianne Hellert and Kniskern Music House will all be sharing space at Clifton Park Center (CPC) as of Dec. 1.

CPC owner Don Greene, who plays a Steinway, came up with the idea when Hellert’s lease was about to expire at one of his other properties on Route 146. Clark Music’s owner, Hugh Murphy, was looking for a way to reduce overhead, and the Kniskern Music House was also ready to move from a building on Route 9. The combined facilities will go by the names of Clark Music and The Hellert Studio.

Clark Music, founded in 1859, is the authorized upstate New York dealership for Steinway & Sons. Their customers include Proctors Theatre, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Troy Music Hall, three dozen colleges, and thousands of families who have bought quality instruments.

Dianne Hellert received her undergraduate degree from Capital University, Columbus, Ohio in piano and voice. She received her masters degree from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, which made a historic purchase of 141 new Steinway pianos from Clark Music in 2007. She has taught public school music in grades K-12 for eight years, has maintained her private studios for more than 25 years, is a certified Yamaha music instructor, is currently instructing 70 students, and supervises 12 additional teachers with degrees from Juilliard to Berklee College of Music.

Private instruction will be available in piano, violin, viola, cello, flute, guitar, drums, voice, and musical theatre. Instrumental rental and sales will be available. Hellert expects to double her current student enrollment to 400 within one year.

For more information, call 669-4188 and go to www.hellertpianostudio.com.


Cole’s Collision Centers opens fourth location in Halfmoon


Cole’s Collision Centers announces the opening of its newest repair shop in the Town of Halfmoon. The center will create 15 to 20 immediate job openings for various positions including administrators, auto repair technicians, customer service representatives, and estimators. Cole’s Collision currently employs 52 full-time workers. 

Formerly the location of Lee’s Plumbing and HVAC, the renovated 11,800-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility at 1624 Rt. 9 includes office space, a shipping and receiving room, two estimating bays, a repair shop, a showroom, and more. The total investment on renovations and new equipment for the building exceeds $500,000. 

“We are committed to the highest safety standards and quality customer service at all our locations,” said John Cole, founder and president. “This new store wouldn’t be possible without the support of our partners, suppliers, staff, and customers. We greatly appreciate your dedication and business.”

Cole’s delivers repair work, customer service, and safety. From general repairs to major accidents, the business’s skilled and experienced technicians provide all auto-body needs in an I-CAR Gold Class certified shop.

An invitation-only grand opening celebration is scheduled for Thurs., Nov. 15 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will include local dignitaries. 

Cole’s Collision Centers is one of the fastest-growing auto-repair companies in the Capital Region. In 2011, Cole’s total revenue reached $8.9 million. Cole’s Collision opened its first store at 1904 Central Ave. in Albany in 2007; locations in Ballston Spa and Wilton were added in 2010. 

Cole’s Collision Centers was honored in May with the Small Business Excellence Award by the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

To learn more, visit www.colescollision.com.