Ballston Spa market to reopen this summer

Raj Patel plans to open the Union Food Mart convenience store and gas station in the building that formerly housed the South Street Market. Patel plans to do renovations to the building and to replace the gas pumps over the next month or so, and to open this summer, likely around July 4, he said on Tuesday.

Patel, of Clifton Park, purchased the property earlier this month for $475,000. He used to run a similar business in Halfmoon, and purchased the Ballston Spa property because of its good location, he said.



Panza's taking over Twenty 8 Tables

Panza's restaurant is taking over Twenty 8 Tables, chef John Ireland said this week.
When I talked to Ireland, he said he couldn't say much beyond confirming that Panza's was assuming ownership of the Maple Street restaurant and bar.
"We just got in and we're in the process of going through things," Ireland said. "But there will definitely be changes."


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New B'Spa store to open June 1, Saratoga Springs gym on West Ave.

Leta Betor and Susan Stanley, both of Saratoga Springs, are opening a new store called The Gift Box June 1 at 215 Milton Ave.
The store, which Betor compared to an emporium because of the variety of goods they'll sell, including collectibles and newer items. There will be everything from furniture to bird houses, china and chandeliers, which the two have sourced from different collectors.
Neither of the two women have operated a store like this before, and began actively collecting materials for the past six months. The store will be open year-round and into the evening.
"In Ballston Spa, things tend to close early, and it seems like you can't get anything after 4 or 5 p.m.," Betor said. "We'll open later in the day and stay open later at night too."

There's also a new place to work out on West Avenue in Saratoga Springs. Saratoga Core Fitness now has a location at 68 West Ave. The gym's motto is "everyone is an athlete." There are packages for different classes, single classes and physical training sessions are $45 per hour.
Victoria Nye Cordi, an Albany native and fitness trainer, recently opened the facility, which basic training, something called "Mommy and Baby Restore the Core," a workout for a mother and her small child and Piloxing, a mixture of Pilates and boxing.


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Weekend fun!

I hear it's supposed to be a beautiful weekend, which makes sense since I'll be in the office both days. But it's going to be a busy one - here are a couple cool events that are going to be taking place:

Here's a Saratogian story about Food Revolution Day, which was created by the Jamie Oliver Foundation Here's a quick run-down of the events:
Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Saratoga Farmers' Market at High Rock Park.
-Noon to 3 p.m.: Healthy food samples at Four Seasons Natural Foods on Phila Street.
-2 p.m.: Food & Farms panel discussion at Saratoga Springs Public Library.
-2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Farm tour at 9 Miles East Farm on Goff Road in Schuylerville.
-4 p.m.: Olive oil tasting at Saratoga Olive Oil, 484 Broadway.

Here's another event this weekend, which several of my fearless colleagues will be partaking in. The Tuff eNuff Challenge, a 5K obstacle course through a muddy track, starts at 9 a.m. Saturday. Registration is $40 on the day of the race, and it benefits The Prevention Council.


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Ballston Spa market sold, to undergo upgrades

South Street Market in Ballston Spa, has been sold for $475,000 to Raj and Tegal Pael of Clifton Park. The couple plans to change and update the property with a new store front facade, gas pumps and canopies and a deli counter with gourmet sandwiches.
Varley Commercial in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., announced the sale of the property known as the South Street Market in Ballston Spa, a long-time neighborhood deli, convenience store and gas station, which was previously owned by Ifigenia Brown, Esq., of Ballston Spa, and closed in 2011.

Local business receives award: Content Enablers, Inc., was honored recently with a US Small Business Administration Small Business Excellence Award at the Desmond Hotel in Albany. The award was presented to Brad Kabanuk the company founder and President. The company provides web-based international trade compliance training to Fortune 500 firms. Its client base includes Boeing, GE, ConocoPhillips and Airbus.

Update: Emily reported on this very blog about a week and a half ago that jeweler Alex and Ani is coming to Broadway - Congress Park Centre, to be exact. The store is expected to open by June, according to David Brause, who is the president of Brause Realty Inc., owner and developer of the center.



The Living Room receives liquor license

A bar with an Old Spa City vibe received its liquor license yesterday, and now its bar, not just the kitchen, is open for business.
Tiffany Albert, who owns the Putnam Den with her husband Jonathan, opened The Living Room on lower Caroline Street. Albert looked through local libraries and the historical society to find out what the atmosphere in a speakeasy would have been like in the 1920s.
The establishment, which is conveniently located across our parking lot, has actually been open since mid-April, serving food like grilled ostrich, buffalo chicken spring rolls and homemade potato chips with various dipping sauces.
The bar menu features drinks that would have been popular at an earlier time, with edible flowers and garnishes. Albert in particular highlighted a strawberry basil martini. There are half-price drinks from 3 to 6 p.m.
The Living Room’s current hours are from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and food is served late.

There's another option for organic in the city, but this one deals in things you put on your face, not in it. Ruth Boals opened New Attitudes Salon and Spa on Phila Street, where she uses organic products for facials and other treatments, and ammonia-free hair color. A Saratoga Springs native, Boals moved back here recently after spending years living in Florida, where she also had a salon. Her website is here: http://www.chihairgirlandwhatnot.com/ 

Have a fantastic weekend!


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Friday evening tidbits

Hi blog readers,

Jamie's off today, but I've got some tidbits of biz news to get you through the weekend...

1. We were alerted via Twitter (thanks @SaratogaShoots) that the big 'For Rent' signs in the windows of the former Borders bookstore were taken down earlier this week. Though hopeful that meant the place was finally rented, alas that does not seem to be the case. Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus said Thursday that the signs were outdated and that's why they were taken down. A message left at the offices of Myron M. Hunt, the western New York-based company that owns the building, went unreturned this week.

2. This afternoon, the Saratoga Idiots reported rumors that Divinyl Revolution had found a new home in the Downtown Marketplace so I sent intrepid photographer Erica Miller all the way across the street to check it out. She didn't find Divinyl Revolution (which closed after several years on Broadway earlier this week... but you knew that, because you read the paper), but she did find a few other tidbits...

3. Fiat Feminae, one of three lingerie shops to open downtown last year, seems to have closed:

Fiat did move from Broadway into the marketplace in October, so maybe it's moving again. Or maybe three lingerie shops was too many for one small city.

4. Recycling Red Dresses, the consignment shop located right under the stairs of Downstreet Marketplace, is undergoing a transformation. A quick web search reveals that a new store, called Vesture, will be opening in the space on May 9.

Vesture will sell "children's clothing and vintage, recycled clothing and accessories," according to its website.  The inventory of Recycling Red Dress will also be sold, at reduced prices. We will hopefully have much more on this next week.

5. Speaking of Downtown Marketplace, when is Comfort Kitchen going to open?  We first reported on their plans to open in the space formerly occupied by Bettie's Cakes back in September, and now we're getting taunted on a daily basis by their delicious twitter feed. Stop being such a tease, Comfort Kitchen! Saratoga.com had an interview with owner Rory Moran last week (warning: it will make you hungry).

6. While perusing the Saratoga County property transactions today, I saw that the sale of the former Champion (and Topper before that) car dealership was made official last week. We reported in February that local developer Frank Parillo was planning to buy the South Broadway property, but we still don't know what he's planning to do with it. The deed lists the sale price as $2.3 million and includes the 135 S. Broadway address as well as addresses on Prospect Street, Prospect Drive and Finley Street that are behind and sort of next to the main location. Any guesses as to what Parillo might be planning? We'll put another call into him next week to ask. Don't you hate when your Monday to-do list is already growing and it's only Friday, womp womp.

7. On the subject of to-do lists, "write blog post about Alex and Ani" has been on mine since late March... oops. Here's the scoop: by now you may have noticed that Saratoga Sundress moved from its location near Cold Stone Creamery and Chico's in Congress Park Center further north on Broadway near Saratoga Arms. Their old storefront won't be vacant for long, however. Alex and Ani, a Rhode Island-based jewelry company, is planning to move into the location in the near future. I first got wind of this via my mom (thanks mom!)  who heard a commercial on the radio. When I called the company's Cranston, RI headquarters in late March, I spoke to Iris Carlomusto, the company's director of marketing. Alex and Ani sells a variety of American-made jewelry for women and men, but it's signature items are bracelets with an expandable wire design -- they slip over your wrist and don't have a clasp. The company has nine locations across the country in places like Newport and Providence, RI, Martha's Vineyard, Boston and Palm Beach, Fla.
"We're a positive energy lifestyle brand," Carlomusto said. Each bangle has a charm on it and three "positive energy" words associated with it  like "welcome," "warmth" and " friendship." They've also got a Kentucky Derby collection (maybe a Travers collection is in their future now that they'll be setting up shop in the home of Saratoga Race Course...).
So the positive energy thing sounds a bit hokey, I realize, but I really do like these bracelets. In fact, I'm wearing one right now (it's got a shamrock on it ). I like them and Cranston, RI, where the company started, also happens to be where my mom grew up. Most of her family still lives nearby and they've all got wrists full of Alex and Ani bracelets. I've got a soft spot in my heart for all things Rhode Island because of my family connections to the ocean state. It was also where I moved right out of college and got my first reporting job. Ok, thanks for taking that little trip down memory lane with me. (No, I was not paid to write this blog post... if I was taking kick-backs I wouldn't be having a(nother) vending machine dinner tonight.)

Ok, I think those tidbits, combined with a little tequila, should get you through the weekend. Enjoy Cinco de Mayo and we'll see you back here next week. As always, if you've got news tips email Jamie Munks, jmunks@saratogian.com, or the newsroom, news@saratogian.com.

-- Emily Donohue


Two Kentucky Derby parties at Siro's this weekend

This weekend marks the official start of the summer season at Siro's.
The original Siro's on Lincoln Avenue and Siro's Trattoria at the Lodge will host two Spa City Kentucky Derby Day parties for much of the day on Saturday.
Beginning with the 10:30 a.m. post time at Churchill Downs, guests at Siro's Trattoria at the Lodge on Nelson Ave., can wager on races with a live teller in the restaurant. There will be a full undercard shown on big-screen televisions in the restaurant and a full bar menu will be available.
At the original Siro's on Lincoln Avenue, guests can view the races on televisions inside the restaurant and on the patio, starting at 4 p.m.
A shuttle bus will provide transportation between the two Siro's venues between 4 and 9 p.m., and there will be live music at the original Siro's.
The Derby Day parties mark the beginning of the summer season for the restaurants: the Trattoria at the Lodge will be open for dinner on weekends through mid-July, and the Lincoln Avenue location will starts its regular summer schedule in conjunction with the opening of the Saratoga Race Course on July 19, with the annual Siro's Cup to benefit the Center for Disability Services.
-- Jamie

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Now everyone can have Sloppy Kisses

Sloppy Kisses, a Saratoga dog bakery and pet boutique, announced today that their homemade peanut butter dog biscuits will be the featured dog treat  in the May 2012 shipment of BarkBox. New York City-based BarkBox is an online service that delivers new products to dogs around the country each month. A news release from Sloppy Kisses equates it to a wine-of-the-month club, except for dogs...which tells me that it's awesome.

The shipments will go to 1,000 dogs all over the country. Though preparing all those treats "has tested our production capability," Sloppy Kisses recently moved to a larger location at 425 Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs, which helped because employees can now bake in the store, owner Melanie Dallas wrote.

In addition to the Broadway location, there is also a Sloppy Kisses in Clifton Park Center. The creator of BarkBox, Carly Strife, is a Saratoga Springs native. The company donates 10 percent of its proceeds to animal shelters and rescue organizations.