The Hub: Office space with room to grow a business


At the Hub at 63 Putnam St., businesses of all types can find office space to suit them, whether their employees are professionals in business suits or entrepreneurs in jeans. And more than just space, tenants can find a network of like-minded businesspeople ready to exchange ideas and support.

Real estate developer Bruce Levinsky of Merlin Development owns both the Hub and its building at 63 Putnam. The Hub opened in October 2013 and now has 11 business tenants with room for more.

“The Hub gives us a great professional appearance,” said insurance agent Julie Hill, a tenant.

Other tenants include Sarah Burger, attorney at law at Cooper Erving and Savage. Burger is the Saratoga Springs city attorney; the Hub office is her private practice. James Lee of Lee Investment Management has space in the Hub, as does Scott Starr, vice president, business development of Dynamic Energy.

“We provide small-business owners, entrepreneurs and teleworkers with appropriate offices,” said Hub employee Elizabeth Burke.

On her business card, Burke’s official title is coordination manager, but she fills many roles, including receptionist, administrative assistant, bookkeeper, travel agent, and marketer for the Hub and all its clients. Tenants call her the business concierge and say she’s the equivalent of a staff of eight.

“We are trying to bring back the service aspect of business,” she said.

The Hub office space that Burke oversees contains two conference rooms and 24 executive offices. Being a tenant permits businesspeople to have a quiet, professional workplace, as well as amenities such as network Internet, Wi-Fi, conference rooms with flat-panel monitors, black and white or color prints, copies, scanning and faxing. Overhead costs less. Startups can have an address. Walk-in clients can have a space for a day or a month.

“People can come work here during the evening,” Burke said. “Nonprofits can use our office space for meetings; salespeople can come in from all over. The Hub lets smaller startups work in Saratoga Springs, our vibrant, exciting city.”

The atmosphere of the Hub promotes conversation and collaboration among its tenants, she said.

“It’s a space for shared ideas, a collaborative environment and a networking incubator,” said Dr. Kenneth Rotondo, founding partner of Novum, who rents an executive office at the Hub. “This is an entrepreneurial world.”

The Hub plans to expand into Glens Falls in the near future.



WorkOrder.es: Ticketing platform serves landlords and tenants

Saratoga Springs entrepreneur Chris Thompson recently launched his new startup, WorkOrder.es, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) ticketing platform that organizes and simplifies communication regarding repair projects for landlords and tenants.
WorkOrder.es is targeted toward small to medium-sized investment-property owners: up to 100 buildings with up to 500 apartments.

Thompson’s SaaS platform lets tenants submit work-order requests, along with photographs, from their smart phones when there’s an issue. Landlords receive the work order and can triage their requests. Then the landlords can assign jobs to an employee or a contractor. Both landlords and their tenants can track the progress of the repair until its completion.

 “Landlords do want to be responsive,” Thompson said. “This way, tenants have an easy direct line to their landlords, who can update and track the work orders. Plus, there’s a discussion thread for reference.”

The application runs in the cloud: on remote computer servers that users access through the Internet. Software, platforms and infrastructure can be SaaS, utilized in this way.

“Through Amazon Web Services, thousands of customers can be on a handful of servers,” Thompson said.

He hit upon the concept of WorkOrder.es when he bought two investment properties and needed to handle repair requests.

“My tenants would text or e-mail me, and we’d write back and forth. There was often missing information or confused communication,” Thompson said.

So he developed the WorkOrder.es mobile application on the Net as a mobile site with response design. Its layout changes depending on the device used -- computer, tablet or smart phone -- to fit the screen and make for easier use.

“WorkOrder.es is incredibly easy to use,” Thompson said.  “All you need is a free Google account. You log in to the website and type in your request.”

Thompson describes himself as owner, founder and presently sole funder of the WorkOrder.es venture. He’s accustomed to these roles, having been a project manager for 13 years, creator of an online polling company in 2002 and a consultant for other SaaS firms.

It all began in his master’s program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

“While I was at RPI’s incubator program, the entrepreneur bug really bit me,” he said.

He had the idea for WorkOrder.es in June 2013 and formed the company in November 2013. He is the system architect and the creator of the user interface.

“I hire graphic designers, and front- and back-end developers to do the coding,” he said.

March 5, Thompson presented at RPI's Startup Tech Valley event in front of a Troy crowd of 200 people. In April, he’ll meet with real-estate software companies in New York City, and he’s exploring a presentation for an Albany real-estate investor network.

Thompson is also seeking venture-capital investments, which would accelerate his business plans.

“I'm helping to grow the local tech scene,” he said.  


Fingerpaint expands its footprint into the Big Apple


Fingerpaint, a strategic and creative advertising agency with its global headquarters in Saratoga Springs, announced the opening of its new Manhattan office at 825 Third Ave.  in midtown.

“Our expansion into Manhattan represents a logical next step in our growth plans,” said founder Ed Mitzen. “As we continue to grow internationally, adding a location in New York City is a natural progression. We look forward to continuing to serve the best interests of current and potential clients.”

The new location is Fingerpaint’s fourth, joining Saratoga Springs; Albany; and Wayne, Pa.

The expansion rounded out an exciting year of growth for the firm. In 2013, Fingerpaint expanded its headquarters to a 30,000-square-foot facility; increased its in-house video and audio production services with the acquisition of a veteran AV production company; added more than 40 jobs; and ranked No. 815 on “Inc.” magazine’s list of fastest-growing private companies.

Employee-owned and –inspired, Fingerpaint specializes in strategic planning, brand development, print and broadcast, direct marketing, social media, digital marketing, web development, SEO/SEM, mobile, analytics, and video and audio production. The experienced and energetic firm is committed to original thinking and uncommon collaboration. Visit fingerpaintmarketing.com.



All trails lead to Cantina: Support Saratoga PLAN while dining out

Saratoga PLAN       Cantina Restaurant

Enjoy great Mexican food while supporting the conservation of the rural character, natural habitats and scenic beauty of Saratoga County!

March 5, Cantina restaurant at 430 Broadway will help support Saratoga Preserving Land and Nature (PLAN). For lunch, dinner or drinks, 33 percent of the bill will be donated to PLAN. You must give your server a flyer, here: www.saratogaplan.org/documents/Cantina_Flyer-PLAN_000.pdf.

The restaurant is open all day, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. with the bar open late.

Saratoga PLAN is a conservation organization that works to preserve irreplaceable natural assets, keeping them accessible to all and surviving for future generations. Saratoga PLAN is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization and registered charity. The organization has conserved more than 3,600 acres since 2003, facilitated trail and many other land conservation initiatives for local municipalities, has 12 preserves open for public enjoyment, and has many more projects in the works throughout Saratoga County.