WRGB sees growth potential for Fulton County

They’re both headquartered in our area.

The center of Fulton County is about 45 miles from Albany, and with two successful businesses operating there, right now county leaders are hoping to attract even more companies.

Vireo Health CEO Ari Hoffnung was born and raised in New York City, but he decided to manufacture medical marijuana in the quiet countryside of Johnstown.

“Got a great deal on 20 acres and now we have enough space our business can grow into,” Hoffnung said.

Security is extremely important for a medical marijuana operation, which is why Hoffnung says this was a prime location, an old youth corrections facility.

The old inmate living quarters now house the plants used to make kosher forms of the state-regulated drug.

Hoffnung says he saw an opportunity to bring the old Tryon Juvenile Prison buildings back to life, and put Fulton County residents back to work.

“Hundreds of jobs were lost and being able to bring jobs back was extraordinarily important,” Hoffnung said.

But now Hoffnung is looking for neighbors on the prison property, which has been transformed into the Tryon Technology Park, several hundred acres of shovel-ready space.

“We would welcome biotech companies we would welcome medical device companies it’s a great place to do business,” Hoffnung said.

County Planning Director Jim Mraz says the county’s been working to prepare the land in two nearby areas, Hales Mills and Vail Mills, for anticipated residential growth.

“We’re looking at upwards of 900 housing units county-wide in demand,” Mraz said.

They’re hoping the success of Fage yogurt, headquartered just eight miles from the medical marijuana site, will also help businesses look their way.

“We’re so proud they’re here, and we’d like to see more companies like that,” Mraz said.

County leaders say one of their biggest challenges is changing perception. Because the county is mostly rural, leaders say folks tend to think it’s hours away from the Capital Region, but the drive to Johnstown about 40 minutes from Schenectady.

by Anne McCloy, WRGB 6News Albany

Wednesday, June 21st 2017

Gloversville microbrewery takes shape 

Microbrewery to open in Gloversville: From left, Matt Sherman, Nick Sherman and Casey Oare, the brains and muscle behind Stump City Brewing. PHOTOGRAPHER: DANIEL FITZSIMMONS

Microbrewery to open in Gloversville: From left, Matt Sherman, Nick Sherman and Casey Oare, the brains and muscle behind Stump City Brewing. PHOTOGRAPHER: DANIEL FITZSIMMONS

Originally published in The Daily Gazette

By Daniel Fitzsimmons, December 18, 2016

For brothers Matt and Nick Sherman, along with their childhood friend, Casey Oare, nearly every weekend for the past three years has been spent building a shared dream conceived nearly six years ago in the Shermans’ garage: to open a brewery together that Gloversville could call its own.

Standing in the now-functioning brewery and taproom recently, which lacked only the finishing touches, the trio — and Stump City Brewing — have come a long way from the garage where they experimented with different homebrew recipes and fantasized about doing something bigger.

“Our motto is ‘from the ground up,’” said Matt Sherman, 34, a reference to the do it yourself-ethos that informs nearly everything they do, from building the structure that houses the brewery and taproom themselves to slogging through the mountains of state and federal paperwork required to operate a brewery.

The other defining feature of Stump City Brewing is their devotion to Gloversville and the surrounding area, and their drive to source everything — from the ingredients in their beer to construction materials — locally.

The bar in the taproom is made from the trees that were cleared to make way for their building. The ceiling is lined with corrugated sheet metal, giving it a rustic look, that a friend had stockpiled and given them. The plank floor is made of reclaimed wood from a nearby house that was gutted.

The project took three years’ worth of weekends because all three men have day jobs. Matt Sherman is a school counselor, Nick Sherman sells bus parts, and Oare is a paramedic and firefighter. Weekends were all spent bringing the dream to life.

Stump City is also taking advantage of New York’s farm brewing law, which provides incentives like decreased permitting requirements to New York-based brewers in exchange for the brewers sourcing a portion of their ingredients inside the state. The purpose of the law is to spur hop and grain production in the state and increase demand for local products.

Under the farm brewery law, at least 20 percent of the brewery’s hops must come from inside the state, and 20 percent of all other ingredients must be native to New York. Those ratios increase to 90 percent each in 2024.

But the Shermans and Oare are already there, sourcing 90 percent of their grain bill from a farm outside Rochester, and all of their hops — for now — from Goddard Tree Farm in Johnstown. Nick Sherman, 30, said there’s a need for increased hop and grain production in the state, which is ideal for growing such crops.

“It’s just a matter of convincing these farmers that there’s money to be made in growing those crops,” said Nick Sherman. “The startup costs are high.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, their name is local too. Before the area was called Gloversville it was known as “Stump City,” after all the trees that had been cut down to supply bark for the leather tanning process.

The brewery is located on West Fulton Street extension, behind the Sherman family home on land donated by the Shermans’ dad, Jerry Sherman, who is also a partner in the brewery and provided funds to help get the project off the ground.

“We grew up playing in these woods,” said Nick Sherman, looking out the back door of the brewery.

About $13,000 in additional funds was raised through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which Matt Sherman said was crucial to the finishing of the brewery.
“Without the Indiegogo this wouldn’t have happened,” he said, noting that contributors, depending on how much they donated, will receive perks like Stump City clothing and gear or even the chance to brew an original beer.

And while other crowdfunding campaigns might draw donations from around the world, virtually all of the donations made to Stump City were from friends, relatives and others within the group’s orbit.

“I don’t think there’s one donor we don’t know,” said Matt Sherman. “The support in the community has been huge.”

“We all grew up here,” said Casey Oare, 31. “And for the people who stayed there’s a certain amount of pride being from the area, and we want to be a part of that.”

The group’s goal is to sell beer in their taproom and at local beverage centers where people can fill up their growlers — large, reusable glass containers used to store beer for personal use — with Stump City beer. Eventually they’d like for the brewery to support one of them as a full-time employee, and from there start increasing capacity, which currently stands at around 31 gallons per batch.

They currently have three brews that will be in regular rotation at the taproom; their Cayadutta Cream Ale, which they said is a good entry point to craft beer, a pale ale and a red ale.

Oare said there’s lots of buzz around when the taproom will open, and that he gets questioned by local residents on when they’ll be able to come in for a beer.
“Everybody wants to know when we’re opening,” Oare said.

The group said they want to do a soft opening for family, friends and supporters in the coming weeks, and open the taproom to the general public in the spring.
But they’re in no rush. The Shermans and Oare take a lot of pride in the beer they make, their local roots, and building something that those in Gloversville and the surrounding area can take a measure of ownership in.

“We want to make people proud,” said Matt Sherman. “We want people to be able to say, ‘that’s my beer.’”

Fulton County working to rebuild local economy: Times Union

Officials market low costs, infrastructure to attract companies, people

 By Robert Downen, Originally published in the Albany Times Union

In their quest to reverse economic downturn, Fulton County officials are focusing on three words: Live, work and play.

By 2026, they hope their county will attract residents who want to do all three.

Once the epicenter of the upstate leather industry centered in Gloversville, Fulton County has steadily watched economic opportunities dwindle as niche manufacturing jobs go overseas.

Since 1970, the number of people directly and indirectly employed in the leather trades has dropped from 10,000 to 400, the U.S. Department of Labor said.

“These businesses employed towns,” Johnny Evers, director of government affairs at the Business Council of New York State, said at a seminar on Fulton County economic development Tuesday,

Now — and hopefully, with buy-in from local business leaders and elected officials — county officials are hoping they can transform the area into a hotbed of growth by attracting businesses and young people alike.

Boosters believe they have the resources both in infrastructure and human capital. The question is how to get people to use them.

The pitch is simple: Cheap cost of living, coupled with the factory buildings left over from the heyday of manufacturing, should make Fulton County immediately attractive to those seeking metropolitan amenities at a discounted rate.

“Upstate New York is a beautiful place to explore and enjoy, but in many areas the cost of living can be too high,” Jim Mraz, Fulton County planning director, said in August. “In Fulton County, that’s not the case, and that’s something we’re proud of.”

Add in a low crime rate, a new focus on regional partnerships and the county’s location in the middle of myriad nature destinations, and officials are confident they “can establish Fulton County as one of the Capital Region’s premier economic and residential destinations,” said Charles Potter, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors.

Since undertaking the development initiative called Jump Start Fulton County in 2014, officials have focused heavily on luring new businesses and young workers to shovel-ready sites.

Fulton and Montgomery counties at that time brought in Mike Mullis, a corporate site selector, to assess the region’s ability to attract large corporations. Mullis identified seven clusters on which the counties should focus, with biomedical research and development, food and beverage services and health care products among them.

By reorienting towards such high-tech sectors, officials hope they can use their location in the middle of what they’re calling the “Tech Triangle” of New York as a selling point. (Both Utica and the Capital Region tout significant biotechnology sectors, and Albany was rated last week as the most friendly place to do business in New York by Forbes).

A cornerstone of that strategy is the Tryon Technology Park in Perth. The 515-acre park, once occupied by the now-shuttered Tryon Detention Center, has been the focus of the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency. Last year it moved in its first tenant, medical marijuana company Vireo Health.

“In the greater Capital Region, there’s a tremendous amount of human capital,” Vireo CEO Ari Hoffnung said in September. “There’s a lot of talent.

“We want to bring back more (than the 325 jobs) that were lost (at Tryon).”

County officials are also banking on growing agricultural industries statewide.

Since 2000, gross domestic product from upstate New York’s dairy sector has increased by more than 38 percent, to more than $600 million, according to the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.

In this region alone, international yogurt makers Fage and Chobani have created more than 1,650 jobs, making New York the No. 1 yogurt manufacturing state in the country.

rdownen@timesunion.com • 518-454-5018 • @Robert_Downen

Export symposium planned in Fulton County NY

The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth has begun preliminary work on organizing a fall symposium in Fulton County to help local businesses take advantage of opportunities for selling their products in foreign markets.

Townsend Leather Design showroom in Fulton County NY

Custom leather manufacturer Townsend Leather gained the Mohawk Valley’s sole Foreign Trade Zone designation this year at its Fulton County, NY, production facility. The FCCRG is planning an export symposium in the fall to help local businesses take advantage of foreign trade opportunities.

The export symposium will focus not only on encouraging small and large local companies to expand their sales markets, but also on demonstrating international trade opportunities to companies that may be interested in settling in Fulton County.

With initial sponsorship and participation by Empire State Development’s Global NY initiative and at least one Capital Region bank, CRG President Ron Peters is planning a one day symposium in the first half of October. Global NY is an initiative launched by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to offer “one-stop shopping to both foreign businesses looking to invest in New York and to local businesses who want to export globally.”

The event will focus on understanding and accessing available financing and loan packages, cutting through red tape and making connections. Peters said he also plans to approach Montgomery County economic development officials about participating in the event, with the goal of having representatives from at least 30 businesses involved.

Fulton County is ideally situated for the production and transportation of goods bound for international markets. Three interstate highways provide quick and direct access to New York City, Montreal, Boston and Philadelphia, as well as the deep-water Port of Albany and Albany International Airport. In fact, there are 21 international airports within a four-hour drive of Fulton County.

Fulton County is also part of Foreign-Trade Zone #121, which allows individual businesses to apply to have their facilities designated as international commerce zones. In these federally approved areas (industrial parks or individual manufacturing or distribution facilities) materials can be imported without the payment of U.S. Customs duties as long as the goods stay in the FTZ.  Once the goods leave the FTZ for U.S. consumption, reduced tariffs are available. FTZ sites remain within the jurisdiction of local and state governments, but are subject to spot checks and periodic inspections by Customs.

In March 2016, Townsend Leather became the first Fulton County company to receive Foreign Trade Zone status from the U.S. Department of Commerce since a former eyeglass manufacturer achieved FTZ status in 1996. Townsend’s FTZ designation – the only one currently active in the Mohawk Valley – allows the custom leather manufacturer to avoid paying tariffs before shipping in raw leather and chemicals from outside the U.S. to its Townsend Avenue plant, as well as take advantage of reduced levies on custom leathers it sells in the United States using materials sourced overseas.

Townsend employs more than 140 people in Fulton County to create high-quality and custom leathers for aviation, hospitality, residential, yachting and other specialty-end uses.

Corporate site selector Michael Mullis of JM Mullis, Inc. has called the Fulton Montgomery Region a prime area for businesses looking for a New York location because of the transportation infrastructure and availability of shovel-ready sites and natural resources.

Specific dates, locations and seminars for the symposium will be available as they are finalized at FCCRG.org.

 

 

Signs of progress at Tryon Park

New sign at Tryon Technology park main entrance. Tryon Technology Park turned a fresh face to the community with a solar-powered sign for the main entrance based on the county’s new marketing theme, Fulton County…Positive.

Demolition work also began this week at the 515-acre park. The Fulton County Demolition Team is removing six cottages and administrative buildings left over from when the land hosted a youth detention facility. Funding for the work is coming through Fulton County, and the demolition debris is being hauled to the county landfill.Night view of solar-powered entrance sign for Tryon Technology Park.

Demolition at Tryon Technology Park

The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich
The Fulton County Demolition Team on Tuesday works on taking down the first of six former youth detention buildings at the Tryon Technology Park in Perth to make way for new shovel-ready business sites.

When the work is complete, the Empire State Development Corp. will provide the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency with a certificate declaring the area to be shovel ready, and the sites will go into a state database that promotes available properties to site selectors.

New York State transferred the former Tryon Detention Facility property to the IDA for redevelopment as a business park. The county has secured its first tenant, medical marijuana manufacturer Vireo Health of New York.

Southern Adirondack Wine & Food Festival


Southern Adirondack Wine & Food Festival Logo

 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

2 N. Main Street

Gloversville, NY

Isntitsweet

Tastings of wine, cider and whisky

Hudson-Chatham WineryHummingbird Hill WineryLedge Rock Hill WineryPazdar Winery, Nine Pin CiderYankee Distillers

◊ Delicious local food

The Brass Monkey, On A Roll, Mohawk Harvest Co-opNYC PizzaSugar PearlPalatine CheeseIce Delites, Isn’t It SweetThe Nut LadyFork Art

Live music

Chelsea Reeves
GCM Wind Quintet
Baker Brass Trio
Cosby Gibson & Tom Staudle
Doghouse Trio
Penny Jar

Wine seminars

The basics of wine making and wine tasting

Art  and Craft Shows

Primitive Pimp Design
My Inner 1800s 
The Leaning Tree

◊ Architectural tours

In historic downtown Gloversville

◊ Plus….

French-themed Paint N Sip ($5 additional fee for supplies)

The Southern Adirondack Wine & Food Festival is sponsored by:

GOLD SPONSOR:
Fulton County Center for Regional Growth

SILVER SPONSORS:
Adirondack Wood Floor Co.
Mohawk Harvest Co-op
The Still Point Acupuncture

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Downtown Gloversville video shows plans for development

This in-depth video shows the 2016 development plan for downtown Gloversville, NY.

Fage gets NY thank you for doubling production in Johnstown

In a nod to the enormous investment the yogurt producer has made in Fulton County, Empire State Development Corp. has awarded $780,000 to Fage USA Dairy Industry to cover the costs of new machinery and equipment.Fage Yogurt silos in Johnstown, NY

In September, the 87-year-old Greek company completed a two-year, $82 million expansion of its yogurt factory in Johnstown, part of a plan to retain 160 existing jobs and create 130 new ones. The company is advertising for lab technicians, maintenance technicians, warehouse and field operators, and according to ESD, has already created 113 new positions.

FAGE is one of 28 yogurt manufacturers in New York, double the number in 2000. FAGE continues to ride on the growing popularity of Greek yogurt as it faces growing competition from other major players including Chobani and Alpina USA.

To keep pace, FAGE has invested $200 million in the City of Johnstown since the company began production there six years ago.

“It’s good news. Fage is a good corporate citizen of Fulton County and a good employer,” said Ron Peters, the president of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.

100 years of great businesses in Fulton County

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan  The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth's free networking event entitled "Business Jubilee" celebrated Fulton County businesses that have been in business for 50 years or more.

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth’s free networking event entitled “Business Jubilee” celebrated Fulton County businesses that have been in business for 50 years or more.

Fulton County Center for Regional growth celebrated the “deep roots, strong hearts and unbridled optimism” of the county’s most venerable businesses at a Business Jubilee in November.

With generous support from community sponsors, the FCCRG highlighted and honored 29 businesses and organizations that have operated in Fulton County for 50 years or more.

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan  Jack Scott of WENT radio speaks during the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth's "Business Jubilee."

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Jack Scott of WENT radio speaks during the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth’s “Business Jubilee.”

Jack Scott of WENT Radio, noted: “The businesses represented here tonight have survived and thrived. And only the strong survive.”

Scott described the common threads all the businesses share: strength of character, the ability to adapt, dedication, optimism, resilience, a commitment to serve their markets with outstanding products and customer service.

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan  FCCRG President Ron Peters

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
FCCRG President Ron Peters

About 150 people attended the networking event, which was a part of an ongoing effort by the CRG to show the advantages Fulton County has fostered for more than a century to entrepreneurs looking for places to settle and expand. At the same time, the event supported and encouraged the growth and strength of existing businesses.

“It’s about working together – 2016 is the year of cooperation and collaboration,” CRG President Ron Peters said.

The CRG had a poster made describing the history of each honoree business. To order a commemorative booklet of all of the posters from the event, please contact Becky either by phone or email (518-725-7700 or beckyh@fccrg.org).

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan  Jeannie Moller, left, and her daughter Amie Waddle, both of Caroga, look at a display which features Bowman's Market in Gloversville during the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth's free networking event entitled "Business Jubilee."

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Jeannie Moller, left, and her daughter Amie Waddle, both of Caroga, look at a display which features Bowman’s Market in Gloversville during the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth’s “Business Jubilee.”

77 years: Bowman’s Market, 50 East Pine Street, Gloversville
54 years: Brown’s Ford, 121 North Comrie Avenue, Johnstown
64 years: Capano’s Barber Shop, 27 West Fulton Street, Gloversville
100 years: Century Linen & Uniform, 335 North Main Street, Gloversville
161 years: Cherry Valley Memorials, 141 South Main Street, Gloversville
59 years: Coldwell Banker Realty, 363 North Comrie Avenue, Johnstown
51 years: Derby Office Equipment, 25 North Arlington Ave., Gloversville
136 years: Frontier Communications, 137 Harrison Street Gloversville
51 years: Fulton County Board of Realtors, 32 Spring Street, Gloversville
123 years: Fulton County YMCA, 213 Harrison Street, Gloversville
96 years: Fulton Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, 2 North Main Street, Gloversville
76 years: Glove Cities Veterinary Hospital, 35 Harrison Street, Gloversville
101 years: Glove Theatre, 42 North Main Street, Gloversville
135 years: Gloversville Public Library, 58 East Fulton Street, Gloversville
125 years: Gloversville Sewing Center, 50 East Pine Street, Gloversville
62 years: Lexington ARC, 127 East State Street, Gloversville
81 years: Lohse Florist, 93 East State Street, Gloversville
97 years: Main Motorcar, 224 West Main Street, Johnstown
90 years: Mr. G’s Hair Gallery, 55 West Fulton Street, Gloversville
79 years: New York Lunch, 21 Bleecker Street, Gloversville
57 years: Robert M. Halgas Funeral Home, 111 County Highway 140, Johnstown
93 years: Rossbach Shoe, 10 West Fulton Street, Gloversville
66 years: Ruby & Quiri, 307 North Comrie Avenue, Johnstown
202 years: Saltsman’s Hotel, 104 County Highway 140, Fort Plain
107 years: Taylor Made Group, 66 Kingsboro Avenue, Gloversville
128 years: The Leader Herald, 8 East Fulton Street, Gloversville
71 years: WENT Radio, 138 Harrison Street Ext., Gloversville
75 years: WEST & Company, 97 North Main Street, Gloversville
107 years: Willing Helpers Home for Women, 226 West Madison Avenue, Johnstown

“I’m surprised by the amount of people who came out. It’s positive and uplifting,” said Richard Smith, owner of Century Linen and Uniform Service. The business – until this year known as Robison & Smith – has been operating in Fulton County for 100 years.

“It’s really good to showcase hometown businesses, to look at what they’re doing right,” Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Greg Young said.

The CRG is grateful for the generous support of the following businesses who made this event possible to be free and open to the public.

  • Century Sponsor: The Leader Herald
  • Golden Age Sponsor: Patriot Federal Bank
  • Jubilee Sponsors: Lexington, Fulton County Chapter, NYSARC Inc.;
  • West & Company; Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home; Frontier Communications
  • Sweets Sponsor: Fulton County Board of Realtors
  • Carving Station Sponsors: Ruby & Quiri; Wells Fargo Advisors

Fulton BoardofRealtors logoR&Q logows_logo WEST-Logo
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See local newspaper coverage By MORGAN FRISCH in The Leader Herald    

Mohawk Valley Land Bank is Encouraged

Herkimer County has officially encouraged a plan to create a six-county, not-for-profit corporation that would be allowed to acquire and improve derelict properties.

The proposed land bank would have the power to acquire vacant sites, rundown and abandoned properties and tax delinquent parcels. It would also have the power to borrow money to secure the sites and find buyers interested in making the properties productive.KMVB LOGO

Under a state law enacted in 2011, any tax district with foreclosure powers is eligible to form a not-for-profit land bank with approval from the state’s urban development corporation. The idea behind a Mohawk Valley Land Bank is that a regional public authority would have more focus and greater resources to make sure the properties aren’t disposed of at far less than they are worth. The authority could also work with buyers to make sure the properties are secured and redeveloped, rather than persisting in dereliction and tax delinquency.

The Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful (KMVB) committee of the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District has so far held three informational meetings in Johnstown, Herkimer and Oneonta exploring the creation of a land bank to include Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and Schoharie counties.  A proposed land bank is one of four parts of KMVB’s anti-blight campaign, which also encompasses the use of the Keep America Beautiful Community Appearance Index, the Great American Cleanup and Adopt a Spot.

The Herkimer County Legislature passed a resolution Feb. 18 to encourage continued investigation of forming a regional land bank. According to the MVEDD, state legislation allows for 20 land banks in New York, and 11 land banks have already been approved. There are 120 land banks in the nation.

On Tuesday, March 3, the group will hold an informational meeting at SUNY Oneonta’s Red Dragon Theater, 108 Ravine Parkway, Oneonta. All meetings begin at 6:30 PM.

“Blight is a problem in communities everywhere, and Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful (KMVB) is doing something about it,” said Bob Albrecht, chair of the KMVB Board of Directors.

Steve Smith, executive director of MVEDD, said, “Municipalities are looking for help in dealing with blight, whether it is rubbish along the streets or abandoned houses. We think our six-county network together with KMVB volunteers can make a difference.”

 For more information

Mohawk Valley Economic Development District

Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful’s Facebook page

New York State Land Banks: Combating Blight and Vacancy in New York Communities – PDF

Vacant Properties: The True Costs to Communities – PDF

2011 New York State Land Bank Enabling Legislation – PDF

Land Bank Guidelines -PDF