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

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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Official Logo Black and White, NLHFrontier

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See local newspaper coverage By MORGAN FRISCH in The Leader Herald    

Remains of Vail Mills Drive-In to become office building

CMK & Associates has begun construction of a 2,800-square-foot office building at the site of the Vail Mills Drive-In. The Northville-based real estate company said its rapid growth since forming in 2008 prompted the expansion.vail mills

“We are thrilled to be expanding our fast-growing company once again,” said CMK broker/owner Christian Klueg. “Building an office at this site is not only momentous for us as a business, but we are also excited to be growing on the footprint of such a historic landmark.”

Klueg said CMK’s sales volume is up 35 percent over last year to date, with agents handling $24 million in sales volume under contract. The company expects to close $60 million in sales this year.

CMK Associates has offices in Northville, Burnt Hills, Amsterdam, Speculator and Johnstown, with more than 50 agents and staff. CMK agents and staff currently working in the CMK office across the street from Vail Mills will move into the new building when it is complete.

 A team from CMK Marketing, the real estate company’s sister agency, will move to the new building from an office in Northville. CMK Marketing also has an office in Clifton Park. The certified public accounting firm of LCS & Z, LLP will also be housed on the new site, in an adjacent office space.

“The opening of this new office is of great benefit to the entire CMK team,” said CMK principal broker Bryn Brown. “We plan to use the new facility for training and ongoing education, which will help keep us on top of our game and allow us to bring even greater value to our clients.”

 The drive-in opened in 1948 and has been closed since 1987. Land has been sold from the original parking field to neighboring businesses and developers. The marquee from the drive-in days remains on the property and has been used to advertise the sale of modular homes.

 CMK plans to restore the sign.

Get it while it’s hot: $25,000 Microenterprise grant program ends June 15

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Microenterprise Grant Program Application Form

The CDBG Microenterprise Grant Program is a grant program to assist small businesses.  This grant was awarded to Fulton County and is being administered by the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.  Small businesses can receive grants of up to $25,000 to assist with startup or expansion costs which create jobs. Below are general guidelines for a potential business utilizing CDBG Microenterprise Grant funding.

CDBG Microenterprise Grant Program Summary and Business Assistance Guidelines

1. Eligibility

a. Eligible Businesses- Grants will be available only to microenterprises.  A microenterprise is defined as a commercial enterprise that has (5) five or fewer FTE employees, one (1) or more of which owns the enterprise at the time of application. Projects must result in the creation afar least one PTE job. In the case where no jobs are to be created, the employer and/owner or current employee base must be low or moderate-income person as established by CDBG at the time closing.

b. Eligible Activities – Eligible activities include providing assistance to businesses that are involved in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, agriculture, high technology, research and development and traditional and innovative small business endeavors. Retail projects will be considered if the business is located in a town, village or city’s main street.

c. Business Structure -  The Microenterprise may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company or corporation.

d. Location – The business must be located within Fulton County.

e. Feasibility -  Microenterprise businesses must present a reasonable likelihood for long term viability based upon issues such as feasibility, marketability, management, competition, and capitalization.

f. Use of Funds - Grants can be used for capital assets (such as real estate, buildings, machinery and equipment) and working capital.

g. Applicant Qualifications – Applicants for financing under this program shall be a United States corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship, be able to repay if found in default of program objectives, and possess good character and reputation and be of legal age.

h. Passive Investing Prohibited – Grant funds will not be utilized for activities that consist primarily of investing, speculation in real estate, or to primarily assist in the sale or purchase of an existing business.

i. Limits on Construction Funding -  Construction, rehabilitation and renovation activities are not eligible using CDBG Microenterprise funding, as such activities would trigger Federal Labor Standards.  The program will look to non-Federal funds to cover the cost of construction or renovation in those instances where such activities need to take place.

2. Funding

a. Grant Calculation – The minimum grant for each business will be $5,000 and the maximum will be $25,000. The grant will be calculated as follows.  Each business will receive a $5,000 grant plus $10,000 for each full time equivalent job created. In addition, for any business at least 51% of the jobs created shall be low mod jobs.

b. Use of Grant Funds – Grant Funds will be provided Financing of capital assets (such as real estate, buildings, machinery and equipment) and working capital.

c. Owner Contribution – Grant recipient will provide a minimum of 10% equity in the project.

d. Timing of Grant Funds – Grant funds will be release on a pre-agreed upon schedule, where CDBG funds will be disbursed on a pro rata basis with the other financing

e. Compliance During the Regulatory Term – A formal agreement between the business and the County will be executed.  Where collateral is available, this agreement will be secured by a means of a mortgage on real estate or a lien in other hard assets.  This agreement will constitute the means by which the County enforces compliance with program requirements.  The program will include regular periodic monitoring of each business to ensure that it is making good faith efforts to achieve employment goals and other program objectives.

3. Entrepreneurial Training Requirement

Participation in the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth (CRG) business training program will be required of all program participants and completion CRG’s entrepreneurial training Small Business Training Program.  The cost of $100 per attendee will be an eligible expense of micro enterprise grant funds.  A training program syllabus includes a general overview of business; accounting, taxes, and finance; marketing and e-commerce; and development of a business plan.

4.  Grant Recapture

In the event the grant recipient goes out of business or goes into defaults on the grant agreement from the date of the award up until the time of grant close-out, the grant will be subject to recapture. The amount to be returned will be based upon years of successful, legitimate operation according to the following schedule:

Default within One Year – 100% Recapture

Default within Two Years – 80% Recapture

Default within Three Years – 60% Recapture

Default within Four Years – 40% Recapture

Default within Five Years – 20% Recapture

Default After Five Years – No Recapture