CRG’s 2017 goal to intensifying branding, name-recognition efforts

Intensifying Fulton County name recognition a critical objective

Ronald Peters, president and CEO of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, details the agency's 2016 annual report for the Fulton County Board of Supervisors Monday at the County Office Building in Johnstown.(The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

Ronald Peters, president and CEO of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, details the CRG annual report for the Fulton County Board of Supervisors Monday at the County Office Building in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth’s annual report — made public Monday — says 2017 will be a year of “branding, branding, branding.”

Name recognition will be a big part of the economic development agency’s agenda this year, the 2016 annual report reveals.

CRG President and CEO Ronald Peters highlighted the report for the county Board of Supervisors Monday afternoon at the County Office Building.

“We work hard and consistently to market Fulton County,” Peters said.

The “outlook” part of the report mentions the CRG’s 2016-17 membership drive will continue throughout the year “as the CRG strives to make its presence in the county known,” the report said.

Peters said membership in the CRG doubled from 2015 to 2016.

The report said several events are being planned by the CRG, such as a spring unveiling of the CRG’s plans for its 34 W. Fulton St., Gloversville, building. The building will be renamed “The Center,” as it will house a “premier business resource center for all Fulton County entrepreneurs,” the report states.

Peters said the hope is to have an incubator center at the site operational within about 18 months.

The annual report includes a message from former CRG board Chairman Dustin Swanger, who in part, wrote: “Now, with a new location in downtown Gloversville, CRG will develop a business incubator that will provide new small businesses the opportunity to succeed and reach a level where they can locate in our communities. This most recent effort is truly one that we believe will provide the kind of small business assistance that our region has needed for some time.”

New Gloversville Downtown Development Specialist Jennifer Jennings will be busy in 2017 helping the CRG bring in business and planning events for the city in a pilot program.

“If successful, CRG will assist other communities to establish a similar format,” the report said.

The CRG also plans on co-hosting several events, including: a second financial symposium with the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, a local Site Selector’s Guild event with Fulton County, a Tryon Technology Park event, and an interactive business event in the fall.

Peters also highlighted 2016 activity the CRG was involved in, including what he called “very successful” outreach.

“We met with over 60 Fulton County businesses one-on-one,” he said.

Peters said the CRG participated in over 40 calls with the state last year, talking with potential businesses interested in New York state. He said the CRG participates with Empire State Development on national businesses.

Other successful programs mentioned in 2016 were the Microenterprise Program, and successful grants announced by the CRG from state legislators and National Grid.

He also mentioned a 1 1/2-day conference last April with the New York State Urban Council that was hosted by the CRG Gloversville.

“It was a good event for Gloversville and good event for Fulton County,” Peters said.

Peters said the CRG has a “pretty lean team” of himself, full-time Executive Assistant Becky Hatcher, and part-time Administrative Assistants Katherine Crankshaw and Diane Harnish.

He said the Fulton County CRG is “open for business,” and will continually work on business expansions and creating new jobs utilizing a $400,000 annual agency budget.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

IDA, county weigh solar array project at Tryon

20-year electricity contract under discussion

Fulton County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director James Mraz reviews a solar array project at the Tryon Technology Park at the IDA board of directors meeting Thursday at the Fort  Johnstown Annex in Johnstown.(The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

Fulton County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director James Mraz reviews a solar array project at the Tryon Technology Park at the IDA board of directors meeting Thursday at the Fort Johnstown Annex in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Industrial Development Agency on Thursday reviewed a proposed 2-megawatt solar array project at the Tryon Technology Park for which county government may be asked to enter into a 20-year deal.

IDA Executive Director James Mraz reminded his agency’s board of directors at the Fort Johnstown Annex that the IDA in 2016 hired Latham-based C.T. Male Associates to assess the potential of developing a solar array at Tryon. He said the engineering firm finished that report.

“The development of a solar array on a 30-acre parcel seems feasible,” Mraz said.

Mraz, also county planning director, said the solar array could be built on a tract of land behind the property of medical marijuana manufacturer Vireo Health. He said that as part of its evaluation, C.T. Male needs to verify if National Grid would allow an interconnection of a solar array into the grid at Tryon. He said C.T. Male has worked with Ameresco Inc. and brought the firm into the project.

According to its website, Ameresco is a “leading independent provider of comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for facilities throughout North America and the United Kingdom, delivering long-term value through innovative systems, strategies and technologies.”

Mraz said Ameresco has offered to prepare an application for National Grid.

“They put together a complicated application,” he said.

National Grid said the next step in the project is to prepare an $18,100 supplemental analysis to determine if upgrades would be needed to Tryon substation transformers, ground over voltage protection, or feeder anti-islanding protection.

Mraz said Ameresco is “very interested” in getting involved with the Tryon project. He said the firm is proposing to execute a “letter of intent” with the IDA, which owns the Tryon Technology Park property. He said Ameresco would also execute a 20-year land lease with the IDA, and build the 2-megawatt solar array.

As an electrical measurement, one megawatt equals one million watts.

Mraz said part of the proposal is to execute a 20-year power purchase agreement, or PPA, with Fulton County government in which Ameresco will sell all solar-generated electricity at Tryon to the county. Ameresco will develop, build, operate and maintain the array and obtain all permits.

Ameresco will finance the project, which may be partially funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Mraz told the IDA board he met last week with the county Board of Supervisors’ Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee to “introduce” to county supervisors the concept of a possible 20-year county PPA with Ameresco. He said the full board will look at the deal Monday at the County Office Building.

“What’s in it for the IDA?” asked Mraz. “It’s the land lease.”

Board Chairman Joseph Semione asked if the IDA can go with another company besides Ameresco.

Mraz said another approach would be for the IDA to pay the $18,100 supplementary analysis cost and not involve Ameresco.

“I kind of like the competitive nature of things,” said board Secretary Joseph Gillis.

The IDA board made no decisions Thursday on the solar array project.

“This is an evolving thing here,” Mraz said.

CRG talks could lead to more Fulton County jobs

One local manufacturer could add 50 new Fulton County jobs

Insight into CRG operations was part of the agency’s monthly activities report given last week to the Fulton County supervisors.

CRG President and CEO Ronald Peters said the CRG received an inquiry from a “potential start-up” knitting operation located in the New York City area.

He said Tuesday he hasn’t heard back from the company and he’s not sure where it will settle.

Peters also alluded to other recent CRG business marketing efforts. He said the agency is working with an unidentified “local manufacturer” that created 10 new jobs last month and wants to expand further. He said he brought in a state Economic Development Corp. representative to start exploring an opportunity for the state to offer a financing package to the county.

“I’m still working with the state on that package,” Peters said.

He said there is a possibility this could be a “regionally-significant project” with 50 or more jobs.

Peters reported he met with a former small local manufacturer about potentially starting up again.

He said the CRG also received an out-of-state inquiry that was passed on to an unnamed local manufacturer.

The CRG worked with an engineering firm and submitted a $300,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant application for the city of Gloversville.

Peters said he met with Northville Mayor John Spaeth, Northampton Supervisor James Groff and a potential Main Street Program applicant about a possible project in Northville.

The CRG’s 2013-15 Microenterprise Grant generated 19 jobs among small businesses in the county, Peters said. The state has granted the CRG an extension to the end of 2017 so approved applicants can complete job requirements.

Peters said the 2016 Microenterprise Grant program recently gave out its first grant to Gloversville-based Frozen Parts Inc. The company fabricates and assembles more than 500 of the most asked-for parts, its website says.

The CRG’s County Loan Pool still has several applications out in various stages, Peters said. He said he recently met with more potential applicants.

Peters said the CRG continues to work with Saratoga Springs-based marketing agency Shannon Rose, which updates the CRG website. The firm is also managing the CRG’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Working with the county’s lead-generating firm, Peters said the CRG made “several” calls to companies explaining the benefits of locating in Fulton County.

The CRG also participated in a similar Qualified Lead Generating Initiative with New York state. Peters said the CRG had three conference calls with a company looking at potentially moving to the state.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

Fulton and Montgomery counties get $1.4M in revitalization funding

NEWS RELEASE – January 27, 2017

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced nearly $40 million in revitalization funding for 75 municipalities through Round 4 of the Restore New York Communities Initiative. Restore NY supports municipal revitalization efforts across the state, helping to reinvigorate downtowns and generate economic opportunity in communities from Western New York to Long Island.

Three projects in Fulton and Montgomery counties garnered $1,425,000 in revitalization funding:

  • City of Gloversville – CRG Building renovation – $425,0000

    FCCRG headquarters gets revitalization funding

    Downtown Gloversville will get $425,000 in revitalization funding to renovate the building that serves as the headquarters of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.

  • City of Amsterdam – Wrestling Hall of Fame redevelopment – $500,000
  • Village of Canajoharie – $500,000 for the demolition of the eastern portion of the former Beech-Nut Plant.

Six other Mohawk Valley projects also received funding, for a total of $4,652,915:

  • City of Rome – Wood and Steel Cable Complex – $500,000
  • Village of Schoharie – Parrot House restoration – $500,000
  • Village of Sylvan Beach – Yesterday’s Royal rehabilitation – $500,000
  • City of Oneonta – Susquehanna Regional Food & Beverage Hub – $477,915
  • Village of Sharon Springs – Comfort House demolition – $250,000
  • City of Utica – Downtown Utica Restore Project – $1,000,000

“These projects will help bring new vitality and opportunities for growth to communities across New York by transforming blighted properties and making key infrastructure investments,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this funding, we are helping to build stronger regional economies and are laying the foundation for a more prosperous New York for all.”

Governor Cuomo enacted the Restore New York Communities Initiative in the FY16 State Budget and designated Empire State Development to implement the program.  Round 4 launched in June 2016. Cities, towns and villages were all eligible to apply for support for projects that include demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation, or reconstruction of vacant, abandoned, condemned and surplus properties.

“By preserving the cultural legacy and historical character of our downtowns, Governor Cuomo is breathing new life into old institutions and laying the foundation for future economic success and opportunity,” Lieutenant Governor Hochul said during a presentation today at the Hollywood Theater in Gowanda, one of the award recipients.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The Restore New York Communities Initiative revitalizes urban centers and is an important step towards attracting residents and businesses to rebuild underserved neighborhoods.”

Highlighted projects from each region are detailed below and a full list of state funding for downtowns is available here.

Capital Region

The Capital Region was awarded $3,028,205 to support five projects.

  • City of Schenectady – Restore Schenectady project – $1,000,000
  • City of Troy – American Theater rehabilitation – $778,205
  • City of Hudson – Dunn Building rehabilitation – $500,000
  • Village of Hudson Falls – Masonic Temple – $500,000
  • Town of Catskill – Quality Inn demolition – $250,000

Central New York

The Central New York region was awarded $3,350,000 to support four projects.

  • City of Syracuse – Urban Gateway project – $2,000,000 for the redevelopment of four historic buildings into mixed-use properties, building on work done with prior Restore NY Funding.
  • City of Cortland – Downtown Cortland Building Redevelopment Project – $500,000
  • Village of Phoenix – Phoenix Restoration Project – $500,000 for the rehabilitation of two vacant buildings in the Canal Waterfront District.
  • City of Fulton – Route 481 Gateway project – $350,000

Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes region was awarded $5,536,888 to support nine projects.

  • City of Rochester – Center City project – $2,000,000 for the rehabilitation of seven properties into mixed-use buildings as part of the city’s master plan.
  • Village of Avon – Avon Inn redevelopment – $500,000 for demolition, remediation and rehabilitation of the former Ellicott Station to create a mixed-use facility.
  • City of Batavia – Ellicott Station rehabilitation – $500,000
  • City of Geneva – Geneva Enterprise Development Center – $500,000
  • Village of Newark – St. Michaels Senior Living Apartments – $500,000
  • Village of Perry – Restore Downtown Perry Project – $500,000
  • Village of Waterloo – Virginia Street building renovations – $485,000
  • Village of Dansville – Depot rehabilitation – $285,488
  • Town of Marion – Main Street Marion – $266,400

Long Island

Long Island was awarded $1,458,470 to support three projects.

  • Village of Port Jefferson – Upper Port Urban Renewal – $500,000
  • Town of Riverhead – Riverhead Apartments – $500,000 for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of three buildings, part of a $30 million project involving the creation of affordable housing, retail space, and food production facility.
  • Town of Hempstead – Grand Avenue redevelopment – $458,470 for the redevelopment of deteriorated properties on Grand Avenue for mixed use.

Mid-Hudson

The Mid-Hudson region was awarded $5,419,490 to support 10 projects.

  • City of Yonkers – Wheeler Block project – $2,000,000
  • Town of Dover – Dover Greens – $500,000
  • Village of Highland Falls – Flagship Development – $500,000
  • City of Kingston – Midtown Kingston Restore – $500,000
  • City of Middleton – Middleton Community Campus – $500,000
  • Village of Wappingers Falls – Main Street Revitalization Project – $500,000
  • Town of Yorktown – Depot Square – $413,760
  • City of New Rochelle – Echo Bay – $265,730
  • City of Port Jervis – Restore NY 2016 – $120,000
  • Town of Wallkill – Sheffield Drive rehabilitation – $120,000 

North Country

  • The North County was awarded $4,174,000 to support ten projects.
    Town of AuSable – Keeseville Civic Center redevelopment – $500,000
  • Town of Clifton – J and L site redevelopment – $500,000
  • Town of Crown Point – War Canoe Spirits distillery – $500,000
  • Village of Lyons Falls – Lyons Falls Mill demolition – $500,000
  • Village of Massena – Slavins Building rehabilitation – $500,000
  • City of Ogdensburg – Ogdensburg BOA – $500,000 for the demolition of two buildings, part of a project focusing on the city’s Brownfield Opportunity Area Plan.
  • City of Watertown – Masonic Temple redevelopment – $500,000 for the redevelopment of the former Masonic Temple into a mixed-use building.
  • Town of Watertown – Carolyn Pontiac property renovation – $500,000
  • Village of Potsdam – Congdon Hall renovation – $120,000
  • City of Plattsburgh – Highway Oil building demolition – $54,000

Southern Tier

The Southern Tier was awarded $4,234,750 in support of eleven projects.

  • Village of Endicott – Rehabilitate former school buildings – $440,000 for the rehabilitation of two former schools, transforming them into multi-unit apartments, and the rehabilitation of a multi-use building.
  • Village of Owego – Gateway Project – $500,000 for the deconstruction and reconstruction of an anchor building in the village’s Historic Downtown Central Business District.
  • Town of Southport – Point Redevelopment – $500,000
  • Village of Whitney Point – Wilcox Building revitalization – $500,000
  • City of Corning – Blodgett Site redevelopment – $480,150
  • City of Binghamton – Big Lots Plaza demolition – $534,000
  • City of Elmira – Lake Street building rehabilitation – $500,000
  • City of Ithaca – Seneca Corn Street buildings rehabilitation – $500,000
  • City of Norwich – Silver Street rehabilitation – $120,000
  • Village of Newark Valley – Ladder factory demolition – $100,000
  • Village of Johnson City – Johnson City District Revitalization Initiative – $60,000

Western New York

Western New York was awarded $7,295,257 to support fourteen projects.

  • City of Buffalo – Northland Corridor Redevelopment – $1,912,028 for the redevelopment of the Northland Corridor, including the demolition of three abandoned structures and a housing project. A small business campus will also be rehabilitated to attract commercial investment.
  • Town of Amherst – St. Mary’s boiler house reconstruction – $500,000
  • City of Jamestown – Key Bank building redevelopment – $500,000 for the rehabilitation of a former Key Bank building, part of the city’s winning Downtown Revitalization Initiative bid.
  • City of Lackawanna – Lincoln School demolition – $500,000
  • City of Lockport – Tuscarora Club demolition – $500,000
  • City of North Tonawanda – Downtown Gateway project – $500,000
  • City of Olean – Olean BOA residential redevelopment – $500,000
  • Village of Wellsville – Burrous Building redevelopment – $500,000
  • City of Salamanca – Nies Block rehabilitation – $450,000
  • Village of South Dayton – PV Industrial Park rehabilitation – $450,000
  • Village of Gowanda – Hollywood Theater restoration – $324,000
  • Village of Angola – 1882 Nickel Plate Depot relocation – $299,500
  • Village of Lancaster – BOCES Foundation demolition – $200,000
  • Town of Ashford – Former hospital rehabilitation – $159,729
 For more information contact:

FCCRG President and CEO Ronald Peters (518) 725-7700

Gloversville Mayor Dayton King (518) 773-4551

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Press Office:

Albany: (518) 474 – 8418

New York City: (212) 681 – 4640

Why Gloversville is pushing for a revival

Why Gloversville is pushing for a revival (and how they think Trump can help)

Updated

On the last Friday of 2016, I drove to Gloversville, New York from Troy in a whiteout snow storm.

I was meeting a group of economic development leaders, business owners and voices in the community to talk about Gloversville’s revival and thoughts after the presidential election.

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 Despite the sorry conditions, every one of those leaders were waiting for me when I arrived. What other town would have that turnout in a white-knuckle snowstorm to talk with a reporter?

It speaks to the passion Gloversville has to revitalize its downtown and bring change.

Our cover story this week, “Trump stirs hope here,” looks at the changes happening in Gloversville and why residents looked to the 2016 election to bring that change.

Gloversville, like many communities across upstate New York, turned to political outsiders Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and President-elect Donald Trump in large numbers during the primaries and general election.

This is a trend seen across former manufacturing cities in upstate New York, Michigan, Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

These are communities where factories left and the post-recession economic recovery didn’t happen.

Residents saw a new voice in Trump, who promised to bring manufacturing back to the United States, renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and invest in infrastructure.

Signs of that change are already blooming. Check out the slideshow for more.

Chelsea Diana covers technology, money and restaurants

Gloversville Downtown Development Specialist hired

jennifer-jenningsFulton County Center for Regional Growth and the City of Gloversville, in conjunction with the downtown development team, are pleased to announce that Jennifer Jennings has been hired for the position of Gloversville Downtown Development Specialist.

Ms. Jennings is a graduate of Bryant College in Smithfield, RI. She spent several years in London, United Kingdom, where she earned a master’s degree in Urbanization and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Upon her return to the states, she began a career in farm advocacy and area food systems. She has worked as an outreach consultant for the Agricultural Stewardship Association before moving on to work as a Food Industry Relations Associate for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. Most recently, Ms. Jennings worked as Market Manager for Schenectady Greenmarket.

“I am very excited about this new challenge,” Ms. Jennings said. “I have a deep affection for the city of Gloversville and see so much possibility in our area. While studying abroad, I began to connect the information I was learning with my home in the Mohawk Valley, specifically with Fulton and Montgomery Counties. My experiences provide me with a unique perspective on how to approach the problems of redevelopment. I can’t wait to get started.”

“We look forward to having Jennifer join our office,” CRG President and CEO, Ronald Peters, stated. “Our downtown team developed a specific job description when considering what we needed this position to do for downtown Gloversville. We conducted a thorough candidate search and are confident that we chose a qualified, energetic and enthusiastic employee in Jennifer Jennings.”

Gloversville Mayor Dayton King is also excited about Ms. Jennings joining the CRG. He added, “This position will be great for the City of Gloversville as we continue to move revitalization forward. I have enjoyed working with Ron Peters as we (the City of Gloversville) have renewed our partnership with CRG. The addition of Jennifer as the Gloversville Downtown Development Specialist will only help our relationship to grow.”

The downtown development team supporting the Gloversville Downtown Development Specialist position is made up of a consortium of downtown business owners and downtown groups. This team has collectively funded the position for a three-year contract and will assist CRG in overseeing the progress and direction of the position. The team consists of: the City of Gloversville, Downtown Gloversville Business Improvement District, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, Gloversville Economic Development Corporation (AKA Promote Gloversville), the Hohenforst Family, and Ronald Zimmerman.

Ms. Jennings will start her new job with CRG on January 3, 2017. Downtown Gloversville businesses are encouraged to reach out to her as of this date via phone (518-725-7700, ext 107), email (jenniferj@fccrg.org), or at CRG’s office, located at 34 West Fulton Street.

CRG welcomes first Diamond Member

A New Mexico-based charity has become the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth’s first “diamond” member, with a $5,000 donation supporting the organization’s economic development efforts.

The chief financial officer of Santa Fe-based Realty Gift Fund, Chase Magnuson, also toured abandoned buildings in Fulton County last week to look for opportunities for future development. Magnuson and CRG President and CEO Ronald Peters have known each other since Peters worked in real estate in California in the 1990s.

Peters said there are properties in Fulton County that could be put back on the tax rolls and used to create jobs if creative ways to resolve the problems that have caused them to lie dormant can be found. Magnuson said his charity has funding available to fix “underperforming or environmentally impaired properties” so they can be sold.

RGF is a 501(c)3 that promotes the charitable giving of land and property by donors interested in tax deductions. There are three basic ways this happens:

  • RGF resells donated properties. The profits from those sales – after the cost of improvements and marketing needed to make the sale happen, are distributed as gifts or grants to charitable organizations.
  • RGF buys properties as “bargains,” enabling the seller to get a tax deduction for the difference between the appraised fair market value and the bargain price.
  • If a seller is stuck with a contaminated property, RGF tries to negotiate an arrangement with regulators and the owner that results in the cleanup and release from future liability claims so the property can be used productively again. Ideally, the negotiated arrangement results in a financial benefit for both the owner and RGF.

RGF is Fulton County CRG’s first diamond member. Patriot Bank is a platinum member with a $2,500 contribution and there are currently five gold members with $1,000 annual contributions. The economic development agency is in a membership drive for 2016-2017 and currently has 46 paid members, plus pledges from half dozen more businesses.

Membership donations start at $100 a year. Membership benefits range from complimentary passes to CRG’s annual networking event to advertising and blog space on the CRG website.

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.’”

When people of vision work together

Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market is a vivid demonstration of the good that can happen when people of vision work together. To secure the downtown market’s front and center Main Street location, a group of private citizens purchased a building in a foreclosure auction and formed a corporation to act as landlord. The co-op’s rent is tied to its revenues, giving the nascent business the strength to grow, succeed and provide downtown Gloversville with a stable anchor store.

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What is on your wishlist for the next phase of Gloversville’s evolution?

More people living downtown? What kinds of stores, businesses and services? Join the conversation by posting your constructive comments on FCCRG’s Facebook and Twitter with #GloversvillePositive. (You’re also welcome to share the good things the city already is.)


Read more about Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market in this Gloversville Leader-Herald article about founding (and outgoing – in more ways than one) co-op general manager Chris Curro:

The Start of Something Big
Chris Curro’s vision has made Gloversville a better place

“Chris had a keen understanding of how downtowns work and what’s necessary to keep downtowns working the right way.” Ron Peters, FCCRG President

By JASON SUBIK, Business Editor jsubik@leaderherald.com, Published Dec.11, 2016

GLOVERSVILLE — At Chris Curro’s checkout counter, conversation was almost always on the menu. Whether it was talking about a new locally made product or the hidden costs to retailers from credit card transactions — the freshness of locally grown food from the Mohawk Valley Produce Auction or the importance of going corn-syrup free or fair trade versus free trade — it was always about more than just the sale.

“So many people enjoy talking to Chris,” Mohawk Valley Cooperative Market President Bob Galinsky said. “After he announced he was leaving, I looked at all of the comments people made on Facebook, so many people talked about their conversations with Chris at the register, how much they enjoyed that. At any other store, how many people talk about their conversations with the clerk at the grocery store?”

Since the Mohawk Valley Cooperative Market was first conceived in a small meeting of about 15 people at the First Presbyterian Church on West Fulton Street in 2009, Chris Curro has been its only general manager . Co-op Vice President Vince DeSantis was there when the market was formed and was part of the decision to hire Curro.

“It was a unanimous decision and kind of a no-brainer to hire him. He wanted the job, and he said he would be the general manager and work for free for the first three months, so for the first three months, he worked for no pay at all and said we could decide what to do after that,” DeSantis said. “He put the thing together. There have been a lot of people involved in the co-op, but I don’t think the co-op would have really thrived without him, because not only did he have an understanding of the store in the beginning, the things to order, how to fill the shelves, but he also had an innate sense of business and the third thing he had was a physical toughness and an energy to put in a lot of effort and a lot of time. For all of the years that we’ve been open, he has worked way, way above and beyond what anyone would expect for an employee, for a manger like that. He put his heart and soul into it.”

Curro announced last week that Jan. 31 would be his last day as general manager for the co-op and that he was moving to another state to pursue a new opportunity. The Mohawk Valley Harvest Co-op has announced it has hired Sean Munk, an assistant manager at the store with a background that includes a degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.

But Curro’s decision will affect more than just Mohawk Harvest.

He served on the Center for Regional Growth’s board of directors and over the past seven years had become one of the leading voices in the movement to revitalize downtown Gloversville.

DeSantis said it was originally Curro’s idea to move the co-op from its first location, a smaller store at 51 N. Main St., to the location of the former Open Window Gift Shop in the Schine building, which at that time had been acquired in a foreclosure auction by the Crossroads Incubator Corp. DeSantis said the relocation of Mohawk Harvest proved to the catalyst that motivated a collection of private citizens to purchase the Schine building for $70,000 and form a corporation called Schine Memorial Hall LLC, which acts as the landlord for the co-op, allowing its rent to be tied to its revenues. That has allowed it to grow and succeed, providing downtown Gloversville with a stable anchor store.curro

“There were several alternative places that we were considering, and Chris said ‘this is a natural place for the co-op’,” DeSantis said. “From the first week we were in that store we knew it was the perfect place. And I really believe that things have started to progress because of the co-op’s existence and the new energy that we feel in Gloversville, the new attitude has been because the store has stood the test of time — it’s been there for going on eight years — and it gives you a physical example of what a downtown can look and feel like.”

Moving on

Curro said he plans to move to Arizona, where a friend lives, and that he has big plans for when he gets there, but he won’t yet say what they are.

He said he’s leaving for personal reasons and said he’s moved many times, living in places like Madison, Wisc., where he went to college, as well as California, and his decision to move to the Fulton County area in 2007 from Sioux Falls, S.D., was also due to personal reasons.

“My wife, at the time, got a job here and my brother lived in the Saratoga-area, and I knew the area from having visited here several times. I knew it was a beautiful place, and I knew it had a lot of history,” he said.

Curro said his professional and educational background before working at Mohawk Harvest was in teaching. He said he was a high school tutor working as part of grant-funded program at Centro Civico in Amsterdam when he randomly heard from a friend about a meeting in Gloversville to discuss the possibility of creating a food co-op market.

“I said, ‘I’ve got nothing to do tonight’, so I went,” he said. “During the planning process I thought, these are a lot of really good people with some really great ideas and super intentions and they wanted to make our community more livable, more walkable, the kind of place anybody would want to call home, and I said I wanted to be a part of that.”

Curro said he tried to take the principles he learned teaching advanced placement economics as a high school teacher and put them into practice in a retail store. He said the co-op started with about 100 members and a loan from a retired dairy farmer. After operating at its first location for almost two years, it moved to 30 N. Main St. in the Schine building, and the business grew tremendously.

“We doubled our sales in the new spot and the next year we grew by 50 percent and then the next year we grew by 35 percent, so we continued to grow,” he said.

Curro said he recalls many of the moments from the early years of the store, like moving all of the inventory of the former location in shopping carts, discovering 30 N. Main St. still had a hardwood floor under two layers of sub-flooring, and battling an early plumbing problem and trying to plug a leak with his finger.

“I wanted to take what I had taught, economic theories, and put them into practice, but the real revelation was how economic theory meets human relationships because this store, like any good business, is really about the customers. If you don’t know them, if you don’t listen to them, if you don’t understand what they want and get to know them personally, it won’t work,” he said. “The co-op mission for us was local, healthy food with an orientation toward the community, because its community-owned and I took that vision to heart. Before we moved [out of 51 N. Main] our membership had doubled, which showed the community was supporting it, and we’ve since more than tripled that doubling, to about 625 members and the members represent about one-third of our customers. Last year, we had more than 19,000 transactions, so people are finding something of value here.

Galinsky said the co-op recently had a membership drive over the summer and added 30 new members. He said co-op members have access to special discounts at different times of the year and if the co-op turns a profit, which he said it has a couple of times, it can issue a dividend to members. He said most of the store’s revenues have been channeled into growing its product lines with new equipment, products and employees.

Curro said there’s more than $600,000 worth of equipment at the Mohawk Valley Harvest and he believes the co-op is poised for additional growth after his departure.

“It’s very hard, to leave, because this has really become one of my creative outlets, but with that said, it’s being placed in such good hands. The new GM, Sean Munk, is more experienced in retail than I was. He’s got more experience in food than I’ve had and I think he can take it to the next level,” he said. “If this business succeeds, I think the community succeeds. I said this on the CRG board, Gloversville is just the biggest downtown that we have, if it takes off, not only do you have a region in focus, but you have the model for the next downtown, whether it’s downtown Mayfield, downtown Johnstown, whatever, Amsterdam, Northville. The goal here was to prove a concept, that you can put together a high-quality food establishment, purchasing locally,  and bring people to a downtown location that a lot of people had given a bad rap to, and I think we proved the concept to be true and it’s replicable.”

Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President Ron Peters said he recruited Curro for a position on the CRG board after seeing Curro’s commitment to local products. Peters said Curro will be missed.

“Chris was a real asset to our board, and he contributed heavily to our thought process. Chris had a keen understanding of how downtowns work and what’s necessary to keep downtowns working the right way. Chris is very good at that,” he said. “We’re looking around now [for another downtown advocate for our board]; we’ve got some feelers out there. He’s not leaving until February, so we’ve got a little bit of time.”

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