Fulton County studying need for hotel development

JOHNSTOWN – A Chicago firm has been hired by the Fulton County Board of Supervisors to study the feasibility of additional hotel development in the Mohawk Valley county.

Holiday Inn Gloversville/Johnstown

The lobby of the Holiday Inn of Gloversville/Johnstown, one of Fulton County’s existing hotels.

Fulton County officials received five proposals for the study and on August 14 the Board of Supervisors hired Hunden Strategic Partners of Chicago at a cost of $19,500, according to County Planning Director James Mraz.

Funding for the agreement comes from a marketing project funded in the 2017 county capital budget.

Expanding business and tourist accommodation was one of the priorities voiced during Fulton County’s Vision 2026 Summit last October, in which 90 community leaders, elected officials, business leaders and members of the general public worked together to achieve a vision statement for Fulton County.

Hunden is charged with studying data and making site visits to assess the market demand and feasibility of an additional hotel or motel. The unbiased data and conclusions in the final report, expected in 2018, will become tools for local economic development officials to target and promote private development.hunden strategic partners logo

The target area for the study is an area from the Vail Mills Development Area along the southern and western edges of the Great Sacandaga Lake to the Village of Northville.

 

For further information, contact

James E. Mraz
Planning Director
Fulton County Planning Department
1 E. Montgomery St.
Johnstown, New York 12095
518-736-5660
518-762-4597 (fax)
jmraz@fultoncountyny.gov

 

 

County seeks state funding to encourage private investment

County eyes several big projects

Sewer systems and baseball fields are among big projects seeking state money in Fulton County for 2017. Recently filed was $1.6 million worth of state funding applications for five main economic development projects within the county.

The conduit for annual Empire State Development Corp. funding is the Consolidated Funding Application, or CFA.

A $500,000 state Consolidated Funding Application was submitted to improve Parkhurst Field off Harrison Street in Gloversville. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

A $500,000 state Consolidated Funding Application was submitted to improve Parkhurst Field off Harrison Street in Gloversville. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

Since 2011, New York state’s counties have been part of a process started by Gov. Andrew Cuomo involving CFAs filed from 10 regional economic development councils. Fulton and Montgomery counties are part of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council. Awards will be announced for each region by the state in December.

“We filed two [CFAs] for the Hales Mills Road Extension sewer [project] and the Vail Mills sewer [project],” Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz said last week.

For the Hales Mills development area wastewater project, crews will install a wastewater pump station/wastewater lines along the east side of Hales Mills Road Extension. The total estimated project cost will be $600,000.

For the Vail Mills development area, installation of wastewater trunk lines and a pump station are on tap. The estimated project cost is $1.3 million.

Mraz said the county filed a $120,000 CFA for the Hales Mills Road sewer project and a $260,000 CFA for the Vail Mills sewer project.

Also serving as executive director of the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency, Mraz noted the Board of Supervisors’ Capital Projects Committee decided recently not to seek state funding for a water and sewer project at the Tryon Technology Park in Perth. Fulton County was originally considering submitting a CFA for that project. Mraz said supervisors decided to postpone that project until 2019.

Fulton County is trying to improve infrastructure in the Hales Mills development area. A waterline for that area is virtually complete, and now officials have set their sights on the sewer component to bring businesses to the area.

Eventually, county officials hope to bring much commercial development to some of the 490 acres off Hales Mills Road Extension. Also proposed is 120 residential lots, mixed-use developments, townhouses and a two-mile walking trail.

Environmental Design Partnership of Clifton Park determined a sewer system and pump station on Route 29 have excess capacity. If Fulton County can gain access to existing sewer lines, officials will create a county sewer district for the Hales Mills Road development area.

The Vail Mills development area proposal shows 455 acres, with 60 residential lots. The area is also expected to attract adult senior housing, commercial/retail development, and a possible hotel.

The state prefers projects already “ready to go” by the time the CFA is pursued for them, Mraz said. For entities pursuing CFA funding, he said they don’t want to incur costs until after the grant is awarded.

“Often, timing is an issue,” Mraz said.

In the private sector, some companies may file for a CFA for a project for which they they “want to get going” now, but realistically can’t until after December or January.

Ronald Peters, president and CEO of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, said a $500,000 CFA was filed for continued development of Parkhurst Field off Harrison Street in Gloversville.

“That was the one we worked on with them,” Peters said.

Parkhurst Field, where the Gloversville Little League plays, in 2016 also received a $500,000 CFA award from the state.

The Parkhurst Field Foundation in February begin a capital campaign. The foundation has created a $2.3 million development plan for the 110-year-old field, which saw baseball greats from the early 20th century such as Cy Young and Honus Wagner take the field.

The plan has three phases

Phase one includes the installation of three baseball diamonds instead of the single “senior” field currently in place. Phase two includes installation of replica grandstands on the site similar to what would have been there during the turn of the century. Phase three includes landscaping, parking lot changes and other improvements.

Parkhurst Field was the site on Sunday for the fifth annual Vintage Baseball Game & Fundraiser for the Field of Dreams Capital Campaign. Festivities included a 12-year-old All-Star vintage game between the Johnstown Buckskins and the Gloversville Glovers, two teams that originally faced off locally in the late 1800s. The fundraiser also included a Vintage Baseball Game with a local A., J. & G team of former Gloversville Little League players versus the Whately Pioneers of Massachusetts.

The Fulton County Baseball & Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday also inducted 1951 Gloversville Glover Ralph Vitti, who had a successful film career, appearing in more than 30 movies and 150 television shows.

Other CFAs recently filed that involved the CRG was one for $200,000 to renew for two years the county’s successful Microenterprise Grant Program. The current grant program ends this year. The program is administered by the CRG. It is funded through Community Development Block Grant applications to the state Office of Community Renewal. It is intended to provide grants from $25,000 to $35,000 to small businesses with a maximum of five full-time employees.

The CRG has also been involved with the village of Northville on what Peters said is a Main Street “anchor” project. Applied for was a $500,000 CFA for that.

Earlier this year, Peters told his board he has spent considerable time on the downtown Northville project. He said a developer has shown interest. At one point, Peters said he was working on four potential “deals” for Northville. He said Mayor John Spaeth has been very supportive, but more details will be released later.

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

August’s “Glove City Celebration” Twilight Market

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We were all thankful that the weather forecast was off and that the evening remained dry for the August Twilight Market, which took place on Friday, August 11th on North Main Street in Gloversville. Gloversville Downtown Development Specialist, Jennifer Jennings, has been battling the threat of bad weather all summer, but has prevailed throughout the season. Friday’s Twilight Market was no exception – it was a perfect summer night – not too hot, with a nice breeze to keep the air moving through the vendor tents.

I was out of town for July’s event, but glad to be on hand for this Market night. We again featured raffle items. I am so pleased with the donations that we received! A couple of weeks prior to the event, I walked flyers around to Main Street business owners, promoting CRG’s involvement in the Market and inviting them to donate an item toward the creation of give-away baskets that were representative of the theme of August’s Twilight Market: Glove City Celebration. I also emailed our wonderful Members asking them to either participate if they could or extend the message on to a Gloversville business that they felt should participate. I had initially planned to create three baskets. However, since two businesses – NBT Bank and SW The Spa – provided complete gift bags of their own, I was able to take the other donations which I received and create two themed gift baskets: Relaxation Retreat, which was geared toward an adult and Family Fun, which had some children’s items in it.

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 The raffle was a lot of fun to promote. Thanks to our wonderful Gloversville businesses, we were able to raffle the baskets for FREE, which is the right price for everyone! The total approximate value of all four prize packages was $570.00! THANK YOU so much to the following business donors: Century Linen, Frozen Parts, Helpers Community Service, NBT Bank, Rauch’s Bakery, Studio Herbage, SW The Spa, The Pizza Joint, Vishnu Music, and WEST & Company!

Around 100 people put tickets into the drawing, and 25ish stayed around for the actual drawing at 7:00 p.m. The Fonda Fair Court girls were in attendance at the Market and volunteered to draw the winning names! And the winners were: Bryan, Family Fun Gift Basket; Sherry, NBT Bank Gift Bag; Jim, SW The Spa Gift Bag; and Marcie, Relaxation Retreat Gift Basket (her daughter posed for the picture)!

Bryan Sherry

 

Jim Marcie's daughter

Many family activities took place at the event as well. There was face painting, a sidewalk chalk art contest, a “Before I Die” wall, and a glove designing table.

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Easterly Woodworking was in attendance with two donated benches for attendees to paint. Once complete, they will receive a coat of clear varnish and will be gifted to the City as public benches along Main Street! Another AWESOME donation to liven up downtown!

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Two musical groups performed for the event at Castiglione Park. Below is one of them: Penny Jar

Penny Jar

I tried to take pictures of all of the vendors and community groups who were in attendance at the event, to show you all of the great things you missed out on if you were not there. Most were taken during and after set-up, so don’t let the lack of customers alarm you. Per Jennifer’s count, there were close to 1,000 people in attendance throughout the evening!

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I also wanted to showcase some of the great, creative sidewalk art:

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I hope that these pictures have illustrated how great the August Twilight Market was. If you missed it, you have ONE MORE CHANCE during 2017! Plan to join us on North Main Street on Friday, September 8, 2017 for the “Fresh Start” Twilight Market! We will be there from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and CRG will have another GREAT give-away!

Written by Becky Hatcher, Executive Assistant

 

Our August Tour: Versatile Wood

Our August Tour: Versatile Wood Fabrication

August 8, 2017 was a beautiful summer day. The dock doors were all open at Versatile Wood, located at 178 Corporate Drive in the Crossroads Industrial Park, to allow fresh air and sunshine into the manufacturing space. Our group met up with business owner, Albert Gentile, in his office for a brief overview of his business before we took our tour.

Versatile Wood has been in business for 19 years. They originally opened in 1999 and moved into the Crossroads Industrial Park in 2005.  In November 2012, Mr. Gentile purchased the 178 Corporate Drive building.

Versatile Wood specializes in the production of new wooden pallets and shipping containers, along with other custom wood products. They work from direct orders, creating pallets of various dimensions; mostly non-standard in size. The pallets are made from aspen wood, which is a softer hardwood, imported from Canada, where aspen trees are prevalent. They produce approximately 200,000 pallets per year.

The challenge to marketing pallets, I learned, is proximity to your clients. In order to make a profit, they cannot be too far away. So Versatile Wood works with local manufacturers like Benjamin Moore and Taylor Made Products, although they have made heavy-duty specialized pallets for a Massachusetts paving company. Their production is enough to warrant the employment of around 13 full-time people.

During the tour, we saw pallets being produced by hand:

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And we watched others produced by an automated machine, which was very cool:

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We saw a special project in process. These panels were being created for a client that has a special backing product that is designed to go behind shower walls. They asked for the panels to be created out of their material, as well as regular sheet rock. They will be displayed side by side to demonstrate how moisture effects each panel. This special product is supposed to be better designed to handle moisture. Interesting!

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Here we see stacks of finished pallets, waiting to be shipped out to customers. A forklift truck came through to add to one stack.

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We went outside, behind the building, to look at raw materials, just waiting to be turned into pallets. Some of the items cannot get wet and are stored under a canopy. Others are outside. Some lumber arrives in long pieces, others are pre-cut for faster assembly. Quality is stressed here. If a pallet is found to have a defect, it is either repaired or scrapped. Employees are also conscientious of waste. If a board is mis-cut or if something needs to be replaced, the replaced wood is saved to be used on another project, if possible.

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Touring Versatile Wood was a great experience. As you can expect, the atmosphere in the main assembly room was very loud with all of the nail guns sounding off, but it smelled great – like fresh cut wood. Everyone enjoyed their visit. Special thanks to owner, Albert Gentile and his sons, Albert, Jr. and Nicholas, for their time and assistance on our tour.

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from left: Albert Gentile, Jr.; Nicholas Gentile; Albert Gentile, Sr.; Gloversville Mayor Dayton King; Ronald Olinsky; Gary Greco; Kathi Iannotti, Johnstown Council Ward 2; Jack Wilson, Fulton County Supervisor, Town of Johnstown; Scott Hohenforst; Johnstown Mayor Vernon Jackson; and Gregory Fagan, Fulton County Supervisor, Town of Perth

Written by Becky Hatcher, Executive Assistant

Fox Run Receives $25,000 Microenterprise Grant

The Mayor of Johnstown, Vernon Jackson, and Fulton County Supervisor, William Waldron, joined Ronald Peters, President and CEO of Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, on August 4, 2017, for the presentation of $25,000 in grant funding to Cover the Distance, LLC d/b/a Fox Run Golf Course.

Fox Run Golf Course accepts a $25,000 Microenterprise Grant from Fulton County, NY.

Richard and Marlana Scott were very excited that their application was accepted by New York State. They used the funds to purchase a new greens mower. “This is the first piece of new equipment that the golf course has purchased. The other equipment is all second hand,” said Mr. Scott, as he showed attendees various features of the mower. “This purchase was made possible because of these grant funds.”

Ronald Peters said that he has enjoyed the opportunity to fund small businesses through this program. “This program has proven to be a great fit for Fulton County,” Mr. Peters said. “It has given small businesses like Fox Run the edge they need to succeed.”

Microenterprise Grant funds are designated for businesses with 5 employees or less. Job creation is an important aspect of the grant process. Fox Run has created 2 jobs already this summer as part of their grant obligation.

For immediate release: August 7, 2017

Contact: Ronald Peters, President & CEO

Phone: 518-725-7700, ext 101

Email: ronp@fccrg.org

About Fulton County Center for Regional Growth:

Fulton County Center for Regional Growth’s (CRG) mission is to strengthen Fulton County’s economic base, facilitate sustainable growth, enhance the competitive position of our region, its counties, towns and cities and facilitate investments that build capacity, create jobs, improve quality of life and increase the standard living for all of its residents.

CRG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. To become a member, visit our website at www.fccrg.org/crg-membership. To stay in touch with CRG, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fccrg/ or on Instagram at @downtowngloversville.

37 new senior apts. in Gloversville announced

State Homes and Community Renewal, Liberty Affordable Housing and Partners 

The unfinished, North Main Street-facing portion of the Estee Commons complex. Leader Herald Photo

The unfinished, North Main Street-facing portion of the Estee Commons complex. Leader Herald Photo

Announce Construction of 37 Apartments for Seniors in Gloversville

 ‘Estee Senior Apartments’ Complements Governor Cuomo’s Successful Mohawk Valley Revitalization Initiative to Grow Economy, Create New Opportunities

 New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) joined Liberty Affordable Housing, Inc., partners and community leaders to mark construction of Estee Senior Apartments, 37 energy-efficient units of affordable senior housing in the Fulton County City of Gloversville. The development complements initiatives of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council to grow the economy and create new opportunities.

HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Congratulations to Liberty Affordable Housing and all our partners who came together on behalf of the 37 households who will call Estee Senior Apartments home. This development not only will provide modern and affordable housing for people in the community they love, it enhances Governor Cuomo’s successful regional economic development strategies for the Mohawk Valley that are creating opportunities in Fulton County and beyond.”

The three-story building at 90 North Main Street, gets its name from the Estee School which was built in 1916 and operated for 80 years before it closed. Vacant for 20 years, deterioration was too great for the building to be renovated. It was razed and the new building, which will architecturally resemble the old one, will occupy the site. Small retailers, restaurants, medical offices, churches and homes surround the development which will generate revenue for the city. A U.S. Post Office and public library are located less than a quarter-mile away.

Estee Senior Apartments complements Governor Cuomo’s Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council’s support of downtown revitalization initiatives. “The new global economy demands walkable communities, active and adaptable public spaces, appropriate architecture, concentrated development and incorporated historic building fabric,” said Council Co-Chair Dr. Dustin Swanger, who is President of Fulton-Montgomery Community College. “The Mohawk Valley REDC continues to prioritize supporting urban centers, including the City of Gloversville with their place-focused, people-led approach to downtown revitalization.”

 New York State Homes and Community Renewal funding for the $9 million project includes: more than $465,000 of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the sale of which will leverage about $4.6 million of private investor equity and a $400,000 federal grant awarded to the City of Gloversville. In addition, a $3.7 million grant was awarded by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) through funds generated by settlements between the New York State Attorney General and banks stemming from the mortgage foreclosure crisis; a $250,000 grant from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York’s Economic Development Assistance Program and a $38,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Jessica Scialdo, President and Chairperson of the Liberty Affordable Housing, Inc., Board of Directors said, “Liberty is truly thrilled to mark the start of construction of Estee Senior Apartments in the heart of Gloversville. We are proud to be part of the City’s vision for the future and it is our hope these 37 units of quality affordable housing for seniors will spark continued revitalization of this Downtown Gloversville Historic District. Liberty will be committed to the quality of life of the City residents who will call Estee Senior Apartments their home.” 

Denise Scott, LISC Executive Vice President said, “The development is blight-fighting at its best: replacing a long-vacant school in the central business district with high-quality, affordable housing for seniors, including veterans and people with disabilities. The work dovetails well with Governor Cuomo’s revitalization efforts in the Mohawk Valley were LISC also provided a$1.6 million grant to the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank. Both grants we provided were generated by the Attorney General’s settlements with banks as a result of the mortgage foreclosure crisis.”

 About New York State Homes and Community Renewal

NYS Homes and Community Renewal’s (HCR) housing and community development agencies work to create, preserve and improve affordable homes and vibrant communities, in keeping with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s vision of a more inclusive, affordable, sustainable, and resilient New York. In 2016, HCR set a record for the third year in a row, financing the creation or preservation of more than 17,000 affordable homes and apartments, creating nearly 2,000 homeownership opportunities for first-time homebuyers, and was once again the #1 affordable housing bond issuer in the nation with $2.8 billion issued. For more information on HCR agencies, programs and initiatives, please visit: http://www.nyshcr.org/

About Liberty Affordable Housing

Liberty Affordable Housing Inc. (Liberty) is a not-for-profit developer headquartered in Rome, New York. Liberty was incorporated in 2002 and has a community-based volunteer Board of Directors with a mission to produce, protect and preserve affordable housing. Since its inception Liberty has shown the ability to complete projects it has undertaken by successfully closing on three new construction and fifteen preservation projects. In all its endeavors, Liberty seeks to positively impact communities by providing “Better Lives Through Better Housing.” 

Fulton County Elected Officials Tour Euphrates

Fulton County Elected Officials Tour Euphrates

Our group of 15 met in the afternoon of July 11th for the second scheduled business tours for elected officials in Fulton County. Nikki Famiano, Finance Manager of Euphrates, the feta cheese manufacturing plant in the Johnstown Industrial Park, conducted our tour, with the assistance of Cheese Master, Harun Ovacik and Nancy Nellis.

We learned that Euphrates buys raw milk, which arrives via tanker truck in a special bay of their building. Deliveries are received Sunday through Wednesday or Thursday. The truck is washed down before the milk is unloaded and transferred into holding silos. The truck is then washed down again, inside and out. Once the milk is in the silo, it can only remain there for a maximum of 72 hours. There, it is temperature controlled and pasteurized so that it can become something much better – feta cheese.

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Donning protective gear consisting of coats, hair nets, and optional booties, our tour group entered the main production area. The temperature here is around 90 degrees and is humid. If you like to be that warm, this is the place for you to work. We walked  past stainless steel troughs that are filled with milk and then mixed with cultures and left to solidify into the first stage of feta cheese.

The cultured milk mixture could set up a quickly as 45 minutes or as long as 2 hours. Once it is ready, the solid curd is cut into small blocks with a wire rack, and then stirred to separate the white cheese from the yellow whey. One end of the trough lifts open to allow the contents to flow down a channel into empty block forms, which are waiting on a conveyor belt below. An employee spreads the mixture evenly into the multi-chambered block form before it continues down the assembly line. These forms are then stacked 6 high. The stacks are taken to a machine which clamps them together and turns them over 3 times to help remove whey from the cheese curd.

At this point, the small cubes of curd have been reformed into a larger block within the form. They still contain some whey so they are now removed from the block form and placed into a large box that contains brine. The newly created feta cheese will remain in the brine for 5 to 9 days. The salted water helps remove any remaining whey from the cheese and adds to its feta flavor.

It then moves on to the packaging room, which is notably cooler than the production facility. Here, feta cheese orders are referenced and the cheese is packaged accordingly. The cheese can be crumbled, cubed, sold in various sized blocks, or in buckets up to 5 pounds. Euphrates contracts with other companies, putting their product labels onto Euphrates’ feta cheese. So a great deal of information determines how each block of cheese is packaged. Once the packaging is complete, orders are placed into a large cooler where the temperature ranges from 35 to 45 degrees. Here it will wait until it is picked up by the purchaser.

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Interestingly, while Euphrates feta cheese is shipped nationwide, Euphrates does not do the shipping. Purchasers are notified when their order is ready for pick up and it is their responsibility to come to the Johnstown manufacturing plant to pick-up their order. Before any product is loaded onto a refrigerated truck, Euphrates tests the temperature inside the empty trailer to make sure it is cool enough to receive the order.

 Fast Facts about Euphrates:

  • Annual Employee Count: 75-82
  • Pounds of milk processed per year: 50,000,000
  • Two of their milk silos hold 20,000 pounds of milk and another one holds 30,000 pounds of milk
  • Euphrates manufactures 3-4 million pounds of feta cheese per year
  • Euphrates is regularly audited by the FDA and routinely scores 97-100% during their assessment
  • Every step of the cheese making process is documented – from the time that the milk arrives at the plant to the point that it leaves – every temperature change, additive, curing time, and packaging label are all recorded
  • An onsite lab tests the ph level of the milk and maintains the quality and taste of the feta cheese
  • Due to a shortage in storage, Euphrates recently purchased a neighboring building in the Johnstown Industrial Park: 190 Enterprise Road

On behalf of our tour group, I would like to thank the employees of Euphrates, especially our tour guides, Nikki, Nancy and Haran, for their hospitality. Euphrates is yet another example of a quality corporation, quietly working within our community that everyone should know more about. We were thrilled that they agreed to let us visit their facility. While I could not take pictures of the feta cheese making process, I did get a group photo after our tour. Note the smiles on everyone’s faces as they hold their gift bags. And now you have to excuse me as I close this post and look for feta recipes!

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Written by CRG Executive Assistant, Becky Hatcher

 

Open House at Frozen Parts, Inc.


Open House at Frozen Parts, Inc.

CRG was invited to attend the 1st Annual Open House at Frozen Parts on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Located at 19 Washington Street in Gloversville, NY, the flyer for the event promised “Food, Fun, Ice Cream and Demonstrations.” They did not disappoint.

I arrived at the start of the event and met up with Nancy Reccio of FMS Workforce Development, Kent Kirch of CRG’s Board of Directors, Halie Northrop from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s office, and Gloversville Mayor, Dayton King among other guests. Frozen Parts’ President and Owner, Jim Law, was on hand to tell us about the demonstrations we would see later during the event. He also said that Frozen Parts can manufacture around 500 different parts products!

We started off with lunch – hot dogs, burgers, lunch meat, cold salads, chips… and of course, ice cream from Meco’s Perfect Scoop. I told you they did not disappoint! The ice cream I was expecting. They are Frozen Parts, after all… But this was over the top good. A complete spread for lunch and a sundae bar. Check out the toppings.


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After lunch, Michael Trumble provided a demonstration of the manufacturing process of a Frozen Parts heat exchanger. The photos below show him measuring and cutting the piping, laying the two pieces in the wooden tray with a bead of solder, and melting the solder with an electrical current. Very cool! He said that it makes a strong, even connection between the two pieces of pipe. Once it is cooled, the pipe is threaded through an insulated sleeve and curled to the needed diameter for a specific refrigeration/cooling unit.

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Kim Dingman then provided a demonstration of the bending of Plexiglas freezer covers. She places a pre-cut piece of glass onto a wooden frame which holds the flat piece at a precise location so that the part that needs to bend is above a heating element. The heat then softens the Plexiglas until it is malleable and can be bent into a 90 degree angle. The piece is then clipped onto a wooden tray that keeps the side piece upright until it cools. It can then be finished off to fit a dipping freezer. It was estimated that Frozen Parts shipped around 1500 if these covers last year.

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Jim Law served up the sweet stuff. Quite generously, I might add. Ice cream flavors of the day were Meco’s Perfect Scoop’s Vanilla and Peanut Butter Cup. I’m not a vanilla girl so I had the peanut butter cup. SO, SO GOOD! If you have not had a chance to try Meco’s Perfect Scoop ice cream, you simply must go right now and get some. It is delicious. I decked mine out with some sundae goodies and loved every spoonful.

Below you’ll find some pics of Jim serving ice cream to his grandkids, Andrew and Avery. You’ll also see pics of the ice cream carts and custom scoop sinks that are made in his shop, right in the heart of Gloversville.

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Also on display were Frozen Parts’ ice cream container collars and lids, including a new see-through lid.

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Kent Kirch told me that he loves being able to visit local businesses because so often, we drive through our community without ever knowing what actually goes on inside these manufacturing buildings. I agree. It is so fascinating to see how things are made and to find out what the businesses that are in our community actually do. So I encourage everyone reading this to take some time to visit our downtowns and take a peek into the store fronts, read the names on the manufacturing buildings, and try to find a way to make Fulton County’s businesses more a part of your greater consciousness and shopping routine.

In the mean time, have a great summer day!

Written by: Becky Hatcher, CRG Executive Assistant

P.S. You can view details about the above finished products, and more, on the Frozen Parts website. Click here for more!

TU: Fulton County shows off business park, medical marijuana tenant

If your business is anything like a medical marijuana facility, economic developers in Fulton County want you to know they have a perfect location for it.

You don’t have to be making medicines from plants that were until recently illegal to grow. Fulton County officials are looking for businesses that need lots of affordable space in a secure, remote location with access to a workforce that has a wide range of education and skills. That’s what Vireo Health of New York, one of five medical marijuana companies operating in the state, got when it moved into the 213-acre Tryon Technology Park two years ago.

“Fulton County has been a terrific partner for us,” Vireo Chief Executive Ari Hoffnung said Wednesday at a county event pitching the site of a former state juvenile detention center to a couple dozen real estate brokers.

“It’s a perfect fit,” Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz said of Vireo’s location.

As the unique business park’s only tenant, Vireo was a natural selling point. Real estate brokers got a rare tour of the strictly regulated facility.

They got to see an outdoor greenhouse and indoor grow rooms where horticulturists carefully control the light and temperature of plants whose oils are extracted for medicines to treat 11 debilitating conditions approved by the state.  They got to peek into the laboratory where the medicines are made, in different formulations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a mind-altering ingredient, and cannabidiol (CBD), which has no psychoactive properties.

 Yet as an example of a thriving business, Vireo isn’t there yet. Hoffnung told county officials and real estate brokers that the firm has invested about $10 million in the operation, including 20 acres of land. But like the other four medical marijuana companies in New York, it has yet to break even.

That’s despite a huge boost — an increase in volume of more than 50 percent, according to Vireo Operations Director Nick Goran — since the state added chronic pain to its list of qualifying conditions less than three months ago. One impediment to growth, company officials said, is that too few doctors are registering to certify patients for medical marijuana. According to the state Health Department, 1,058 medical providers were registered as of last week.

The business park landed Vireo as a client without much work, Mraz said. The company found the park as the county was engaged in getting the facility ready to market, Mraz said.

Mraz raised an eyebrow when he told about first hearing of interest from a potential tenant that wanted to grow marijuana. But then he learned more about Vireo’s plans. “Ah, you’re a pharmaceutical company,” he said.

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