NBT Bank Afton BranchBusiness of the month for: March 2017
NBT’s Afton Branch Spotlighted by the
Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce
In the 20th Century, it was considered a sign of the economic viability of a community to have a bank set up a branch within its confines. The First National Bank of Afton was established in 1920 and became a member of the NBT Bank team in 1962. The organization itself provides a stabilizing influencing to the businesses and organizations of the town and local area. The purpose of this month’s Afton Chamber’s Spotlight of NBT has less to do with the acknowledged value and function of the larger organization itself , but more to do with the people who are responsible for the everyday dealings with the public.
Current multi-site Manager of the Bainbridge and Afton Branches, Sandra Reiling, has a 36-year career with NBT and is a familiar face to the branch’s loyal patrons. Sandy is responsible to a large extent for the friendly atmosphere that meets you upon entering the branch. Customers can expect to receive a smile, personalized greeting and friendly service that are not always found in larger branches. Sandy manages a staff of qualified women who currently handle the needs of customers. The acting Customer Service Representative, Jennifer Cower, has been with the bank for 18 years, She also services two branches and is responsible for opening new accounts, loans and servicing existing accounts. Both Sandra and Jennifer answer specific questions and concerns of bank patrons in a manner that inspires confidence and trust.
Although many faces have changed over time, Nancy Cummings Weller has remained a constant for the past 23 years. An Aftonite born and bred, Nancy has risen in the ranks and now mentors a team of highly efficient bank tellers amongst other duties related to her title of Teller Supervisor.
Currently the “teller team” consists of 12-year veteran, Kerrie Monroe, who resides in Sidney with her husband and 3 children; Jenaya Charles, a Masonville resident and 2012 Sidney H.S. graduate who is planning her wedding in August, joined the branch in July 2015; and Joy Harris, a graduate of Walton H.S. , currently lives in Afton with her husband, Fred, and her two children.
All of these ladies exemplify the envisioned banking experience that is intrinsic to NBT’s Mission. As Jennifer Cower so eloquently put it “The people are the ‘sum’ of NBT. We do what we do for them”.
The NBT Afton Branch is located at 182 Main Street. Phone: 607-639-2281. Open 9-4 Mon.-Thurs.; 9-5 Friday and 9-12 Saturday.
Business of the month for: March, 2016
The Greater Afton Area Chamber spotlights Horton Hardware
The Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to spotlight one of its oldest most recognizable business entities.
In April of this year Horton Hardware will celebrate its 110th anniversary of selling hardware at 198 Main Street in Afton. With two families through five generations, they have enjoyed a long and interesting history.
Construction of Horton Hardware was begun in 1905 by Clark Horton, a Coventryville teacher and farmer who owned a farm implement store on nearby Commercial Street. His son Harrison, known as Harry, soon joined him in the endeavor. The grand opening of the store was held on April 28, 1906, to much local celebration and fanfare. The original building, which still stands today and is the main entrance of the store, had the only elevator between Albany and Binghamton. The second floor was a sleigh and horse wagon repository. Moving these and other items was accomplished with the hand pulled elevator that is still in use today. Rolling stepladders along the length of the building gave access to the more than 600 built in wooden drawers holding fasteners and smaller items.
In 1959, another local farmer, Charlie Gaydorus, purchased “The Big Hardware” as it was known, from Harry’s widow Pearl Horton. In 1970 Charlie added the two story addition facing Commercial Street, creating an appliance showroom. In 1986 the addition on Main Street was completed, with Charlie’s sons Alan and Steve joining the business. The final addition was built on Commercial St. in 1994 to expand the small engine repair shop and tool rental business. Over the years new products were added such as bedding, kitchens and baths, Carhartt clothing and Carolina Boots.
Clark Horton could have known little about what the future would hold for his brand new hardware store in 1906. Although wanting the business to be a legacy for his son Harry he couldn’t imagine that it would remain a family business for five generations. While Harry hoisted horse carriages to the second floor it would be difficult to picture a day when his store would sell lawn tractors with more horsepower than the cars of his time. When Charlie bought the store he could not conceive of the day that the store would be 10 times the original size. When Alan and Steve took the reins they didn’t foresee a day when all merchandise would be scanned by computers.
As barrels of nails and wringer washing machines gave way to laser levels and computerized paint matching, some things have remained constant at 198 Main Street: helpful competent employees and loyal customers. It remains a small town place where friend and neighbors catch up with one another while getting needed items. They are pleased and proud to be part of the Afton community and look forward to serving their customers for many years to come.
Ones-Self Design & ProductionBusiness of the month for: December, 2016
The Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to spotlight its Business of the Month.
Ones-Self Design & Productions was born back in 2004 with a random T-shirt design idea. Owner, Melissa Matthews, was frequently selected in high school to create event programs, flyers and other publications, because of her keen eye for design.
After graduating in 2001 from Unatego H.S., Melissa discovered a website which allowed her to translate her personal designs, based on adult humor, to commercial use. Melissa went on to develop a novelty t-shirt site, and then began to add artwork and ideas from friends looking to purchase their own concepts. Cafepress.com/onesselfdesign now features “Ones-Self Design & Friends Tee Sales”
Ones-Self Design & Productions became more than an online t-shirt retailer in June of 2011, when friends and locals started requesting items other than t-shirts. Starting as a Vistaprint re-seller, Melissa soon noticed others mimicking the use of templates and pre-made logos. Shortly into 2012, she distanced herself from the pre-made layouts and overpriced websites and began working with local print shops to produce her own designs onto business cards, flyers, posters, post cards and other mediums.
Her product offerings and client list has continued to grow, and customers of Ones-Self Design now range from moms planning birthday parties, and couples planning weddings, to local business owners, charities and community leaders. Melissa prides herself on creating identifiable, custom graphics that can be applied to a multitude of promotional materials. A full list of products and services is available online onesselfdesign.com/products
Melissa’s goal is to make an honest living helping other small businesses to do the same. She comments, “And it really is that simple; my business is about helping others to grow their businesses. I know the struggle of starting a business, funding a nonprofit, and not being able to afford the simple things in life; which has given me a lasting desire to give back to the community whenever possible. Another great perk to being in the ‘business of business’ is being able to offer special discounts to community organizations, local Chambers of Commerce and civic events like the Afton Fair.”
After years of working part-time from home, Melissa has now opened a full-time office located at 16 Martin Brook Street in Unadilla where she entertains all business inquiries at 607-369-7001, Monday-Friday from 9am to 5pm. Ones-Self Design & Productions is the parent company of a trifecta, including affiliates “Eight Thirteen Threads”, focused on apparel design and sales, and “6ZERO7 Advertising Concepts”, focused on print ad projects, social media management and assisting area events to obtain sponsorship for their promotional needs.
With eyes wide open for what is to come, Melissa Matthews acknowledges that “You cannot rush greatness; it’s all in good time.” The GAACofC wishes to thank Melissa for her assistance with many of their fundraising activities over the past year. See www.aftonchamberofcommerce.com for contact information.
The Main Street Grill and BakeryBusiness of the month for: January 2016
Main Street Grill & Bakery – Liz Dawson
A favorite among locals, and visitors alike – the Main Street Grill and Bakery on Afton’s Main Street has been a cornerstone in Afton for the past decade. Many describe The Main Street Grill and Bakery as a “hidden gem”. The Main Street Grill is all about big-city flavor, at the hands of a chef and owner who creates dishes as impressive to look at as they are to taste. Owner, Liz Dawson, has over 35+ years of restaurant experience, which shows in everything from the gorgeous presentation to some of the best farm-to-fork flavors in this area. “We try to really stay in the tradition of fresh. My culinary point of view is perceived plate value, beauty and fresh ingredients,” Liz Dawson says. “For me, ingredient is key, and fresh is key. I’m really a purist in what I do; so anytime I can get something fresh-picked right-off-the-vine, to me, it always tastes better than canned or frozen products.”
The Main Street Grill is a great place to enjoy a casual lunch, or a full-course dinner to celebrate that special occasion. In February, Main Street Grill and Bakery expanded to include a full bar and more room to accommodate customers. Dawson makes from scratch all their own cakes, cream puffs, canolies, cupcakes and breads. “Every day you can come to the case, and it will be filled with just wonderful, delicious items that are baked fresh daily”. Liz also has created and branded her own sauce: “Liz’s Sassy Sauce”. The sauce has a bit of a sweet, and tangy appeal – wonderful to dip, or use on salads. Liz initially started bottling right on premise, but now bottles it with a bottling plant in Oneonta. Liz’s Sassy sauce is sold in local grocery stores and markets.
Liz Dawson sprouted her culinary wings during her early twenties “My success came from hard work and because I take great pride in all that I do. Creating the Main Street Grill and Bakery was very exciting”. While Liz is not originally from Afton, she is now proud to call Afton her home and where she raised her son, now 18. Liz contributes to the community in any way she can. Her business and culinary philosophy is all based around Community and Sustainability. Liz sources everything local that she can with the restaurant – “It’s not only a great way to support our local economy to make it sustainable for future generations, but it’s also a great way to showcase the dedication and hard work of local producers and their unique products” she says. In addition to catering special events throughout the year, Liz is launching a Dinner and Tasting Series starting in December 2015. This series will highlight unique food and beverage products made right here in this area. The goal is to host a fun event where local producers can share their story and connect with consumers.
Recently, Liz decided to revitalize the inside of her restaurant to reflect her beliefs – the dining room now features a mural of the “Tree of Life”, painted by a local artist. For Liz, it’s important that customers not only enjoy their food when coming to her restaurant, but that they have an amazing experience and take that experience away with them. “We are all part of a community network – an ecosystem – and it’s a beautiful thing. I want to connect consumers with the producers that live here in the community. Once that door is open, it’s amazing the connections we make. I feel so blessed that as a restaurant owner and chef, I’m able to do that”.
Musica Humana MassageBusiness of the month for: November, 2015
Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce Spotlight Business of the Month
Musica Human Massage in Afton
In a world of Western medicine, where the answer always seems to be invasive surgery or prescription drugs, Hollie VanDerHeide is just one of many massage therapists striving to change the way we think about our health.
After experiencing the effects of a high stress career path, Hollie decided she needed to redirect her life before things got out of hand. In a stroke of fate, she received a brochure from the Finger Lakes School of Massage which launched her into a new line of work: healing the human body. What she discovered was that massage is so much more than a way to relax the body and mind. She learned all about the holistic approach to managing one’s health and how massage can help to keep the body in a state of equilibrium by affecting ALL of the systems of the body, not just the muscles. It came as a surprise to her that she would need to take extensive training in anatomy and physiology to understand how each part of the human body worked in relation to another. Thereby, she found that when a client came to her with a medical condition (from a common cold to tendonitis to chronic pain) she had the knowledge and an arsenal of techniques to help bring them some relief.
Elated to see the positive effects her work was having on her clients, Hollie knew that she wanted to share this new-found gift with the people of her hometown. Upon receiving her license in March of 2013, she immediately opened her private practice in Afton, NY. Unfortunately, Hollie encountered the issue that many massage therapists deal with today: that most people struggle with preconceived notions about massage. Holistic therapy has, for years, been striving to guide people to see it as a legitimate health practice. On a whole, however, most individuals view massage therapy as an expensive luxury. In reality, therapeutic massage can help prevent injury, increase metabolism, and improve the immune response when received regularly. Many massage offices even offer discounts for individuals who wish to receive massage on a monthly basis to help make this self-care more accessible.
Now three years into her career, Hollie has developed a reputation as a therapist who works primarily with chronic pain patients. She has helped individuals who struggle with sciatic pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, or thoracic outlet syndrome to name a few. In addition to practicing privately at Musica Humana Massage on Main Street in Afton, Hollie also works with Back In Motion Massage Therapy in Norwich where she can give prenatal massage and accept No-Fault Insurance.
Don’t wait until illness or injury drives you to seek help, start practicing preventative healthcare today by finding a massage therapist in your area!
Choice Garage DoorsBusiness of the month for: June 2015
AFTON CHAMBER SPOTLIGHTS LOCAL BUSINESS
The Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to spotlight a local Afton business. Choice Garage Doors at 355 Blakesley Nurse Hollow Road in Afton was established by Ivan Byler in 2012 as a side line to his carpentry business.
In the fall of 2011 Ivan left a job as an installer for Madison Vinyl to pursue a dream of starting his own business. He didn’t know exactly where this dream would take him; but starting out doing remodeling and home repairs, he soon decided to pursue garage doors as a specialty. Choice Garage Doors was born, and Ivan started selling, installing, and repairing principally residential garage doors. He continued doing some remodeling work and soon started doing more challenging commercial garage door repair projects. His residential and commercial door sales steadily increased, and his repeat commercial customer base continued to grow.
Soon, Ivan stopped taking on new general remodeling customers to be able to devote more time to the overhead door business. Over the past few years the business has continued to increase even through slow economic times.
Commercially, Choice Garage Doors has done repairs for customers such as Walmart, BJ’s, Monro Muffler, FedEx Freight, and others. Their local commercial and agricultural customer base also continues to grow as word gets out about their fine craftsmanship and customer service. It has now grown into a full-time business serving homeowners, small business owners, and large corporations with overhead door service and sales.
Choice Garage Doors offers free residential garage door design services so customers can see what a specific door will look like on their home before buying it. Many customers appreciate the fact that they can see a picture of their house with several door options before choosing. Ivan and wife, Rebekah, care about their customers and projects and are happy to take the time that is necessary to help them choose the door that is best for their home and then install it professionally with attention to detail. Quality is their principal concern, but they also have a few financial options available.
Ivan states that although rewarding, starting a business has not been easy. “The business would not be what it is, and I would not be what I am if it weren’t for my sweet wife, Rebekah,” he says. He notes that her patient, encouraging support, and willingness to be a partner in the decision-making process have been invaluable to him. He also thanks his parents, Sam and Betty Byler, for an early education in integrity and a strong work ethic. He credits his father for teaching him “almost everything I know about the building industry”.
Ivan Byler welcomes the challenge to run his business in a way that will watch it continue to grow while continuing to be efficient and customer-focused, but at the same time affording him the opportunity to be a husband and Daddy first and a businessman second. He is excited at what the rest of 2015 will bring and thanks God for leading him this far! Ivan Byler and Choice Garage Doors are available by calling 607-693-3667, visiting their website at “doorsbychoice.com”, or emailing him at email@example.com.
Afton, Bainbridge-Guilford Dollars for ScholarsBusiness of the month for: April, 2015
Afton, Bainbridge-GuilfordDollars for Scholars®
The Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to spotlight our local chapter of Dollars for Scholars as our member organization of the month. Dollars for Scholars® is a national nonprofit volunteer organization that provides local graduating seniors with financial assistance to help them pursue higher education. In 1958, an optometrist in Fall River, Mass., had a simple but profound idea—if everyone in his community gave just a dollar to an educational fund, it would be enough to help nearly every student in the community attend college. Dr. Irving Fradkin called his plan “Dollars for Scholars,” and it has expanded into what today is the nation’s largest non-profit, private-sector scholarship and educational support organization—Scholarship America.
In January, 2006, local resident, Judy June’s son, Zachary Fish, passed away. She researched what she could do to have a scholarship in his name. She discovered that most local communities had an established Dollars for Scholars chapter. However, neither the B-G or the Afton School Districts had chapters. She decided that establishing a chapter for these communities would be far more powerful than just having one scholarship in her son’s name. She called many friends and sought support from local businesses. The response was tremendous and through the hard work of several community members a local chapter that has awarded $70,850 in scholarships to graduating seniors from both Afton and Bainbridge-Guilford Schools in just the past eight years was established.
Dollars for Scholars gives out BGA DFS scholarships to several students from each school every year. They also give awards to the valedictorians and salutatorians from each district, as well as to the student who has helped out the most at DFS fundraisers.
The group also provides an avenue for individuals and organizations to “pass their own scholarships through” the chapter’s established selection committee. This means that already established scholarships, such as the Greater Afton Area Chamber’s scholarship, started in 2014, can give directions about how they want their scholarships awarded, and then use DFS’s scholarship applications and committee to make selections. This allows their scholarship to fall under Dollars For Scholars’ protections and saves a great deal of work.
The organization’s biggest fundraiser is their annual phone-a-thon each November. Even during tight financial times, area communities have always risen to the challenge and each year have been able to meet or exceed a goal of collecting $5000. This funds local chapter scholarships. They also have an annual bowl-a-thon in March. Each of these fundraisers allow Afton and B-G students to have fun working and contributing toward their own scholarship funds. Dollars for Scholars is always open to other fundraising ideas and have had scrapbooking days, school dances and basket raffles. The public may see tables at local events like fairs, community days and parades where volunteers donate their time to raise money to help local seniors further their education. For more information, visit their website at: http://BGA.dollarsforscholars.org.
The Nineveh Country StoreBusiness of the month for: January 2015
Nineveh Country Store-A Tradition of Friendliness
The Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to present The Nineveh Country Store as it’s “Spotlight” business of the month. A business of this name has been in the same location on Route 7 in the heart of the village of Nineveh for over a century. Visitors to today’s incarnation of the store can peruse the vintage photos displayed inside.
Pat DeGaramo, the current owner, and her late husband, John, and sons John and Gordon, opened the “new” Nineveh Country Store in 1987. Pat, who was an army brat, and John grew up here in the area. Pat left a career in nursing and says truthfully, “we didn’t have a clue…” how to do a business at first; but with the help and advice from friends and family, they headed down a path that has led them to today’s successful and popular business.
Boasting all of the “convenience store” items expected from a “Country Store”, gas, soda, tobacco and beer, Pat is particularly proud of their tradition of excellence for the best breakfast pizza in town (“of course, we’re the only store in town”), stromboli, pizza, chicken wings and a wide variety of brownies, cakes, pies and other assorted goodies. Pat’s favorite part of the business besides the customers (who are like family) is probably coming up with new recipes, for home cooking from scratch is what they are known for.
Pat remembers the struggles over the years including a devastating fire the year after opening, the two terrible floods of 2006 and 2011, wars, terrorism and up and down economies; but “we’ve had the very best customers and have been able to stay busy. We’re more grateful than we can say.”
Drive to quaint Nineveh on Route 7 and look for The Nineveh Country Store. Stop in for a bite and say hello to Pat, home cook extraordinaire; or call 693-1313 for further information.
Kelsey Manor Home for AdultsBusiness of the month for: November, 2014
The Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to spotlight a local business that fulfills a need for a generation of baby boomers who require a place to live, companionship and/or special care in their elder years.
Pat Stafford, owner of Kelsey Manor Home for Adults in Afton, became a full-time cosmetologist in 1964. Involvement in this work brought her in contact with many people of various age groups and backgrounds. As she looks back over the past fifty years, she remembers that she came to the realization that many of her dearest friends were at least twenty-five years her senior. Through the years she would take friends and family into her home after illnesses to help them recuperate until they were ready to go home, or she would stay with them nights in their own homes.
In 1994, a local adult home had a troublesome resident and asked Pat if she would care for him and his wife to alleviate the problem. She decided that it was time to apply for State Certification and to do this work “for real” as a business.
She recognized the need for eldercare and knew that she had a real aptitude for what was required.Consequently, she became a part-time cosmetologist and a full-time caregiver.
In 2004, at her location at 215 Main Street in Afton, Pat saw the necessity for all her residents to be on the ground floor with private rooms and half baths and, of course, a handicapped entrance. The Home was upgraded to its current state. For the past eighteen years there have been a total of fifty residents at Kelsey Manor Home for Adults. At this time, there are the maximum number of six men and women in residence.
Pat employs three part-time assistants, Linda Estelle, Cindi Heath, and Susan Harmon. Together they see that their residents get proper medical care and have a safe and enjoyable stay in pleasant, homey surroundings.
Questions about Kelsey Manor Home for Adults should be directed to Pat Stafford at 639-1164.
Forget Me Not Equine Retirement CenterBusiness of the month for: September 2014
FORGET ME NOT EQUINE RETIREMENT CENTER
The Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to spotlight a very special and unique local business this month. Almost everyone looks forward to retirement–a time to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle. At Forget Me Not Equine Retirement Center/ Highland Hollow Farm in Afton, former show horses, breeding stock and workhorses do just that.
In 1984, Bob and Dona Davey decided to move their horses to the family farm in Afton from their home in Highland, Maryland. Bob, born in Afton, retired as a research scientist at the USDA National Agriculture Research Center, Beltsville, Md. Dona left the faculty of the Animal Science Department of the University of Maryland where she taught animal nutrition courses, rabbit production, horse breeding farm management and was faculty supervisor for the equine research farm. When they moved to Afton, they expanded their herd and bred and showed their Morgans as Highland Hollow Farm. Their horses did quite well in various disciplines. One gelding, Dunscore Titan, purchased and shown by Delores Bucci of Baldwinsville, NY was named Morgan Park Horse of the Year for two years by the American Horse Show Association . Titan is now retired at Forget Me Not living in the paddock and stall he was born in 24 years ago.
After Bob Davey’s death in 2005, Dona changed the direction of the farm and developed Forget Me Not Equine Retirement Center. Two retired horses have been boarded at the farm since 2005. Currently, the youngest horse, a 20 years old and a 41 year old pony are boarded there. Special diets are often required due to lack of teeth, decreased ability to digest food or metabolic problems such as Cushing’s disease. FMNERC specializes in nutritional problems. The horses have 24 hr supervision with both Dona, the farm owner, and an employee, Bonnie Snyder, living on the farm. Although most of the horse’s owners live out of state, they like to visit, bringing treats and spending time with their old equine friends.
Each horse has its own stall and, depending on weather, horses are turned out during the day or night into pastures or exercise lots all of which have shelters. Horses can also be exercised in the indoor arena in severe weather.
The farm farrier, Mario Palombo, visits the farm at least monthly to care for the feet and Valley Vet Associates of Sidney provides 24-hour veterinary care. Steve Richards of Hamilton, an equine dentist, also helps with tooth care.
The center is located in Nineveh at 357 County Rt. 26, Prospective clients often come through recommendations by boarders, vets and trainers Contact the Center through their website, at www.equine-retirement.com, the Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce website at www.aftonchamberofcommerce, or by phone at 607-639-2409.
Cents-Able SolutionsBusiness of the month for: August 2014
In 2008, Adam Nichols started Cents-Able Solutions, a full time Lawn care and snow plowing business that would serve customers in the Afton area and surrounding communities.
The roots of the business were formed when Adam started mowing lawns while he was in high school. Through the early 90’s he could be found mowing lawns and shoveling snow all through the Afton area. After High School Adam joined the Navy and served aboard the USS John F Kennedy aircraft carrier before attending Broome Community College to earn a degree in Business Management. After working in management for several years Adam ventured out on his own, creating Cents-Able Solutions.
“Our first year a new customer told me, I just want someone who will take care of my property for the next five years.” recalls Adam. “The idea when I started was to provide a professional service that people could rely on. Now seven seasons later we are still caring for that customer’s property all year round. I even have some of the same customers that I took care of back in high school.”
Being a part of the local community is important to Adam. Partnering with the local suppliers, having the support of local businesses, along with referrals from happy customers has contributed to the success of the company. Adam hopes to continue to elevate the level of professionalism within the industry, and create bonds with customers for years to come.
Today Adam makes his home in Sanford along with his wife April, and their children Lucas and Jordan. Being a small business owner has not been just about providing a service to customers. Although Adam prides himself on providing professional, honest, and friendly service he is most proud of the lessons he is able to pass on to his children. “Building a small business has been a family affair that has allowed our children to see the importance of our faith, hard work, and integrity.”
Although the basics are the same today the scope of the business has changed. Adam now enjoys the assistance of several part time employees and partners with local small businesses. Cents-Able Solutions now serves customers in several counties and into Pennsylvania. In the last few years the addition of dump trucks and compact equipment have allowed Cents-Able Solutions to provide a variety of additional services.
In the Summer season they are busy operating weekly mowing routes, typically through the end of October when they begin Fall clean ups. In the winter months they focus on Commercial Snow and Ice Management. They have spent seven successful winters ensuring parking lots and roadways are cleared and safe for tenants, customers, and visitors.
To find out more about them Like their page on Facebook, facebook.com/centsablesolutions, or find them online at www.cents-ablesolutions.com.
Frog Pond FarmsBusiness of the month for: June 2014
The Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to spotlight a local business that has become a landmark attraction in our area.
In the summer of 1987, with an abundance of large gray hubbard squash, Ronald and Karen Noxon brought Frog Pond Farms into existence. Today, the full-service produce supplier on Route 7 just west of Bainbridge, is a far cry from the small table of produce and tin can used to conduct business in those first days.
The “Frog Pond”, as it has fondly become known, draws its customers from all over the southern tier and beyond. They are open from April until just after Halloween each year, and many will admit to the excitement of “Opening Day” and the feeling of loss when the ‘season’ is over in early November. Drawn by the full variety of seasonal produce, much of it local, of only the best quality, customers come each year ready to start their gardens, vegetable and flower, or just to buy the fresh vine ripened fruits and vegetables.
Produce isn’t all that draws people to Frog Pond Farms. Ron Noxon probably underestimates thr curiosity factor that his verbal calculations of each customers purchase plays in pulling in new business. It is pure ‘show biz’. No matter how large the order, Ron mentally calculates each item’s price and then adds it to the previous item, speaking the total aloud as it accrues. Paper and pencil are never seen, but one cannot experience this wonder without going away amazed. Ron has done this year after year, until recently when it was time for his son, Sean, to take the reins. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and a tradition continues.
Karen is also a driving force of this business. She can be seen running around keeping their large staff on their toes loading and unloading bedding plants and produce in the Spring and mums and pumpkins in the Fall. Karen is now handing over some of her duties to their daughter, Ronda.
In addition to growing things of the plant kingdom, Frog Pond Farms grows and sells hogs, providing in excess of 200 piglets each Spring. One can also find Hereford cattle, chickens (providing fresh eggs) , rabbits, etc. as one explores the property. Children especially enjoy accompanying their parents on their shopping trips. There are farm animals for them to watch and enjoy, a corn bin for them to play in, seasonal displays and at times, lots of mud! They even serve freshly made donuts each Saturday.
The Frog Pond Farm’s “experience” is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It continues to be a “family” business enjoyed by families of all kinds who shop there. Cash is the payment of choice (no CCs) and friendliness, parking and service are FREE.
Rainbow’s End – A Fun & Unique Consignment ShopBusiness of the month for: February 2014
Rainbow’s End – A Fun and Unique Consignment Shop, located in Sidney, NY.
Owners Elana Hulsey and Pamela Ross are proud to be represented in the membership of both the Afton and the Sidney Chambers of Commerce. Both have been residents of Afton for the past 12 years. Elana is a transplant of Los Angeles, CA, and has become deeply involved in area activities. She is currently President of the Afton Chamber of Commerce and an active member of the Afton Community Theater. Pam grew up in Rochester, New York but moved here from Oxford, NC. She is VP of the Afton Chamber and chairs the Friends of Afton Village service group. Both have raised their families and wanted to have the fulfillment that providing a valuable service to area communities would involve. The economic health of the area seemed to call for a local place to shop with beautiful surroundings and friendly, helpful service, eliminating the need to travel to larger cities. Rainbow’s End is a destination for shoppers by providing items that they just “can’t live without!” It’s more than just a “consignment” shop; it’s like a high-end department store with thrift store prices.
Rainbow’s End was the result of planetary alignment, fate, and the need for two retirees to supplement their social security income. Started in 2011, two weeks before the flood, this unique consignment shop got off to a shaky start, having to close two weeks after its official opening. After having to refute the rumors of its early demise due to damage to the old Fairbanks Pharmacy building on Main Street where they are located, the store came back in a surge of local excitement. It seemed that Sidney area residents were looking for a place to shop that catered to its needs for high quality and low prices.
Pam and Elana were adamant about not creating another “thrift” shop. They wanted to have a store where local shoppers could access quality brand-name items of clothing, house wares and home décor, some new and some very gently cared for, without having to travel great distances or pay high retail prices. What resulted was a pricing program that starts at 70% off retail and then discounts from there. Clothing and other items can go as low as $1. It is the hope that this pricing will benefit both consignors and customers.
When Elana was asked about the “Fun” in the business’ name, she commented, “We try to greet every customer and consignor with a smile and a warm welcome. Our pricing is very unusual, so we educate our customers as they arrive. It gives us a chance to connect with them a little, and for customers to know we are there to be of service.”
Consignors flock to Rainbow’s End for their gently-used treasures, wanting to receive better proceeds than a yard sale would bring and at the same time, saving themselves the efforts that such a sale entails. Rainbow’s End offers a “Drop-and-Run” program, which is basically: make an appointment, bring in your items, and be on your way. Of course, they would prefer that consignors become customers and shop when they “drop”; but for those with busy schedules, this program and the fact that the store stays open from 11-6 from Wed.-Sat. and is open on Sunday afternoons from noon-4, provides easy access for working customers and consignors alike.
Pam and Elana are proud to say that during their first two and a half years in business, they have achieved an important goal. They have a loyal consignor and customer base who, when on a hunt for that “unique” item, frequently say, “I’m so glad I thought to come here first!”
Afton Farrier SupplyBusiness of the month for: December 2013
The Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to spotlight one of its local businesses this month. Afton Farrier Supply was established in December of 2004 by Joyce Haak, initially to fulfill the needs of local farriers and her farrier husband, Bruce, who were driving 4 1⁄2 hours one- way to purchase horseshoeing supplies.
Starting with one distributor, Joyce now deals with 20 nationally known companies. The first horseshoes sold were plain steel fronts and hinds. She now has expanded to steel and aluminum shoes for Standardbreds, Thoroughbreds, gaited horses, reiners, ponies and mules. For those horses that have torn away their hoof wall, glue-on shoes are now in stock. And for the client that likes that extra bling, the adhesives for the glue-on shoes come in hot pink and lime green.
To nail on those shoes, Joyce has an assortment of horseshoe nails from which to choose. A wide supply of leather and high tech plastic pads that go underneath the shoes to protect the sole of the horses foot; hospital, wedged, frog support, and snowball pads and even the flapper are part of the extensive inventory at Afton Farrier Supply.
Joyce’s dedication to providing the best equipment and services to farriers has led to the availability of a wide selection of professional brand rasps, knives and nippers to shape and level the horses feet; these are in stock at all times.
Local and area farriers know that hospitality is also part of the mix when they visit Joyce to discuss issues concerning their horses. A chat or serious conversation over a hot cup of coffee is just part of the service.
Continuing education is very important for farriers; and each spring, Afton Farrier Supply collaborates with a local equine veterinarian to conduct a farriers clinic. Supplying therapeutic horseshoes for those hoof-care needs is an important part of Joyce’s supply business.
Located just off I-88 at 417 County Road 39 in Afton, nine years of selling professional quality products to local, regional and nationally-known farriers has helped Afton Farrier Supply thrive. They offer daily shipping of farrier supplies for those last minute needs as well as store hours that are convenient to farriers.
Afton Farrier Supply is committed to bring affordable farrier supplies to the professional farrier as well as the horse owner. They can be reached at (607) 206-3867, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and online at www.aftonfarriersupply.tripod.com .
Joyce Haak is dedicated to providing quality products and service, and Afton Farrier Supply is the Greater Afton Area’s “Spotlight Business of the Month”.
MR ConstructionBusiness of the month for: September 2013
MR Construction is a small independently-owned construction company founded in 2002 by Mario Ruttkiewicz Sr. For 11 years, MR Construction (607/343-7927) has been providing the area with quality European craftsmanship offering all phases of construction including remodeling, carpentry, electrical, masonry, roofing, plumbing , and more.
Mario, originally from Bad Kreuznach, Germany, started his construction career in 1977 with an apprenticeship in masonry and continued his training to become a master mason. After he completed his training, he was required to join the German Air Force where he served for two years. Following his mandatory military service he began an apprenticeship in carpentry and became a journeyman. He then worked in the European construction field for many years, mastering many phases of construction. Throughout his career in Germany a sense of quality and craftsmanship was instilled in his work, a trait which he still prides himself on today.
In 1992 Mario fulfilled a life-long dream of coming to America. Here he worked for a few local construction companies before taking a position as a construction foreman in Rochester for a major construction firm. That position required him to travel extensively, so he decided to take his experience and expertise and start his own business.
Mario is thankful for all his clients, past and present, for making his business a success. MR Construction is a growing business and Mario looks forward to continuing for many years to come. Mario makes his home in Nineveh with his wife, Donna, and two children, Mario Jr. and Tonie.
The Rinker AgencyBusiness of the month for: August 2013
The Rinker Agency, LLC has been providing various forms of insurance coverage for the Afton area since 1977, when Lou Rinker first opened the doors to his 191 Main St., Afton location.. Working for several years on his own, Lou had, for many, become the ‘face’ of Rinker Agency. His wife, Vivian, also added her talents to the business through the years. In 2007, the Rinkers granddaughter, Roxanna Rinker, joined the team while finishing her Bachelors Degree and insurance licensing. After investing several years in the business with her grandfather and “learning the ropes”, Roxanna became the new owner in January 2011.
For over 35 years, Rinker Agency has insured individuals, families and businesses. Their ability to source numerous insurance companies’ plans gives Rinker’s the flexibility to quote and place their clients with the coverage that best matches their needs and budgets
Nowadays, you can catch Lou popping in to offer words of advice; and Vivian adding her expertise when needed. Roxanna now employs four or five full and part-time workers to help her run the “family business”. In addition to insurance, the company now offers a tax preparation service located on Main St. in Bainbridge. Roxanna is carrying on the tradition of honesty, fairness and exceptional work ethic established by her grandfather.
Roxanna Rinker attributes the company’s success to the support of their clients and the community, and trusts that the Rinker Agency will remain a strong and stable place of business in the Afton area for many years to come.
The Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to spotlight this fine member of the Afton business community. Information on many of the businesses in the Afton area is available on our website: www.aftonchamberofcommerce.com. To learn about joining the Chamber, call Elana Hulsey at 639-3824.
Fischer PrintingBusiness of the month for: July 2013
Fischer Printing Corp. was founded in 1875 to fill the need for a commercial printer in the North Hudson area of New Jersey. Founded by Henry Fischer in Union Hill, NJ, his son, George came into the business in 1903, after working in the trade in NYC. The third generation, Gerard, joined his father after serving in World War II. At that time, letterpress printing was king and the company had many modern machines to produce the work that the customers desired. The fourth generation, Ken, joined the firm after serving in the Viet Nam War. Educated at the RIT School of Printing in Rochester, NY, Ken then incorporated many modern technologies into the production of his printing business.
In 2009, Ken and his wife, Hyuncha, left the hustle and bustle of Union City, NJ behind and moved the business to Afton, NY. While the production process didn’t change in the relocation of the business, the quiet atmosphere of the country added to the everyday quality of their lives. Ken’s has retained his connections to his clientele outside the area principally because the quality of his service has remained solid and dependable.
Since its founding, the company has always put its customers first. Although the introduction of new technologies and the production of quality printed material has been important, the real value for Ken Fischer lies in the service that he provides to his clients.
The Fischer Printing staff prides itself in its ability to take a job right from an idea to a finished product that its customers can present with pride. They offer a wide variety of materials and processes to fit the needs of any size business. From business cards to brochures, flyers to corporate presentations, Fischer Printing prides itself on offering a one-stop, one-of-a-kind printing experience.
Ken Fischer is now building a local following for Fischer Printing, which is located at 417 Ives Hill Road in Afton. They can be reached by phone at 607-639-4100 or by email at email@example.com.
Henry’s Drive-InBusiness of the month for: June 2013
The Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce its first “Spotlight” on a local “business of the month” by highlighting a local restaurant that has become a symbol of good “down home” quality cooking.
Henry’s Drive-In was established on May 3, 1987 to a rousing vote of local confidence that predicted its demise within three months. Its visionary owner, Henry Bender, previously residing in Lebanon, PA, where he drove for a bus company for many years, had moved to the Afton area in 1983, where he met and married. He and his new wife, Bertha, forged ahead with their vision anyway. Twenty-six years later, armed with determination and good old-fashioned cooking, Henry’s Drive-In is now a ‘destination’ for many local residents and visitors alike.
In 1993, Henry turned the business over to his wife and daughter, Jackie Schultz. Bertha has worked at Afton’s school cafeteria for over 30 years, giving her a certain ‘expertise’ with food. Jackie oversees the restaurant, and helps to foster a friendly atmosphere where loyal patrons claim that it has also become a “news center” for the village. Henry feels that the success of the restaurant lies in his customers’ fellowship with him, the easy astrosphere, the great food and fantastic prices.
Henry’s menu is influenced by their costumer’s preferences. They make everything fresh, using high quality ingredients. There are daily specials consisting of Monday’s chicken and biscuits, Friday’s macaroni and cheese with fried haddock, and a ‘Chef’s choice’ the rest of the week, such as; meatloaf, pork chops, or beef tips and noodles.
Henry’s word-of-mouth advertising keeps business pouring in, which seems to be working well for them. Henry says that when they started, there would be days when they had no customers; it was hard, but they hung on. Nowadays, it can be hard to find a seat.
Henry Bender and his family are very civic minded and feel it is important to give back to the community. They were the first local Afton business to join the new Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is delighted to return the favor by having them become the first business member to be their “Business of the Month”.
Henry’s Drive In is located on the right on Highway 7 just outside the Afton Village center, heading west. They are open Monday-Saturday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stop in for a memorable meal.
AFTON CHAMBER SPOTLIGHTS LOCAL FABRIC STOREBusiness of the month for: March 2014
This month, the Greater Afton Area Chamber of Commerce is spotlighting one of our community’s most established businesses. Sew Clever was established in 1979 by Afton farm owner, Dawn Cross, as the answer to local needle workers after the close of Afton’s Jenk’s and Schwartz Department Store, their source for fabric and notions in the area.
Dawn, who had been teaching tailoring as well as hand needlework and embroidery with Extension Services for many years, opened Sew Clever in a space added to her home, the Italianate Victorian on the sharp curve at 195 Rout 41 East out of Afton. She recalls that all of the timbers used to build the shop came from the dairy farm’s acreage. Being a sewing machine service tech since 1980, she combined her teaching expertise, technical knowledge and love of fabric and sewing into a creative resource.
Dawn would hold classes and teach not only beginning sewing but basically anything her customers desired under the “needlework” umbrella. In 1992, after the store’s popularity was apparent, a second addition was made. She now had a larger classroom area, a space for her principal Viking Sewing Machines plus several other brands, and an extensive supply of quality fabrics from many manufacturers and a wide range of sewing notions.
In 2001, Dawn’s daughter, Amy, after a long career in Manhattan in the fabric industry as a buyer and fabric coordinator for Vogue and Butterick, decided to pull up stakes and join her Mom in the family business. Amy has an extensive knowledge of computers and a keen sense of color. Although she didn’t dabble in sewing as much as her Mom, Amy added a new level of expertise to the business, which by now had entered into the world of quilting and machine embroidery.
Today, Sew Clever, is the local mecca for quilters, machine embroiderers, home sewers and anyone who loves beautiful fabric. Dawn and Amy continually broaden their knowledge with seminars and technical workshops to keep abreast of what’s new in the industry, in order to better inform their customers and service their machines. Amy does incredible computer-generated custom embroidery to order, and both ladies create quilts set to impress.
Sew Clever currently offers classes in beginning to advanced sewing, quilting, embroidery software, machine embroidery, and as Amy says, “If they want to learn it, we’ll teach it!” Sew Clever is open M/W/Th/Fri 9-5, Tues 9-2, Sat 9-3. Classes have varied schedules, so a call to them at 639-2460 and visit them on Facebook..