Chamber to recognize businesses at annual event

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce will honor 8 businesses, individuals and organizations during its annual event “Cheers to Business! — A Celebration of Business, Collaboration and Progress,” set for Friday, Jan. 18, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Holiday Inn, 308 N. Comrie Ave., according to a news release.

Members of the community and chamber are invited, and proceeds will support the chamber’s mission of improving the region’s business climate, economy and quality of life. Tickets are $75.

Guests at the event will enjoy cocktails, entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, cuisine stations, dessert and fundraising raffles.

Awardees were nominated by chamber members and chosen by committee. They are as follows:

∫ Small Business Award — Gloversville Sewing Center, Gloversville and Saratoga Springs.

Gloversville Sewing Center has been Fulton County’s one-stop shopping destination for all things sewing since the business was begun by Diana and John Marshall in 1981. With hard work, commitment and a can-do spirit, they have grown to have 14 employees and the largest inventory of sewing machines, fabrics, books and patterns in the area. Gloversville Sewing Center was recently named 2017 Bernina Presidential Award Winner.

∫ Centennial Business Award — Willing Helpers Home For Women, Johnstown.

Willing Helpers’ Home For Women was opened in 1908 and is a not-for-profit organization providing “comfortable, private rooms and board in a well-managed, spacious living environment with all the amenities of home.” The home offers 24-hour supervised care for 20 residents, and offerings have expanded recently with a new respite program. A nomination for the award said, “The staff at Willing Helpers’ Home has made it their commitment to present a compassionate and cordial environment that advocates security, independence and comfort. Together, the quality of life and services make the home a distinguished facility for first-class living. It is an invaluable gem in our community serving those we love.”

∫ Barbara V. Spraker Tourism Partner Award — Caroga Arts Collective, Caroga Lake.

The goal of the Caroga Arts Collective is to “strengthen the Caroga Lake experience through collective expression of the arts; re-energize the spirit of the southern Adirondacks through music, various artists and gatherings; and generate commerce and tourism in the area by hosting popular events.” Kyle Barrett Price is executive and artistic director; Hinano Ishii is assistant executive director; Deborah Barrett Price is assistant artistic director; and Stephanie Price-Wong is artistic administrator.

Now in its seventh year, the Caroga Lake Music Festival brought 80 world-class artists from across the country to reside in Caroga Lake for up to five weeks. Resident artists came from 22 states and seven countries. A total of 40 performances were presented, with 6,500 people attending.

In addition to the festival, the group continues to expand offerings and create unique partnerships. In 2018, they offered three educational music camps for area music students; hosted the National Summer Cello Institute and Feldenkrais Workshop, which moved its location from Madison, Wisc.; sponsored its inaugural MyHil Film Series; and brought artists together for the second annual InterArts Symposium.

∫ Thomas B. Constantino Entrepreneurial Award — Kelly and Joe Semione — Perfection Cleaning and Meco’s Perfect Scoop, Gloversville.

The Semiones of Gloversville are husband-and-wife entrepreneurs who believe in keeping their eyes out for great opportunities and then offering an excellent product at a fair price. Their current businesses include Perfection Cleaning, which Joe started in 1984, and Meco’s Perfect Scoop ice cream shop, which Kelly opened in 2014. The two also owned and sold Gloversville Bottle and Can and Perfect Redemption bottle and can redemption center in Meco.

“Living up to their promises, having an owner presence, and not taking shortcuts” are some of the tenets the two follow in their business lives. They are proud to house their locations in the hamlet of Meco and have made every effort to be a positive presence in the region by taking pride in the appearance of their shop and offices and the friendliness of their staff members. Perfection Cleaning currently employs six people, and the business has 25 commercial customers. Meco’s Perfect Scoop employs eight to 10 people typically.

∫ Young Professional of the Year Award — Amy McCray of CG Roxane, Johnstown

McCray is Northeast Regional Human Resources and Safety Manager for Crystal Geyser Roxane, located in Johnstown. She earned her master in business administration degree from the University of Phoenix and is a Senior Professional in Human Resources, Society for Human Resource Management-Senior Certified Professional. She was human resources manager at DHL Supply Chain from 2014 to 2018.

McCray is a lifelong area resident and received the New York State Parent-Teacher Association lifetime achievement award and the Target Best in Community Award. She serves on the board of directors for the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie Counties Workforce Development Board. In addition, she is a community business partner with Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Pathways in Technology Early College High School and Ag PTECH. She participates in fundraising for various charities and believes in being involved in her community.

∫ Agricultural Business of the Year — Ag PTECH, St. Johnsville.

Ag PTECH was born when a consortium of Canajoharie Central School District, HFM Board of Cooperative Educational Services, local businesses, and area colleges was one of seven winners of funding from New York State Pathways in Technology Early College High School partnership awards in 2015. The NYS PTECH public-private partnership builds on the nationally recognized success of IBM’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School in New York City. Denise M. Capece is principal of Ag PTECH, which houses ninth- and 10-graders in the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District in St. Johnsville; and 11- and 12-graders at HFM BOCES and a participating college. Years 13 to 14, if needed, take place at a participating college.

Ag PTECH is a new model for secondary education that trades classrooms for “innovation spaces” and lectures for group collaboration and hands-on learning. Students may focus on skills in nine career clusters — agricultural business, agricultural science, agricultural engineering technology focused on power machinery, animal industry, biological technology, culinary arts, environmental studies, sustainable crop production, and fisheries and wildlife technologies. The school’s website explains, “Ag PTECH looks and functions more like a hybrid between college and the workplace.”

∫ Edward L. Wilkinson Industry of the Year — Sticker Mule, Amsterdam.

Sticker Mule, a producer of custom-printed products, is one of the fastest growing businesses in the area. It was founded in a small factory in Amsterdam, and the majority of the Sticker Mule team is based there. Employees work from 16 countries in four continents and are “united by a desire to do great work while maintaining a stress-free work environment that’s designed to attract like-minded people who enjoy our culture.”

National brand manager Chad Majewski said, “We offer above-market compensation, signing bonuses, flexible hours, and the ability to work from where you want. We continue to put our employees first and make sure that everyone is treated the same regardless of their position in the company.”

Sticker Mule offers free perks like gym memberships, monthly catered meals to all three shifts in two plants, pizza/donuts days, free apparel and local excursions. The company’s growth has made a positive impact on the community and more growth is expected in the next year.

∫ Chamber Family Award –Brown’s Ford, Johnstown and Amsterdam.

R. Brown and Sons began its mission of assisting customers with their transportation needs in 1956 when Raymond, Richard and Robert Brown opened a Texaco station on Route 30A in Johnstown. In 1963, the Browns acquired the Ford franchise. To date, Brown’s Ford has enjoyed selling and servicing Fords for customers from Fulton, Montgomery, Hamilton and Schoharie Counties, with the motto, “We Make It Easy.”

Family members Jeffrey, Derek and Meg Brown are all active in the family businesses, that include Brown’s Ford of Amsterdam; Brown’s Ford of Johnstown, and Brown’s Collision and Coachworks in Amsterdam. The company is a Blue Oval-certified dealership. Members of the family are also involved in community-building groups including Rotary, and the companies support a number of local charities and sports teams.

Mark Kilmer, chamber president, said, “This special annual event is a wonderful opportunity for business people, not-for-profit community members, and individuals to get together, celebrate our region, and honor these impressive awardees. It’s a night not to be missed!”

Early sponsors include gold sponsor, St. Mary’s Healthcare; silver sponsor, Sticker Mule; bronze sponsors, Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home and Frasier Enterprises; dessert sponsor, National Grid; music sponsor, Benjamin Moore and Co.; media sponsors, The Leader-Herald and The Recorder; cuisine sponsors, Jankowski Insurance Agency, Steet Toyota and CG Roxane.; and supporting sponsor, Devil Dave’s Bloody Mary Sticks.

Businesses who are interested in sponsoring the celebration are welcome. A list of sponsor benefits is available from the chamber.

The chamber represents a large group of members in the region, at close to 1,000 strong. The organization’s website states, “The Fulton Montgomery Chamber is the leading voice of businesses in the region, providing advocacy, resources and solutions for members.”

For more information or to sponsor or attend the chamber’s annual celebration, contact the chamber by phone at (518) 725-0641, via email at info@fultonmontgomeryny.org, or visit www.fultonmontgomeryny.org.