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Annual CRG Fall Gala fundraiser offers a night of fun and games

Guests at the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth's annual Fall Gala play a hand of blackjack at the casino themed event on Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — Area business professionals, community members and local officials gathered at the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth for a night of fun and games on Thursday while celebrating economic advancements throughout the county over the past year during the CRG’s annual Fall Gala fundraiser.

This year’s event coincided with the grand opening of the CRG’s new business incubator and co-working space located on the second floor of the CRG building located at 34 W. Fulton St. where small businesses and startups can rent fully-equipped, shared workspaces.

“It’s so expensive sometimes to get that initial office space to start,” said CRG Economic Development Specialist Ken Adamczyk pointing to the business incubator and co-work space as an affordable option for new and small businesses whose resources may become overextended trying to outfit offices with furniture, equipment and services.

The flexible space will be able to accommodate any number of individuals and organizations with office furniture and cubicles that can be installed and reconfigured according to the needs of each business. Existing Wi-Fi will service those utilizing the space along with access to electronics including televisions and printers.

Inhabitants will further benefit from access to CRG staff as mentors and connections to the agency’s business and governmental network. The CRG has also organized a calendar of seminars and training sessions next year to help new business owners grow and develop new ideas.

Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President and CEO Ronald Peters welcomes guests to the agency's annual Fall Gala on Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

“They’ll have everything for a new startup or a young business that wants to get inexpensive space to save money so that they can put more money into their business to get things started,” Adamczyk said. “If they need to meet contacts and get to know people we have those contacts.”

Three think tank rooms will offer entrepreneurs a space where they can brainstorm ideas together. Two conference rooms will offer a more private work space.

“Back in the day, 10-20 years ago, information was always protected, we didn’t want anybody else to know. Now this generation is more about collaboration and working together so we wanted to make think tank rooms where they can get together to do that,” Adamczyk said.

The CRG showed off the renovated space while hosting the agency’s annual Fall Gala which this year took a cue from the incubator for an informal casino themed event that allowed guests to mix and mingle while enjoying refreshments, live music and entertainment and trying their luck at a host of table games.

Adamczyk organized the event that reimagined the typical gala where guests sit together for a meal before a lengthy presentation.

“People can now mingle and have fun, because this is where they’re going to meet and learn each other,” Adamczyk said. “We don’t do enough of this.”

The new concept proved effective as attendance grew from roughly 70 guests during the 2018 Fall Gala to roughly 120 this year.

“I thought this was a speakeasy,” joked state Assemblyman Robert Smullen while briefly addressing those in attendance.

Smullen complimented the CRG and President and CEO Ronald Peters for their collaborative economic development efforts in Fulton County over the past year and continuing into the future.

“I’m very excited to be a partner with CRG to be able to work on behalf of all the citizens,” Smullen said. “I wore my work belt here tonight to be able to let everybody know that I’m going to work to be able to make economic development a reality going forward. To Ron, all the members of the board and everybody in the community, let’s go forth and do great things together.”

The Fall Gala served as a celebration of the successes in the county over the past year which Peters attributed in part to the partnerships between local officials and organizations while delivering a few remarks.

“We’ve been a key resource in bringing the county together with businesses, we bring together and create initiatives,” Peters said. “What we do impacts the region, but what you all do impacts the region as well.”

“At the local level we’ve deepened our philosophies and our focus on downtowns by creating partnerships, opening dialogue with all of our key stakeholders. The work CRG does throughout the year in partnership with local and regional leaders makes Fulton County an exciting place with a very bright future for everyone in Fulton County.”

Peters went on to thank event sponsors, the CRG staff and Board of Directors and those in attendance. After addressing the crowd, Peters, members of the CRG and other local officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the business incubator before calling on guests to hit the tables and enjoy themselves.

Among the crowd was Mayor Vincent DeSantis who figuratively tipped his hat to the CRG for the work they’ve done in Gloversville to date while expressing his support for the new incubator space located in the city’s downtown that will attract and foster new businesses.

“I think this incubator is the perfect thing because you have what’s called the creative class which are young people that are educated, that are looking at starting their own enterprise and this gives them an opportunity. There are a lot of people with great ideas, but not a lot of money and so they need a start and that’s exactly what the incubator is,” DeSantis.

CRG Board of Directors Vice Chair Leslie Ford, superintendent of Northville Central School District, also spoke favorably of the incubator space pointing out how the space has already brought creatives together through its construction.

“It’s supported by artists like Bill Coffey who worked on the table for CRG based on all of our roots,” Ford said pointing to conference tables Coffey constructed from reclaimed bowling alley lanes. “This is a very grounds up thing and community based. The rotaries of Glovesville and Northville hung the walls.”

Ford herself painted three abstract works to adorn the think tank rooms to help spark ideas.

“They’re based on what people who are sitting around trying to come up with ideas might be thinking about,” Ford explained. “It’s all about building that kind of vibe, the excitement of working together.”

“This is one way where we have reached that vision of growing the businesses, growing Fulton County one business at a time in a really new way,” she continued. “Into this space will come all different types of ideas, businesses, networks and partnerships, they can happen in this space.”

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