Accent Your Windows
2522 Fawn Ridge,Castleton • 479.2733
Owners: Deborah Meddaugh and Nina Meddaugh
Describe your business: Accent Your Windows offers custom window treatments and bedding primarily for residential customers in the Capital District. Fabric treatments such as draperies, valances, shades and cornices are among the selection. We also carry all leading brands of blinds, shutters, and other varieties of window coverings such as Hunter Douglas, Graber, Kirsch and more. All fabric treatments are fabricated in our own, local workroom where attention is given to every detail. From the initial design and selection of fabrics, trims, and hardware to the final installation in your home, this business can provide you with all of your window and bedding needs. Many area designers have chosen Accent Your Windows as their drapery workroom because they know they can count on excellent quality and workmanship.
How long have you been in business? Over 6 years.
Why did you pick this particular industry? We both had a love for creating window treatments. It is a business that offers a great deal of satisfaction by providing our clients with a product that they love. The majority of the time our clients tell us the end result is even better than what they had anticipated!
Is there anyone who influenced you? Both family and friends encouraged us to start our business. Their confidence in our skills and talent gave us the backing to start our new venture. We are a mother-in-law/daughter-in-law co-owned business; we realize this is an unusual combination, but it works great for us! We believe our strengths compliment each other and have helped us grow our business to what it is today.
What do you like best about being in business for yourselves? In our business we get a great deal of satisfaction by providing our clients with something that gives them pleasure for years to come. And, we enjoy getting to know them.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Always keep your clients satisfied by offering the best service, products and knowledge to your clients. Regularly attend industry conferences and networking so you continue to stay excited and fresh with new ideas.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? We learned that our quality requirements are at a higher level than large, out-of-state commercial workrooms. Five years ago, during a very busy time we sent a few jobs out to be fabricated. We weren’t happy with the workmanship and were told that these workrooms have “tolerance levels” for size discrepancies in items they produce. Also, fabric patterns may not match up perfectly, but they also consider this “acceptable”. We don’t consider this acceptable for our clients and realize what we offer is superior.
Hours: By appointment for consultations, but our regular business hours are Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Both in-home consultations and in-shop appointments are available off hours.
American Sun Control LLC
Owner: Robert J. Bouchey, president
Describe your business: American Sun Control LLC is an Authorized Window film dealer/installer representing the 3M Building Safety Solutions Department. We install 3M Window Films for commercial buildings as well as Residential Window Films which are used for security/privacy, UV protection and for solar heat control. All films may be installed on new and existing glass and using the 3M Scotchshield Window Film will add the security of accidental or an unwanted burglary, and protect anyone from the risk of flying glass in the event of a storm or explosion. All 3M Window Films eliminate the harmful UV Rays and are recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as a UV protectant.
How long have you been in business? 8 years.
Why did you pick this particular industry? Several years ago I was looking for this product for my own home. I had experienced severe fading in my den and investigated into what I could use on our windows to help control any fading.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? When you have children, flexibility in your schedule is a big plus! I like the challenge and the decision making process that goes with running your own business.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Take the time to begin your business. Take each step as though you may change your mind until you are comfortable. Too many businesses do not succeed because of growing beyond their limits in the early stages.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? Honesty, and above all, service is paramount. That goes from keeping appointments to finishing each job with a schedule. Today’s customers do not have free, flexible time.
Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Appointments for estimating/consultation required.
Additional information: I feel we are not selling a particular service, but that we are providing a product that serves a purpose, and above all is useful to all of our customers. Whether it is a homeowner trying to reduce fading and help reduce the solar heat load or the commercial client who may be looking to reducing their energy costs.
23 Dove Street, Albany •462.9176
Owners: Felix and Rosanna Bongiorno
Describe your business: Bongiorno’s is a small, cozy restaurant that offers residents and visitors alike a taste of Italy, and is one of the best buys in Italian dining in the area. Each meal is carefully and individually prepared by Rosanna and Felix. The comfortable and warm atmosphere, combined with a staff that really loves to make your dining experience really enjoyable, makes a perfect setting for a romantic dinner or a business lunch.
How long have you been in business? 28 years.
Why did you pick this particular industry? Felix worked in restaurants in Italy, Germany and Switzerland. He enjoyed it and wanted a restaurant of his own. After we were married, we decided to open one together.
Is there anyone who influenced you? No, my husband was very comfortable working in the restaurant business and he was a great chef, so it was naturally the next step.
What do you like best about being in business for yourselves? Everything! We meet new people all the time, and we are close to the people that have supported us for 28 years. We enjoy the quality of food we prepare and the service we provide.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Make sure you have a solid family life, enough money to be financially secure for the first year while you are getting the business off the ground, and be ready to work 10-15 hours/day, seven days a week.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? Hard work and superb quality of food and service will assure the restaurant’s success. Be pleased when people praise you and never let your guard down.
Hours: Serving lunch Monday-Friday Fri 11:30am-2:30pm; dinner Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 5pm-9pm; Thursday, Friday, Saturday 5pm-10pm. Closed Sunday.
Additional information: We have been in business for a quarter of a century, serving great food at great prices, feeding neighbors, governors, senators and friends alike. We have kept our high standards and loved every minute of every year.
The Chocolate Gecko
540 Delaware Avenue, Albany • 436.0866 • www.chocolategecko.com
Owner/Chocolatier: Lissa D’Aquanni, 40
Describe your business: The Chocolate Gecko is a community-based business that makes chocolates in small batches by hand, using only the freshest and finest ingredients. We specialize in creating unique flavors and chocolate designs.
How long have you been in business? I created the Chocolate Gecko in December of 1998. In 2002, with the help of dozens of volunteers, we purchased and renovated 540 Delaware Avenue, an abandoned building, which is now home to three women-owned businesses: The Chocolate Gecko, The Yoga Loft and The Periwinkle Sheep.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? One of the best aspects of owning the Chocolate Gecko is seeing people’s faces when they taste our chocolates or receiving a card from someone whose favors we created or hearing back from someone that our chocolate made a difficult time a little easier. That’s what creating delicious chocolate is all about…to sweeten someone’s day. And when we’ve touched someone in that magical way, then we’ve accomplished our goal.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar business? To anyone starting a business, I would say do something that you are passionate about. As a small business owner, you don’t get paid an hourly wage that compensates you for all the hours you work. Compensation has to come in a form other than money. So if you are doing something you truly love—where the creation is part of the reward—then you’ll enjoy your business and others will too.
Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-6pm; Saturday 10am-4pm. Closed Sundays
288 South Allen Street, Albany • 489.4534 •www.clarkmurals.com
Owner: Kevin Clark
Describe your business: I do murals, faux and decorative paint finishes, painted logos and signs, fine art and portrait work, gold leaf and graining—basically anything that involves paint
How long have you been in business? Since 1992.
Why did you pick this particular industry? I always knew I wanted to be an artist. After college I was lost trying to figure out how to make a living as a painter or illustrator in upstate New York, when I stumbled across the owners of Browns’ Brewery in Troy. They had a lot of walls and were kind enough to hire me to paint them. It was my first painting job and I had to learn on the fly. That was the start of Clark Murals. Anytime you get paid to do what you enjoy, you should pursue it to see how far it can take you.
Is there anyone who influenced you? My influences change daily. I run the gamut from classic painters to cartoons to photographs I cut out of the newspaper. I can find something new everyday that will influence me.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? The benefits of being in business for yourself are the hours you keep. Other than that, it is all about being responsible. You have to schedule, prep, budget, promote, and most of all, perform. Rarely does it all come together smoothly, but that’s one of the challenges with running a business. You can succeed on your own or fail on your own. Some people say it’s good to be your own boss, but the clients who hire me are considered my boss. Another aspect of this line of work is that I get to change locations from job to job. I don’t think I could work in the same location in a cubicle for long.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Keep a side job to pay bills when you first start out, because there were times where I didn’t know where or when my next job was coming from. Be patient, learn from others and try to marry rich.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? I have learned that you can always find people who are as talented as you, so you should continually improve. If you insist on making a mistake, learn from it so you don’t repeat it.
Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, but also at the convenience of my clients.
Computer Visions, LLC
16 Corporate Woods Boulevard, Albany • 437.1600 • www.compvisions.com
Owner: Pamela C. Smith
Describe your business: Founded in 1996, Computer Visions provides quality computer training and network consulting. As a Microsoft Certified Learning Partner/Solution Provider, our goal is to attain complete customer satisfaction while building lasting relationships with clients. We teach professionals how to use popular business application software as well as technical network operating systems. The adult learning principles are applied through hands-on classroom training, effective training aids and free technical support. Computer Visions prepares today’s business people to use the latest technology efficiently to increase productivity. Training is offered for the novice as well as the “power user”. As a certified woman-owned/operated provider of computer training, we not only educate business professionals, but provide them with the additional support to support their network infrastructure.
How long have you been in business? 10 years.
Why did you pick this particular industry? It is never dull. Technology changes at such a rapid pace that you can never stop learning. There isn’t a time when you can say, “I know it all,” because that is the second you become obsolete. The thrill of mastering a new technology is intoxicating.
Is there anyone who influenced you? My mother and grandmothers showed me that a person could be whatever he or she wants to be. You have to work hard, stay determined and be honest. There are no shortcuts to do a job correctly—Computer Visions is the perfect example of following that advice.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? Being able to guarantee that my family always comes first. I love my job, and thrive on the hard work, but family is my true joy in life. My children have reaped the benefits because I am a better parent as a result of having a satisfying professional life.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Be a life long learner—that shouldn’t apply only to your professional life, but to all aspects of your life. I am lucky that my work provides so many opportunities to learn from my clients. I think of it as a continual learning partnership.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? Quality makes the difference. My grandfather was right when he used to tell me, “You get what you pay for!”
Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.
A.R. Wynnykiw, DDS, PLLC
351 Osborne Road, Loudonville • 432-3991
Owner: Dr. Askold Wynnykiw, 43
Describe your business: We are a general dental practice with an emphasis on cosmetic dentistry. We provide general dental services for your entire family, but I go above and beyond with cosmetic and neuromuscular treatment. Through my advanced training at the Las Vegas Institute (LVI) for Advanced Dental Studies, I am able to provide a level of cosmetic and neuromuscular treatment that few other dentists in the immediate Albany area can provide. Patients will love our office as it is elegant and homey and puts them at ease when they arrive. Our sunny treatment rooms that look out onto our pleasant lawn and flowerbeds (in the spring!) help put our patient’s at ease.
How long have you been in business? I have been practicing dentistry for 19 years, and have been in business at this location for seven years.
Why did you pick this particular industry? I enjoy interacting with people; the health care field provides a great avenue for that. I take great pride in being able to help people improve their lives. Cosmetic dentistry can really put a smile back into a person’s life and restore the confidence and self-esteem they desire. Also, training at LVI has given me the ability to treat many TMJ/TMD issues and provide the care that truly improves a person’s life.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? I find that being in business for myself is tremendously rewarding. Being your own boss allows you to set the direction you want your business to take. Also, I love making improvements to the building and am always looking for ways to make it even more comfortable for our patients.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Stay focused on continuing education and advancing the technology in your practice. Through advanced education you can really find the path to enjoy your career more and provide the best care possible for your patients. With improvements in technology like digital X-ray and other high-tech devices, the job of diagnosing is made all the easier and the patient reaps the rewards of truly comprehensive treatment.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? I’ve learned to understand that everyone you encounter is a unique and distinct individual. Learning how to adapt to every variety of person has taught me many things and I believe has also made my practice more comfortable and inviting to our patients.
Hours: Monday and Friday 8am-5pm, Tuesday and Thursday 8am-6pm, and Wednesday 8am-3:30pm.
Mustafa Sabai, DDS, P.C.
165 Manning Blvd., Albany • 459.2444
Owner: Mustafa Sabai, 44
Describe your business: Practice of General Dentistry.
How long have you been in business: I’ve been practicing since 1987; I opened my practice in 2004.
Is there anyone who influenced you? Mr. Wahab Khalique, a friend.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? The option to control my schedule
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? This is the best, most rewarding profession for people who love a challenge.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? When you get there, there is no there there.
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9am-5pm
Additional information: My practice is growing due to advertising in Capital Region Living Magazine.
David Weinstein DDS
4 Palisades Drive, Albany • 459.7510
Owner: David Weinstein, 50
Why did you pick this particular industry? The practice was established by my father Harold Weinstein in 1956. I joined him in 1981; he retired in 1986.
Describe your business: It’s a dental practice offering all aspects of general dentistry including cosmetics, implants, invisalign invisible orthodontics, and most importantly, oral conscious sedation for the extremely anxious patient.
Is there anyone who influenced you? I spent a lot of time with my father in his office when I was young and really gained an appreciation and love for what he was doing. Not only did I find the technical aspects of dentistry appealing, but also the relationship he had developed with his patients impressed me.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? The ability to discuss treatment options with patients and not having anyone standing over my shoulder trying to control what it is I am doing.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Make sure you are really in love with the profession before you enter it. It is difficult and very demanding, but if you truly enjoy what you are doing and care for the people you are helping, there is no better profession that I can think of.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? Be true to yourself and treat each and every patient as though they were your family. That way you know you will always be giving 100 percent to your patients.
Hours: Monday & Tuesday 7am-5:30pm; Wednesday & Thursday 7am-3:30pm.
Emperor’s Hong Kong Restaurant
10 Wolf Road, Colonie • 591.0628
Owner: Vinny Luu
Describe your business: We serve authentic Chinese food, including fresh live lobsters, crabs, oysters and fish. We also have a lengthy vegetarian menu and over 40 different kinds of Dim Sun.
How long have you been in business? 4 years.
Why did you pick this particular industry? I have been in the restaurant business for over 25 years and I love going to work every day. I enjoy serving people with good food.
Is there anyone in particular who influenced you? My family.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? I enjoy meeting a lot of different kinds of people.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? You have to be willing to work hard and give up your life.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? The important lesson that I learned is family is very important—without having my wife’s support, I wouldn’t be here.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11:30am-10:30pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30am-11:30pm.
1951 East Schodack Road, Castleton • 365.7522
Owner: Mark P. Brady
Describe your business: FineLINE Contracting specializes in a variety of home site development including clearing building lots, excavating for foundations and additions, installing septic systems and grading of existing lawns. We also offer decorative concrete walks and patios as well as retaining walls. I have worked as a sub-contractor and provided many of these services for many homebuilders in the Capital District while building my own client list through referrals.
How long have you been in business? I have been in business for over 20 years. I started in construction just out of high school and continued working in various construction fields from building houses and carpentry, to grading and excavating for roads and highways. I worked with numerous state engineers and local construction corporations before pursuing my own excavating company.
Why did you pick this particular industry? Since I was a young boy I have always been interested in construction. My fascination grew when I had the opportunity to operate heavy equipment during my early twenties.
Is there anyone who influenced you? There have been many people through the years in the construction business that have influenced me. I have learned from some of the best leaders in the industry.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? One of the best rewards for me is the sense of gratification I feel when a project is completed and exceeds the expectations of myself, and the client. The client is satisfied, compliments our work and usually refers our services to others.
What advice would you give others wanting to pursue a similar career? Work hard, strive for excellence and have patience. To pursue your own business takes a lot of drive, dedication and perseverance.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? When a roadblock comes my way, I don’t let it defeat the purpose. I persevere harder.
Hours: It really depends on the project. I always return phone calls for those interested in receiving a free estimate; so feel free to leave a message any time!
Girl Power Inc. (formerly Fitness For Her)
333 Delaware Avenue, Delmar • 478.0237
Owner: Amy Charlie Bare, 27
Describe your business: Girl Power Inc. is a gym just like Bally’s or Gold’s, but for women only offering top of the line equipment and cardio classes. It offers a clean, friendly atmosphere. There is personal training and diet and nutritional analysis offered.
How long have you been in business? Four months. Previously, I was owner of Total Image Health Club Inc. in Amsterdam and manager of Fit Happens in Gloversville and Amsterdam.
Why did you pick this particular industry? The fitness industry is something I’ve always been interested in and excelled at. I went to school for anatomy and physiology so I have a lot of knowledge about the muscles and how they work. I love helping people reach their goals and I’ve always enjoyed staying fit and working out. In high school I played a variety of sports and in college I started weight lifting, and have been doing it ever since.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? I love coming home at the end of the day knowing that I’m doing something that helps others—that is personally gratifying for me. Being in business for yourself is challenging and rewarding. I’m in charge so everything I do has to be just right or my business won’t be successful. I like being the only one accountable because it puts pressure on me to always be a smart businessperson.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Never give up. It can be tough to come up with the startup costs, but hard work always pays off. Keep trying every little thing. Sometimes you have to take a huge risk and even take a loss to make any gains.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? Advertising is key! Work as much as you can to build up the business. It’s your own blood, sweat and tears that will make it work. Also, be careful who you trust (even if they seem nice) and make sure you know the truth before you act on it.
Hours: Monday-Friday 4:30am-9pm; Saturday & Sunday 8:30pm-5pm.
Additional information: A lot of changes have been made since opening Girl Power Inc. Come in and try the new atmosphere before deciding to join.
Finally Free Electrolysis
2B Hayner Heights Drive, Clifton Park 12065 • 383.4488 •www.4electrolysis.com
Owner: Tracey Francis, 37
How long have you been in business? Almost 7 years.
Describe your business: We specialize strictly in electrolysis. Electrolysis is the only method of hair removal allowed by the FDA to say “Permanent Hair Removal”.
Why did you pick this particular industry? My undergraduate course work was in human services. My goal has always been to help others be more confident in themselves. This business definitely lets you have that one-on-one with people.
Is there anyone who influenced you? My electrologist at the time.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? Building the business with my husband Shawn has been a lot of fun. We definitely compliment each other well.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Go to a well-recognized school for electrolysis. Insertion is everything in this business, it is really easy to develop bad habits on your own so be sure to work with experienced electrologists to ensure you have proper insertion and proper posture.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? Finding good, trustworthy and hard working employees is very difficult. We are truly grateful for the ones we have.
Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-8pm; Saturday 9am-1pm.
Additional information: We have remained faithful to electrolysis, which has survived thousands of fads. Don’t be fooled by claims of hair reduction. When you’re ready to do it and be DONE, call Finally Free Electrolysis. Free of waxing, free of chemicals Finally Free of unwanted hair FOREVER!
Florida North, Inc.
Esperance, New York • 888.505.7946 •www.floridanorth.com
Owner: Dan Nelson
How long have you been in business? I’ve been in the swimming pool business for over 28 years. I purchased Florida North in 2001.
Describe your business: Florida North is a fiberglass swimming pool and swim spa company. We manufacture the strongest fiberglass pools and swim spas on the market. They’re built in the Northeast for the Northeast. They are kid proof, pet proof and bullet proof, and they cannot be damaged by frost, freezing temperatures, termites or mice.
Why did you pick this particular industry? Since being introduced to the swimming pool industry in Tampa, Florida some 25 years ago, I’ve been in love with it ever since. We basically sell enjoyment and smiles, and what can be more satisfying than that?
Is there anyone who influenced you? The list of influential people is too lengthy to mention, but my wife Donna has been the key component.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? Although it has its ups and downs, being in business for myself has been extremely rewarding and I would not have it any other way.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Research everything thoroughly before you take the plunge into the swimming pool business. On the surface it seems very cut and dry, but an awful lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes so you have to be prepared and aware of every little detail.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. All installations are done by myself or one of our experienced crews—we do not hire anyone else to install our product. That is the lesson of experience.
Hours: Although the swimming season is during the summer months, we are open 12 months a year, especially with the emergence of the swim spas.
Additional information: Florida North offers 10 different pool models and 3 swim spa models to choose from. All of our pools are warranted for a full 25 years, not pro rated, while the swim spas have a lifetime warranty. If you’re serious about buying a pool, call us.
Clifton Park • 383.8373 • www.greenspirelandscaping.com
Owners: Jerome Edmunds and Brian Edwards
Describe your business: We are a design/build landscape company offering the following services: patio, walkway and driveway installation, ornamental ponds, plantings and retaining walls.
How long have you been in business? 11 years.
Why did you pick this particular industry? Jerome started working for a company in his hometown as a teenager about 22 years ago and fell in love with the business. As a young boy, Brian worked with his grandfather digging shade trees in his nursery and couldn’t get it out of his blood.
Is there anyone who influenced you? Jerome was influenced by his first employer, Jeff Schworm, as well as his parents and wife. Brian was influenced by his grandfather and parents
What do you like best about being in business for yourselves? We like the ability to create and control our own destiny. Also, getting to meet new people and help them achieve their landscaping needs.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Get your feet wet first and make absolutely sure that you have the drive and determination to keep going. It is not unheard of to work 60-80 hours a week during the season.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? No matter how busy you get or how big your business grows, family has got to come first.
Additional information: We have been the recipient of several industry awards, are a member of the Better Business Bureau, and are ICPI certified.
Helderberg Mountain Log Homes
102 Willsey Road, E. Berne •872.2206 •www.hmloghomes.com.
Owners: Matt and Will Reagan
Describe your business: Helderberg Mountain Log Homes is a full-service design and construction company specializing in elegant log frame homes and buildings that reflect the spirit and individuality of its owners.
How long have you been in business? We have been building log homes since 1993.
Why did you pick this particular industry? Originally, we were in the logging business, but when things slowed down in the springtime, we started to build log homes to supplement what we were losing in the logging business. We loved it because we found that each home was unique and we could design specifically for a person’s needs. Far from being your traditional cookie cutter type home, there is a lot of creativity that goes into building a log home. While it was challenging, we found the work very satisfying and it gave us an opportunity to constantly explore new avenues and sometimes even exceed our own expectations!
Is there anyone who influenced you? No, we knew there was a need for log homes and we knew we could satisfy that need.
What do you like best about being in business for yourselves? We can control our own direction. We are free to explore any option we want. We have full control over our lives and when a customer says the job we did far exceeded their own expectations, that is the best part—knowing we created something very few are able to do.
What advice would you give others wanting to pursue a similar career? Get a good education, read as much information as you can and hands-on experience is invaluable.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? There is a market out there that appreciates the creativity and hand-craftsmanship that we bring to the table. Be honest and true to your vision, and as long as you do it right, quality still sells today.
Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm; Saturday 8am-noon.
Additional information: Our skilled artisans use only all natural materials, specifically selected for their beauty and strength. We will also work with you to design a breathtaking interior that you’ll love to spend time in. Whether it is a small weekend getaway cabin or an extraordinary log home or addition, we are committed to providing superior craftsmanship and unparalleled service through every stage of your home’s development. If you have been dreaming about owning your own beautiful and distinctive custom log home, call us for a consultation!
Horticulture Unlimited Landscaping LLC
963 Route 9W, Selkirk • 767.2004 • www.hortunlimited.com
Owner: Brian Herrington
Describe your business: Horticulture Unlimited is a landscape design and installation business with our own five-acre nursery, which we use exclusively for our landscape projects. Our projects range from traditional foundation plantings to the transformation of entire properties, including water gardens and the new zero maintenance pondless waterfalls. On the landscape construction end, we create patios, walks and walls, often including the innovative use of natural stone products.
How long have you been in business? I began working in greenhouses and for landscaping companies in high school. Both Ted Goldring and Jerry Jonas were inspiring mentors grooming my love of plants and growing things into the basis for a career. I launched my own business in 1977 after completing my degree in forestry at Paul Smith’s College.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? The best part of being in business for myself is the positive client feedback from a job well done, and knowing that I have inspired my employees to further develop their own landscape careers. If I surround myself with talented and creative employees and allow them to express themselves, then great work gets done. I retain top quality employees by having a profit sharing plan and offering a number of other benefits.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Consistently improve your knowledge and experiences and join various trade associations to hone your skills. I belong to the NYS Nursery/Landscape association, the NYS Turfgrass Association, and am a nationally certified water garden installer.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? The most important lesson I’ve learned is to focus on service and quality and to develop a niche to distinguish ourselves in this competitive atmosphere. Our mission statement is: “Horticulture Unlimited Landscaping provides our clients with the highest quality landscape design and installation services. We do this by having well-trained, empowered employees and by using only top quality materials.” If we continually put our clients’ needs and goals first then we will continue to enjoy our jobs. We really do love our work!
Hours: Nursery hours by appointment—usually Saturdays.
Kulak’s Nursery & Landscaping
1615 Route 146, Rexford • 399.2404 • www.kulaksnursery.com
Owners: John and Karen Kulak
Describe your business: Our business is both landscape services and a retail garden center/home accent store combination. Our specialties for the landscaping services include design and installation of plants and hardscape items such as stone retaining walls and brick walks and patios. Whether it is done by hydro-seeding or sodding, we install new lawn. Landscape renovation is also a large part of our business. Our store is different from most garden centers with a very unique selection of gift items, home accents and garden products that won’t be found in many other stores. We pride ourselves with having a neat and clean appearance in a friendly neighborhood location.
How long have you been in business? We have been doing landscaping for 24 years. The garden center has been open for four years.
Why did you pick this particular industry? We picked this industry because we are hard working people with talents and skills in the landscape industry. We continue to strive for improvement and know the meaning of quality, both in workmanship and product.
Is there anyone who influenced you? The influences we both had in our lives have to be our parents who taught us strong work ethics. We both come from large families and were taught many valuable lessons.
What do you like best about being in business for yourselves? We like the gratification we receive from every job we do and for providing the community with an upscale store.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Be sure you are willing to sacrifice many aspects of your life to make it all work. Being in business takes dedication, perseverance and determination for success.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? One thing we have learned over the years is that having integrity is an asset. People seek out businesses they can trust and depend on. We continually work toward goals that will only improve our character.
Hours: Open every day from April-December. Hours change with the seasons. Check www.kulaksnursery.com for times.
Loudonville • 489.2341
Owner: Pete Rossi
Describe your business: Along with doing property maintenance and snow removal, we specialize in retaining walls, patios, walks, plant/tree installation and design.
How long have you been in business? 17 years.
Why did you pick this particular industry? I chose the landscaping profession because I found that I had a certain knack for creating and/or maintaining landscapes better than the average homeowner. Also, impressing it’s people with my work seemed gratifying.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? I went into business for myself because I feel there is no limitations to what I can accomplish and I am my toughest critic.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? My advice for anyone looking to get into the business would be to pay attention to small details and always do at least one extra “something” to complete a job.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? The best lesson I have learned is that the small things that will eventually catch up with you. Keep your loose ends tied and don’t burn any bridges.
Hours: Summer hours: 7:30am-sundown
Winter hours: 24-hour storm response
Lavelle & Finn, LLP
29 British American Boulevard, Latham • 869.6227 • www.lavelleandfinn.com
Oneonta: 22-26 Watkins Avenue, Oneonta • 607.432.3333
Owners: John H. Lavelle, Esq., 49 and Martin S. Finn, Esq., 47
Describe your business: We are a boutique law firm concentrating on the legal needs of business owners and successful families.
How long have you been in business? Almost 15 years.
Why did you pick this particular industry? Being lawyers who are also CPAs and business owners, our skills and experience are a close match for the estate planning, business counseling and tax needs of the typical small business owner or wealthy family. Having started our practice from scratch, rather than becoming partners after years of simply being employees, we can identify with business owners and their struggles for success. We know what it takes to make payroll, market a service, and do all the things that make a business perform because we’ve had to do it ourselves.
Is there anyone who influenced you? We are greatly influenced by the success stories of our clients and friends in the Capital Region.
What do you like best about being in business for yourselves? Being in business is all about freedom. There really is no other reason. We help our clients realize that their businesses are great opportunities to achieve unprecedented levels of freedom in their lives. It is always disappointing to see the number of business owners and professionals who turn self-employment opportunities into long hours and drudgery. It does not have to be that way.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Always take the time to work on the business, not just in the business. If you do not have time to see your family, you are doing something wrong. Ask yourself, “If I die tonight, what would I regret?” Then take your answer and start eliminating that regret tomorrow. In a short time, you may find a path to the freedom your own business should mean.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? Owning a business should never be an end in itself. Being a successful business owner should mean a well-rounded, balanced life with plenty of time for families, community, hobbies and friends. If your business model has you working late hours and weekends, no amount of money will compensate for the personal losses you accrue. Change the model. There are so many examples in our Capital Region of true success stories, that we all have the inspiration we need to achieve the freedom we deserve.
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am-5pm by appointment.
Mark Anthony Salon
265 Osborne Road, Loudonville • 453.0687
Owner: Mark Anthony Giandomenico
Describe your business: We are a hair, color, and make-up salon, and we also offer mini salon services.
How long have you been in business? 25 years.
Why did you pick this particular industry? It gives me the freedom to be independent and I love working with color.
Is there anyone who influenced you? Yes, my father.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? I like the independence and being able to be so creative.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? One has to like people, like being very creative, and like making your mark on peoples lives.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? Being in such a personal and service industry, I have learned to be kind and to listen to others
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 9am-7pm.
Additional information: I have added the Sea of Spa Skin Treatment (Face & Body) imported from Israel.
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc.
1482 Route 9, Clifton Park • 348.2060
Owner: Willie Miranda, 38
Describe your business: Residential/Commercial real estate sales.
How long have you been in business: I’ve owned Miranda Real Estate since August 2002 and I’ve been involved in the real estate business since 1999.
Why did you pick this particular industry? I had an independent insurance agency and decided to expand my business and offer more services to my customers. Insurance and real estate went hand and hand and I felt that they were a really good fit.
Is there anyone who influenced you? Craig Proctor, one of the top realtors in the world. Craig is with Remax out of Toronto, Canada. By following his Real Estate Marketing Systems and Strategies, I have been able to develop a strong team of realtors with high values and a strong work ethic.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? Being able to make my own decisions, helping people grow their business and unlimited income potential.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? I would advise people to take this as a career change, not just a job. Being a realtor means being in business for yourself and running it like a business. Invest in yourself. Unfortunately, too many agents get into the business thinking it’s like a job, not understanding that it takes a few years to build their business.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? That hiring the right people can make the difference between a successful company and a great company. I feel that we have great people and that is why we have such a great company.
Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, on-call 24/7.
Additional information: Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. was voted 2005 Greatest Places To Work by The Business Review and we truly foster a great team environment and work very hard to exceed our customers expectations everyday. We look forward to providing the highest quality service to all of the people we come in contact with.
Most Credit INC.
163 Delaware Avenue, Delmar • 475.1925 •www.mostcredit.com
Owners: Barry S. Moore and Ellis Judd Staley III
Describe your business: Most Credit INC is a full service mortgage broker representing over 50 lenders Purchases, Refinances, Home Equity Lines. We offer free pre-qualifications, credit analysis and great rates for all types of mortgage customers.
How long have you been in business? 10 years.
Why did you pick this particular industry? It’s a people business that can be very rewarding both personally and financially.
Is there anyone who influenced you? My grandfather (Barry’s). He owned a chain of supermarkets in upstate New York, mostly in small towns. As a kid I would travel around to the stores with him. Even when he had to take serious action with employees, he always showed respect for them as individuals. If you treat people well, they respond well.
What do you like best about being in business for yourselves? We like the challenge and the opportunity to build a company that benefits both the customer and the employees.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Take the long view; each deal is only a stepping stone on a long journey.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? A satisfied customer is your best referral source.
Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-5pm. Loan officers areavailable to meet with clients and schedule at their convenience.
MKC Kitchen & Bath Center
346 Congress Street, Troy • 274.8566; www.mkckitchens.com
Owners: Michael & Pam Vrsalovic
Describe your business: Our primary business is kitchen and bath renovation. In our showroom we sell cabinets and countertops for every budget. We install all of our products or sell them direct to contractors and consumers.
How long have you been in business? We started the business in June of 1997. Michael has been doing kitchens and baths for over 18 years.
Why did you choose this particular industry? We both enjoy designing and creating new spaces for the two most used places in a home.
Is there anyone who influenced you? Both of our parents helped to influence us, as they were self-employed. Pam’s grandmother also had an interior decorating business for over 50 years. Each of them taught us firsthand the importance of taking pride in our work, providing excellent customer service and striving to provide quality products at fair prices.
What do you like best about being in business for yourselves? We like being in business for ourselves for the gratification of helping people make their “dream” room come to fruition. In addition, we like the ability to be involved with every step of a project and the flexibility since have three young children.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? We have learned to be humble and appreciate everything that we have.
Hours: Showroom—Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm; Thursday 10am-7pm; Saturday 10am-4pm, or by appointment. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Additional information: Although we are a smaller company, we offer quality products that are competitive with the large chain stores. The difference is the personalized service. We offer free estimates, 3-D computerized design and a professional design and installation staff that works with customers throughout their projects. We take pride in our work and strive to make each of our customers happy.
Nicole’s Bistro at Quackenbush Square
25 Quackenbush Square, Albany •465.1111 •www.nicolesbistro.com
Owner: Nicole Plisson
Describe your business: It’s a French Bistro offering regional cuisine combined with local seasonal specialties.
How long have you been in business? I have been serving the finest cuisine since 1985.
Why did you pick this particular industry? Originally from the Loire Valley, I was born into a restaurant-owning family.
Is there anyone who influenced you? My family has always been part of my learning experience in this business.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? I like making my own decisions, always self-improving and interacting with people.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? The restaurant business is very demanding, stressful and requires long hours. In addition you, you must be prepared to fulfill kitchen duties, bar, hosting waitressing, etc, and be a good leader to your staff.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? To do the best you can, to believe in yourself and be proud of your accomplishments.
Hours: Serving lunch Monday-Friday 11:30am-2:30pm; dinner Monday-Saturday 5pm-10pm or later when the Palace has events.
Additional information: I would to introduce my chef and thank him for the wonderful work he’s been doing for us at since 1997. Daniel E. Smith graduated and trained at the Ecole La Varenne Paris, and is a winner of international and national competitions. He is a Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation, and graduated from SUNY with a bachelor of professional studies.
Mohawk River Country Club and Chateau
847 Riverview Road, Rexford • 399.1920 •www.mohawkrivercc.com
Hiland Park Country Club
95 Haviland Road, Queensbury • 793.2000 • www.hilandparkcc.com
Owner: Rafael Flores, President, Debbie Scensny, manager
Describe your business: Two elegant banquet facilities on 18-hole championship golf courses surrounded by wooded grounds and rolling fairways. Hiland Park Country Club was the site for the 1992 NYS Open, and is currently rated 4 stars by Golf Digest. Mohawk River Country Club is a challenging and enjoyable 18-hole, par 73 golf course in the beautiful Mohawk River Valley. From weddings to bar/bat mitzvahs to golf outings and any other special occasion, we have the perfect setting to entertain guests for a truly enjoyable and memorable occasion.
How long have you been in business? 30 years. However, we acquired Mohawk River Country Club in 1994. After three years of complete renovations, we opened a new clubhouse for banquets and wedding receptions in 2005. In 2003, we added a separate sister location, Hiland Park Country Club.
Why did you pick this particular industry? Because I love the industry! When I was 15, I migrated from Mexico to the United States. I started off as a dishwasher, then a cook. After school, I became a manager of a country club and catering hall. I loved it so much that I am now proud to own two of the best laid out public courses in the Capital Region!
Is there anyone who influenced you? My brother. He worked for different country clubs throughout Westchester. While working together, we partnered with the owners and eventually became owners ourselves of country clubs throughout New Jersey.
What do you like best about being in business for yourself? I can set my own hours and make my own rules. I am very addicted to the work I do. I work with brides and grooms and they become like family to me. I enjoy doing a great job and my passion is for nothing else but creating truly memorable occasions.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? You have to want to put in the time, which requires 7 days/week, minimal 12-14 hours a day, and your family has to be involved in it and love it as much as you do.
What important lessons have you learned along the way? You have to be patient. Because you are dealing with different kinds of people, you have to be flexible and understanding. It is nice to put yourself in their position and treat each event as if it were your very own.
Hours: 7 days/week, 24 hours a day. Technically, our golf course opens 6:30am-9:30pm (in season). Our banquet hall is available anytime our clients decide to have a function. If they want to stay all night, we will stay with them.
Additional information: With over 25 years of experience, our manager, Debbie Scensny, has the expertise to guide you every step of the way, especially caring for those details that ensures a spectacular and hassle-free evening.
Northeast Mobility Center
115 Everett Road, Albany • 438.3646
Owners: Debbie and Bill Eckert
Describe your business: We cater to the needs of those with “special needs.” Our product line and services are geared for those with minor and major disabilities. We offer scooters, lift chairs, walkers, power wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, hospital beds, portable ramps, vehicle lifts, grab bars, canes and disposable medical supplies such as incontinence, ostomy and urological items. We also offer extensive home access modifica