Locally owned businesses
294 N Greenbush Road
Owner: Alexi Lekkas
How long have you been in business? We will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary on August 16.
Describe your business: A classic diner with over 300 menu selections guaranteed to please every pallet with daily lunch and dinner specials. Monday is “Steak Night”, Tuesday is “Pasta Night”, and Wednesday is “Greek Night”. We also offer homemade baked goods, a full bar and off-premise catering.
What sets you apart from competitors? We have established a wonderful team of individuals who consistently strive to provide the very best in food and service. Our main goal is for the patrons to feel like they are guests in our home. It is not uncommon to see a customer’s drink order on the table as he or she is entering the establishment.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? The restaurant business can be very rewarding to a person who loves food and enjoys a social atmosphere. It requires a long-term and high level of commitment and discipline in order to be successful.
Where do you see your business in the next five years? Our future goals are to expand to accommodate a private room for meetings and parties, and we also are looking to expand our existing outdoor patio.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 7am-10pm; Friday & Saturday 7am-11pm; Sunday 7am-9pm.
39-45 North Jay Street, Schenectady
Owners: Joann Aragosa & James Cognetta
How long have you been in business? 8 years.
Describe your business: We are an Italian Restaurant.
What sets you apart from competitors? Our wonderful Italian food, which was voted the Best in the Capital Region by CRL Magazine readers.
We are a family-run business continuing the tradition of excellence started by Nicholas and Pasqualina Cornell. We offer an extensive menu with daily specials and have personalized dialogue with all vendors on a daily basis to ensure the freshest seafood, meats and in-season produce. The restaurant has a beautiful ambience and personalized service from family and staff
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Be well-trained in culinary and management. Be prepared to work long hours, and most of all, have the passion.
Where do you see your business in the next five years? Prospering with an expanded customer base. We look forward to all the new development in our area.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday we open at 5pm; Sunday we open at 4pm. Closed Monday. Opening for lunch in September.
Decker’s Landscape & Aquatics
1632 Main Street, Rt. 5S Rotterdam
Owners: Alan & Jodi Decker
How long have you been in business? 19 years.
Describe your business: We are a landscape and water feature design and installation company, as well as retailer of everything water garden related. We specialize in water feature installation of all types. Our backyard water gardens include cascading waterfalls, stream and pond for fish complete with aquatic plant life for a low maintenance water feature. Our decorative water gardens include pondless waterfalls of any size to bubbling rocks and overflowing pots. We also install large swimming ponds with bog filtration and earthen ponds.
In addition to water features, we design and install landscape plantings, brick paver patios, walkways and driveways, retaining walls and fire pits to complete any outdoor living space.
Our retail aquatic center provides a source for pond liners, pumps and waterfall filtration for the do-it-yourselfer. We also carry pond fish, as well as a large selection of fish care products and fish food. We are the Capital Region’s largest supplier of aquatic plants, such as water lilies, lotus and marginals.
We also carry a large selection of perennials and annuals and offer a folk art gift shop with primitive designs and dcor.
What sets you apart from competitors? Our focus on customer service and water gardens set us apart from our competitors. We offer eight on-site display ponds for our customers to stroll through and trained staff to offer assistance. We are a one-stop aquatic shop where we can walk our customers through the do-it-yourself water garden project or, as a Certificed Aquascape Contractor, provide professional installation for the do-it-for-me customer.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? Focus on customer service and industry training – both equally important. Keeping up on industry education will allow you to provide the highest in customer service.
Where do you see your business in the next five years? We would like to have a second aquatic center location to better service our customers.
Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-6pm; Saturday 9am-4pm; Sunday closed.
Hughes Opticians Inc.
411 Kenwood Avenue, Delmar
Owners: Thomas Hughes & Thomas Hughes Jr.
How long have you been in business? 22 years.
Describe your business: For over two decades, Hughes Opticians has been a family-owned business priding itself on its exceptional customer service and dedication to premium quality eyewear. The business is built to cater the customer on every level, taking him or her from point of examination to the finished product. Our newly-renovated showroom has over 1,000 designer styles to choose from such as: Dolce and Gabanna, Coach, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Maui Jim, Nike, Ray Ban, Oakley and many more! A frame stylist helps each customer choose eyewear so you leave looking and feeling like a million bucks.
What sets you apart from competitors? Undoubtedly our commitment to the highest quality service. The business seeks to make purchasing eyewear as painless as possible. We accept over 10 insurances, prepare insurance information for our patients in advance and guide them through every step of the process. We work with all of our clients to tailor each order to their needs. In addition to our service, we have a collection of expertly picked frames in designer brands other eye centers do not have.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? The eyewear business is a complicated area to get involved in because it connects to traditionally separate fields. First, an optician must address the health care aspect of the service they provide and optical quality of the lens. Secondly, (and more challenging) is that the optician must also consider the sellable and fashionable qualities of the product they provide; they have to also act as a successful retailer.
Where do you see your business in the next five years? We are adding a sunglass store called Tommy Shades, which will house an extensive collection of designer brands, as well as sporty eyewear for cycling and motorcycling, RX swim goggles and sports safety eyewear. By creating the new store, we are creating a niche offering designer sunglasses in new and exciting brands, while still maintaining the same family-owned pride and customer service. Hopefully in five years, we will be able to double our frame selection and see even more smiling faces.
Hours: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9am-5:30pm; Tuesday/Thursday 9am-7pm; Saturday 9am-1pm.
Polish Community Center of Albany NY, Inc.
225 Washington Ave Ext., Albany
Owners: We are a non-for-profit corporation, named Polish Community Center of Albany, Inc. comprised of membership and we’re also open to the public.
How long have you been in business? The Club was organized on October 2, 1932 under the name of the Polish Democratic Club in Albany.
Describe your business: We are a banquet facility that features one of the largest dance floors in the Capital Region; the ballroom can seat up to 700 guests and 1,000 people for other activities. We do weddings, bridal showers, corporate parties, meetings & seminars, holiday parties, retirement parties, birthday parties, clam steams, cook outs, bowling parties and open bowling for seasonal leagues and more.
We have the perfect setting for your wedding and/or reception, with our beautiful garden gazebo for those picture-perfect moments, to our elegant ballroom for any size wedding.
Our outdoor pavilion is perfect for your summer event. We have a fully equipped bar and can accommodate up to 300 people. Alongside the pavilion is an area to play volleyball or other sports.
We also are the perfect setting for banquets and corporate meetings. With our club room that can seat up to 70 people, you are able to have birthday parties or an office luncheon.
Our eight-lane bowling alley is the perfect setting for your party, with lots of privacy.
Bingo is held on Monday and Tuesday at 7:30pm. All above mentioned services are open to the public.
What sets you apart from competitors? We are a unique Polish-American club that sponsors events related to Polish ethnicity and heritage, stressing our food, music and customs. We are centrally located and we have the largest dance floor in the Capital Region.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career? This is a service business accommodating to the needs of customers, so you have to love to work with other people and know how to manage the events. Flexibility is a must! Anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it, be open and positive to others’ opinions.
Where do you see your business in the next five years? We wish to provide our services to the region for the years to come, with top service and improvements and expansions to come.
Hours: 9am-6pm and beyond.
State Farm Insurance
848 Kenwood Avenue, Slingerlands,
Owner: Elaine Van De Carr
How long have you been in business? 20 years.
Describe your business: We sell insurance, bank products, life insurance, annuities, college education accounts and mutual funds for retirement.
What sets you apart from competitors? Service. We are committed to giving our customers our immediate attention, returning calls and answering our calls, not hitting telephone buttons.
Where do you see your business in the next five years? Growing and servicing our customers.
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 9am-5pm; Tuesday 9am-8pm; Saturday by appointment.