Christopher Brian Salon
192 Remsen Street, Cohoes
Owner: Christopher Feml
Describe your business: We are a salon dedicated to providing a superior hairdressing experience in an intimate, upscale environment. We are a Bumble and Bumble exclusive salon offering a full range of cut, color and styling services.
What is your biggest challenge? Although up and coming, being located in Cohoes has been a challenge due to commonly held perceptions of the city.
What makes you optimistic about the future of your business and our region? With the recent influx of new business to the Capital Region and a significant increase in the number of higher-end rental properties located in Cohoes, we have seen tremendous growth in our client base over the first year. Building on this momentum, we are very optimistic for the future of both the salon and the Capital Region at large.
What do you find most rewarding about your business? As a hairdresser, I find it extremely rewarding to inspire confidence in my clients by helping them find the potential of their appearance.
What do you do in your spare time? I am a member of Albany ProMusica, as well as the Business Council of Cohoes. I’ve recently taken up running as a hobby.
Hours: Tuesday – Friday 10am-8pm.
Decker’s Landscape & Aquatics
1632 Main Street, Rt 5s, Pattersonville (Rotterdam Area) 20 minutes from Albany
Owners: Alan & Jodi Decker
Describe your business: We design and install custom landscape and water features. Our landscape and design service includes hardscapes, plantings, water features, fire pits and outdoor rooms. We specialize in water features and offer water feature maintenance service throughout the Capital Region and North Country.
We also have a retail garden center nursery with annuals, perennials, flowering shrubs and the area’s largest selection of aquatic plants. We offer 14 on-site water features where our customers can stroll the landscape and get design ideas. We pride ourselves in expert pond knowledge where customers can get answers to their questions and find all their pond supplies and fish in our pond shop.
What is your biggest challenge? Finding a balance between work and family. We have three children Jacob, 15, Emilie, 13 and Nicholas, 5, and on the weekends our customers will find them helping out at our retail nursery. Our business is seasonal in nature and in the spring and summer months we strive to find a balance between business and family.
What makes you optimistic about the future of your business and our region? Throughout our 22 years in business, we have established a loyal customer base to help us grow our business to serve the Capital Region. As the region continues to grow we will be here to provide homeowners with their own quality outdoor living space.
What do you find most rewarding about your business? Our customers become part of our lives and we enjoy seeing them every spring at our retail store. We truly enjoy sharing our passion with them and exceeding their expectations. Owning a family business also allows us to share our passion with our children and teach them valuable life skills along the way.
What do you do in your spare time? Any spare time is absolutely spent with our children, whether it’s playing softball games, camping, fishing or traveling.
Hours: Monday- Friday 9am-6pm; Saturday 9am-4pm; Sunday 9am-3pm (Effective July 1 closed Sunday)
Finders Keepers Consignments
1603 Route 9, Clifton Park
Owners: Christine & Shirley Lindenmuth
Describe your business: We are a family-owned consignment shop located in Clifton Park. Thanks to our customers, we were voted “Best Consignment Shop” and “Best Bargain Shopping” in the “Best of the 2012” Capital Region Living Magazine. Many thanks for all your votes and dedication to us and our store.
What is your biggest challenge? Saying “no” to consignors is our biggest challenge. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but this is a business and we have to be selective about items we accept. We have limited space and our customers have high standards, therefore we try to take consignments that will meet what our customers want to buy.
What makes you optimistic about the future of your business and our region? The Capital Region is growing. With our economy, people are becoming smarter about how to spend their money. Our store helps families stretch their dollars wisely. They can buy high quality items for a fraction of retail prices.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to another family wanting to go into business together? Being self-employed can be overwhelming at times. We always say “The crisis of the day is the joke of tomorrow.” This saying allows us to brush things off and to move forward in a positive direction. It’s so important to have a good attitude while working even if you’re stressed out. We enjoy ourselves by making work fun.
What do you find most rewarding about your business? Working as a mother-daughter team is the best, but our customers make our business rewarding. We have met so many wonderful people who have allowed us to be part of their lives. We love it when the store has lots of laughter and buzzes with good energy.
What do you do in your spare time? Besides cooking, cleaning, laundry and yard work, we have very active social lives. We love to spend time with family, friends and also enjoy traveling.
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 10am-6pm; Friday & Saturday 10am-5pm; closed Sunday & Monday.
Luizzi Bros. Sealcoating & Striping
49 Railroad Avenue, Albany
Owner: Bryant Luizzi
Describe your business: We offer both residential and commercial customers sealcoating, crackfilling, asphalt repair and replacement, new installation and striping services.
What is your biggest challenge? Besides the weather, another challenge we face is competing with fly by night contractors who offer low prices, but poor quality work and typically lack insurance. We are constantly educating people on the importance of hiring a qualified, reputable contractor. You pay a little more, but you save thousands in the end while gaining peace of mind, which is priceless. At Luizzi Bros., we offer competitive, reasonable prices with a satisfaction guarantee. We have been in the asphalt business for three generations; we are experts and we are not going away any time soon.
What makes you optimistic about the future of your business and our region? The Luizzi name has been going strong in this area for over 55 years and in that time we have watched the Capital Region continuously evolve and develop. I’m confident that the same pattern of progress will continue.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to another family wanting to go into business together? Set boundaries and clearly establish roles within the business and salaries.
What do you find most rewarding about your business? Our reputation is probably most rewarding. A majority of our customers would consider us the cream of the crop. We use quality products, have the best skilled employees, and we stand by every project we work on. It makes us unique and that is something you don’t see a lot of anymore. Customers are constantly calling the office and writing letters to express gratitude for the professional courtesy they received and for a job well done.
What do you do in your spare time? I travel. I enjoy seeing and learning from different cultures and geographical regions from all over the country and world. There’s a lot to learn.
Shaker Shed, LLC
945 Watervliet Shaker Road, Albany
Owners: Benjamin Brizzell & Laura Lind
Describe your business: Originally founded as a roadside stand, we are now a farm market with a gift shop, bakery, 11 greenhouses and a café that serves breakfast and lunch.
What is your biggest challenge? The one element that we can’t control, which is the weather and Mother Nature. Having a rainy or sunny day makes a noticeable difference in the amount of customers we see in the store. It also creates challenges in the greenhouse environment as far as the schedule for watering plants, and also when we can plant and harvest on the farm. And don’t get me going on pests such as insects and weeds…
What makes you optimistic about the future of your business and our region? Even in a so-called “great recession” our store has been the busiest we have seen it over the last few years. We believe that more people are staying local and beautifying their homes and gardens rather than spending their dollars traveling. Also, many of New York State’s “Buy Local” campaigns are bringing people through our door.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to another family wanting to go into business together? Be open-minded and willing to bend.
What do you find most rewarding about your business? We enjoy seeing the fruits of our labor. By this we mean the final product, whether it is flowers or produce. To see something grow from a seed to a beautiful flower or a tomato or an ear of delicious corn makes it worthwhile.
What do you do in your spare time? We are in a bowling league together (go Rebel Farmers!). Both of us also have two children each and are busy raising our families.
Hours: Open from Easter until Christmas Monday-Friday 9am-6pm; weekends 9am-5pm.
572 Second Avenue, Troy
Owners: Michael Verdile, Jr. Owner/Chef and Michael Verdile, Sr. Advisor
Describe your business: Since 1943 Verdile’s has been a 90-seat restaurant serving freshly-cooked pasta, free-range veal, chicken and seafood - all moderately priced. We also have specials that change every weekend including: Chicken Saltimbocca, Pork Osso Bucco, Verghetti Spaghetti with Salmon and Asparagus with our homemade tomato-basil sauce, Brasciole and Seafood St. Jacque. All dinners are cooked to order. We are open seven days a week with a full-service bar. We also have 11 different bottled wines reasonably priced at $20 a bottle in addition to our full wine list.
What is your biggest challenge? Consistency. We meet that challenge by routinely following the basic recipes my grandfather and father handed down to me.
What makes you optimistic about the future of your business and our region? The future looks strong. There is a great deal of growth in the Tri-City area and north in Malta and Saratoga Springs and south at SUNY Albany. Our restaurant is also minutes away from RPI, HVCC, Siena and Russell Sage.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to another family wanting to go into business together? Be sure there is one boss who has the final say. And plan on working holidays.
What do you find most rewarding about your business? When customers approach us and say “ Excellent dinner! As always….”
What do you do in your spare time? Owning your own business doesn’t allow for much spare time, but I do make time for a little deer hunting, fishing and working outside. More family time will be needed though, as my wife Erin and I are expecting our first child in early fall.
Lucie Capek, MD, Plastic Surgery
713 Troy-Schenectady Road, Suite 308, Latham
Owner: Lucie Capek, MD
Describe your business: Plastic surgery practice specializing in cosmetic surgery and non-invasive cosmetic treatments, including LASER, skincare, fillers and neuromodulators, i.e. Botox.
What is your biggest challenge? Balancing work and family schedules. I think this is common for all working parents, but when you are a small business owner your career definitely follows you home. For example, as a solo plastic surgeon, I choose to take all of my private patient calls even when I am not at work. I need to make sure I schedule enough time off to spend time with my husband and children to balance out a demanding work life.
What makes you optimistic about the future of your business and the region? I was fortunate not to see a downturn in business during the recession and in fact, over the past year I have been busier than ever. Considering that my practice is almost exclusively elective, this is very reassuring. It suggests that people in our region are doing reasonably well economically and that we can expect continued growth.
What do you find most rewarding about your business? I meet so many interesting patients every day and what is most rewarding is the positive impact I am able to have on their lives. It is a universal fact of the human condition that we all have physical features that we would like to change. I feel so privileged to be able to help people gain confidence by improving something they are self-conscious about.
What do you do in your spare time? My limited spare time is spent mostly with family and friends. We like to travel, cook and spend time in nature with our kids and pets. Cultural activities such as theater, dance and music are very important to me as well. I enjoy exercise such as yoga and fitness classes and currently I am getting back into dance with my daughter. We love the stage!
Hours: Monday & Wednesday 8:30am–4:30pm; Tuesday 8:30am–5:30pm, Thursday 8:30am–6pm; Friday 8:30a –1:30pm.
Fusco Personnel, Inc.
4 Executive Park Drive, Albany
Owner: Patricia A. Fusco
Describe your business: Fusco Personnel, Inc. is a New York State Certified Women Business Enterprise established in 1994. We are a full-service recruiting firm, specializing in executive searches, mid-level recruits, as well as temporary and temp-to-hire staffing. The industries we specialize in include: information technology, finance, sales, human resources, accounting, engineering, bio-tech, administrative/clerical and medical/clinical personnel. We employ approximately 250 contract employees.
What is your biggest challenge? Managing and maintaining the right balance between the demands of a thriving successful business and building a solid family foundation for my daughters.
What do you find most rewarding about your business? At Fusco Personnel we all derive such satisfaction from matching our quality personnel with our clients’ needs. When we see the difference we have made in an individual’s professional life when given the right career opportunity and our clients are happy, it’s very gratifying.
What do you do in your spare time? I love to spend quality time with my family, whether it’s attending cheerleading competitions or just spending a quiet evening cooking at home.
Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.
R.M. Pena Inc.
761 Route 50, Burnt Hills
Owners: Robert & Judith Pena
Describe your business: Established in 1992, R.M. Pena is a family-owned and operated business specializing in enhancing your home with energy efficiency, quality and aesthetics. Our philosophy is to educate the consumer on our products and what to look for when researching their home improvement project. We hire our own installers, which we feel is an important aspect to the consumer. We treat each job as if it were our own.
What is your biggest challenge? Relaying to the consumer that our company is not your typical “big box store”. We provide complete service from initial visit through installation, completion and service after the sale.
What makes you optimistic about the future of your business and our region? We stay optimistic about the future because we change windows in homes as young as three years old. We are about providing quality service. Fifty-five percent of our business is repeat and word-of-mouth business. We strive to set ourselves apart from being just another contractor. We feel that by educating our customers and listening to their needs and wants, we can arrive at a solution that best suits their needs. Our region is constantly growing, thus creating a need for our services.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to another family wanting to go into business together? Set goals and stay focused. Whatever you do, always look at it through the eyes of the customer.
What do you find most rewarding about your business? Seeing the smile on our customer’s face when they see the finished product.
Hours: Spring and Fall: Monday–Friday 8am-5pm; Saturdays 10am-2pm; evenings by appointment.
Summer and Winter:Monday–Friday 8am-5pm; Saturdays and evenings by appointment.