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Small Business 2009

 

El Mariachi

Owners Marco Bermejo, Patty Bermejo-Bhola, Freddie Bhola

144 Washington Ave., Albany 465-2568; 289 Hamilton St., Albany, 432-7580; Route 9 S. Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 581-5901, elmariachirestaurant.com

We began our family business in the Capital Region 13 years ago. My parents come from Puebla, a beautiful colonial city where the traditional cuisine and outstanding specialties include mole poblano, pipian (a pumpkin seed sauce) and gorditas poblanas. Other favorite dishes include pollo al chipotle, tacos al carbon and cochinita pibil, which has also been selected as “Dish of the Year” (Times Union).

I come (Patty Bermejo) from a family of five brothers who have all been in the restaurant business for nearly 25 years. With the strong family tradition that our parents taught us, we managed to start up an authentic Mexican restaurant in the Capital Region. We now have two locations in the downtown Albany area and a third location in Saratoga Springs. At El Mariachi II and III we put into practice one of my brother’s expertise in Spanish cuisine, adding the Paella dishes and other traditional seafood dishes from southern Spain.

Here at El Mariachi, our menu typifies the foods from our hometown and other Mexican states. Our recipes have been handed down from generation to generation, starting with our great-grandmothers. Our tequila selection (over 80 choices, 100 percent agave!), house-made Sangria, and special house-flavor margaritas are among our customers favorites. I thank all of our loyal customers for voting us No. 1 for more than 10 years in a row (Metroland’s Best Of the Capital District Reader’s Poll, and Best Mexican 2008, as well as Best Outdoor Dining in 2009!), and my family who stand together to keep the business growing.

Tight Knit!

Rachel Wrightson Naylor and Zhenelle Falk

Downtown Troy, tightknit.org

Tight Knit! is an independent art/craft event based in historic downtown Troy. Founded in 2008 by Rachel Wrightson Naylor (Troy Night Out, Vacant Storefront Artist Project) and Zhenelle Falk, this event showcases a collection of handmade goods by artists and crafters from throughout the Capital Region, Hudson Valley, Berkshires and Southern Vermont.

Tight Knit!’s 2008 Holiday Event boasted 50 vendors and welcomed hundreds of visitors and shoppers over 2 days. For the 2009 Spring-Summer season Tight Knit! will expand to a weekly open-air market every Saturday during June, July and August in Troy’s beautiful downtown area. Tight Knit! is thrilled to be a part of what has been dubbed “Market Saturdays” in Downtown Troy, where in addition to shopping Tight Knit! for one-of–a-kind handmade items, you can visit the fabulous Troy Waterfront Farmers Market for the best and most diverse produce in the region, and visit the great variety of boutiques and shops on Troy’s historic city streets.

With a strong focus on community and small business over big-box globalization, Tight Knit!’s mission is to organize and motivate local artists and citizens to share their perspectives, knowledge and creativity with others. Let’s keep our dollars in our communities and grow together.

For More information on how to be a vendor at Tight Knit! or how to attend one of these events please visit the Web site, and find frequent updates at the Tight Knit! blog at tightknitindie.blogspot.com. We can’t wait to see you there!

Tess’ Lark Tavern

453 Madison Ave., Albany, 463-9779, www.larktavern.com

We would like to thank Metroland readers for voting us “Best Bar” for five years in a row! Tess has made her mark on the Lark Tavern and the neighborhood. Setting a goal to expand the Lark’s art, music, and food while maintaining the traditions and atmosphere of a friendly neighborhood bar has been no small feat, yet Tess and her staff have managed to make it happen. We have listened to our customers’ suggestions and incorporated their ideas into making this creative restructuring beneficial to everyone. Homemade soups, meals, snacks and desserts are served from 11 AM to 2 AM during the week, and until 3 AM on Friday and Saturday. We have a diverse selection of wine and beer. Check the entertainment section for cabaret, comedy, music, open mic, poetry, fashion shows, and music competitions. We hope you stop by to experience the camaraderie and diversity of people that is known at the Lark Tavern.

Elissa Halloran Designs

Elissa Halloran

229 Lark St., Albany, 432-7090, ehdesigns.com

I’ve been celebrating my 8th anniversary this month with a sale on jewelry and assemblages. The sale has led new customers into my still new-to-me store at 229 Lark St., where I moved in July 2007. My studio is handy and very much a part of the whole operation. I can work on new designs and step away to help customers as they browse the cases and displays of visual art, pottery and knitcrafts by local artists.

Part of the fun of having my own place is feeling like I can really be a part of 1st Friday. I’ve invited a number of artists to strut their artistic stuff on Albany’s monthly gallery walks. Beth Cunningham is known for her terrific typewriter key jewelry, and her organic stained glass window hangings were a big hit. I’m also carrying handmade purses by Petra Jancovicova—some of them are made from paint samples, and all of them are colorful dreams. Bill Pettit’s gouache landscapes of Cape Cod are still available, and he will be showing local landscapes in June. During June, you’ll also be able to get a peek at my backyard—watch for announcements of Historic Albany’s Hidden City House and Garden Tour.

In the meantime, Howard McAvoy’s metal sculptures will be here in April, and Mary Wheeler’s handmade jewelry will be featured in May. My mother, Eve Halloran, will be presenting a series of atmospheric landscapes in the hazy heat of August.

Thanks for your continued support over the years. If I haven’t seen you for a while, stop by and say hello, and I will charm you with my latest project. I’ve been having lots of fun making vintage celluloid charms into jewelry. My favorites are the animals dressed up as people.

Art-n-Soul, Inc.

(l-r) Pat Spillane, Leiah Bowden, Marilyn Rock, Owner Janet Tanguay, Marina Petro, Susan Rivers, Eric Straus and Dave Koschnick

313 Northampton Road, Amsterdam, 842-1757, artnsoulinc.com

Art-n-Soul, Inc. represents a community of artists including photographers, sculptors, painters, musicians, fiber artists and more. As a mixed-media artist, owner and Chief Creativity Coach Janet Tanguay understands first hand the challenges artists face. Art-n-Soul coaches help teach artists how to sell their work, manage the business of art and connect with the business community.

According to Tanguay, "Art-n-Soul is about inspiring artists to be bold enough to take their ideas and really get them out there in the world. We try to get this incredible artwork out of attics and basements and in front of interior designers, into corporate environments and gallery spaces. I also become the liaison when artists don't necessarily feel comfortable in a business environment or with the technical aspects of selling art, like blogging and social networking Web sites. I love what I do and that makes all the difference."

Art-n-Soul is a resource for fresh inspiration, a great way to experiment with a new concept, and a sure thing for igniting your passion. Art-n-Soul has offered workshops on everything from creating vision boards to creating your own signature cologne. They also have a brand new products page, which includes sales of posters, prints, original works of art, art cards and unique gift items.

Clients have described Art-n-Soul as "inspirational, creative, realistic and visionary, always professional, a powerhouse of connections". To learn more about Art-n-Soul, Inc. visit artnsoulinc.com or contact Janet Tanguay at 842-1757.

El Loco Mexican Café

Marcia Tolive, owner

465 Madison Ave. (between Lark Street and Washington Park), Albany, 436-1855

El Loco has been serving Tex-Mex, Traditional Mexican, and Nuevo Southwestern food and drink in a fun and festive atmosphere in Albany for the past 25 years! We opened our doors during the third Larkfest and continue to evolve while keeping true to our original mission of offering delicious hearty Mexican peasant food that is good for you. Brown rice, beans, avocados, chilies, blue corn, spinach, tomatoes, cheese, and meats cooked in a tinga, are the basic components of El Loco’s dishes. These ingredients have been found to be high in fiber, protein, vitamin C, vitamin B, lycopenes, and are anti-inflammatory and high in anti-oxidants. We have options for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free folks, and kids, as well as your basic carnivores. El Loco has a cozy backyard patio open during the summer. We have been on so many “best of” lists in the past 25 years that I’ve lost track, but one particular accolade that I am very proud of is being named Best Ethnic Food in the Capital Region some years ago by the Albany Times Union.

For many of our regular guests I think El Loco fulfills the need for consistency in our crazy changeable world. Our great staff continues to dish out handmade Mexican food and kickass Margaritas that have made El Loco an Albany institution. El Loco is open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday, and for lunch Wednesday to Saturday.

Mary Jane Books

Foxy and Annabelle

215 Western Ave. #3, Albany, 465-2238, maryjanebooks.com

Mary Jane wants to say “thank you” to the Capital Region for “getting used” on the corner of Western and Quail. In 1998, Mary Jane opened her doors to college students and the local community. We stock primarily used textbooks for University at Albany and Hudson Valley Community College, and, most recently, Schenectady County Community College. Mary Jane’s mission is to provide an affordable alternative to on-campus college bookstores.

We primarily have a “counter service” operation, bringing textbooks to you based on classes you’re taking, and if we don’t have what you are looking for, we can easily order it for you. We now can process orders through our Web site, which is super-fabulous. If you see our big blue “Magic Bus” driving around, hop on board, it’s “magically” running on vegetable oil, and we love that fact, and we think you do, too.

Additionally, Mary Jane is more than just textbooks; we house many fiction and non-fiction titles, foreign-language novels, local-author publications, school supplies, (and the always coveted) Mary Jane T-shirts. So stop in and check us out. Thanks again Capital Region!

Buenau’s Opticians

Michael Buenau, Rosalynn Vikara, Lisa and Jeff Buenau (owners)

228 Delaware Ave., Delmar, 439-7012, buenaus.com

If you’re in the market for eyewear of any kind I would like you to consider Buenau’s Opticians of Delmar. Buenau’s Opticians have been serving the Capital District since 1915. Buenau’s is now in its fourth generation: Mike Buenau and his son Jeff are the skilled experts you can take comfort in providing you with the most sophisticated technology available for all your eye care needs. Mike Buenau is one of the area’s premier contact-lens fitters, specializing in hard-to-fit patients—and boasts over 37 years of experience in doing so. And for the past 13 years his son, Jeff, has been following in his footsteps.

If you would like to be rid of your reading glasses, Buenau’s has the latest in high-definition multifocal contact lenses. They will amaze you at how comfortable and precise they are at all distances. Advances in technology have made it possible for many people to wear contact lenses, even if you were told you were never a viable candidate in the past. You can even opt for contact lenses that will change the color of your eyes.

Buenau’s of course has the latest in fashion eyeglass frames and even has the Smart Mirror, a computer camera that allows you to visualize your appearance in frame selections. Eyeglasses can be made lighter and thinner than ever before. Your eye examination can be provided by their staff of top optometrists or you can bring in a prescription from you own eye care professional. Buenau’s takes a variety of insurance plans, including CDPHP, MVP and now EyeMed. Call their professional and courteous staff today for an appointment, or visit their Web site. You won’t be disappointed.

Ginger Man Wine Bar & Restaurant

Manager Julie Byron

234 Western Ave., Albany, 427-5963, albanygingerman.com

In Vino Veritas! Let me introduce you to the Ginger Man Wine Bar and Restaurant. In May 1983, owners Michael and Patricia Byron took on the challenge of opening the first wine bar in Albany. Although no strangers to the restaurant business, Mike and Pat spent much time, energy, and hard work combining a dynamic wine list along with a small, light-fare menu. Throughout the years, the Ginger Man has catered to legislators, politicians, state workers, wine lovers, and connoisseurs alike. Its vast selection, singularity, and excellent price-range allows a customer to be diverse and offers plenty of room for exploration. We are open for lunch Monday through Friday, and dinner Monday through Saturday. All lunch, dinner, and wine lists change seasonally. Our wine list offers generous selections from around the world with major wine regions referencing a description of each grape variety and vintage. Our cruvinet system adds breadth to the wine list representing the classic traditional wines as well as new and trendy selections. Between our wine list and cruvinet, we serve approximately 75 wines by the glass, and 140 bottles. All menus offer creative, unique sampling flights including appetizers, wine, beer, scotch and small-batch bourbon. Its unique atmosphere provides a warm feeling whether you choose to linger over lunch, dinner or our famous seasonal fruit and cheese boards, charcuterie platter or house-made dessert paired with our wide selection of ports, grappas and liquors. The Ginger Man is the perfect place for the casual wine lover, a business meeting or a special date. We have parking in the rear of the building open for private parties.

Krispin’s Automotive Repair

Krispin Vagnini and Chuck Storms

574 River St., Troy, 687-0304, krispinsauto.com

I started working on cars when I was very young, usually because my friends and I could not afford to have anyone else fix them. Through much trial and error, I found that I enjoyed automotive repair. After attending the automotive program at Hudson Valley Community College, I went to work for a local independent garage. It was there that I honed my skills and received my ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) master technician status. After 10 years, I decided on a new venture and opened my own shop. I purchased and opened Krispin’s Automotive Repair at 574 River Street in downtown Troy.

Three years later my business is growing. I added a very talented mechanic, Chuck Storms, to the team in June of 2008. Chuck is also an ASE-certified technician.

We still specialize in the service and repair of Japanese, domestic, light truck and most European vehicles. We do advanced check-engine-light diagnostics and emissions-related repairs. We are also a certified NYS vehicle inspection station.

With the exception of body/cosmetic repairs, no job is too big and no job is too small. . . . We are capable of doing it all.

Bodywork Professionals

Jenna Bensen, Nick Pavoldi, Michelle Beaulieu

578 New Loudon Road, Latham, 389-2200, BodyworkProfessionals@gmail.com

People often ask me if our work hurts. A mark of a skilled practitioner is knowing how to listen to clients and their bodies. During the 13 years that I’ve been practicing, I’ve found that good communication between the therapist and client produces effective results without pain.

Direct work on tissue that is inflamed or irritated can give the body a lot of sensory feedback. This feedback is important information. It can be the product of an under-functioning body telling the client what body parts are being most misused.

Bodywork looks at what path that led the body to dysfunction and what changes can be made to support healthier structure and function. We have a bag of tools at our disposal and rely on feedback from our client to do our work properly. Feedback may be verbal or a signal the body sends out on it’s own communication network. A good therapist knows how to interpret these signals to direct the flow of work.

Our staff at Bodywork Professionals are skilled practitioners, and know that the person they are working on has their undivided attention during their session.

Make an appointment this week (mention Metroland) and we’ll take $10 off your next session.

Digital Artist’s Space

Karen Schlesinger, Chris Jordan

265 River St., Troy, 203-1096, digitalartistspace.com

Digital Artist’s Space, founded by Karen Schlesinger and Chris Jordan, provides an array of digital fine art services to artists, galleries and businesses. With our state-of-the-art digital lab, our unparallel experience in the field of digital imaging, and our inherent understanding of the art-making process we will work with you step by step, from the inception of the idea to the final print.

We offer archival, wide-format inkjet printing, high-resolution scanning, fine-art-reproduction services, consulting and one-on-one trainings, workshops, and a fine-art gallery specializing in the exhibition of high-quality digital art. We can print anything from small prints to wall murals on a vast selection of materials. We offer the highest quality fine-art printing papers, photo papers, Japanese papers, vinyl, fabrics, films, and metal.

Our scanning services accommodate films from 35mm, medium format, and large format, as well as A4 reflective materials up to 8000 dpi. We also provide retouching and restoration services.

We provide training in Photoshop, digital photography, and other digital imaging consulting. We offer an intensive 2-day Digital Darkroom Workshop in the summer, and several Alternative Process Digital Printing Workshops throughout the year where we give you the knowledge you need to create successful images and prints using digital tools.

Visit our Web site for frequently updated calls for entries for our gallery. We are proud to be a participant of Troy Night Out and a member of Capital District Local First.

The Wine Bar and Bistro

Kevin P. Everleth

200 Lark St., Albany, 463-2881

Welcome to the Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark. Located on the hippest street in Downtown Albany, this night spot has been transformed into an Old-World-style candlelight-and-brick cellar.

The Wine Bar and Bistro is constantly striving to provide an amazing wine experience. Our award-winning wine list offers more than 240 wines from around the globe, including more than 70 wines by the glass. Sommelier Jonathan Stewart is ready to provide expert guidance as you mull through the wine list.

In addition to the ever-changing wine, list chef-owner Kevin P. Everleth offers a remarkable bistro menu of classically prepared dishes, sure to delight any palate. Three fireplaces create the perfect ambiance during the cold winter months, and three patios take outdoor dining to a new level during the warmer months.

Come enjoy your favorite food and wine under the stars! Voted Best Wine List and Best Wine Bar by the staff and readers of Metroland. Open seven days a week from 5 PM until close.

Russell J. Parker Tax Accounting Firm

Russell J. Parker

681 Western Ave., Albany, 482-5623, rparker13@nycap.rr.com

The Russell J. Parker Tax Accounting Firm’s mission is to provide a professional tax service to residents of the Capital District, specializing in preparing basic Federal and New York State tax returns for a flat $85.00 fee with no additional hidden costs or fees.

Russell J. Parker retired from employment as an IRS Agent in May of 2002 and established his privately owned business—The Russell J. Parker Tax Accounting Firm. He is an Enrolled Agent, certified to practice before the IRS, and brings 32 years of experience to this sole proprietorship.

Russell was a coordinator/instructor for the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for 8 years, and for the last 10 years Russell J. Parker has provided free tax counseling and tax returns preparation for the Albany Damien Center, which is a community center for individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS in the Capital Region. The firm also offers valuable experience to college students by providing an informal internship.

In addition to providing early Federal and New York State e-filing service, The Russell J. Parker Tax Accounting Firm offers: expertise on President Barack Obama’s Economic Stimulus Package, IRS and NYS audit representation, tax and retirement planning, installment of payment plans for IRS Taxes, and fee deduction services.

In recent years it has become more and more common for government assistance to be directly tied into the preparation of your tax returns. Due to the current increases and complexities of the tax laws, it is recommended that a highly qualified and reliable professional prepare your tax returns.

BFS Restaurant

Shaw Rabadi

1736 Western Ave., Albany, 452-6342, bfsrestaurant.com

This New Year brings the need to “reset” our goals, and promises. The promises we make for personal change possess some level of challenge for all aspects of our lives, family, health, wealth and much more.

As individuals, we cannot just “will” the outcome for a healthier weight without modifying our eating habits, lifestyle and behavior for making real and lasting change. You may achieve the end result by engaging in what it means to eat healthy. Start by making small, gradual, deliberate and realistic change in order to succeed. For example, learn to know the foods that are good for you and the foods you should avoid as much as possible. Be sure to avoid the four S’s: salt, sugar, saturated fats and snacks. In addition, learn how to cook and eat healthy at home and while eating out.

I promise you nothing changes unless you successfully demand it from yourself and others around you. There is no single or simple answer to change your eating habits and there is no ”bailout” for our personal lifestyle. Be your ‘own’ advocate and agent of change for better health and a healthy lifestyle. My advice is to cook and eat healthy like a Mediterranean! Eat better, fresher, smarter. Have a happy and healthy cooking year to all.

For more information on our heart-healthy cooking classes, and for our catering options and restaurant menu, call or visit us on the Web.

Diamond Eight Billiards

Irene Skawinski

9 Johnson Road, Latham, 786-8048, diamondeight.com

Thanks Metroland readers, for voting us the No. 1 Fun Pool Room in the Capital District!

We feature 9-foot and 7-foot pool tables, a billiard table, elevated full-service bar, a great menu, electronic darts, foosball, video games, lots of TVs, QuickDraw, and more, all in our clean and comfortable room.

Monday Madness is here! Now every Monday, table time is 1/2 price, all day and all night. Monday night Trivia begins at 9 PM: There’s no entry fee; play as teams or individuals in a fun and fast format; and win prizes after each round! Monday night Karaoke follows, with Mark the Shark spinning the tunes while you provide the vocals.

Take your pool game to the next level by joining our APA league. You do not have to be skilled to play in the APA; everyone has a chance to play and win! Ask us about joining a team and how you can win a trip to Las Vegas to compete for thousands of dollars! Play pool, meet people, and have fun.

Diamond Eight is a great place to have your party or event. From birthdays to corporate meetings, retirements to team-building, Diamond Eight will help make your event one to remember. Our variety of activities and special party menu will impress your guests while our discounted party rates will keep your checkbook happy. Ask us for more information or visit our Web site!

A Better Bite

A. J. Owens

One Commerce Plaza, Albany, 694-4400

An eatery like A Better Bite seems to be a rarity these days. There aren’t many places that serve unique and wholesome dishes while you wait, to dine in or to take out. The location is great for busy working folks and local residents in and around One Commerce Plaza (on the corner of Washington Avenue and Swan Street).

Owner Eitan Saati, former owner/manager of the renowned Bagel Bite for 15 years, has been at his new Better Bite digs for two years. He says the location was a nice change, but the new format was a challenge. He wanted to assure customers that the food was a great as it always was. If you were one of Bagel Bite’s loyal customers, you’ll discover that little has changed with the food. Eitan’s high standards and discerning taste have kept him and his valued staff on their toes, and on a successful track.

The huge NY Style Deli sandwiches are big sellers. Other popular favorites are the specialty and grilled sandwiches, hearty wraps and authentic Mid-Eastern fare, which includes falafel, shawarma, hummus and traditional items like hotdogs and burgers. Breakfast selections include challah french toast, bagels and satisfying omelet combinations. Brunch is back on Saturdays, now with an all day breakfast!

Times are especially tough on small businesses, so to cope with rising costs, A Better Bite is increasing business hours. They also offer a distinctive catering service familiar with many local offices. Now open Mon-Wed 7 AM to 4 PM, Thu-Fri 7 AM to 8 PM, and Sat 8 AM-8 PM.

Maggies Sports Bar

Tara Mitchell

1186 Western Ave., Albany, 935-2661, maggiessportsbaralbany.com

Maggie Smith has been in the restaurant business since she was 17 years old. Luck was on her side in 1994 when she won a Pick 6 at the track and was able to open her own restaurant. But it takes more than luck and money to make it in the restaurant business.

This is not your average sports bar. We offer a world class menu, a knowledgeable staff, and an owner who is willing to go the extra mile for her customers. Maggie loves this business and really enjoys what she does.

If you’re gathering with friends to watch a game, there’s not a bad seat in the house with our 18 high-definition LCD TVs. You can also enjoy a romantic dinner, family outing, or a business lunch. You can sit at the bar, at a table or at a cozy booth. The menu offers an array of classic pub food, specialty sandwiches and outstanding entrees.

We offer a banquet room that can accommodate up to 100 guests for parties, showers, receptions, rehearsal dinners, and more. We will cater your event and customize the menu to fit your needs and budget. Maggie’s has always been known for its weekly karaoke. Everyone always has a great time.

Lark Street Business Improvement District

245 Lark St., 434-3861 (phone), 434-4052 (fax), bid@larkstreet.org, larkstreet.org

The Lark Street Business Improvement District is a collection of over 75 small businesses in the heart of Albany. From fine dining to pub fare, and from special gifts, to beauty and massage, to art and dance, Lark Street has long been the home of Albany’s most unique businesses. The Lark Street BID, a not-for-profit corporation, was formed in 1996 as a coalition of over 180 property owners united in their commitment to enhance the quality of life in the Lark Street Neighborhood. Since its inception, the organization has worked to improve and promote the Lark Street Neighborhood through a variety of programs and services. The mission of the BID is to build, sustain and enhance a unique and prosperous living and business community for the residents, visitors and merchants of the Lark Street Neighborhood of Albany. At the Lark Street BID, we provide core neighborhood services focused on neighborhood safety, street maintenance, neighborhood marketing, and special events and promotions. Our goal is to facilitate economic development for our businesses, but also assist in community development for the entire Lark Street Neighborhood. Throughout the year, we present some of Albany’s best special events such as Art on Lark, Champagne on the Park, Winter WonderLark, and LarkFEST, the biggest one-day outdoor festival in New York State with over 80,000 people in attendance.

The Old Daley Inn Catering Company

Owners Jim Pettit, Marty Keary and Gene Coletti

2 Northern Drive, Troy, 235-2656 (phone), 235-3275 (fax), olddaleyinn.com

In business since 1975, the Old Daley Inn Catering Company is a full service, off-premises catering company serving the greater Capital Region and beyond. As a caterer we say, “from backyard to ballroom, we do it all!” And we do! We also have two lunch café’s, The Old Daley Inn Marketplace, and Pastanini—both on Maiden Lane off North Pearl Street in Albany—serving a variety of American, Southwest and Italian foods, Monday through Friday 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM. Our outdoor vending division serves a 30-item menu from seasonal vending carts, April to October, in front of the Legislative Office Building on State Street, and at the Harriman State Office Campus. The Barbecue division offers big “pit” style barbecues and our famous “Drop-off” barbecues year round. Our Food Service Management division operates Corporate Cafés within large office buildings.

We think what sets us apart is our overall company outlook and attitude. Our everyday focus and goal is to create lasting relationships with our customers, based on trust, honesty, cooperation and complete satisfaction. When you call the Old Daley Inn, you will find that we are the easiest company on the planet to do business with. In addition, we have a very fun and positive work atmosphere knowing that a happy workplace produces the best products and service. At the Old Daley Inn Catering Company, we love what we do, and so will you!

The Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage

3 Cerone Commercial Drive Albany, NY 12205, 518-489-4026, www.cnwsmt.com

Part-time night classes start April 21. Financial Aid Available for those who qualify.

The Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy was created to provide a place for students of all ages to come and learn, to share their gifts, to gain knowledge, and to take their experience and expertise into their communities to help others become healthier and stronger. Through a comprehensive program of study that carefully balances the art and science of therapeutic massage, our massage program strives to enrich the lives of its students. Our program provides students with the opportunity to grow and to examine their relationships with themselves and others in a supportive environment. This balancing of body, mind and spirit naturally allows health and wellness to arise. Our highly trained faculty is deeply committed to creating a safe, nurturing and intimate learning community that honors the diversity and unique gifts that each student possesses. The process of becoming a massage therapist is a life changing experience that allows individuals to bring their hearts more openly into their work. We offer our massage program in 3 formats: our 9 month Full-Time Program (M-Th, 9am-4:30pm), our 14 month Part-Time Morning Program (M-F 9am-12:30pm and 1 Saturday per month), and our 21month Part-Time Evening Program (M-W 6pm-9:30pm and 1-2 Saturdays per month). All of our programs start year-round. Financial Aid is available for those who qualify so apply today!

Apply online at: www.CNWSMT.com or call 518-489-4026 for more information. We also offer a student massage clinic where you can experience the many health benefits of a therapeutic massage. Call 489-4068 to make an appointment for a massage in our student clinic. The Center for Natural Wellness also carries a full line of massage-related products.

Svengali Studios Spa Virgo

225 Lark St., Albany, 462-0560, spavirgo.com

Svengali Studios opened its doors at 247 Lark St. in 1983 as a trendy, cutting-edge hair salon. Today at 225 Lark St., Svengali Studios Spa Virgo occupies two floors of a beautiful, historic town house. A full range of spa treatments are available including hairstyling, hair coloring, manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing, makeup application and makeup classes. Deep tissue, hot stone, Swedish, and Thai massage are also available, along with Rolfing, reflexology, and reiki.

The extremely talented and professional staff at Svengali Studio Spa Virgo are dedicated to making every visit a comfortable and enjoyable experience. It will leave you feeling great and looking positively radiant. Open Tue-Fri from 11 AM-7 PM, Sat-Mon from 11 AM-4 PM, earlier and later by appointment only.

Shambhala Meditation Center® of Albany

879 Madison Ave., Albany, 729-4055, albany.shambhala.org, shambhala_albany@yahoo.com

Shambhala Meditation Center® is part of an international community of urban meditation and rural retreat centers founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, now under the direction of his son and spiritual heir, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

Our wheelchair accessible center offers weekly meditation sessions, meditation instruction, a curriculum of Buddhist and Shambhala teachings, and contemplative arts.

Shambhala Meditation Center® is dedicated to the practice of meditation, the study of Shambhala and Buddhist teachings, and mindful living through the arts and community life. We invite you to explore our diverse programs, designed to help people of all traditions discover their inherent sanity, gentleness and humor. The Center is a nonprofit, volunteer organization supported by membership dues, donations and fees from classes and workshops.

Mindfulness meditation is the foundation of all that we do at the Shambhala Meditation Center®. This 2,500 year-old practice of self-discovery is rooted in the simple, but revolutionary premise that every human being has the ability to cultivate the mind’s inherent stability, clarity and strength in order to be more awake and compassionate in everyday life.

Meditation instruction is offered at the monthly Learn to Meditate programs, held the first Wednesday of each month from 7-8:30 PM.

Meditation sessions are held every Thursday from 7:00-8:00 pm. Sessions include sitting meditation, walking meditation and a reading.

Please visit our website for a complete listing of classes, seminars, workshops, and meditation practice schedules. Everyone is welcome.

Juicy Burgers & More

Bobby Mitchell

15 Trieble Ave., Ballston Spa, 884-0033, bobby@orderjuicyburgers.com, orderjuicyburgers.com

After spending a year with Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Boston, Bobby Mitchell, former owner of Wheatfields and Doc’s Steakhouse, decided to return to the area with his family and open a restaurant with a new concept. Juicy Burgers & More . . . is just that. The “quick serve” restaurant features “Fresh—Never Frozen” steak burgers cooked to order in our specially designed 1800-degree over-fired broiler. The restaurant also serves a variety of fries, onion rings, entrée-size salads and soups. A unique feature of the new restaurant is the guest’s ability to order from a computer terminal at the restaurant or online from home, office or PDA. Once placed, the order is either delivered to your table when ready or packed for your pick-up. Juicy Burgers & More also cares about the environment and uses only “green” products wherever possible.

Honest Weight Food Co-op

Bob Linn, Katie Centanni and Amy Pagano

484 Central Ave., Albany, 482-2667, honestweight.coop

Honest Weight Food Co-op, Inc., founded in 1976, is open to the public seven days a week. A member-owned and -operated organization, Honest Weight Food Co-op is committed to providing the community with affordable, high quality natural foods and products for healthy and ecologically sustainable living.

The store offers a full line of natural and organic brand-name grocery products: over 500 domestic and imported cheeses from rBGH-free dairies, locally raised hormone and antibiotic-free meat, the Capital District’s largest selection of bulk foods, a deli and bakery that prepares fresh healthful meals-to-go every day, and a knowledgeable and friendly Wellness staff offering supplements, vitamins, herbs and body care products.

The co-op is acknowledged as having the area’s widest selection of locally produced food products and the staff is always on the lookout for more. Every day co-op members offer samples of new and exciting products through our in-store demo program and weekly there are bulk foods demos that offer the customer recipes and tips on how to use the over 500 bulk foods that the co-op stocks.

Additionally, the co-op is a gathering place for many facets of the local community. To mention just a few of the myriad activities, members offer classes in Spanish, provide math tutoring, gather at the co-op to have music jams, and meet to share natural parenting advice. Members also offer free services such as knife sharpening and financial planning.

Koto’s Japanese

260 Wolf Road Ext., 869-8888, kotoalbany.com

The Koto is a magnificent, traditional Japanese, stringed instrument that has been used for centuries to create unique and extremely lovely songs, and has enchanted admirers from all over the world. Just like its name, Koto Japanese Restaurant is celebrated for its exceptional and beautiful preparation of traditional Japanese cuisine, elevating the art of Japanese fine dining to a near-musical experience.

Since its inception in 2003, Koto Japanese Restaurant has been renowned for its stunning presentations and fresh sushi. Koto has been voted Best Japanese/Sushi in the 2009 Metroland Readers Poll, Best Japanese Steakhouse in 2008, and Best Japanese Cuisine in 2008 by Capital Region Magazine. Koto offers a delectable and sizable selection of authentic Japanese food, ranging from raw sushi and sashimi to delicious cooked dishes, such as sizzling beef teriyaki and artfully-presented Hibachi grill. Koto uses only the finest ingredients available including organic vegetables, certified Black Angus beef, the best sushi-grade salmon available, and cooking oil with no trans fats, making a meal healthy as well as delicious. We are open for lunch and dinner. Take out is also available. Space is available for business meetings.

Brunswick Harley-Davidson/Buell, Inc.

Stuart, Jean, Andrea with Barkley (Best instore pet) Cheryl and Adam

1130 Hoosick Road, Route 7, Troy, 279-1145, brunswickharley.com

Brunswick Harley-Davidson/Buell, Inc. is a family owned and operated Harley-Davidson franchise located 5 miles outside of Troy on Route 7 East. Jean Ginsburg started Brunswick Harley-Davidson in July 1972. All four of her children have worked in the dealership since they were young. Stuart, the oldest is Sales Manager; Adam, Service Manager; Cheryl, Office Manager; and Andrea, the youngest, is Parts Manager.

Surviving the sales slump that pervaded the ‘70s, Jean (also known as Helln’) continued to supply and service the local community. Her faith in the Harley-Davidson product and the return of a stronger economy in the ’80s kept local buyers and Brunswick Harley-Davidson alive and well. We look forward to a strong economy again and fulfilling the needs of our customers.

Brunswick Harley-Davidson’s mission is to provide top quality motorcycles, parts, accessories, clothing, and exceptional service. We treat everyone consistently with honesty and respect. A family owned and operated business, we work together to preserve a fun and friendly environment while promoting their passion of the motorcycle sport. We strive to be the customer’s first choice, exceed their expectations and fulfill their dreams. The needs of our customers determine our path; our values guide us. For all of your motorcycle needs, visit Brunswick Harley-Davidson/Buell and discover what great service is all about.

New World Bistro Bar

(l-r) Kevin Tighe, Annette Nanes, Scott Meyer, Nick Ferrandino, Ric Orlando and Daryl Burchfield

300 Delaware Ave., Albany, 694-0520, newworldbistrobar.com

From the chef who brought you New World Home Cooking and owners Scott Meyer and Annette Nanes, co-owners of the Spectrum 8 Theatres, comes a new and exciting restaurant to the Capital Region.

Featuring “global comfort food,” as described by Executive Chef and consultant Ric Orlando, the menu boasts a number of Orlando’s signature dishes, such as the Ropa Vieja and blackened string beans from the popular New World Home Cooking Co. in Saugerties. New World offers a variety of options, from full entrees to small plates, sandwiches and flatbread pizzas, as well as vegetarian and vegan selections.

A full bar with an extensive wine list has been compiled to assist our guests in pairing their dish with the perfect drink. Orlando is a strong advocate of clean foods, which is why his menu utilizes regional, seasonal, sustainable and artisan ingredients.

We have created a warm, casual atmosphere with top-notch staff. To learn more about New World Bistro Bar please visit us newworldbistrobar.com

Shining Rainbow Restaurant

Server Didi Zuo, manager Nick Wang, head chef George Zhang and Sushi chef Tony Lin

209 Central Ave., Albany, 396-3881, shiningrainbow.com

Albany finally has real Chinese Food! When we say “real”, we mean it. ShiningRainbow Restaurant is a very traditional and real “Chinatown”-style Chinese food restaurant. Our chefs have more than 10 years experience in the business. They came all the way up from New York City to provide their best service to the local folks. Our signature cuisine including Beijing Duck, Casserole, Hot Pot Rice and also Dim Sum which is based on our very unique secret recipe. Besides the main dishes, to serve our neighbors better, the chefs also came up with a lunch special menu with various choices and low prices. Plus, we partnering with a Japanese sushi expert, which makes our service even more comprehensive. Like all other Chinese restaurants, we do deliver for free and, we also encourage take-outs so that we can offer our customers 10 percent off on the side. So far we have more than 300 dishes and the menu is still being improved. The best part is that since we opened, we’ve received almost 100 percent positive feedback on both food and service. That is the most exciting thing to all of us. We will continue to serve our customers the best way we can. Barber’s Farm

Jacob Hooper, Cindy, Jim and Elias Barber

3621 State Route 30, Middleburgh, 827-5454, barbersfarm.com

We’re famous for our vegetables, but you should see our farm! Since 1857, six generations of the Barber Family have tended their land in the heart of the scenic Schoharie Valley; easily one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever visit! The farm, roadstand and greenhouses are located 3 and a half miles south of Middleburgh on Route 30 (45 minutes from the Capital Region).

We have built our reputation on providing our customers the very best in homegrown produce and friendly service. We grow more than 100 different types of vegetables on 180 acres of fertile land, using biological controls and mechanical cultivation to avoid chemical pesticides as much as possible. Soil-building crop rotations and intensive “green manure” techniques help reduce our use of fertilizers, and our investment in minimum tillage equipment also helps build the soil structure and reduce energy consumption.

Our greenhouses are overflowing in May and June when we open with flowering bedding plants, more than 1,300 spectacular hanging baskets, perennials and vegetable plants for your home garden. In June we begin to harvest the first crops from our fields. By mid-summer our home farmstand and Capital Region market trucks are bursting with an abundance of homegrown vegetables, fruits and herbs. In August we open the fields to let you pick your own tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, followed with pick-your-own pumpkins in the fall and a corn maze for fun. You can shop from our Market Trucks in Schenectady, Guilderland, Delmar and Colonie. Check our Web site for details.

Capital Q Smokehouse

Sean Custer, owner and pitmaster

329 Ontario St., Albany, 438-7675 (GET-PORK), Eatmypork.com

Since opening my doors over a year ago, Capital Q has been dishing up some of the best BBQ and Soul Food in the Capital Region. I take pride in offering regional BBQ styles and a variety of side dishes that hearken back to my Oklahoma roots. I make all of my own sauces and rubs, and everything I serve is made from scratch, except the ketchup, and Heinz does a good job of that. I invite y’all to come on in and put a taste of the South in your mouth.

Here is just a sample of what critics have said: “It was a flavor explosion! . . . Capital Q Smokehouse is firing on all cylinders. Run, don’t walk there, the next time you don’t feel like cooking,” LP Clark, Capital Region Living Magazine.

“The barbecue revolution continues . . . Sample the pulled pork at Capital Q Smokehouse for a taste of the real thing . . . I wish I could name a favorite. I wish I could find within myself the food-critic fussiness to pass so particular a judgment. But I’m such a fan of variety, and the sauces are so well seasoned, that I can only recommend you try each one and delight in the differences,” B.A. Nilsson, Metroland

“If you love smoked barbecued sandwiches, Southern style, with the side dishes to match … Capital Q Smokehouse in Albany — is for you,” Elysia Nest, The Daily Gazette

“You’re likely to start salivating even before you get inside Capital Q Smokehouse,”

Irv Dean, The Daily Gazette.

Katrinella’s Bistro

Owners Joe and Katrina Rogers

123 1/2 Madison Ave., Albany, 512-5116, katrinellasbistro.com

Come and enjoy a taste of love at Katrinella’s Bistro. It has always been a dream of ours to open up a romantic restaurant serving delicious Italian cuisine served in an intimate setting. In January 2009 our dreams became a reality. With seating for 15, Katrinella’s has a warm atmosphere where couples can enjoy a wonderful meal, always cooked fresh to order and priced right.

Katrinella’s is open seven days a week for dinner, and open for lunch Monday through Friday. With a huge selection of entrees, you can enjoy classic dishes such as chicken parmigiana, veal marsala, linguini with clams, but you can also challenge your taste buds with unique dishes such as shrimp marchiatta, veal Katrinella, and salmon veniciano, etc. Our extensive menu also includes a number of vegetarian dishes such as eggplant florentine, tortellini ala pana, penne Mediterranean, etc. All these dishes and special offers can be viewed on our Web site.

So please come and join us in our downtown Albany location with parking available at dinner.

Go Wireless

Back row: Gene Gardy, Bob Marsh, Lara-Marie Davi. Front row: Owners Julie and Michael Bruno

Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, 438-1306

Anyone thinking about getting a new cell phone, switching to Verizon Wireless, adding a line or upgrading an existing Verizon Wireless phone should visit Go Wireless. We guarantee the lowest prices on phones and accessories, and that is just the beginning of the Go Wireless way.

We also frequently offer special promotions on featured phones, $100 gas cards, and certificates for $100 in merchandise at popular stores like Target, Wal-Mart and Home Depot with new phone purchases—and our every day accessory pricing is up to 25 percent less than the corporate stores.

What people often don’t realize about the Go Wireless stores is that we offer the same items sold by Verizon corporate stores, and more, without the travel time, the crowded parking lots and the long waits to speak to a specialist. The Go Wireless business strategy has been to locate stores in smaller markets and offer more than the corporate stores, with top-notch customer service.

“The advantage over a corporate store is that we try to work with our customers,” said owner Mike Bruno. “We’re more flexible. We treat customers like people, really listen to what they say, and try to get them what they want, not just sell products.”

Brown’s Brewing Company

Co-Owner Kelly Brown, Chef Tina Clements, Head Brewer Peter Martin

417 River Street, Troy, 273-2337, brownsbrewing.com

We’ve been crafting Dependable Ales and Lagers at our 150-year-old warehouse-brewery overlooking the Hudson River since 1993. We serve more than a dozen beers on tap and have more than 25 styles available throughout the year. Our Taproom restaurant is a social hub for the community, and we use local products whenever possible in a menu that compliments the beer we brew on site.

We’re proud of the awards we’ve received, including the Matthew Vassar Cup for the Best Brewery in Hudson Valley as well as a Gold medal for our Pale Ale from the Culinary Institute of America. We won prestigious World Beer Cup Gold and Silver Awards for our Oatmeal Stout and Whiskey Porter, respectively, and Metroland readers voted us Best Brewpub in 2008 and 2009.

Community and the environment are important to us. We donate a portion our “Tomhannock Pilsner” sales to the Rensselaer Land Trust, which protects watersheds in Rensselaer County, including the Tomhannock Reservoir, the source of our water. We are also committed to recycling and conservation wherever we can. Our spent brewing grains become feed for local beef cattle and we compost our hops and produce scraps from our kitchen.

In 2007 we began bottling our Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, IPA and ESB for sale in area beverage centers and Hannaford Supermarkets. Our expansion continues with availability of our brands in pubs and restaurants throughout the area, and the construction of a full production brewery on the Walloomsac River in North Hoosick.

Aunt Katie’s Attic

7052 Amsterdam Road, Scotia, 887-3026, auntkatiesattic.com

Whew! We thought business was good before, but ever since Metroland readers voted us top antique shop, it’s downright mind-boggling! Dare to be different, that’s our mantra. Actually, we are in a category all on our own, a little bit of this, a little bit of that . . . a little vintage, retro, and talk about COLOR! Guess you’ll just have to come see for yourself. Looks like a lot of new folks are discovering our friendly service, eclectic inventory and down to earth prices—a rare find in this fast paced world. (How refreshing.) Maybe they’ve been sharing that info with a few of their vintage collecting friends too! TWEET!

Curious yet? Well, then pop in for our 14th Anniversary Open House Celebration, Saturday, April 4th from 11 AM to 5 PM, and enjoy tasty food, fabulous raffles and a sensational storewide sale! And if that wasn’t enough fun, start saving your pennies and grab a friend for our Annual Outdoor Flea Market on Saturday, June 6th from 9 to 5. In the meantime we will be on the lookout for fascinating fairly priced finds, and loving every minute of it. You never know what (or WHO) you’ll find at Aunt Katie’s! Oh yeah, come meet Aunt Katie’s Atticus and May, adopted from our friends at Helping Paws Animal Rescue.

Take a drive on mighty Route 5 and make Aunt Katie’s Attic your destination. Open Wednesday through Saturday 11 AM to 5 PM, Sunday noon to 4 PM. Experience the difference.

Tri City Rentals

255 Washington Ave. Ext., Albany, 862-6600, info@tricityrentals.com, tricityrentals.com

For more than 40 years, Tri City Rentals has built a reputation for unsurpassed quality, outstanding value and personal service while owning and managing the area’s premier apartment communities. Attention to detail is the first thing you’ll notice as you enter any of our apartment communities. It starts with the landscaping; beautifully cropped lawns with flower beds and shrubs bordering immaculate walkways which lead you to your new apartment home. There’s a neighborhood feeling you’ll get the moment you meet members of our staff. They will assist you in finding the right apartment. Locally we have 23 of the finest communities offering diverse locations, price ranges, styles and amenities including furnished apartments with flexible lease terms, so we’re sure there is one suited to your needs and lifestyle.

Albany Massage

1096 Madison Ave., Albany, 689-2180, albanymassage.com

Tension and stress? Athletic injury? Head, neck, or back pain? We can help. Albany Massage has been proudly serving the residents and visitors of the Capital Region for the last ten years.

Our beginnings on Hamilton Street lead us to our expanded location on Madison Avenue, where we are dedicated to helping you improve your ability to enjoy the activities you love. The conditions we address include, but are not limited to: muscular tension, discomfort, injury, and decreased range of motion. Our therapeutic treatments also include no fault, pregnancy, and shiatsu massage.

When you call us, one of our ten New York State licensed massage therapists will be available to discuss your needs and the purpose of your visit. Not sure if massage is right for you? Today’s stressful environment suggests that it’s the perfect time to try it. We are open seven days a week for your convenience.

We offer a friendly, professional, and non-discriminatory environment to help bring the balance back into your life.

Albany All Stars Roller Derby

recruit@albanyallstars.com, sponsorship@albanyallstars.com, albanyallstars.com

Fans packing into the Armory to see their favorite rollerdivas body-checking in fishnets and glittery shorts may not give much thought to the business of derby, but running this local sports league takes a lot of dedication off-skates as well. Though currently unaffiliated with national organizations, AASRD has been run in WFTDA tradition since its inception in 2006—by the skaters, for the skaters—with every rollergirl playing a crucial part in running the league DIY-style.

2009 finds the All Stars going strong with an exceptional group of skaters committed to the duality of athletics and entertainment, with an emphasis on sportswomanship, showwomanship and powerfully strategic play. AASRD has grown from a few women skating together to two powerhouse teams, the Empire Skate Troopers and the Department of Public Hurts.

Given its strong grassroots work ethic, the All Stars are also keenly aware of the importance of community. The league puts a large emphasis on giving back, whether it’s encouraging patronage of other small businesses for equipment purchases, fundraising money for local charities, or volunteering at events throughout the Capital District.

If you’d like more information on seeing a bout, or possibly joining the league, the All Stars encourage you to visit their Web site. “It’s a huge amount of time and effort, but it really is a labor of love,” says one skater. All of the hard work pays off whenever these fierce women enter the track, flying on eight wheels while the crowd roars.

Shalimar Restaurant

35 Central Ave., Albany 434-0890

15 Park Ave., Clifton Park 348-1494

Delaware Plaza, Delmar, 439-4200

Shalimar opened its doors on Jan. 22, 1992. Being the first Pakistani-Indian restaurant in Albany, Shalimar enjoys a strong following. The ownership team has upheld the traditions of affordability, quality, service and cleanliness, and community involvement, which have become synonymous with Shalimar.

Long-term employee relationships built over the years have truly been instrumental in the success of the organization.

For 18 years in a row, the Metroland Reader’s Poll has chosen Shalimar as the “Best Pakistani-Indian Restaurant” and “Best Pakistani-Indian Buffet” in the Capital District. We will soon be opening a new Shalimar in Delmar. We look forward to seeing you there.

Furniture Theatre

Bryan Jr., Bill, Dan, Tom, Gina, Bryan, Sarah and Ed

2785 Route 9, Malta, 587-9420, furnituretheatre.com

Brothers Tom and Ed Caro recently celebrated their 23rd anniversary of selling furniture in Malta, for 15 years as Furniture Plus, and the last 8 years as Furniture Theatre, on the site they share with the Malta Drive-In Theatre. While the drive-in theatre is celebrating its 60th anniversary, the last 21 years operated by the brothers, Furniture Theatre represents an increasingly rare institution: an independent and locally owned furniture store.

If you aren’t helped by one of the owners, then you will be helped by Gina, Bryan or Sarah. Almost all of the talented sales and delivery staff have been there since the store’s beginning. In-home design consultations are offered. The delivery crew of Dan, Bryan Jr., and Bill are often complimented on their service.

Furniture Theatre’s selection reflects the tastes of the local area. People always comment that the showroom floor is unique: more interesting, less generic. There are Adirondack and rustic furniture and accessories throughout the store. Upholstered pieces with bear or moose prints are always popular. They have cottage-style room settings, some of which have collage fabric treatments or removable slipcovers or down-blend seat cushions.

Any sofa can be special-ordered in hundreds of fabrics. Many dining sets and occasional tables can be ordered in many stains and paint treatments. Furniture Theatre has the rest of the house covered with their selection of accent pieces, bedroom sets, casual dining sets, home office, wall decor and mattresses. Tom and Ed invite you to stop in and explore. You won’t be disappointed.

DeJa Vu

Ray Chiras, Jessica Chiras, Crystal Reedy, Kate Withers, Jessie Meuser and Angela Primo

Shoppers Park, 145 Wolf Road, Albany, 459-6495

You may say Deja Vu was born from a stage. Created, owned, and fathered by Ray Chiras in 1970, his “baby” announcement came from the mouth of Mark Farner, lead singer of Grand Funk Railroad. Deja Vu’s Grand Opening echoed throughout the Palace theatre in Albany that night. The store flourished from its humble beginnings featuring handcrafted fringed leather vests, chokers, wristbands, and apple caps. Farner and Leslie West of Mountain were wearing these leather goods, creations handcrafted by Ray Chiras. The concert seemed almost secondary at the time. The store, Deja Vu, was the star.

The store has traveled throughout the Capital District and afar. The mission for 39 years has been peace and freedom of expression.

The store tastefully carries adult leisure items, tobacco supplies, “hippie gear,” clothing for young and old of all walks of life, body jewelry, candles, incense, and much more to promote spirituality, tranquility, aphrodisia, and relaxation. Of course, don’t forget the Grateful Dead memorabilia.

Currently, the welcoming, knowledgeable staff and atmosphere of Deja Vu is located at 145 Wolf Road. Keeping with the times, we are revamping our look. But, never fear, our discretion and loyalty to our customers remains the same.

You’re guaranteed a pleasurable experience at our one-stop shop. You may even have a strange feeling . . . like you’ve been here before. Thank you for 39 years of business. Please stop in for some peace, sexiness, love and harmony.

Plaza Fitness at Stuyvesant Plaza

(l-r) Owner Korey McCoy, Jason Berner and Heather Kenneally

Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, 482-2266, plazafitness.net

Plaza Fitness at Stuyvesant Plaza is a comprehensive fitness and wellness center that uniquely customizes the appropriate amount of support, guidance, and motivation you’ll need to reach your health and fitness goals. Our professional staff is here to guide and support you through such fun, flexible, and effective programs as personal training, pilates, yoga, holistic health and nutrition counseling, qi gong, and massage.

We are passionate about removing barriers toward participating in activities that lead to healthier lifestyles. We are the proud recipient of the 2008 Recreation Provider of the Year Award from the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC). The award recognizes organizations that have shown extraordinary efforts in community growth and personal growth for all New Yorkers with developmental disabilities and their families.

If you have had setbacks on your path toward healthy living . . . if finding a comfortable environment to begin exercise has been a challenge . . . if you have health considerations such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension, high cholesterol, or if you are overweight . . . if you need special accommodations . . . then Plaza Fitness at Stuyvesant Plaza is your solution toward a healthy future.

Just Plain Good

John, Colleen and Kim

490 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 584-3500, justplayngood.com

In tough economic times like these, leave your worries behind and visit a store in the Capital Region that continues to spread a positive message. With themes like “Happy Hour,” “Half Full” and “Fairway to Heaven,” the Just Plain Good store located at the north end of Broadway in Saratoga Springs emanates good vibes up and down the city’s main shopping avenue.

Just Plain Good maintains a “Life is Good in Saratoga Springs” attitude that could be a great motto for the city to adopt. This motto has worked well enough for the Life is Good company itself, which began with founding members Bert and John Jacobs selling t-shirts out of the back of their van in 1994. Today the company today has over 200 employees and has been featured in numerous news media outlets from TV news shows to the cover of Inc. magazine.

Just Plain Good is one of two Life is Good franchise stores owned by John Nemjo of Troy, who also owns Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company, New York’s largest canoe and kayak dealer in Old Forge. Along with store managers Colleen Nitchman and Kim Murauskas in Saratoga and Ranney D’Ariggo in Old Forge, John’s vision of spreading a positive message with his Just Plain Good stores is contagious. “How can you not be happy when you leave our stores,” he exclaims. “It’s kind of like Christmas 365 days a year.”

Benjamin’s Fine Flooring, LLC

Jessica Ryan-Manager, Sany Bain-Sales, Ben Grieco-Owner

109 Fiddler’s Elbow Road, Greenwich, 692-7569, benjaminsfineflooring.com

Benjamin’s Fine Flooring, founded by Ben and Sherrie Grieco, is a full-service floor-covering store, and has been serving the Capital Region for over 35 years. At Benjamin’s, we offer a quality selection of all flooring types—ceramic tile, carpet, hardwood, laminates, vinyl, natural stone, and remnants. We offer top flooring brands like Shaw, Mohawk, Daltile, and Mannington . . . but have always strived to carry flooring lines that set us apart from our competitors. We offer a full line of “green” flooring, like Marmoleum, Smart Strand and wool carpets, cork, and oiled hardwoods, and also carry a beautiful selection of ceramic, porcelain, and glass tiles from around the world. Our company does both residential and commercial work, and we warranty all of our installations for life. We have all of our own payrolled expert installers who have worked for us for years, but also offer a full line of installation tools and materials for your next do-it-yourself project. We pride ourselves on excellent one-on-one customer service. Our staff here at Benjamin’s is very knowledgeable of all flooring types and the proper installation of each. Feel free to call us with questions or even for ideas any time! We enjoy doing custom work, and working with you to design the exact layout/pattern you’ve been envisioning. We offer free in-home estimates, and 90 days same as cash financing. Come check out our beautiful new showroom and warehouse, or give us a call . . . and let us help you design the floor of your dreams!

Lark Tattoo

T-Bone, Kyle and Rich

274 Lark St., Albany, 432-1905, Larktattoo.com

Hey kids, T-Bone here. It’s been an amazing 16 years for us, and I’ve gotta shout a big thank you to the Capital Region for all their support and patronage. Lark Tattoo opened its doors in 1993 and has been producing the finest custom tattoos in a clean professional studio ever since.

I came here as a lowly apprentice that year and worked my way up to being a full partner with the original owner Bruce Kaplan. Currently, we have a staff of five fantastic artists—Geoff, Rich, Kara, Pete, Kyle—and our frontperson, Ali, who greets everyone with a smile and a friendly “howdy do.” Everyone is super talented and skilled in the “dermagraphic arts.” Our shop is newly renovated, clean, and a perfect professional environment to get your next (or first) tattoo.

Come check us out seven days a week from noon until 10 PM. Come in and browse the portfolios, or check out our Web site.

Habana Premium Cigar Shoppe

Scott Bendett

1537 Central Ave., Albany, 690-2222; 528 North Greenbush Road (RT 4), North Greenbush, 238-3781, scott@pipesandcigars.com, habanahappenings.com

I started Habana Premium Cigar Shoppe with 15 boxes of cigars 13 years ago in a cart in Colonie Center. Today, we are a leader in our industry. With two locations in the Capital District, Habana was voted the best cigar store by Times Union, Metroland and Capital Region Living.

Each Habana has Spanish cedar walk-in humidors, and plush lounges with leather chairs and flat-screen televisions. Our selection of cigars is the largest and most diverse in the region and features exclusive products like Davidoff and more. Our staff is made up of pipe and cigar lovers who are happy to help you pick out the cigar or pipe that is perfect for you, or as a gift for someone you love or admire. Our house-brand cigars are affordable and are second-to-none in quality. Our house brand tobaccos are highly acclaimed and have been featured in Pipes & Tobaccos magazine.

Habana is host to numerous cigar events in the region where men and women can gather and enjoy good food, good cigars, good drink and of good friends! Save the date for upcoming events: On Friday, April 3rd Come meet Drew Estate and ACID Cigar founder Marvin Samel for all kinds of specials from 3 PM-8 PM at the Albany store, and May 7 th is Habanapalooza at the Washington Avenue Armory. Also, make sure and catch my weekly radio show, The Good Life, on Paul Vandenburgh's TALK 1300 AM on Saturdays at 1:00 PM.

Habana is the perfect place whether you're a novice or aficionado to enjoy the good life!

Jake Moon Restaurant, Café and Bakehouse

2082 Delaware Turnpike (Route 443), Clarksville, 768-2570, jakemoon.net

Jake Moon broke its first egg back in January, but since that time the Jake Moon Restaurant, Café, and Bakehouse of Clarksville has quickly become a hilltown phenomenon, drawing enthusiastic and appreciative crowds from Rensselaerville to the Schoharie Valley. How has Dan Smith, formerly of Nicole’s Bistro in Albany, accomplished this economic miracle in the depths of winter, at a time of such woe and want? Evidently his commitment to high quality, house-made, locally-sourced food, served in an unpretentious setting at a price respectful of our current economic realities, has struck a chord. Come on by for breakfast or brunch and order from a menu that includes Jake Moon hash, hand-cut on the premises, or country sausage, gravy, and biscuits with house-ground sausage, house-made gravy, and house-baked biscuits. Leave with a loaf of our dill onion, Irish brown, or sourdough bread—to name only a few of the freshly-baked items available daily. Dinner is served on Friday and Saturday nights, with a constantly shifting, eclectic, yet affordable menu. You can sign up on our Web site to have the weekend’s menu emailed to you every Thursday. Recent highlights have included rainbow trout campfire style, sautéed with bacon, onions, and baked potato; and pork medallions with cider cream and caramelized apples, served with garlic mashers. It’s classic American cuisine made on-premises, from scratch, using local eggs, milk, flour, meats, and other ingredients, served at church supper prices. Jake Moon is a place where dollars spent on great food are passed back to area farmers, helping to keep farming a viable economic activity right here in the greater Capital Region. Come on out to Clarksville to participate in the local foods revolution and celebrate our shared good fortune to be living at the meeting place of the two great river valleys of New York State.

Anton’s—A Greek/American Eatery

577 New Scotland Ave., Albany, Phone: 453-9191, Fax: 459-9193, antonsgreekrestaurant.com

The Antons are a close-knit, hard-working Greek-American family who recently opened a small, but explosive eatery at 577 New Scotland Avenue. We’re life-long residents of the neighborhood and enjoy living and working in the city of Albany! Anton’s specializes in authentic Greek gyros, souvlaki, moussaka, spanakopita, Greek salads, spreads, and Yia-Yia’s homemade Greek pastries. Anton’s also features mouthwatering breakfast wraps and sandwiches (served all day!), tender eye-of-round roast beef sandwiches, the area’s famous mini hot dogs, sliders (mini burgers), as well as vegetarian delights. Attention is evident in quality meats (pork souvlaki from the tenderloin) fresh, local produce and dairy. Our food is cooked to order and we offer $5 featured daily items. A must try is the one-of-a-kind EJ Breakfast Wrap—breakfast will never be the same and you won’t believe your mouth! We’d like to extend our thanks to the community for a great kick-off to a new venture and we can’t wait to see you soon!

Open for dine-in, take-out and delivery, 9 AM-8 PM Sun-Wed, 9 AM-10 PM Thu-Sat.

The Counties of Ireland

Robin McDonough

77 3rd St., Troy, 687-0054, thecountiesofireland.com

Our original store opened in Troy in June 2000. Our idea was to bring something a little different to our customers . . . something unique. We not only wanted to cater to our Irish customers but all nationalities, to show people the true crafts of Ireland. That is why we consider ourselves “Not your typical Irish shop.” In December 2004, we purchased the Cooper Shoes building at 77 3rd Street in historic downtown Troy, and in June of 2005 we re-opened our new shop, making this our permanent home. Our newly remodeled space is a spectacular sight, with the original tin ceilings, hardrock maple floors, and vintage shelves. We still offer the same beautiful merchandise that is manufactured and imported directly from Ireland because authenticity is very important to us.

We are always adding new product lines to our store. For example, this year we have added Bunbury Boards. This is much more than a chopping board. Every board is branded with a unique log reference. By visiting the company’s website with this reference number, customers can download their very own Tree Report. The report includes a picture of their tree, its location, and the date and reason it came down. Not only are these boards beautiful, but we are their first retail outlet in the United States.

We also launched our website in March of 2008. This is a full shopping website that was the next leg of our ever-growing business. Nine years later, The Counties of Ireland still invites you, no matter what age or nationality you are, to experience a bit of Ireland...the Ireland we love!


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