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Hippo’s Home Electronics
Tony Hazapis (owner) with custom installers
Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, 482-1864, www.hipposhome.com

For more than 18 years I have watched the home electronics industry go through many changes and technological innovations. Televisions as thin as a book and as large as a mural, programming delivered from satellites, projection screens and speakers that appear magically out of the ceiling. A single remote control that controls all of the components—even the lights. At Hippo’s we realize there are many options for your home electronics needs, but we believe in three basic principles: (1) give the consumer good, honest information, (2) give them the absolute best quality products, (3) give them the guaranteed best prices. We ask only one thing of you, the consumer: a fair chance. Come to Hippo’s, we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Let the experts at Hippo’s design a custom home theater system perfect for your home and your budget. No job too big or too small, our professional technicians are available to answer any of your home theater questions. New and pre-existing construction is our specialty. Before the walls go up—or if you want to change the way you currently watch and listen to television—bring us in for a free consultation. In-wall speakers, individual room controls, in-wall TVs, and invisible wiring are just some of your options.

We offer the very best components from McIntosh, Sony ES, Pioneer Elite, Onkyo Integra, Rotel, NAD, AdCom speakers from Jamo, Klipsch, Bower & Wilkins, M&K, PSB, Mission and many others and a wide array of TVs in sizes from 7”-70” or even bigger from Sony, LG, Pioneer Elite and ViewSonic.

Give us a call!


Profile Hair Design Inc.
Theresa Spinelli (owner), Cinnamon Snyder
1830 Western Ave., Albany, 218-0587

Profile Hair Design Inc. will be celebrating its 15th year this July—five years at its present location. During that time, the Boutique has expanded its space and clothing lines. We now carry petite to generous sizes, from companies such as Flax, Fat Hat and Salaam!

More of the specialty items you will find are jewelry by American artists, jewelry boxes, hand-made scarves, soaps, lotions and candles by Archipelago, framed photography, handbags and more.

Since the expansion of “The Boutique” in October 2003, foot traffic has increased dramatically; The Boutique surrounds you so you don’t even feel like you’re in a salon!

The newest addition to the salon is colorist/stylist, Cinnamon Snyder. Cinnamon has 15 years experience and specializes in all aspects of hair coloring and cutting. Call for an appointment. Let Cinnamon create a new look for you!

You’re always welcome to just stop in and browse. There’s always lots of new stuff.


Ichiban Restaurant
Emily Ju, David Ip, Tommy Ju, Lisa Ju
338 Central Ave., Albany, 432-0358; 1653 Western Ave., Guilderland, 869-9585, www.albanyichiban.com

We started serving the Capital District area seven years ago. We will be opening our second location in Guilderland in April. We promise to continue to provide the finest Japanese and Chinese cuisine in the area with devoted service to our customers.

Our restaurant has earned a great reputation for the freshest sushi, largest selection, great values and the best service. Whether you dine in or carry out at either of our locations, we promise that your experience will be enjoyable and pleasurable.

We are thankful for our customers’ continuous support.


Mensroom Barbershop
Jerry Crouch (co-owner), Matt Hulsopple, Ryan Peterson (co-owner)
54 Columbia St., Albany, 449-1400, www.mensroom.biz

Mensroom Barbershop is celebrating our two-year anniversary in Downtown Albany. We are master barbers trying to recreate the traditional barbershop feeling. We provide a place where men can receive any type of haircut, from classic to contemporary, with consistency. We offer haircuts and hot towel straight razor shaves and carry grooming products exclusively for men. We appreciate appointments, but walk-ins are always welcome. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 10 to 6. For more information, check us out on the Web.


Le-wanda Jewelers
Joseph Le-Wanda
246 Delaware Ave., Delmar, 439-9665

In 1959, Le-Wanda Jewelers opened for business in Delmar. Outwardly, we have gone through many changes as the years have passed, such as increasing the variety of jewelry and gemstones we offer, and providing a wider range of jewelry-related services in order to satisfy the needs of our customers. Finally, in 1998, we relocated from Delaware Plaza to our current free-standing location. However, what has remained the same is a strict adherence to the core principles that have guided Le-Wanda Jewelers since its inception:

Superior quality jewelry and repair at a reasonable cost.
A commitment to customer service and satisfaction.
The building of long-term relationships with our customers based on trust, honesty and mutual respect.
Constantly educating ourselves and staying current in a continually changing jewelry landscape.
We are experienced professional jewelers willing to work with you whether it is a simple repair, an important purchase, or the creation of a one-of-a-kind treasure that is uniquely yours.
We look forward to seeing you as we celebrate our 45th Anniversary and for many years to come.



FitStop
Suzie McElroy, Andrea Spungen (owner), Kate DelBene
374 Broadway, Albany, 689-0211, www.fitstopalbany.com

Located smack in downtown Albany on Broadway just south of State Street, FitStop is a unique fitness facility. Owned and operated by a former classical ballet dancer turned Pilates devotee, we are more of a boutique than a large, impersonal gym. Our clients rave about the ambiance, cleanliness and overall non-intimidating environment we provide. Our business model revolves around the simple question: If everyone wants to be as fit as possible, then why do so few people exercise on a regular basis? We discovered that the answer is just as simple. Too little time and lack of motivation prevent many from meeting their goals. Responding to the time element, FitStop is equipped with top-of-the-line Nautilus circuit training equipment, allowing for an intense full body workout within 30 minutes. Responding to the motivational element, FitStop makes personal training as affordable as possible. We at FitStop are proud to boast a near 90 percent retention rate of our members; almost double the industry standard!


Mexican Connection
Johanna and Jason Friedman
41 Nelson Ave., Saratoga Springs, 584-4466, www.mexconx.com

¡Viva la tequila! The Mexican Connection Restaurant & Cantina has enjoyed a very successful first year under new ownership and we want to thank everyone for supporting the restaurant. Our main focus is still on the delicious homemade food that made us famous, but we are starting to develop a loyal bar following too. We are now featuring over 60 different 100 percent blue-agave tequilas—the largest selection in the area. In addition, we have a full bar including over 25 types of beer. Stop in and have some fun, enjoy great food, and sip a margarita! We’re located next door to the new Saratoga Gaming and Raceway VLT’s, so stop in for dinner and a drink before checking it out. We look forward to seeing you, and remember:

Don’t drink the water . . . drink the margaritas!


Super Video
Steve Alger, Terry J. Field (owner)
1839 Central Ave., Colonie, 869-6292, www.super-video.com

Over the past few years, chain video stores blanketed the Capital Region closing down many independent video stores. One independent, Super Video, stands strong after 17 years—even against the competition of 10 Blockbuster and Hollywood Video stores within a five-mile radius!

How do we do it? The answer’s easy: selection and service. Super Video built the largest library of DVDs, VHS tapes, games, audio books and adult videos in the Capital Region with over 35,000 movies for rent. Owner Terry Field says, “We listen to our customers. If there’s a movie they want to see and we don’t already have it, we try and find it.”

Beyond an impressive inventory of new releases, Super Video’s huge selection includes the great classic, foreign, independent, and hard-to-find titles that make browsing for a movie a pleasure. Super Video even has a section of films produced by local filmmakers.

Super Video has won national awards for their outstanding customer service. Our manager Steve Alger says, “We love movies and talking about movies. Our talented staff does its best to help people find great entertainment.”


Clippers on the Run
Cherri McKay

364-1101

Gentlemen: No time to “GO” to a barber or “WAIT” in a salon to get a haircut? Or do you just need a quick clean up before a big meeting or trip? Well, I can solve your loose-locks problems, scary-hairy hair or just clean up around the ears, issues!

Hi, my name is Cherri and I started this business for men like you: Men who have limited time and very busy schedules.

But if you have an hour for lunch or even a quick break, I will come to you by appointment or with just a quick call and take care of your grooming needs. The services I provide are: cut and shape for your hair, trim your beard and/or mustache or even your eyebrows! I have a unique professional clipper vacuum system that cuts and sucks the hair (no it’s not a Flowbee) so there’s no hair anywhere! I even do manicures if your nails need pampering.

I have 25 years of licensed experience in the barbering/hairdressing field. I have plucked eyebrows and cut Farah Fawcett’s hair in the girl’s room of high school for $5. Then I had three boys and a husband and barbering naturally became a passion. I do mullets to fades, traditional to punk . . . whatever your grooming needs are, I can do.

All this is available at your office or place of work at your convenience. Please note that massage services are NOT offered. I also serve the elderly and homebound, young and old!


The Open Door Bookstore & Gift Gallery
Janet Hutchison
128 Jay St., Schenectady, 346-2719, www.opendoor-bookstore.com

For more than 30 years, the Open Door Bookstore & Gift Gallery has been a favorite destination for book lovers, an inviting oasis where we’re passionate and knowledgeable about books and committed to personal service.

Beyond offering a broad, thoughtfully chosen selection of titles, we are unique among bookstores in featuring an entire gallery of fabulous, eclectic gift items, including jewelry, soaps, toys and greeting cards, all with an eye toward the unusual and unexpected.

We are a proudly independent and locally-owned business, staffed by enthusiastic readers always glad to offer recommendations. Browse in our friendly, relaxed atmosphere—if you can’t find the book you need, we make ordering a breeze.

Kids love our “play window” too!

If you don’t know us yet, stop in and experience why our loyal customers have kept us thriving since 1971.


Natural Solutions
Joyce Willson, Anne Sorge-Kirgan, Mary Beth Fitzgerald, Kathy Tolcser
5 Broadway, Suite 201, Troy, 270-5288.

We opened Natural Solutions Bodywork Studio in 2002 to fill a need for a holistic health and wellness center in downtown Troy. We initially opened our center with the services of Acupuncture, Therapeutic Massage, Electrolysis and Reiki. We recently added Skin Care and Nail Services, which lend a spa dimension to our offerings. We are very excited to be a part of the revitalization currently underway in downtown Troy!

Natural Solutions is a place of peace and tranquility, an environment rich in knowledge as well as warmth, a place that empowers clients to make the best choices for their personal self-care plan.

Each of the practitioners has followed a different path to lead us to our careers in healing and wellness, but what we all share is a medical background and many years of experience in medically related fields. Our backgrounds include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nursing and medical lab technology. We combine our education and experience in Western therapies and Eastern practices to bring you a truly integrated approach to health and wellness.

We offer flexible day, evening and weekend appointments for your convenience. To speak to one of the practitioners or to schedule an appointment, please call 270-5288. We look forward to meeting you and helping you feel your best—both inside and out!

Mary Beth Fitzgerald, LMT/OT; Mary Stehle Hetman, Certified Professional Electrologist; Anne Sorg Kirgan, Licensed Acupuncturist; Kathy Tolcser, Licensed Esthetician/Nail Technician and Joyce Willson, RN/Reiki Practitioner.


Ferris Restaurant
Brian Lencewicz, Debbie Miller (owner), Della Miller, Theresa Reynolds, Cathy France
2612 Guilderland Ave., Rotterdam, 382-9329

We at Ferris take great pride in the outstanding reputation we have earned as an exceptional family owned and operated business over the last 20 years. Famous for our wings, burgers and other great pub fare, we also serve delicious lunch and dinner specials daily; our homemade soups, like our famous seafood chowder, draw customers from far and wide.

Whether you’re in the mood for a quick tasty snack or a delectable steak dinner, you’ll find it here. All our food is cooked to order with great care using only the freshest ingredients. Our entire menu is available for take-out.

We also feature a large and comfortable bar area, fully stocked with a great selection of wines and spirits and dozens of domestic and imported beers. It’s the perfect place to meet friends for drinks and snacks after work or before a movie. We present live entertainment on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday nights, hosting a wide variety of great local musical talent.

With our family atmosphere and excellent customer service we strive to make old and new customers alike feel welcome and comfortable, every time you visit us. Over the years so many of our customers have truly become our cherished friends and we thank you all for your continued patronage. We also love to make new friends every day and hope you’ll stop by and give us a try! Ferris is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 11 AM, and for dinner on Monday from 4 PM. See you soon!


I Want That Face
Darcy Rickard (owner), Mariah Rickard
Latham, 225-1166, drickard@nycap.rr.com

What comes to your mind when you think of face painting? Probably a simple rainbow or a heart painted on a kid’s cheek, right? Yeah, well in most cases that is face painting. But this is not your ordinary face painting; this is, I Want That Face!

When I paint, I combine face paints, a special artistry, and a major dose of creativity for a result that is, well, no less than fabulous! Hundreds of kids and adults have displayed creations that reached deep into their imagination, and grabbed some serious attention!

Oh sure, I also paint smaller artwork like hearts and rainbows. (Speaking of that, I am scheduled to paint at Albany’s Capital Pride celebration this year.) I really love to paint at large events. Last year, I brought my unique kind of painting magic to Lark Fest ’03, Irish Fest, Goold Orchards’ Fall Festival and a number of other places around the Capital District.

Did you ever think about adding face painting to your next event? Can you imagine the possibilities: birthday parties, your next family reunion, the next event at school? All the kids and adults having fun—and think of the amazing pictures you will have from that day!

Most importantly, all of this fun is safe, non-toxic and non-permanent. I use only FDA approved paints, not the off-the-shelf acrylic that can scar you or your kids for life. Seriously, not all paints are created equal. And I only use glass-free, eye-safe glitter. That’s just a little something to think about when hiring a face painter—what kind of stuff are they using anyway?

With me, you know you are getting a professional. So, think about it, and when you are ready to add a creative touch to your next party, just say, “I Want That Face!”


Elissa Halloran Designs
Elissa Halloran
225 Lark St., Albany, 432-7090, www.ehdesigns.com

Sexy, groovy, cool—I use these words to describe my wares at my Lark Street store in Albany, which I opened in March of 2001. I’ve been selling my jewelry in and around the Capital Region for the past fifteen years, but I was designing jewelry on paper long before that. As a child, I always drew princess-y women in Victorian garb with earrings that ran the length of their gowns and right off the page.My grownup store is a playground for that childhood desire to adorn, and features my own line of jewelry as well as the work of many local artists.

I love to combine fresh-water pearls and semiprecious stones, creating pieces that border on the chunky side. I enjoy reusing old materials that I find at flea markets, such as vintage glass, beads and old buttons. My signature spiral is incorporated into much of my jewelry, stained glass and wire mobiles. I also do custom work, repairs and restringing.

My discerning eye has grown me a bevy of fans and dedicated customers. Metroland has voted my jewelry as the Best Handmade Jewelry in the Capital Region four years in a row. One of my many clients is CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, who was formerly with NBC Weekend Today.

At my store, you can dress your house as uniquely as your body. Recently I’ve begun carrying wild-fiber scarves and purses made from vintage fabric by area artists. Also, I carry locally made pottery, frames, hand-painted furniture and hand blown glass. Come discover Elissa Halloran Designs.

Elissa Halloran Designs is located at 225 Lark Street in Albany. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday 11-6, Thursday and Friday 11-7, and Sunday 12-5. We are closed on Mondays.


State Of Grace
Grace Liney
11 Second St., Troy, 272-1055

It’s just a little over a year since I opened State of Grace in downtown Troy, and about six months since Ryan Wiley joined the team. What a great time it’s been! We’ve been voted Best New Retail Store for 2003, and also received Best Women’s Boutique in Metroland’s Best Of the Capital Region. The store has come to define itself as an eclectic mix of fashions, as varied as Loco Lindo to Lily Pulitzer in one spot. Along the way, we’ve made some great new friends, and hopefully have helped to shake up fashions in the Capital District.


Magnolias On The Park Restaurant and Bar
Mike and Theresa Kellom
462 Madison Ave., Albany, 449-2492, www.sopalbany.com

Magnolias has just opened and we are excited to be in the Historic Lark Street district across from Washington Park just in time for spring. We are offering a unique new dining experience that focuses on cuisine with a distinct southern flair. Although we have been in the Capital District area for nearly 14 years and call it home, my brother and I were raised in Augusta, Georgia, and Mike has trained in many of the south’s finest restaurants. We have put together a collection of our favorite recipes including Charleston Blue Crab cakes, coconut shrimp, Georgia baby-back ribs, pan-fried catfish and a variety of outdoor grilled steaks and seafood all served with our favorite side dishes, such as red beans and rice, black-eyed peas and creamy grits.

To further your dining pleasure we also feature live music Thursday through Sunday with an open jam Thursday and Sunday. We also have rotating works of art provided on consignment by various local artists. Our dining room is open for dinner seven days a week and for brunch on Sundays. So if you’re looking for classic southern fare served with a side of southern hospitality, Magnolias On The Park is the place to be.


Mexican Radio
Lori Selden (not pictured) and Mark Young (co-owners); and the staff of Mexican Radio
537 Warren St., Hudson, 828-7770; 19 Cleveland Place, NYC, 212-343-0140, www.MexRad.com

Mexican Radio began its life eight years ago as a “jaunty candlelit shoebox” in Little Italy, NYC. The next four years were a proven testament to Mexican Radio’s award-winning margaritas and delicious home-style cooking, as Mexican Radio repeatedly took top honors as Best Mexican Restaurant in NYC. Two-and-a-half-hour waiting-list lines continually streamed around the block as loyal customers cried, “Time for expansion . . . please!”

In June 2000, Mexican Radio moved into its new home around the corner at 19 Cleveland Place—happy to stay in the neighborhood which had so fervently embraced the business—and increasing seating capacity from a jam-packed 20 to over 100 people. The front section of the Cleveland Place location is a tribute to the tiny Mulberry Street storefront where it all began. Upon opening the doors of their new location, a glowing review appeared in The New York Post “If there could be a shrine to Mexican food, Mexican Radio would be it!”

Exactly three years later, in June 2003, Mexican Radio opened its second location, in Hudson, and the response has been warm and embracing. Mexican Radio’s fabulous food and delicious margaritas are drawing crowds from Albany, Poughkeepsie, Woodstock, Connecticut, the Berkshires, and Columbia and Greene Counties. With over 30 local employees, Mexican Radio Hudson continues the company tradition of being a community-committed organization. The front section of the Hudson restaurant again gives tribute to the tiny storefront where it all began eight years ago.

Mexican Radio wants to thank all of our staff and customers in both locations for so much loyal and continued support over the years! Muchissimo Gracias!


My Favorite Things
Christopher Grigas & Donald Matthews
309 Hamilton St., Albany, 427-7758, www.MyFavoriteThingsFlorist.com

My Favorite Things offers the finest fresh flowers, unique and tasteful gifts, and artful antiques. Begun as a labor of love, My Favorite Things is a combination floral shop, gift boutique and antique store. What sets our shop apart from many others is our use of innovative and modern floral design. As proprietors, we apply more than a decade of horticultural and floral design training and practice to individualize each of our creations. From boutonnieres to centerpieces, we believe that flowers must reflect both the giver and the receiver. Our goal is to interpret each customer’s style, taste and personality through our custom floral designs. Anyone can put flowers in a vase . . . we combine design technique with emotion to capture a feeling and convey a message. One-of-a-kind vintage and antique items accent the flowers and may be used to accessorize the floral designs or may be bought separately. From modest hand-tied bouquets to extravagant weddings, we provide the attentive service and the quality products customers want. We thank the strong and loyal customer base that has made our shop a success in downtown Albany. Both individuals and businesses have helped My Favorite Things grow into a responsive floral & gift business. We hope to continue to serve the Capital District community with our talents to bring out the beauty in things ordinary and usual.


Tantillo Gallery
Wenonah Tantillo, Len, Corliss and Edra (not pictured) Nehme
488 Broadway, Albany, 689-1212

I, Len Tantillo, have been creating historical artwork of the Capital District and the Hudson River for the past 30 years. It has long been a dream for the family to open a gallery and bring to the public my visual creations of our local heritage. While I’m best known for my historical paintings, the gallery will offer my landscapes, still-life compositions and maritime pieces in a variety of both original oil paintings and giclée prints.

Corliss Tantillo, along with daughters Wenonah Tantillo and Edra Nehme, have independently developed their own professional skills and bring with them a variety of expertise including artistry, entrepreneurial experience, business management, teaching and counseling. Corliss and Wenonah will co-direct the gallery and coordinate with community events in the downtown area. Wenonah is a certified art therapist and will offer workshops and individual sessions to promote the healing properties of art. Edra specializes in stained glass and contemporary art, including oils and digital photography. All family members are experienced in the giclée printing of my work as well as their own. This eclectic mix blends a unique dynamic energy and spirit into the Tantillo Gallery.

Whether you are interested in the art of the Tantillos’, looking for custom framing or just curious about the variety of creative services offered by the gallery, your mind and senses will be rewarded.

The Tantillo Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM, Saturday from 11 AM to 3 PM, and off-hours by appointment.


V Salon
Angela Minette, Nicole Aceto, Bernice VanZandt (owner), Kate Dorwaldt, April Seyboth
1168 Western Ave., Albany, 482.1880, www.bvsalon.com

So what did I want when I grew up? To own my own business!

As V Salon approaches 1 1/2 years in operation, we are just beginning to calm down from all the excitement! Come in and enjoy the charming, comfortable and inviting environment. Our experienced team loves working in this cozy space on Western Avenue.

Furthering our careers with education, workshops and a great environment, we have fun “Bringing out the New You”. Using Shapes, Colors, and Cuts, the detail is key because “ Beauty is the Focus”.

With over 17 years of experience, I can look back at all the great places I worked, the people I met along the way, my education both in NY and overseas as a great stepping stone to opening my own salon. My goal is to always make my clients feel Special and Appreciated. Thank you for all your support!


Wild Thyme Whole Food and Tea Co.
Paul Weil
108 Milton Ave., Ballston Spa, 885-7275

Wild Thyme Whole Food and Tea Company opened March 15 in the renovated Lincoln Building in historic Ballston Spa. Partners Paul Weil and Doug Calvey established our business with the mission of offering high quality bulk/packaged natural foods, teas, spices, vitamins, herbal remedies, body-care products and essential oils with friendly knowledgable customer service.

Featuring the most extensive selection of premium loose-leaf international teas, tea pots and accessories in the Capital Region, patrons are invited sample of one of the 40 varieties of tea.


DeJohn’s Restaurant & Pub
John and Monika DeJohn (co-owners, Monika not pictured), Ryan Weber (General Manager)
288 Lark St., Albany, 465-LARK (5275), www.dejohns.com

When my wife and I decided to enter the restaurant business, we wanted the type of place that has always appealed to us as customers. I enjoy a friendly atmosphere with great food, while my wife enjoys a beautiful setting and appreciates attention to detail.

We looked in several areas for the right setting for our new business, and time and again we kept coming back to Lark Street. When the opportunity presented itself to be on Lark Street, we seized it. Now less than a year later, we have transformed what was once 288 Lark Street and Lulu’s into our own DeJohn’s Restaurant & Pub. It has been a labor of love for both of us. We have spent every day trying to bring something new to our establishment.

DeJohn’s offers a wide range of food from sandwiches, pizza and wings, to pecan-encrusted trout and our house sirloin smothered in bleu cheese. We have an approachable wine list, great cappuccino and extraordinary desserts. There is something on the menu for everyone. This, combined with a great waitstaff and a multitude of talents in the kitchen, has quickly made us a destination, and we are sincerely grateful and appreciative for the overwhelming support we have received from our clientele.

Please stay tuned to see what is coming next . . . our outdoor patio will be opening soon, and live music and brunch are on the horizon. We look forward to offering the best we can in food, spirits, entertainment and ambiance, and hope you will join us!


Centre Stage Salon
Pasqualle Nicolella
1116 Altamont Ave., Rotterdam, 355-0162

I have been styling the Capital Region since 1977. In fact, I graduated beauty school before I graduated high school. I opened my first salon, Etoile, on Jay Street (back when you could still drive on it) at 17, right out of school. Within a few short years I had three salons, Jay Street, Lark Street and even a salon in Saratoga. My goal has always been the same: To provide my clients with a fabulous salon experience, without the snobbish attitude while creating a beautiful look just for you!

My staff consists of all age groups, so you can feel confident we know your style. We are constantly training and keeping up-to-date with techniques and styles, colors and products. From classic styles to the avante garde and outrageous, we can do it all.

The support of my clients (some of whom travel from out of town to see me) has encouraged me to open a second location in downtown Schenectady in the spring. I hope you will support us in downtown revitalization efforts.

Call or stop by Centre Stage Salon today for a complimentary in-depth consultation.


Cerasun Video
Ian McGaughey
60 Smith Bridge Road, Saratoga Springs, 584-7979 or 1-800-CERASUN, www.cerasun.com

It is hard to beat the power of video. Whether on tape, DVD or on the Web, video is a terrific way to reach customers, generate interest in your company or services and train employees.

Cerasun Video is a full-service video production company serving the Capital Region and beyond with affordable, professional video production for businesses, schools, individuals and organizations.

My video-production career has spanned more than 10 years, with work appearing on NBC, ABC, Fox, ESPN, CNN, Oprah and Inside Edition, among others. I founded Cerasun in 1997 to serve the region with a variety of professional video-production services.

From promotional and informational videos to company profiles and commercials, Cerasun Video can create a high-end product designed to meet your specific goals—on time and on a budget.

Call me today to discover how Cerasun Video can help you.

Saratoga 584-7979; Albany 436-7979. Toll free 1-877-CERASUN. E-mail: info@cerasun.com. Web site: www.cerasun.com


Compliments To The Chef
Andrea and Dave LaFrance
488 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 226-4477

Compliments To The Chef is a complete kitchen store. We feature Wusthof-Trident, Henkel, Lamson-Sharp, Viking and Global Knives. Viking, All-Clad and Le Creuset Cookware, Emile-Henry and Chantal Bakeware—anything and everything the home chef needs and desires. We are a specialty store and we provide a superior level of service. If we don’t have it, we will find it and order it for you. Our goal is to keep you cooking by providing you with the right tools at an affordable price.

We look forward to your visit!

Andrea and Dave LaFrance


Eugenio’s Café Gelato
Eugenio Bizzarro
419 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 691-6000

I opened Cafe Gelato last summer out of love for my Italian heritage and the need for real Italian gelato in Saratoga Springs. We offer 24 varieties of gelato (Italian-style ice cream) made on premises with only imported Italian ingredients. Gelato is more rich and decadent than traditional ice cream, yet has only 2-4 grams of fat and 120-160 calories per 3.5-oz serving.

We also feature homemade Italian pastries, cakes and cannolis—all made from family recipes passed down for generations. Cakes and pastries can be special ordered for holidays and parties.

If you want a real cup of coffee, you need to try ours. We use only fine imported espresso beans as the basis for our coffee drinks, like the Cafe Gelato—coffee and gelato topped with whipped cream and caramel!

Our newest menu items are pannini sandwiches, homemade lasagne and baked ziti. Stop by for coffee, gelato, or lunch and experience Italian style and hospitality.


Manifest Station
Charity Cannon (owner, not pictured), Sitivia Cannon
42 Caroline St., Saratoga Springs, 226-0903

Manifest Station is in its fifth year of business. At our new, expanded location on Caroline Street, we continue to fit into the Saratoga experience of history, health and horses. We are committed to bringing the community products that promote health and awareness. We support our local community by carrying products from local artists. We feature a full line of clothing and food products made from the Earth’s most viable plant resource—hemp. Our store dispels the myths about hemp. Hemp seeds contain the most digestible protein on Earth, which is perfectly suited for human nutrition. Hemp clothing is a viable and stylish alternative for those who have skin conditions and sensitivity to conventional clothing, especially infants and children.

Almost half the chemical fertilizers and pesticides used on our planet are sprayed on cotton fields. Hemp wants to grow and requires little or no fertilizer or pesticides.

If you choose to be socially aware of the choices you make and their effects on others, you will be comfortable choosing our products. All are clearly labeled with fabric type, organic content and country of origin.

Stop by soon to see our expanded selection of Of The Earth clothing, local pyrex artwork, jewelry, mineral specimens, paraffin-free candles and hemp food items today!


Mary Jane Books
Carole Ramsey
215 Western Ave., Albany, 465-2238, www.maryjanebooks.com

Six years ago a girl and her dog set off to see the wizard . . . oops . . . wrong story!

For six years Albany has watched Mary Jane working it on the corner of Western and Quail. Several times a year, you can catch the kids lined up on the street to get used from Mary Jane. They arrive by the blue Magic Bus-load to get what they need. As the only alternative students are given to the on-campus bookstore, is it any wonder Mary Jane is in such high demand?

Three SUNY alumni decided to open Mary Jane Books in 1998. As an independent, locally owned college textbook supplier, Mary Jane Books offers an option to the strained wallets of Capital-area students. Stocking primarily SUNY and HVCC classes, we carry both new and used books at more affordable prices, but can order any book for anyone. We are very proud of the fact that students, alumni and even some professors make up our staff. Being socially active is an important part of our business plan, and throughout the upcoming election cycle, we will be registering people to vote.

So, come down and give Mary Jane a try, maybe even register to vote. We buy textbooks year-round, we can order any book you need, and . . . we have a dog. Carole and Maisey would love it if you’d stop in.


Saratoga SAVOY, Center of Dance
David Wolf
7 Wells Street, Saratoga Springs, 587-5132, www.saratogasavoy.com

Not your typical dance lesson. The Saratoga SAVOY, Center of Dance, specializes in social dances: swing, ballroom, club Latin, Argentine tango, Lindy Hop, belly dance, and more. As a non-competitive studio, it focuses on the fun and social aspects of dancing while offering top-notch, energetic, instruction for an affordable rate in a relaxed, and entertaining atmosphere.

Dave Wolf and Keira Lemonis opened the studio in October 2002, and have been getting people to shag and hustle ever since. There are also four more young, energetic, professional dancers instructing at the SAVOY.

The instructors at the Saratoga SAVOY have been working hard at bringing back the old-school art of social dancing and placing it center stage in today’s world, by taking a fresh, new approach to making social dancing appealing to both the young and old. First, offering a great music selection. Ballroom music does not have to be boring. We have a group of high-school students who rumba to Beck and do the polka to the Offspring. Of course, we have a vast selection of classics as well. Second, the Saratoga SAVOY brings world talent and dance legends to the local dance scene. Recently we have brought Lindy Hop legend Frankie Manning to the area, as well as regularly bringing in the world’s best Argentine tango performers and instructors for both workshops and shows. Finally, the SAVOY is community oriented. We hold many, monthly, multi-generational dance events that are open to the public and integrate local musicians, bars, restaurants, and other local businesses. Our Diamond Dance is the largest monthly swing dance in the Northeast! We instruct at Skidmore College, Saratoga BOCES, as well as other local schools and events.


El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant I and II
Patty Bermejo-Bhola and Marco Bermejo
144 Washington Ave., Albany, 465-2568; 289 Hamilton St., Albany, 432-7580

We began our family business in the Capital Region eight years ago. We are from the city of Puebla, just south of Mexico. I (Patty Bermejo-Bhola) come from a family of five brothers who have all been in the restaurant business for nearly 20 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 run two locations in the downtown Albany area. Recently we moved El Mariachi Restaurant I from 62 Central Ave. to 144 Washington Ave. At the 289 Hamilton St. location we put into practice my brother’s expertise in Spanish cuisine, adding 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. Some of our favorite dishes include Pollo San Marco (sizzling fajitas), Pollo al Chipolte, Mole Poblano (an authentic dish from Puebla), Cochinita Pibil and the seafood paella dishes. The Cochinita Pibil has been selected as “Dish of the Year” (Times Union), and our tequila selection (over 100 choices) and special house-flavor margaritas are among our customers’ favorites. I want to thank all of our loyal customers for voting us #1 seven years in a row (Metroland’s Best Of the Capital Region Readers’ Poll) and my family who stand together to keep our family business growing.


Earthworld Comics
J.C. Glindmyer (owner), Alicia Messineo, Alex Trigonis
537 Central Ave., Albany, 459-2400, www.earthworldcomics.com

Comic books are an original American art form, created in the Depression era as affordable entertainment for the masses.

In the years since, comics’ unique blend of words and pictures have matured and changed in our popular culture. Thanks to films like Hellboy, American Splendor, Road to Perdition, Spider-Man, and television shows like Smallville, comics have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.

Comics have attracted creators from different mediums such as film director Kevin Smith, who wrote Daredevil and Green Arrow, and creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon, who wrote X-Men.

Earthworld is Albany’s preeminent comics store, and this year we’ll be celebrating our 21st anniversary! Ranging in subject matter from super hero adventures to slice of life to crime noir to humor, there’s a comic out there for everyone. Our knowledgeable staff is there to help as needed, and our wide selection of books, toys and anime will satisfy every collector.


Diamond Eight Billiards
Irene Skawinski
9 Johnson Road, Latham, 786-8048, www.diamondeight.com

With 17 full-size pool tables, a billiard table, a raised 35-foot full-service bar and viewing area, electronic darts, foosball and more, we are still the #1 choice in the Capital Region for a fun-filled and entertaining experience, regardless of your playing level.

For those of you who like a little friendly competition, it is your turn to become a part of this area’s best-kept secret! Our first year hosting the APA has been wonderful! The APA (American Pool Players Association) is the world’s largest pool league, with over 200,000 members vying for the chance to compete in the national tournaments in Las Vegas. The players in our in-house 8-ball league on Sunday nights always have a great time!

The 2003 Edward M. Skawinski Memorial Golf Tournament was another great success and this year’s edition promises to be even better. Join us on June 27 to play golf and pool and enjoy great food and great company, all to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region. Watch the Diamond Eight Billiards Web site at www.diamondeight.com for more information. Don’t forget our awesome Monday night Karaoke with Mark “The Shark” and our popular Tuesday night 9-Ball tournament.

As always, we strive to continue the tradition of excellence that has become synonymous with the name “Diamond Eight Billiards.” If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to call me, Irene, at 518-786-8048. Thanks for your support!


Structural Integration—Massage Therapy
Nick Pavoldi
582 New Loudon Road, Latham, 526-6425, www.nickpavoldi.com

We only get one body to live in; treat it well. I have been a licensed massage therapist for seven years in the Capital District. I have studied a wide range of soft tissue techniques, but my primary focus for the past four years has been on Structural Integration. I began doing this work after a knee injury left my back in a lot of pain. I knew the two were related. I went through the process of Structural Integration myself and felt transformed and renewed. My knee and back problems were gone, and I knew I wanted to study that work.

Structural Integration is a process of reorganizing the body around a central vertical axis using connective tissue or fascia. The work aligns and balances the body by lengthening and repositioning the fascia, which allows the muscles to move more efficiently. When a body is aligned and balanced it moves with greater ease. Good posture is more natural and breathing is easier. The body becomes more flexible, requires less energy to function, and can return to its structurally optimal position. This is the most interesting work I have ever done, and I love it.

Massage therapy and bodywork are not only important for physical well being, they are also intensely relaxing. Massage is great for stiffness, pain, and circulation. It also releases endorphins—the body’s natural painkillers. Plus it’s good practice to pay attention to your body. I offer 40- and 70-minute massages.

I am a New York State Licensed massage therapist, member of the American Massage Therapy Association, National Certification Board for Therapeutic Body workers, Guild for Structural Integration, and member of the 2002 Olympic Sports Massage Team in Salt Lake City. Appointments are available 9 AM to 8 PM every day except Sunday.


Leon’s Mexican Restaurant
Roberta, Mariah and Filiberto Leon
135 Crescent St., Saratoga Springs, 587-2346

Leon’s Mexican Restaurant will celebrate its second year in business this July. We are pleased to offer wonderful Mexican dishes that are made daily with only the freshest ingredients. Our margarita menu offers a wide variety of fantastic margaritas.

I was born and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico. I came to the United States when I was 17 years old. After a 10-year career as a jockey riding at New York racetracks (I always enjoyed the Saratoga meet), I realized that the city lacked a great Mexican restaurant. I stopped riding and perused the restaurant business.

Leon’s is a family-run establishment that prides itself on hard work, great Mexican food and service in a comfortable atmosphere.

We would love to thank all of our customers for voting us best Mexican restaurant in the Saratogian’s Best of the Best contest!


Tough Traveler
Nancy Gold
1012 State St., Schenectady, 377-8526, www.toughtraveler.com

Tough Traveler Ltd. has a special place in the Capital District as well as in the United States as a whole. A very unusual company that has designed backpacks, luggage, and other bags and packs for more than 34 years, Tough Traveler has continued to manufacture its products in the USA. In addition to pleasing local residents with Tough Traveler design and quality excellence, the Tough Traveler products may be seen in use by people throughout the world.

Products that Tough Traveler is particularly known for include (but are not limited to!) world-renowned baby-child carrier backpacks, new carry-on luggage featured in Kiplinger’s magazine, computer and camera and video bags and backpacks, and special comfort backpacks for kids and adults that have been tested and chosen in that test by chiropractors as best for back protection. From the smallest bags, such as epi-pen pouches and backpacks, to musicians’ rack bags, big luggage and more, Tough Traveler Ltd. is known for serving many customers. Media coverage has been wide, from Good Housekeeping to Outside to Child magazines, with many wonderful recommendations throughout the years.

Customers for Tough Traveler are individual consumers, businesses and groups. Tough Traveler products may be purchased through www.toughtraveler.com, 1-800-GO-TOUGH, or at the Schenectady store at 1012 State Street. Tough Traveler products are sold both locally and shipped worldwide.


Dana Rudolph and Company
Dana Rudolph
209-211 River St., Troy, 273.4532, www.DanaRudolph.com

I opened my dream shop last spring on Troy’s historic River Street. I knew that there were other jewelry artists like me who were searching for a good source of fabulous beads and supplies in the Capital District. You won’t believe the selection: beautiful gemstones and pearls, Swarovski crystals, Thai Silver, vintage Tibetan beads, Bali, Miyuki, Matsuno, Czech glass and a great selection of tools and supplies for the serious bead artist. The response to my shop has been tremendous. Some of you may remember my other shops: Rocket Rocket or After the Goldrush (both were very popular shops on Lark Street). I’ve waited a long time to open my dream shop. So here it is, 15 years later and in a different city. River Street in Troy is magical and so is my store.

If you’ve ever had the desire to make your own bead necklace or bracelet or earrings, you simply must stop in to see our collection. You will definitely be inspired. If you’re not sure where to begin, we hold classes in the shop.

I’ve been designing and creating jewelry for more than 25 years, so if you don’t want to make your own jewelry, we will design it for you. We have some stunning pieces of jewelry in the shop. We can even design a custom piece for that special occasion. We design for wedding parties.

We have an eclectic variety of gifts for that special person. In addition to our great selection of jewelry, we have beaded bags, scarves, hand blown glass, original artwork and even Burt’s Bees!

I’d like to thank everyone who has made my first year back in business such a success!


Saratoga Stakes
Sue Ellen Mathers
86 Congress St., Saratoga Springs, 587-0982, www.saratogastakes.com, www.theatregrille.com

It’s no longer necessary to go to Chicago or New York City to find a great steak. Since Saratoga Stakes opened last year, diners and critics have agreed that it is a world-class steakhouse. Rich mahogany, intimate lighting and cozy seating combined with replicas of famous racehorses create an ambience unlike any other in the Spa City. And the food! As a certified CAB restaurant Saratoga Stakes is one of a very select number of restaurants authorized to serve the finest beef available: Certified Angus Beef®. And the menu doesn’t stop there—imaginative seafood and poultry dishes are offered, along with delightful desserts. It’s the perfect place for private parties, business functions and special events, as well as fine dining.

Right next door to Saratoga Stakes and under the same management is Broadway Joe’s Theatre Grille where there really is time for dinner and a movie! This unique concept allows moviegoers to enjoy a tasty meal while watching a current film. The theatres, which are available for private functions, provide tiered seating and video capability—a perfect setting for meetings, seminars or just a fun company outing.


Saso’s Japanese Noodle House
Yasuo, Emiko, Kiyo and Kathy Saso

218 Central Ave., Albany, 436-7789, www.sasos.com

We have been open since May 1996, and our goal has always been to serve delicious, interesting and beautiful Japanese cuisine in a friendly environment. For nearly eight years, that is exactly what we have been doing with the help of our great staff, supportive family and incredibly loyal customers! (You know who you are! Thank you!)

Chef Saso spent 15 years working in Tokyo restaurants where he earned his Japanese Chef’s license. He brought his culinary expertise to the United States, where he has continued to use his talents to create consistently scrumptious artistic dishes. The menu at Saso’s is a blend of traditional Japanese dishes, a unique and always fresh selection of sushi and a list of creative specials that are always changing to accommodate the season and its offerings.

If you have never tried Japanese cuisine, or Saso’s, it’s time to come in and have a great meal!


Hattie’s Restaurant
Jasper and Elizabeth Alexander
45 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 584-4790, www.hattiesrestaurant.com

Hattie’s remains one of Saratoga’s historic landmarks, specializing since 1938 in Southern and Louisiana cuisine. In our three years of ownership we have enjoyed three successful Mardi Gras parties and are looking forward to our benefit for the New York City Ballet, an authentic crawfish boil, the upcoming track season and of course opening our popular patio.

Hattie’s has always been known for its fried chicken and fresh biscuits; not wanting to change a formula that has worked for over 60 years, chef Jasper has kept the menu the same and added a few specials such as chicken and dumplings, Jasper’s now infamous macaroni and cheese and daily fresh fish specials such as pecan-encrusted rainbow trout, as well as many others. In addition we have designed a wine list to include diverse and exciting wines to compliment our cuisine. We also offer takeout dinners, catering and box lunches for the track or SPAC.

In the spring and summer months, come dine New Orleans-style in our magical covered courtyard or stop by our late-night bar for a mojito (the original spot in Saratoga for this famous Cuban drink), an orange martini or a Funny Cide martini. Our main dining room is open all year and has remained timeless in its charm.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional Southern dinner or some good old-fashioned soul food…Hattie’s is the place to be! We are proud to carry on such a wonderful Saratoga tradition and hope you’ll stop by soon to see what all the hype is about!


The Counties of Ireland
Robin McDonough
13 Second St., Troy, 687-0054, www.thecountiesofireland.com

Located in historic downtown Troy, The Counties of Ireland offers a unique line of Irish clothing, jewelry, accessories and giftware.

We are currently featuring Stephen Pearce Pottery (Shanagarry, Cork), jewelry by The Cat and The Moon (Sligo), and Ireland’s Eye Knitwear (Dublin), just to name a few. All of our lines are manufactured in and imported directly from Ireland because authenticity is very important to us.

No matter what age or nationality you are, The Counties of Ireland invites you to visit our shop and experience a bit of Ireland.

The Counties of Ireland: Not your typical Irish shop.


Drue Sanders Custom Jewelry
Drue Sanders and Elwood
1675 Western Ave., Albany, 464-9636, www.druesanders.com

Drue Sanders first opened her doors in 1975 in the long-forgotten “Shoppers Village” in Menands, an early version of today’s malls. In the 29-plus years since our inception we have evolved through leasing space at Stuyvesant Plaza to building our own store, which houses a complete state of the art jewelry manufacturing facility.

Our mission continues to be creating custom quality handmade jewelry for a reasonable price. In a world of mass production, it is nice to purchase a product that is crafted by hand. There is no comparison in weight or feel!

Our goals for the future include introducing our line of Drue Sanders Custom Jewelry in into limited stores in major cities across the U.S.

Platinum, Platinum, Platinum!!! Our best seller right now is one of the hottest products on the market. From young couples purchasing their first engagement ring to lifelong clients rebuilding family heirlooms, platinum is the “drug” of choice so to speak. People have to have it. Period!

Our store is unique because we design and build over 80 percent of our product in house. We have had customers referred to us by other local jewelers who were unable to fulfill their customers’ requests. Our client base has reached its third generation, mainly grandchildren of many of our original customers. We are very technology driven, and are constantly updating our tools and machinery. We are the only store in the Capital Region that has “Solidscape” rapid prototype machines. These, when coupled with “JewelCad,” allow our clients to be involved in each phase of the building of their jewelry item. This has allowed us to put out a consistent product and remain one of the top in our field for over 29 years.


Capital Region Wellness Center, LLC
Andrea E. Mincsak
1315 Central Ave., Albany, 446-0200, www.capitalregionwellnesscenter.com

The Capital Region Wellness Center held its Grand Opening on February 26, 2004. It has been designed with the intent of developing a healing community of practitioners and seekers who are looking to improve their health and well-being. A community that utilizes natural healing methods with a focus in treating the root cause of the patients’ symptoms, instead of just the symptoms themselves. I have selected a team of credentialed practitioners and instructors who look at a person as a whole, or holistically, considering the physical body, the mind, emotions and spirit of the client.

Many of the techniques at the Capital Region Wellness Center are unique in that they assist the body in healing itself; jump-starting the body’s innate healing wisdom. Some of these therapies have been developed over the past 100 years in Western cultures, while others trace their roots to India and China, and are thousands of years old. Natural healing therapies may be used alone or in combination together; some are often used in conjunction with conventional allopathic medical care.

The Center is designed to be full service, providing everything from Tai Chi, Pilates and Yoga to journaling workshops, chiropractic, psychotherapy, mediation, Reiki and much more in one central location. We have an exquisite gift shop and also offer yearly memberships (members receive discounts toward services and select classes).We welcome you to visit the Center and experience for yourself a new level of well being, let us assist you on your personal healing journey!

I, Andrea E. Mincsak, MBA, am the Director and Founder of the Capital Region Wellness Center, LLC. I received my Masters in Business Administration from Union College and am a Reiki Master/Teacher and Transpersonal Counselor. I have practiced in the Capital District for over eight years.


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