SARATOGA SPRINGS — After serving Spa City customers for more than a quarter-century, a popular Phila Street eatery has closed its doors for the final time.
Four Seasons Natural Foods, which stood at the corner of Phila and Putnam Streets since 1990, is in the contract process of being sold to new owners.
“In the restaurant business, it’s a crazy ride,” says owner Richard Frank. The store portion of Four Seasons was relocated in 2014 to 120 Henry Street – where it has and will continue to operate - and the Phila Street location was re-configured into the Four Seasons café.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country, and like many other businesses, the Phila Street venue was affected. “Everybody took a hit in sales, but as far as ours, last summer we were doing about 25% of what we had been doing the summer before,” says Frank, who grew up in Pennsylvania and was introduced to Saratoga when he began spending summers here at the age of nine.
Four Seasons was launched in 1988 near Caroline Street and Broadway and relocated to Phila Street in 1990 when Frank joined the store, leasing it for a handful of years before eventually purchasing the building in the mid-1990s. A relocation of the Four Seasons “store” to 120 Henry Street was made in 2014, with the Phila Street location moving into its “café” phase. The company scaled back during the pandemic in 2020 and closed its Phila Street doors in November.
“The moral of the past year is that you have to be flexible. What we thought we know, we don’t, and you have to be able to adapt,” Frank says. “I was sort of waiting to see what would happen next when a nice couple came and offered to buy the building. It made sense.”
The sale is under contract and as for future use, the expectation is the couple purchasing the building are interested in a retail endeavor. Since the 1930s, the single-story building has served as meat market and a grocery store, a military recruitment center, a wine store, and as Mrs. London’s Bakeshop and Restaurant during the 1980s.
“We were there 31 years, but overall, I think it’s great because the people seem super-excited and it’s great to see someone who’s going to love the building. It’s a great corner,” Frank says. “It’s definitely a loss of a casual vegan restaurant,” Frank acknowledges; however for Four Seasons at 120 Henry St., life goes on.
“We’ve always done sandwiches and soups and we’ve been augmenting our kitchen a little. We do our desserts at the café, but we’re going to be able to do them here. Over time (post-pandemic) we might be able to re-organize and have some sort of casual eat-in,” he says. “To some extent we’re not really doing anything different; yes, the café is a big piece that now won’t be part of us, but we’re still in business, we’re still doing food, I still have food service I believe in and we serve good products, so it’s not an end of the road or anything like that. If anything, it’s better here, better for our staff and better for our customers.”
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this week awarded more than $2.7 billion in funding to nearly 2,900 public housing authorities (PHAs) in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to make capital investments in their public housing units.
New York PHAs were awarded nearly $675 Million. PHAs in the Capital District were awarded $11,334,166.
“Every family deserves a safe place to live and HUD’s Capital Fund Program enables public housing authorities to improve, maintain, and upgrade existing housing,” said Stephen Murphy, HUD Deputy Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey, in a statement. “Repair and improvements ensure affordable homes will last, providing a haven to thousands of low-income individuals and families across New York State.”
The grants are provided through HUD’s Capital Fund Program, which offers annual funding to all public housing authorities to build, renovate, and/or modernize the public housing in their communities. Housing authorities can use the funding to complete large-scale improvements such as replacing roofs or making energy-efficient upgrades to heating system and installing water conservation measures.
For more than 80 years, the federal government has been investing billions of dollars in developing and maintaining public housing, including providing critical support through the Capital Fund grants announced this week.
The New York City Housing Authority garnering just over $600 million in the Fiscal Year 2021 Capital Fund allocations. The remaining near-$75 million was spread across the rest of the state and included $800,833 for the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority. Other area agencies included: Albany Housing Authority $4,285,965; Glens Falls Housing Authority $455,377; Schenectady Municipal Housing Authority $2,738,957; and Troy Housing Authority $439,316.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Harness kicked off its 80th season of live harness racing on Monday, March 1. Races will run three days a week, every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, with a first post at noon through the first four months of the season.
For Release: Immediate – Monday, March 1, 2021
Malta Works $20.21 Campaign Kicks Off March 1
Malta Works $20.21 aims to support Malta small businesses with six weeks of targeted promotions and giveaways.
Malta, NY – The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, a Saratoga County-based economic development organization, today unveiled the MaltaWorks $20.21 Campaign in partnership with the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Malta Economic Development Committee. Thanks to a grant awarded to the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership by the Globalfoundries and Town of Malta Foundation, small businesses will be getting an added boost between March 1 and May 2, and consumers that spend at least $20.21 can enter to win weekly gift certificate giveaways and a $500 grand prize.
This newly launched MaltaWorks $20.21 promotion will help drive traffic to small businesses in the Town of Malta that have been fighting to keep their operations open after battling the economic impacts of COVID-19 for the past year.
“This grant offered us the perfect opportunity to join forces with the Town of Malta Economic Development Committee and Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce to accelerate efforts to save our local small businesses, especially locally owned restaurants and retailers that have experienced the worst impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.” said Shelby Schneider, President and CEO of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership. “Small businesses are the backbone of our communities. They create jobs, help boost the economy, and enhance community character in many ways. I look forward to supporting this campaign and highlighting all that Malta has to offer.”
“We are excited to launch this MaltaWorks $20.21 promotion and to do our part to help the small and independent small businesses that have been challenged by COVID-19 mandated shutdowns and occupancy restrictions. This is eEspecially important for our local Mom and Pop shops” said Town of Malta Eeconomic Ddevelopment Ccommittee chairman and Malta Town Councilman, Tim Dunn. “The GlobalFfoundries-Town of Malta Foundation should be commended for their efforts to support the small business community and I’m grateful that the Saratoga Partnership and Saratoga Chamber are committing to these efforts. We are all stronger together.”
“MaltaWorks $20.21 is a great enhancement to our ongoing #SaveOurLocals campaign and recently launched MaltaWorks website, which aims to support local businesses and nonprofit organizations located in the Town of Malta.” said Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. “The MaltaWorks $20.21 campaign will give our local businesses a much-needed shot in the arm during the most challenging winter months.”
Malta businesses, residents, and community organizations can support the MaltaWorks $20.21 effort by visiting the MaltaWorks website at www.saratoga.org/maltaworks where they will find promotional posters to print and share on social media, with the #Maltaworks hashtag.
About the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership
The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership leads a host of critical economic and workforce development initiatives across the public and private sectors, driving economic success for residents, businesses and government in Saratoga County, New York. The Saratoga Partnership provides a point of contact for business retention and expansion, enabling a seamless delivery of programs and services for businesses seeking to grow, and spearheads semiconductor industry marketing and attraction, global trade assistance, community economic development, and data collection and planning. For more, visit us at saratogapartnership.org and on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership is a member of the Saratoga County Economic Development Alliance, which includes the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation.
Shelby Schneider, President & CEO
While the economic fallout of the pandemic has been hard on all of us, women and working families have been hit especially hard. According to Brookings Institute, by the beginning of 2020 (the centennial of the 19th Amendment’s ratification) women’s labor force participation stood at 58%, nearly a three-fold increase since 1920.
Unlike the Great Recession, which laid off more men, who saw construction and manufacturing jobs dry up, the pandemic shuttered industries in which women make up the majority of workforce: education, hospitality, medical services, and retail. “Four times as many women (across the country) dropped out of the workforce as men,” said Crickett Thomas-O’Dell, the Capital Region regional director of the Workforce Development Institute. The impact on women is so profound, it’s now being called the She Cession.
In a survey from May and June, one out of four women who became unemployed during the pandemic reported the job loss was due to a lack of childcare, twice the rate of men surveyed. A more recent survey shows the losses have not slowed down: between February and August, mothers of children 12 years old and younger lost 2.2 million jobs compared to 870,000 jobs lost among fathers.
The disruptions to daycare centers, schools, and afterschool programs has been hard on working fathers, but evidence shows working mothers have taken on more of the resulting childcare responsibilities, and are more frequently reducing their hours or leaving their jobs entirely in response.
Capacity of day-care centers has been reduced because of strict child-staff ratios and staffing requirements. Given that day cares historically operate on slim profit margins, these initial restrictions — coupled with the expense of purchasing personal protective equipment, or PPE, for staff and additional cleaning materials — could mean steep increases in tuition or going out of business.
“Currently, we’re operating at about 40% of the childcare that we have had before the pandemic. People are operating at reduced capacity,” said Abbe Kovacik, Executive Director of BrightSide Up. “If we do smaller group sizes the program will run at a deficit because they don’t have enough resources coming in to pay the salary they need to meet the ratio.”
Among working parents who reported needing care, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) had difficulty finding childcare in the first months of the pandemic. Even relying on grandparents can be uncertain — particularly in states with high and/or resurging covid-19 caseloads.
In the economy everything is connected. If people aren't going to work, that has a knock-on effect: Working from home means people don't spend money on train tickets, gas, lunches, or dry cleaning.
Without the increasing participation of women in the workforce, household income growth of the middle class would have remained largely stagnant since the late 1970’s. For low-income and single moms, the pandemic has exacerbated the hard choices between spending a significant portion of their income on childcare; finding a cheaper but potentially lower-quality option; or leaving the workforce to become a full-time caregiver. If we want our regional economy to rebound – hospitality, tourism, retail, healthcare, and education – we need to make sure that our workforce has the resources it needs to get back to work.
With the modern realty faced by working parents, we are long overdue for a realignment in our labor market policies, schools, and daycare systems. If we want to see our regional economy rebound, we need to try to increase the availability of childcare for working families. The Saratoga Partnership is partnering with Saratoga County Employment & Training, Warren County Employment & Training, Brightside Up, and the Southern Adirondack Child Care Network to conduct two separate surveys to assess the marketplace for future childcare needs. With this data, we will be working to develop workforce training programs to increase the availability of at home childcare centers in the Saratoga, Warren, and Washington County areas.
If you are an employer or part of the workforce, I encourage you to fill out the survey, reach out to us, and help advocate for meaningful solutions to support the needs of our workforce, and get our economy back on track as we recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.
SARATOGA SPRINGS —Saratoga Hospital has added teleneurology services - including telestroke care - to give patients 24/7 emergency access to neurologists who have extensive experience treating strokes. The hospital also uses teleneurology for inpatient consultations.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The independent advisory committee The Adirondack Trust Company Community Fund (ATCCF/Community Fund) has awarded COVID-19 relief funding to local nonprofit organizåations through the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York as well as Christ’s Cupboard Food Pantry at the First Baptist Church of Ballston Spa.
Image: The Promenade – a new workforce housing development in Saratoga Springs is slated for completion in May. Rendering provided.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Waiters, waitresses, daycare staff and kitchen help are some of the people working in Saratoga Springs who now have the opportunity to live in the city with the development of new, affordable, workforce housing units on the city’s west side. It’s called the Promenade, and it’s slated for completion in the spring.
Saratoga Springs - A common risk to investments that is typically an afterthought is the risk that your money will lose purchasing power in the future. Why is it an afterthought? Its symptoms are mostly imperceptible from day-to-day, so we focus on more pressing things like the potential loss in value caused by a March 2020-style crash. In our hopefully-soon-post-COVID environment, we will be forced to grapple with the effects of the massive efforts taken by both the government and Federal Reserve to keep our economy afloat. Where will we feel the effects? What can be done to protect your investments?
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Nearly two miles long and connecting Church Street and Ballston Avenue, recent years have brought significant development to the city’s west side.
GLENS FALLS — Gallagher, a global insurance and risk management brokerage firm, this week announced it would join Cool Insuring Agency, Inc. in its support of the Glens Falls Arena, and extend its naming rights through 2025. The agreement comes following an announcement in December that Gallagher acquired Queensbury-based Cool Insuring Agency, Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“A key part of growing Gallagher’s business is to work with people and organizations like Cool Insuring Agency who share our common values of ethics, integrity, service and community enrichment,” said Bob Crandall, Area President for Gallagher in Albany, in a prepared statement. “We can’t think of a better way to support the upstate New York community than by serving as a steward of the Arena, and we are excited to be part of its deep roots in Glens Falls.”
The 4,794-seat multi-purpose arena located in downtown Glens Falls currently serves as the home of a minor league hockey team and also hosts a 7,335 square foot banquet facility called Heritage Hall. While currently closed due to restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arena will continue to host popular local activities including tractor pulls, concerts, public skating, indoor walking and more to the upstate community.
Cool Insuring Agency, Inc. was founded in 1857 by Charles W. Cool, the first mayor of the city of Glens Falls and has served the community for the past 150 years. The partnership extension will include the naming rights to the Arena, which was officially named Cool Insuring Arena in 2018.
“We have developed a great relationship with Cool Insuring over these past few years as our naming rights partner, and we are thrilled that Gallagher wanted to extend our partnership,” said Jeff Mead, General Manager for Cool Insuring Arena.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Hospital has been named a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.
The Distinction Center designation, from BlueShield of Northeastern New York, is reserved for programs that meet rigorous standards for quality, patient safety and outcomes. Criteria were expanded in 2020 to include efforts to prevent or treat maternity-related conditions, reduce the rate of cesarean section deliveries, and address racial and ethnic disparities in maternal healthcare.
“Blue Distinction affirms our unwavering commitment to high-quality, patient-centered maternity care,” said Dr. Amos Cutler, chair, of Saratoga Hospital’s OB/GYN Department, in a prepared statement. “The designation affirms what so many of our patients already know—that you can count on Saratoga Hospital to take great care of you and your baby.”
The hospital has adopted a collaborative physician-midwife model of care that reflects best practices. Certified nurse midwives perform most routine vaginal deliveries, with OB/GYN physicians always available. The model helps ensure that, as much as possible, families have the experience they want during childbirth.
For more information about the Blue Distinction program and a list of designated facilities, visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Markets announced this week that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement to create an alliance between the two independent grocery chains, nearly doubling their collective footprint in the Northeast.