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November 20, 2008

Tips for Holiday Parade Spectators – Saturday, November 22 at 5 p.m.

So you want to take the family to see the Gazette Holiday Parade in Schenectady on Saturday night, but where do you park and where’s a good place to see it?

“Free parking is available in the Broadway Parking Garage and several municipal lots as well as at Schenectady County Community College,” says Chuck Steiner, president of the parade-organizing Chamber of Schenectady County. Municipal lots are located at State Street and Erie Boulevard; Erie Boulevard and Liberty Street; Liberty Street and Broadway; Franklin and Liberty Streets and behind Proctors Theatre. More information and directions are available at www.schenectadyparking.com.

Good viewing spots are located along both sides of State Street, from the corner of Lafayette all the way down across Erie Boulevard tothe YMCA at Washington Avenue. The Judges’ Reviewing Stand will be located in the parking pulloffbetween Proctors and the Bow TieCinema on State Street.

Streets will be closed from 4 p.m. until the parade is over at approximately 7 p.m. The Western Gateway Bridge westbound lanes to Scotia will also be closed. Traffic will be allowed eastbound from Scotia to Schenectady but must turn right onto Washington Avenue at the foot of the bridge.

Hot beverages and snacks will be available at restaurants on Jay and State Streets and from vendors on lower State Street. Public restrooms are located in Proctors Arcadeand the Adirondack Trailways Bus Station.

The theme of the 2008 parade is “Fairy Tales and Bedtime Stories,” and entries include “Goldilocks & the Three Bears,” “Peter Pan,” “The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe,” and “The Three Little Pigs.” There will bespecial appearances by Mother Goose anda giant Curious George balloon entered by Price Chopper. Pre-parade entertainment will be provided by the Electric City Clown Alley andother special guests. Bundle up and come to the largest nighttime parade in the northeast. Stay downtown for dinner, catch a movie, or one of the shows at Proctors!

November 14, 2008

New Location Proves There’s No Coasting for Lia Auto Group

Photo: Lia Brothers Michael and Bill Jr. (center) are flanked by family members; Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan; Chamber of Schenectady County President Chuck Steiner; Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber Vice President Laura Cassidy and Angelo Mazzone.


Schenectady, NY – November 13, 2008 – Lia Auto Group celebrated the grand opening of its brand-new Toyota facility with a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Chamber of Schenectady County and the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber on Thursday, November 13, 2008. In addition, the occasion was marked by Toyota Motor Sales presenting the dealership with the Katana Sword, which symbolizes partnership, strength, quality and integrity. The new facility, located at 2116 Central Avenue, boasts more than 60,000 square feet to cover sales, service, parts, rental and collision repair.


Lia Auto Group is the largest automotive dealer group in the Capital District. They currently operate 14 dealerships in the tri-state area. They have future plans for additional expansions throughout the region.


“With the expansion of our new Toyota store, we offer the highest level of customer service,” said Lia Auto Group Co-President Michael Lia. “Our goal is to offer the latest convenience and comfort for all our clients.” 


Among other upgrades, the new facility features drive-in service to minimize customers’ exposure to the elements and a state-of-the-art waiting lounge.





November 3, 2008

Experience and Creative Design Celebrates a Decade of Success


Photo from left: Metroplex Vice President Scott Cietek; Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation Executive Director Jim Salengo; County Legislator Jim Buhrmaster; Owners David Siders and Rudy Grant; City of Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton and Chamber of Schenectady County President Chuck Steiner are flanked by the staff at Experience and Creative Design.


Schenectady, NY – October 28, 2008 – Experience and Creative Design celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a ceremony hosted by the Chamber of Schenectady County, Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation and Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority. The anniversary ceremony kicked-off a weekend of celebratory events, including a holiday open house and wine and cheese receptions on Saturday and Sunday.


The successful partnership of Rudy Grant and David Siders originated in 1998 with the opening of their original store in Downtown Schenectady’s Center City Building. After experiencing significant growth in their business, the pair went on to purchase an abandoned, dilapidated grocery store on lower Union Street. The once eyesore now boasts a well-appointed façade and a pristinely landscaped parking lot.


“This was a text book economic development project – take a run-down, empty building, renovate it, and bring in a destination-type business like Experience & Creative Design and create an anchor for lower Union Street to spur other projects such as Union Inn, Wine Down Lounge and the soon-to-be constructed Lofts of Union Square,” commented Metroplex Vice President Scott Cietek. “Rudy Grant and David Siders should be commended for their vision and being early investors in our ‘new’ downtown. Here’s to another great 10 years!”


The breadth of the business goes well beyond its storefront. In addition to being able to browse 8,500 square feet of retail space, patrons will find custom pillow parties, symposium-style decorating classes, interior decorating services, the lease of seasonal décor and quarterly client receptions. Experience and Creative Design also has a sister business, Tablecloths for Granted, that rents high-quality linens for corporate and social functions.


“Experience and Creative Design has been a leader in downtown Schenectady’s retail resurgence throughout the past decade,” said Jim Salengo, Executive Director of the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation. “This successful and high-profile business is a shining example of the ongoing renaissance taking place within our district.”


Experience and Creative Design | 510 Union Street, Schenectady

518.374.6885 | www.experienceandcreativedesign.com

Open: Monday – Friday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Sunday Noon until 4 p.m.





October 30, 2008

McNulty to Serve as Grand Marshal for Holiday Parade

Retiring Congressman Michael McNulty will be the Grand Marshal of the Gazette Holiday Parade on Saturday, November 22nd. “The Holiday Parade is a longstanding tradition in Schenectady. I’m honored to serve as Grand Marshal for this venerable, family-friendly community event,” said McNulty. The Congressman has served the 21st Congressional District since 1988.

The parade will begin at the corner of Lafayette and State streets at 5 p.m. on the Saturday before the Thanksgiving holiday. State Street will be closed from 4 p.m. until the parade is over at approximately 7 p.m. The Western Gateway Bridge west bound lanes to Scotia will also be closed. Traffic will be allowed east bound from Scotia to Schenectady.

The theme of the 2008 parade is “Fairy Tales and Bedtime Stories” and some of the early entries include ”Little Bo-Peep,” “Peter Pan,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “The Three Little Pigs.” There will be a special appearance by Mother Goose as well as the giant Curious George balloon entered by Price Chopper. Pre-parade entertainment will be provided by the Electric City Clown Alley and other special guests.

There is still time to submit an application to be in the parade. Contact Nell Burrows at the Chamber of Schenectady County at 518.372.5656 or nburrows@schenectadychamber.org for an invitation, application and regulations.

October 29, 2008

Business Partners ‘Fast-Forward’ Stockade Recording Studio


Photo from left: Andrew, Regina and James Krakat Sr.; Owners James Krakat and Marcel Roberts; Marie Roberts; Chamber of Schenectady County President Chuck Steiner.


Schenectady, NY – October 29, 2008 – Success Recording Studios and Production celebrated its official opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Chamber of Schenectady County on Tuesday, October 28, 2008. Located at 249 Green Street in Schenectady’s historic Stockade District, the business has completed construction on one of its studios and is in the process of finishing the second.


Success Recording Studios and Production is owned by James Krakat and Marcel Roberts; both bring extensive experience to the business. Krakat holds a Bachelor’s degree in Entertainment Business and worked previously with Quad Studios in New York City. Roberts has a music performance degree and is the former owner of another production studio. Together, the pair specializes in all aspects of radio advertising: writing copy and music, casting, production and ad placement. In addition, the studio has the capability to record soundtracks, demos, CDs and audio books.


“We are so excited to be in the Stockade,” remarked Krakat. “We have a great building in a great neighborhood with plenty of parking and room to grow. Marcel and I really wanted to avoid the warehouse district feel. The uniqueness of the Stockade really enhances our business’ personality. We are both natives of Schenectady; although we thought it was important to spend some time working in New York, we are really excited to be home. There is so much energy in the city.”


Success Recording Studios and Production will continue its celebration with an open house on Saturday, November 1 from 1 until 5 p.m. There will be give-aways, live music by the band Never 7th, tours of the studio, wine and cheese.


Success Recording Studios and Production | 249 Green Street, Schenectady, NY

518.301.1251 or 518.229.7237

Studio hours are available 24-7.


October 22, 2008

Schenectady Armed Forces Recruiting Center Opens on Upper Union Street


Army Lt. Col. Ken Sullivan, center, presided over the opening of the Armed Forces Recruiting Center on Union Street in Schenectady, assisted by local officials including:  County Legislator Jim Buhrmaster, Assemblyman James Tedisco, Assemblyman George Amedore and County Legislator Marty Finn.


Schenectady, NY – October 20, 2008 – The Schenectady Armed Forces Recruiting Center celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the U.S. Army and the Chamber of Schenectady County on Saturday, October 18, 2008. Bringing life to a vacant building at 1625 Union Street(corner of Union and Keyes Avenue) in Schenectady, the center will house Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force Recruiters.


The center will feature a variety of informational materials and recruiters for each division of the armed services. Hours of operations will be Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 5p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.- 1p.m.





October 17, 2008

Download Your Parade Application Here!

Acrobat PDF FileParade Rules & Regulations


Acrobat PDF FileParade Application




This year marks the 40th Annual Holiday Parade in downtown Schenectady. We hope you will join us! If you have participated in the past, you know that this is a unique tradition, a nighttime parade held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, which can draw up to 40,000 spectators.

We must limit parade entries to ONE decorated vehicle each. If you choose to participate, please fill out the enclosed application card and return it with your $60 entry fee   (a $20 discount will be given to non-profit organizations) by October 24.  All Applications received after the deadline will be charged an additional $25. Please read the parade regulations carefully. Failure to comply will result in your removal from the lineup and disqualification from participating in future parades

Each year, the parade can be seen on TV Channel 16 during the month of December. In order to develop a script for our commentators, we need information on your float and your organization. For your convenience, there is a list of questions on the back of the application form to help us create a description of your entry for our commentators. We must have these questions answered – we cannot process your entry without payment and descriptive information.

We will be creating the lineup and mailing final instructions and division assignments November 7. PLEASE DO NOT EXPECT TO HEAR FROM US UNTIL THE WEEK OF NOVEMBER 10th.  Our budget does not allow us to send a confirmation letter upon receipt of your application. If you do not receive a packet by November 14th, please contact Nell Burrows the Chamber at 372-5656 to confirm that we have received your application.

All Participants are invited to our Holiday Parade Awards party

Sponsor, Volunteer and Entry Awards will be presented, including:

Best of Parade, Mayor’s Award,  Mayor’s Youth Award, Chairman’s Award, President’s Award,

 Chamber of Schenectady County Award,  Red Suspenders Award, Stepping to the Music Award,

Chairman’s Youth Award, Grand Marshall Award, Grand Marshall’s Youth Award,

Judges’ Award, Judges’ Youth Award,   Say Schenectady Award

The Chamber of Schenectady County and its Holiday Parade Committee reserved the right to reject entries in violation of any of the guidelines listed above.  Should you have any questions, please contact Nell Burrows at 372-5656 or email nburrows@schenectadychamber.org.

The parade is held rain or shine (or sleet or snow!)

October 16, 2008

Senate and Assembly Candidate Forums to Air on Channel 16


Schenectady, NY – October 16, 2008 — The Chamber of Schenectady County’s Business Advocacy Council recently hosted candidate forums for the 44th Senate District, 105th Assembly District and the 110th Assembly District races.

The forums were taped at Public Access Channel 16 and will air on the following dates:

Thursday, October 16th @ 9:30p.m. – Farley/Goodman

Monday, October 20th @ 4:00p.m. – Farley/Goodman

Thursday, October 23rd @ 9:30p.m. – Farley/Goodman – Followed by Tedisco

Friday, October 24th @ 7:00p.m. – Farley/Goodman – Followed by Tedisco

Monday, October 27th @ 4:00p.m. – Tedisco – Followed by Amedore/Blachfield

Thursday, October 30th @ 9:30p.m. – Amedore/Blanchfield – Followed by Tedisco

Friday, October 31st @ 7:00p.m. – Amedore/Blanchfield – Followed by Tedisco





October 16, 2008

SPYN (Schenectady’s Promise Youth Network) to hold third Thursday Sharing Sessions

Schenectady’s Promise Youth Network (SPYN) will hold its first brown-bag sharing session on Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 12 noon. The meeting will take place in the Chamber of Schenectady County’s Third Floor Conference Room. (Please note: the conference room is not handicapped accessible.)

All those associated with youth services or programs, as well as youth that wish to participate, are welcome and encouraged to attend. Participants are invited to bring their lunch and any flyers or information pertaining to youth-based initiatives to share with the group. 

The single purpose of the network is to share information on youth services and programs that are on-going throughout the county, in an effort to strengthen and increase visibility of the initiatives that benefit our youth.

SPYN is a collaborative effort of Schenectady’s Promise. The SPYN Sharing Sessions are hosted by the Schenectady County Youth Bureau and The Chamber of Schenectady County.  The monthly sharing sessions will occur every third Thursday at noon. If you are interested in being added to the notification list, please contact Leesa Pagan 518.372.5656 or LPagan@schenectadychamber.org.

September 29, 2008

New Carman Hardware Fills Neighborhood Need

Photo from left: Chamber of Schenectady County President Chuck Steiner; County Legislator Angelo Santabarbara; Hamburg Street Merchants’ Association President Frank DePalma; Denise and Joe Lapczenski; Assemblyman George Amedore and Talk 1300 Radio AM’s Patrick Ryan.


 Schenectady, NY – September 24, 2008 – Carman Hardware celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Chamber of Schenectady County on September 24, 2008. Located at 207 East Campbell Road, Rotterdam the business is owned by Joe Lapczenski.


The original Carman Paint and Hardware was founded by Harold Alheim in 1950. Years later, Jim Troy purchased the business and continued to serve the local neighborhood. Recently, Lapczenski purchased the building for warehouse use.


“After I purchased the building I started looking around. There wasn’t much left behind, but it was enough to make me think about opening a hardware store instead of using the building for storage as I originally planned,” shared Lapczenski. “I was confident that the neighborhood was still ready-and-willing to support a good old-fashioned, convenient hardware store.”


Lapczenski has either managed hardware stores or been a hardware sales representative for the majority of his career so setting up shop wasn’t much of a leap. Although Carman Hardware has a full complement of electrical, plumbing and paint sundries, they specialize in 24 hour window and screen repair. Lapczenski also works tirelessly to research the best products for the best price. And, special orders don’t upset him. If the store doesn’t carry it, he’ll find it in short order.


Carman Hardware | 207 East Campbell Road, Rotterdam | 518.355.6830

Open: Monday – Friday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.




September 6, 2007

Chamber and Partners Take First Step in Gillette Restoration Project

Electric City Lights Plans for Visitors’ Center

From left, Schenectady County Attorney Chris Gardner and colleague Howard Carpenter look on as County Legislature Chair Susan Savage and Chamber President Chuck Steiner legally transfer title of the Gillette House from the County to the Chamber. Chamber counsel Larry DeAngelus of Higgins, Roberts, Beyerl & Coan assists as Chamber Board Chair Martin Finn witnesses the transaction.


The Chamber of Schenectady County and The Chamber Foundation, in partnership with Schenectady County, the City of Schenectady and New York State elected officials, reached a major milestone today in the development of a new visitors’ center in downtown Schenectady. Click here to view a rendering.

The Chamber, through its Foundation, officially purchased from the County the former home of Dr. Elizabeth Van Rensselaer Gillette, Schenectady’s first woman physician, a suffragette, and the first upstate woman elected to the New York State Assembly in 1919. The property, located at 252 Union Street, dates to the 1850s and is architecturally significant as one of the few Italianate style houses in the National Register Stockade Historic District.

The Chamber plans to establish the County’s first visitors’ center in this prominent location along the Erie Boulevard corridor and at the entrance to the Stockade. The site is the proposed new location for the Schenectady Heritage Area exhibit, currently housed at the Schenectady Museum. The center will provide a facility for distribution of promotional information for Schenectady County attractions, lodging, restaurants and retail businesses. It also will accommodate a new community conference facility and welcome center for tour groups from outside the region.

“The Chamber values partnerships and collaboration. Today we recognize and salute our partners in government – Schenectady County, New York State and the City of Schenectady – for their support, cooperation and leadership to facilitate the Chamber’s ownership of the Gillette House and property,” said Martin S. Finn, Chair of The Chamber’s Board of Directors. “Today is a major milestone that begins our development in earnest of the new site of the Schenectady Heritage Area Visitor Center and Chamber offices, with our partners.”

The building has been vacant and boarded since 1994, which led to significant deterioration and potential demolition. Schenectady County purchased the property from an absentee owner in 2001, as well as the adjacent property at 250 Union Street, which The Chamber has also acquired.

“As we move Schenectady County forward into a new era, it is critically important that we work to preserve our community’s rich history,” said Susan Savage, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature. “The desire and goal of the County Legislature in owning the Gillette House has always been to assure the end use will not only be appropriate, but secure this historically significant site. The Schenectady Heritage Area Visitor Center and The Chamber offer all of us in Schenectady County an opportunity to share our history and heritage in a site that presents distinction and pride.”

Now that The Chamber and its Foundation have taken ownership of the property, step two will be to finalize fundraising. The restoration project is expected to cost approximately $1.5 million, half of which has already been committed from legislative member items and grants. Awards include $5,000 from former Assemblyman Paul Tonko; $10,000 from Assemblyman Jim Tedisco; $75,000 from Senator Hugh Farley; $112,500 from the NYS Canal Corporation; $415,700 from the NYS Parks Department; and $20,000 from the Wright Family Foundation. An additional $112,000 is expected to result from equity in The Chamber’s existing building, located at 306 State Street, Schenectady. A Capital Campaign, chaired by Mona Golub, will follow.

“Let me offer my congratulations to the Chamber of Schenectady County on this important occasion,” said Senator Hugh T. Farley “I applaud the Chamber for its commitment to this project and for its role in the revitalization of the City. The restoration and reuse of the Gillette House and Millington property is an exciting project which preserves a historic building and creates an attractive gateway to Schenectady’s historic Stockade neighborhood. I have been pleased to obtain needed State funding to assist with this project. As the future home of the Chamber and the Schenectady Heritage Area Visitor Center, the Gillette House will be an important and attractive asset in promoting both the City and County of Schenectady.”

Brian U. Stratton, Mayor of the City of Schenectady, said, “Today is another bright day for City of Schenectady filled with anticipation of the development of the Gillette House and property as the new site of the Schenectady Heritage Visitor Center by the Chamber The Gillette House will anchor the main entrance into New York State’s oldest historic neighborhood, the Stockade. The celebrated entryway, enhanced some years ago by the City, along with the anticipated Erie Boulevard rehabilitation project, will be a very welcoming site for residents and visitors alike.”

Once funding is secured, The Chamber will develop a request for proposals to design and build the project. Upon selecting a contractor, an appropriate completion date will be announced.

“The time has come for Schenectady to have a visitors’ center,” said Lois Smith-Law, chair of The Chamber Foundation Board of Directors. “With Proctors Theatre’s renovation coming to a close, the addition of new restaurants and stores downtown and the growth of cultural events such as Art Night, Schenectady is becoming more of a destination.”

Phone: 518 372-5656   |  Fax: 518 370-3217