02/18/2010-Champlain Bridge Business Assistance Center Opens

Published February 18, 2010 09:31 pm
Small-business center for southern Essex County opens
'I hope they get the help they need'

By LOHR McKINSTRY
Staff Writer

PORT HENRY — Small-business owners who need help in southern Essex County can now get it from a center that opened here Thursday.

The Champlain Bridge Business Assistance Center will be open three days a week at 3259 Broad St. in Port Henry to assist businesses that were impacted by the closing of the Champlain Bridge on Oct. 16, 2009.

A temporary ferry next to the bridge between Crown Point and Addison, Vt., has reopened the commercial corridor, and construction of a new bridge is slated to start later this year.

JOINT EFFORT
William Brigham, director of the Albany Regional Small-Business Development Center at the University at Albany, said many agencies have come together to open the center.

"It's all of us as economic-development partners. We want to help everybody we can. I think this is going to be a great journey."

HOURS
Business advisers Karen Stehlin and Kate Baker will staff the new center Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The phone number is 546-4066.

The center is located directly across the street from the Port Henry Post Office.

OUTREACH
Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Brassard said the center will also do outreach for those who can't make it in.

"I appreciate your being available to go out to a business because I know how valuable a business owner's time is. Our members will be able to take advantage of your services."

The center's free services will include financial management, market research, assessment of the impact from the bridge closure, application for the New York State Champlain Bridge Relief Program, cost analysis, finding sources of capital and creating business-growth strategies. They will also guide people who want to start a new business.

NEEDED RESOURCE
Crown Point Supervisor Bethany Kosmider said she appreciates what the Small-Business Development Center is trying to do.

"I have a lot of constituents in my office who are looking for the help you can give them. I hope they get the help they need."

Essex County Industrial Development Agency Co-Director Carol Calabrese said the North Country Small-Business Development Center at Plattsburgh State, which is a partner in the new effort, has already been a great resource for people.

"This will strengthen small businesses in Essex County. The businesses were overwhelmed (when the bridge closed). By positioning our efforts as a team, we can help."

Empire State Development Corp., which manages the state's Empire Zone Program, will also be involved with the new Business Assistance Center.

"It's all about partnerships and working together," Brigham said. "I expect this to be a very busy center."

Due to a commitment at Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility, Moriah Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava could not attend the open house Thursday. He said he would drop in later.

E-mail Lohr McKinstry at: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com
 

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The North Country Small Business Development Center is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the US Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.