March 2018

Companies that have demonstrated significant longevity is a new topic for Strictly Business. But before we get into a discussion about the local businesses featured in this issue, let’s take a look at some statistics.

Fact: Even in this day of big box stores, about 90 percent of all U.S. businesses are family owned or controlled by a family.

Fact: Fewer than one-third of family businesses survive the transition from first- to second-generation ownership. Another 50 percent don’t survive from the second to third generation.

Now let’s look at our North Country business lineup and see how some of our long-lived businesses are doing.

Our cover feature introduces you to Richard Knight of Knight Buick GMC who is well known for his enlightened management style and his commitment to the community. You can read the story of his transition from a proud son learning the automobile business from his father, to owner and president of the family company.

The Payson family has been in the jewelry business in Plattsburgh for 85 years. Current owners, Chuck and Shelly Payson, are proud to be carrying on the family tradition while at the same time evolving with the times and embracing new technology.

When Alexander Edwards moved to Plattsburgh from New York City in 1946 he became the area’s first CPA. In our article about how his firm has evolved you will meet its second and third generation as well as the partners who play a critical role in its success.

Another third-generation service company is Booth Insurance, located on lower Brinkerhoff Street in downtown Plattsburgh. Insurance has certainly changed over the past 100 years, but a commitment to building trust and respect has remained a constant with each generation of the Booths.

For 50 years the Smith family has been a leader in the hospitality industry in the North Country. From their motels (first Howard Johnson’s and now Best Western Plus) to their restaurants (Ho Jo’s, Crown N Feather, the Surrey, and Ground Round) their properties have been the places to go. Current owner Bob Smith and CFO Julie Kramer have seen the family business through dramatic changes in the industry. Make sure to read their story in this issue.

Bob and Wendy Silverman are continuing the success of Peru Hardware, a community staple for more than 70 years. The business, originally a supplier to farmers in the area, now focuses on offering customer service that is hard to find in this computer age.

A photo of the Peru Hardware building taken before the road through the town was paved accompanies the article.

In recognition of changing consumer shopping patterns, Champlain Centre is shifting from a strictly retail location to one that offers a variety of entertainment opportunities. Check out the mall’s history and new offerings in this issue of SB.

And then there is our Insight interview with Doug Crozier, president and CEO of Plattco Corporation. A native of Montreal, Doug has been at the helm of the 100+-year-old Plattsburgh company since 2002. With Doug’s leadership, Plattco emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is today a successful employee-owned company with a very bright future.

Chamber president, Garry Douglas, wraps up this issue with a review of the Chamber’s Annual Issues Survey, which offers an optimistic view of North Country business in 2018.

A willingness to change with the times is critical for longevity. The businesses you will meet in this issue of Strictly Business have learned that lesson and that’s been good for business.