North Creek has many assets that make it the envy of the North Country, including the Tannery Pond Community Center, the Saratoga-North Creek Railway and the Gore Mountain ski center. Yet it’s the close-knit community that keeps North Creek vibrant and is perhaps the biggest asset of all.
Two examples of this community pride can be found at a Main Street wine bar and the Johnsburg Central School cafetorium: the North Creek Business Alliance and the ballroom dancing classes offered by Paul LoGuercio.
News Enterprise staffers are regular attendees at the North Creek Business Alliance meetings, held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. every Thursday at barVino.
Simply put, we’re impressed.
That’s why we’re surprised to hear that one of the attendees was recently “uninvited” to the meetings. “That can’t be true,” we thought. And — while there may have been a conversation between two people indicating that an attendee is no longer welcome — Business Alliance co-chair Joel Beaudin announced May 10 that nobody can be “uninvited” to the meetings.
Yes, the North Creek Business Alliance welcomes everyone to its meetings. And there are usually about 30 people in attendance each week. That’s impressive, given that many organizations start strong and fizzle out. But not this group. After several years, they’re still getting things done: holding community events, sponsoring the shuttle bus, raising money for special projects, and promoting North Creek as a tourist destination.
There is no membership roster at the North Creek Business Alliance, but there are two co-chairs: Joel Beaudin, of the Copperfield Inn, and Mike Bowers, of barVino. The rules are easy: meetings start promptly at 8:30 a.m. and last one hour, and only one person speaks at a time.
Mike and Joel stand behind the bar, and members sit on bar stools or stand in the back near the fireplace. After one of the co-chairs rings the bell at 8:30 a.m., what commences is a regular town hall meeting similar to those in Vermont. Attendees talk about their businesses, special events and community concerns.
News is reported and sometimes made. How can it not? The movers and shakers are there: business owners, chamber of commerce officials, event coordinators, special guests, library employees, fire department members, and representatives from the town, county and state. Minutes are distributed by the Gore Mountain Region Chamber of Commerce.
The North Creek Business Alliance has become a model for other communities, such as Chestertown, which now has a similar group.
Why has it been so successful?
Well, it’s not rocket science, but it does require a great deal of dedication, hard work, communication, a “Just do it” attitude and an ability to ignore naysayers who’d rather complain than better themselves and their community.
Success, however, could not be achieved without proper leadership and the partnerships created by its members. At the end of each meeting, you’ll see what we mean; members pair up and network, planning projects, setting meetings, and swapping business cards.
Paul LoGuercio is a regular at the Business Alliance meetings. Among his many community interests, he teaches ballroom dancing to middle and high school students and adults. The Valentine’s Day Ball proved successful, so this week the dancers will be attending the Black Fly Ball at the Copperfield.
When people think of the Adirondack Park, they don’t think “ballroom dancing.” That’s for big cities, so having this activity in North Creek is unique.
What strikes us the most, however, is the mingling of generations: the Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and the Millennials. LoGuercio and co-instructor Donna Hier, of Hudson River Therapeutics in Glens Falls, teach ballroom dancing to students in grades 6-12 and adults. And this Saturday — at the Black Fly Ball — they’ll be together, dancing in the same room.
Where else can you say that a ballroom dancing event is sponsored by the local youth committee?
Our ballroom dancing teacher has created a rare opportunity to learn a new skill and socialize with others, and we can’t thank him enough for giving us another reason to get off the couch and become part of this close-knit community.
Andy Flynn is the Assistant Managing Editor at Denton Publications. He may be reached at email@example.com.