SARANAC LAKE - The Saranac Lake Community Store is continuing to push ahead in its fundraising efforts, battling a struggling economy with a series of new events.
Melinda Little, president of the Community Store's Interim Board of Directors, said the organization eased-off of its fundraising in March and will continue to do so throughout most of April. But the campaign will begin gearing up again in May, she said.
"We've kind of laid a little bit low over the last month, in all honesty, but we're about to start a new, what we're calling a 'get-r-done' campaign," Little said. "And we'll be holding a series of events starting with an open house on Saturday, May 9 at the library here in Saranac Lake."
In addition to the open house, Little said the Community Store will hold a naming contest.
"It's an effort to get people involved in the process of opening the store," she said. "It will probably start out as 'The Community Store,' but eventually we'd like to give it a name of its own."
Like any young business in the current economy, the Community Store has run into fundraising difficulties as it inches closer to its goal of collecting $500,000 in start-up capital. Little says the group continues to seek investors, but some people have said no, citing a lack of discretionary income.
"I guess there are more choices facing everybody now," Little said. "It's not a question of making an investment versus buying something else, it's a question of making an investment or saving my money because I'm worried about losing my job."
Currently, the store has raised just over $343,000 of the approximately $500,000 needed to get the ball rolling. Because the organization's board of directors is relatively small, Little said they have not pursued federal or state grant money.
"It's also more difficult for a for-profit, private enterprise to lockdown those kinds of funds, which are usually reserved for non-governmental and nonprofit organizations," Little added.
The community store has yet to secure a location but has been named as a possible tenant of a new mixed-use structure HES Ventures is planning across from the Union Depot.
Those plans recently took a step forward when the Saranac Lake Village Board agreed to continue negotiating terms of a proposed land-swap with HES Ventures.
HES wants to move its fuel storage tanks to the Van Buren property and tear down several old warehouse structures to make room for the new building, which would have commercial space on the first floor and apartments on the second floor.