Congressional candidate Matt Doheny (R-Watertown) talks about meat processing techniques with Jerry Quintal, owner of Oscar’s Smoke House of Warrensburg. Doheny toured Oscar’s as part of his ‘50 Days — 50 Businesses” tour that he said is intended to familiarize him with the challenges that North Country businesses are facing, and identify potential ways to boost their enterprises as well as prevailing economic conditions.
Dozens of customers crowding Oscar’s Smoke House Friday Aug. 10 saw an unfamiliar sight while they were buying the landmark business’s renowned smoked meats — a man wearing a tie and business slacks behind the counter.
It was Matt Doheny, Republican candidate for the new 21st Congressional District.
Doheny was at the smokehouse Friday afternoon to take a tour of the operation and hear the concerns of Oscar’s owner Jerry Quintal — as part of Doheny’s “50 Businesses in 50 Days” tour.
Moving from one processing room to another, Doheny (R-Watertown) heard about how the three-generation business had achieved regional acclaim and national prominence.
Loyal employees prepare top-quality meats according to exclusive family recipes, Quintal explained.
The result is an Adirondack business that’s flourishing and growing, in an era and regional economy that has formidable challenges, Doheny noted.
During the 45-minute tour, Doheny asked detailed questions about Oscar’s operation, including processing techniques and equipment, as well as marketing and governmental regulations.
Emerging from the enterprise’s processing areas, Doheny said he was impressed.
“Oscar’s has top-flight products, loyal customers and great advertising — and unmatched marketing with Rachael Ray as a customer,” Doheny said.
He added he was particularly moved by how Quintal kept his employees on the payroll when the business was stricken from a devastating fire burned Oscar’s to the ground in 2009 — and it was rebuilt from the ground up.
“I came here to learn about the challenges Adirondack businesses face, and to understand Jerry’s concerns — so I can speak in Washington for him and other entrepreneurs in the North Country,” Doheny said.
Doheny said that if elected, among his top priorities will be helping existing businesses grow and creating a business-friendly climate that will spawn new jobs.
After hearing that Oscar’s submits reports regularly to a half-dozen state and federal agencies, Doheny noted that streamlining government regulations is one of his primary objectives.
Doheny’s tour this week included the Essex County Fair and Normandy Beach Resort, both in Westport, as well as Barton Mines in Johnsburg.
Doheny’s proposed tourism and business oriented initiatives include reducing the state gas tax, maintaining the current minimum wage, and forming a broad-based tourism council that would boost coordination among various existing tourism agencies and organizations.
In the new 21st Congressional District, Doheny is running against U.S. Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh), and Green Party candidate Donald Hassig.
After Doheny left Oscar’s Friday to tour Hillman Trucking and Fort Edward Express of South Glens Falls, Quintal said he appreciated the candidate’s visit.
“It was great that Matt took the time to tour our enterprise,” Quintal said. “He was really interested and curious about the details of our business.”