The owners of Izzy’s Market & Deli, David and Kathy Waite, along with their daughter Isabelle, proudly display their Gore Region Chamber of Commerce award on June 20.
The common theme among speakers at the June 20 Gore Mountain Region Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner at the Garnet Hill Lodge was the crucial role of creativity and entrepreneurship in building a healthy economy and in the Adirondack Park.
“The basic point of my talk is that I believe we are living through the scariest and most exciting time in the history of the Adirondack Park,” said guest speaker Brian Mann, the Adirondack Bureau Chief for North Country Public Radio.
Mann, who lives in Saranac Lake, has been living and reporting in the Park for 14 years and began his career as a journalist working in Alaska. He explained that throughout rural America, economic growth and prosperity has traditionally been tied to land development. However, over the past 40 years, the restrictions on development rights in the Park had been counterbalanced by state jobs and monies in the form of grants and aid. This amounts to a tacit “social contract” that has broken down since the state’s fiscal troubles, beginning in 2008 and 2009, he said. Since then, many state and municipal jobs have been eliminated, shrinking school budgets have cost many teachers their jobs, and competition for available grants and aid has increased as the money has decreased.
“The necessity of coming up with alternative ways to prosper and grow is breeding remarkable creativity as new types of business flourish, and this is what makes this such an exciting, hopeful time for the Park,” Mann said. “Business owners are working hard to build an economy on the wild, beautiful spaces that surround them.”
It’s a positive sign to see how many entrepreneurs are willing to risk capital by developing new businesses in the Park, Mann said.
One such business, Izzy’s Market & Deli, was awarded the 2013 Business of the Year by the Gore Mountain Region Chamber of Commerce. They opened on May 25, 2012 and are located on Main Street in North Creek.
“It’s hard to believe they’ve only been open one year. What did we ever do without them? I can’t imagine them not being here,” said Chamber President Lisa Salamon while introducing the award. “They remember their customers and greet them by name. You can always count on a warm welcome. Where else can you find puttanesca sauce around here?”
Izzy’s offers a wide range of gourmet deli foods and market products, including fresh-baked breads, bagels, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and craft beers. Kathy and David Waite, the owners of Izzy’s, named their business after their daughter, Isabelle. Kathy noted that they actually carry four varieties of the puttanesca sauce that Salamon mentioned.
“They keys to our success have been the overwhelming support from our amazing community, including second home owners, our great staff, a very successful ski season at Gore Mountain, and the Saratoga & North Creek Railway,” said Waite.
“We’re always looking for ways to keep it fresh and unique, to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations. Our community is really about relationships and supporting each other. We’re excited and looking forward to another great year,” Waite said while accepting the award with her husband.
Judy Brown was awarded the Henry Hudson Barton Citizen of the Year Award. Brown, who had spent 25 years in Glens Falls with her husband and raised their family before deciding to return, has been extremely active in the community.
She voluntarily manages the gardens at the Ski Bowl and Gore Mountain, is head of the Outreach Center, volunteers as a ski patroller at Gore, is a wildlife rehabilitator and the invasive plant coordinator for the area, and runs Garnet Studio in North River. Salamon noted that the evening provided “a rare sighting of Judy sitting down.”
The North Creek Depot Museum received a Special Recognition Award. Salamon explained that since they are a non-profit business they had to create a special award, although next year they plan to add non-profits as an award category.
Helen Miner accepted the award on behalf of the museum. She praised the tireless work of the all-volunteer staff who help maintain and preserve the site.
“This little museum is the foundation of North Creek,” Miner said. “It’s listed on the State and National Registrar of Historic Places. It’s where Theodore Roosevelt learned that he had become president, and one of the few depots in the country that is still standing.”
“The comments that visitors leave in our guestbook express how inspired and impressed they are with what we are doing, and I can’t emphasize enough how much these comments mean to all of us and that it wouldn’t be possible to have our museum without all our volunteers” said Miner.