SCHENECTADY, NY -6/10/2010 — A five block stretch of Union Street in the City of Schenectady from Van Antwerp Road, at the Niskayuna town line, west to Garner Avenue, is bursting with new business. “Storefronts are filling up,” said Guy Sementilli, Chair of the Upper Union Street BID. “We are on a roll; a happy surge of business expansions, relocations, and acquisitions.”
Phillips Hardware, a local family business that began is Albany in 1886, has added its seventh store to the chain of hardware stores at 1729 Union St. Jonathan Phillips, the president and 5th generation of his family to own Phillips Hardware, announced the recent acquisition of the former Passonno Paint store. He is working with the Upper Union St. BID and Metroplex Development Authority on a Façade Improvement Grant. The building is the former GH Hardware store. The Passonno line of paints will still be carried at the new Phillips Hardware location along with a well-stocked inventory of electrical, plumbing, hardware, building materials, tools, paint, sundries, house wares, cleaning supplies, auto and seasonal items. Phillips Hardware will be open seven days a week. “I wasn’t thinking about a Schenectady location for Phillips Hardware until I saw the Passonno location on Upper Union Street,” said Phillips. “I saw a thriving business district set adjacent to fine residential areas and a store here suddenly made perfect sense.”
Moving westward to 1725 Union Street, Fadia Ghobrial has recently purchased the former Pizza Hut building. Ms Ghobrial is also participating in the Façade Improvement Matching Funds Program. The building became available when Pizza Hut moved to the south western corner of Dean and Union Streets. The building is available for lease.
The former Salamack’s building at 1611 Union has been purchased by local businessman, Bill Kopp, who will move Fire Fly Florist & Gift Boutique from Consaul Road to Upper Union St. in the fall of 2010. A small kiosk store with cash and carry fresh floral bouquets will set up at the location while the building undergoes remodeling. Fire Fly will also participate in the Façade Improvement Grant program. “We’re moving because we feel a great opportunity in the upper Union Street area,” Kopp said, “primarily due to the fact there are many other successful shops in the community.”
An office building, owned by Eric Crowley at 1019 Keyes Ave. is now fully leased. The building, which has benefitted from a Façade Improvement Grant, now houses five businesses. Aperture Media, JD Computer Systems, KASA Residential & Commercial Cleaning, Results Management Marketing, and Colonial Voluntary Benefits.
Head to Tail Pet Wellness Center is slated for expansion of its 1604 Union Street building through the acquisition of the building presently occupied by Holiday Liquor. The two buildings will be made contiguous through a Façade Improvement Grant. The Holiday Liquor store will move within the Upper Union Street business district pending NYS Liquor Authority approval.
Vintage Chic with painted antique furniture and vintage style home décor and gift items has move in at 1609 Union St. Owner Donna Thomas notes that the pedestrian traffic on Upper Union Street is”much more robust” than it had been at her downtown Troy location. The Computer Mechanic has moved in at 1721 Union St. Visible Expression by Amae, a salon that had to move because its downtown Schenectady location is slated to undergo major remodeling, has settled in at 1703 Union St. Sow’s Ear Studio, 1597 Union St. has expanded to include an upstairs gallery for special exhibits and now represents 20 local artists on the sales floor in the studio.
The Upper Union Street BID is supported by commercial building owners in the district through a special tax district agreement with the City of Schenectady. The district is composed of a business/residential neighborhood with a unique, high quality mix of one of a kind independently owned shops, service businesses and restaurants. The Chair of the Upper Union Street BID is Guy Sementilli, the chef / owner of Scotti’s Italian Restaurant. The Executive Director is Mitch Messmore.