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Success Stories

The employees of Ward Lumber have made history by purchasing the 130-year-old business as a worker-owned cooperative. The transaction marks the first employee ownership transition of its kind in the North Country region of New York State.

The lumber products and hardware store, which has locations in Jay and Malone, N.Y. and employs over 50 local people, has been in Jay Ward’s family for four generations. Ward, who will continue his leadership role as the company’s chief executive officer, completed a contract with his employee team that makes Ward Lumber the largest worker-owned cooperative in the region. “Every business is going to go through a transition, whether that is by design or default,” said Ward. “Rather than choose liquidation or selling to some other business that would change the culture, I wanted to look at employee ownership.

“Employee ownership vests the control of the company in the hands of the people who work it every day, who live in the... Read More

On December 3, 2020, the Greater Liverpool Chamber of Commerce cut a ribbon and officially welcomed Kaleigh Ligoci, Lauren Scarpelli, and their Sugar Blossom Cake Shop to the village of Liverpool. Their glass dessert cases on the first floor of the bakery are filled with colorful macaroons, cupcakes, cookies, bars, brownies, and gluten-free pastries. Specialty coffee is served by the cup or purchased by the bag. The second floor is a spacious loft with high ceilings and a lot of natural light. It’s available for taste testing and custom consultations for weddings and special events.

Kaleigh and Lauren both have energetic, bubbly, and passionate personalities, but it would take more than those qualities to move their decision to open their own bakery from point A to point B. Despite their young age, they both have what it takes to make their business a successful endeavor as they have complemented their educations with hands-on practical experience in the baking industry.... Read More

Mary Warren was a licensed mechanical engineer working for the Army’s engineering and construction branch when she decided that she wanted to start her own business. After her last assignment at Fort Drum in Jefferson County, New York, Warren recognized a market opportunity in the area.

“There wasn’t a lot of small businesses in the community. There is only a limited number of construction firms around here and none that are woman-owned and veteran-owned. So, I decided this was a nice opportunity,” Warren states.

In 2006, Warren left the government and opened her own firm – Black Horse Construction Group. The company name was inspired by her time serving in Afghanistan as a project engineer. Based out of Watertown, Black Horse Construction Group is a full service General Contracting firm which provides construction and construction management services.

Warren knew from the start that Black Horse Group would become a government contracting firm. “Federal... Read More

Founded in 1994 as part of an incubator project in Corning, New York, Silicon Carbide Products (SCP) is a manufacturing company that produces complex Nitride Bonded Silicon Carbide products and has trusted partnerships in place to provide many other ceramic solutions. The ceramic material is used as a liner in equipment to fight off abrasion and corrosion in industrial environments. SCP plays an important role in reducing wear, withstanding extreme temperatures, and handling harsh chemicals, while extending the life of many industrial systems.

In the two decades since the business first started, Silicon Carbide Products has grown to become an overseas exporter that employs 25 people at a 5-acre manufacturing facility based out of Horseheads, New York. In early 2018, Josh Dahlman and Rick Cleveland took over the company as President and Vice President. Dahlman and Cleveland had both worked at SCP for close to a decade as General Manager and Sales Executive.

When... Read More