Success Stories

Family Firm Has Farming Roots, Hospitality Branches

The Emmi/Mangano family businesses began in the 1940’s when Antonio Emmi purchased a 30-acre farm in Liverpool. Crops of corn, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and blueberries were sold to local markets and directly to customers at the family’s roadside stand. The Emmi & Sons, Inc. farm is still active today under the direction of Tony Emmi (third generation). The fourth generation Emmi and Mangano family members spend their summer vacations working at the farm stand in the family tradition, learning entrepreneurial skills on a daily basis. Third generation entrepreneurs Carmen Emmi, Jr., Anthony Mangano and the rest of their cousins spent their childhoods the same way and credit their farm days with creating a strong work ethic. 

The Emmi/Mangano family business branched out into the hotel industry with the purchase of a Liverpool-based Ramada hotel in 1982. The hotel industry was a perfect fit for the family, and they continued acquiring and building properties over the... Read More

The Next Generation: Liehs & Steigerwald

Shortly after arriving in the U.S. in 1936, Ludwig Steigerwald teamed with fellow German immigrant Curt Liehs, Sr. to open a butcher shop in downtown Syracuse. The duo launched a successful startup in the midst of the Great Depression by providing quality meats and traditional sausages made from heirloom family recipes. Ever since, generations of Syracuse families have grown up enjoying Liehs & Steigerwald products as part of their everyday and special occasion meals.

Known as “the best of the wurst”, Liehs & Steigerwald has become famous for their 18 types of bratwursts made of the freshest cuts of meat without preservatives, fillers or artificial flavors. In addition to bratwursts, the company makes all types of sausages, including spicy chorizo, smoked Italian sausage, and garlic kielbasa. Liehs & Steigerwald earned nationwide acclaim when their hot dog tied for first place with New York City’s Schaller and Weber in an annual ranking by the Rosengarten Report... Read More

Full Circle: The Events Company

Canton native Nicole Samolis didn’t set out to become a successful small businesswoman, but her firm The Events Company is tangible evidence of her passion and persistence on the path of entrepreneurship. Samolis earned her degree in fashion design and business and spent her early career years at national retailers in Rhode Island and New York. When Samolis hit the management ceiling at Lord & Taylor in the mid 1990’s, she researched which small business industries were rapidly growing and found the event planning field a good match for her design skills and creativity.

Before Google was a household name, researching information required a significant amount of time. Samolis spent many hours in libraries reading about the event planning industry and developing a business plan. The Samolis family had moved to Syracuse only 18 months before and she found the local Chamber of Commerce a tremendous networking tool to help launch her startup business. With a listing in the... Read More

Eco-Entrepreneurs Dive Into Small Business Success

Milfoil and Asian clams are two invasive aquatic species that are creating havoc in lakes across the country as they overwhelm native species, damage ecosystems and reduce fishing, boating and other lake tourism activities. Left untreated, invasive aquatic species can turn beautiful lakes into stagnant bogs, with low oxygen levels, turbid water and fish kills. While pursuing their degrees in Natural Resource Management at Paul Smith’s College, Andrew Lewis and Tommy Thomson were lead divers for the college on an experimental invasive plant management project on Upper Saranac Lake and were able to see the problem firsthand. They also saw an opportunity that would allow them to combine their diving skills and degrees in Natural Resource Management into a profitable business.

After college, they started Aquatic Invasive Management, LLC in 2007 to provide a new and environmentally-friendly way to control nuisance and invasive aquatic plants. Based in AuSable Forks, AIM won its... Read More

Pages