Success Stories

Engineer's Most Important Build: Her Own Business

     “In 2005, I was working as a civilian for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and spent six months on a construction project in Afghanistan. While I was over there, on my down time I would sit and think how I was going to start my own business,” recounted Mary Warren, a licensed professional engineer. “Starting a construction business is difficult especially if you don’t have any money, credit to rent equipment, references or bonding. All those things were piled up against me.”
     The Long Island native had educational background in the industry, with a degree in mechanical engineering from the New York Institute of Technology. Warren spent four years serving in the U.S. Air Force as an environmental engineer at Mountain Home Air Force Base near Boise, Idaho. After her military service, Warren worked as a civil servant for the U.S. Army Public Works Engineering and Construction Division, OSHA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Warren returned home from Afghanistan... Read More

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

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