September 16, 2012

Business briefs: Sept. 16, 2012


---- — Designation earned

PLATTSBURGH — Northern Insuring Agency Inc has retained its status as part of an elite group of independent insurance agencies around the United States participating in the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA, or the Big “I”) Best Practices Study Group.

Each year since 1993, IIABA and Reagan Consulting, an Atlanta-based management consulting firm, join forces to study the country’s leading agencies in six revenue categories. The agencies comprising the study groups are selected every third year through a comprehensive nomination and qualifying process and awarded a Best Practices Agency designation. The selected agencies retain their status during the three-year cycle by submitting extensive financial and operational data for review each year.

“I am extremely proud of our professional staff, strategic plan and creative approach to problem solving,” said Deena Giltz McCullough, president and CEO. “At Northern Insuring/Northern Benefits, we don’t sell insurance. We are advocates for our clients, educators about insurance and risk managers for those middle-market clients we represent.”

This year concludes the current three-year study cycle in which more than 1,200 independent agencies throughout the U.S. were nominated to participate. Only 195 throughout the U.S. retained their status for 2012. To be chosen, the agency had to be among the 35-40 top-performing agencies in one of six revenue categories. The agency was nominated by either an IIABA affiliated state association or an insurance company and qualified based on its operational excellence.

The study was initiated in 1993 as the foundation for efforts to improve agency performance. It documents the business practices of the best agencies and urges others to adopt similar practices.

Northern Insuring was founded in 1930 and offers a wide range of insurance products and services specializing in business, personal, life and employee benefits. For further information, call 561-7000/800-807-6542 or visit

Business mixer

PLATTSBURGH — The North Country Chamber of Commerce invites area business people to Business After Hours on Thursday, Sept. 20, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Conroy’s Organics , 8173 State Rt. 9, five miles north of Cumberland Head Corners.

Participants will enjoy complimentary beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres while networking with area business people. Business cards will be entered to win door prizes from the co-sponsors, Chauvin Agency and Conroy’s.

Business After Hours is an opportunity to expand business networks and is open to all chamber members and their employees. Future members are encouraged to contact the chamber for a special-guest pass. The fee is $3 with an advance reservation and $4 without. For more information, or to make reservations, call the chamber at 563-1000.

New manager

PLATTSBURGH — KeyBank has named Tammy Duquette as its new relationship manager, retail banking, for KeyBank’s Plattsburgh branch located at 2 Brinkerhoff St. She is responsible for providing sales solutions for deposit and loan products, customer service and ensuring compliance with operational, security and audit procedures.

Prior to joining Key, Duquette was an agent for Century 21. She also worked as a senior account executive for Beneficial. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the financial-services industry.

Duquette attended Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh.

The 12-county Central New York District, one of 22 KeyCorp districts, has 59 branches, approximately 95 ATMs and more than 440 employees.

For more information, visit

School program

PLATTSBURGH — Beginning this week, local schools will benefit from a program that provides them with money for things they need, whether that is new computers, musical instruments, sports gear, field trips or playground equipment.

Hannaford Helps Schools will make cash donations to local K-12 schools when customers purchase eligible products between now and Dec. 1. The program is in its 13th year and has raised $7.5 million for schools in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Massachusetts.

“Many schools are finding it harder than ever to pay for the equipment and programs that students need,” said Eric Blom, Hannaford spokesman. “At Hannaford, we are committed to helping to meet some of those needs by partnering with local educators and our customers through Hannaford Helps Schools.”

As part of the program, customers receive three “school dollars” – equivalent to cash – for every four participating products purchased. School dollars can be turned in to the school or placed in special collection bins at any Hannaford location.

This year’s program involves more than 60 brand partners and more than 700 products, including products from Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Kraft, Unilever, General Mills, Heinz, McCain and many others.

Each Hannaford store also provides a $1,000 bonus to the school in its area that generates the most donations. Last year, Hannaford Helps Schools made contributions to more than 2,500 schools in the Northeast and raised nearly $780,000 to benefit local education.

Additional information can be found at

Coat drive

TICONDEROGA — The Ticonderoga Office of Glens Falls National Bank is collecting coat, hat, scarf and mitten donations through Oct. 5 to benefit area children in need of warm clothing this winter.

The bank is working in conjunction with Winter Warmth for Kids to gather and distribute warm items to needy families in the Ticonderoga area.

Donated items of all sizes can be dropped off at the branch, located at 123 Montcalm St., during regular business hours, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mondays through Wednesdays, and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. The coat drive will culminate Oct. 5 with a Community Appreciation Day at the Ticonderoga Office featuring fun family activities.

Glens Falls National Bank provides banking and financial services through 29 offices across five counties. It is a subsidiary of Arrow Financial Corporation, a multi-bank holding company headquartered in Glens Falls, serving the financial needs of northeastern New York.

Halloween fest

PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh Housing Outlet will hold their 13th annual Halloween Festival on Oct. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Children 12 and under are encouraged to come in costume. The model homes, displayed in a community setting, allow children to trick-or-treat in a controlled environment. Local businesses and civic organizations have sponsored individual homes and will staff the homes and hand out candy or treats during the event.

Children will be entertained by magician Ishkabibble, held inside next door at Della Honda at 2 p.m. There will be arts and crafts, a raffle and 25-cent games. Participants can bob for apples and enjoy cider and munchkins.

District 3 will have a firetruck on display and offer fire-safety advice, and the Clinton County Sheriff’s Dept. will be offering a child fingerprinting and ID service.

Parking will be available on site as well as at Della Honda. Plattsburgh Housing Outlet will again contribute all proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House in Burlington.

Since the festival started, $42,000 has been raised for the charity. Statistics show that more than 70 percent of the families using their facility are from the New York side of the lake. The suggested $1-per-child donation, as well as funds collected from the games and raffle, will all benefit the Ronald McDonald House and its support of families in need.

Details are available at and their facebook page. For more information, contact Marketing Director Michelle LaBounty at 563-6250, Ext. 21.

Cardinal Cash Fair

PLATTSBURGH — The annual Cardinal Cash Fair will be taking place on Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus in the Angell College Center ballrooms.

 All local businesses, on and off campus, who accept Cardinal Cash may participate. The students learn where they can use their Cardinal Cash at local businesses and the businesses help create a fun atmosphere with free food, prizes, giveaways and games.

Company recognized

PLATTSBURGH — Arrow Financial Corp., parent of Glens Falls National Bank, was recently recognized in Bank Director Magazine’s annual Bank Performance Scorecard, marking the company’s third honor from national industry publications this year.

Arrow Financial ranked 27th out of the top 195 U.S. banks with $1 billion to $5 billion in assets, based on profitability, capitalization and asset quality.

The company also appeared on American Banker Magazine’s Top 200 Community Banks list and the ABA Banking Journal’s 25 Top Performing Mid-Sized Banks list earlier this year.

Thomas L. Hoy, chairman and CEO, said they are excited that the company has again been recognized for its performance. “We believe in our business model, which has allowed us to deliver solid results over the long term for our shareholders through a focus on strong fundamentals, quality customer service and exceptional profitability,” he said.

The Bank Director article, called “Going For Gold: 2012 Bank Performance Scorecard,” was published in the magazine’s third-quarter 2012 edition. It can be found online at

Peru trip

CANTON — North Country Public Radio is sponsoring a 12-day tour of Peru in April 2013. NCPR’s Adirondack Bureau Chief Brian Mann and Membership Director June Peoples  will host.

The tour is being organized by Collette Vacations and Deb Christy from Travel Unlimited in Canton is the local travel agent handling reservations. The tour is a fundraiser for the station with all of the registration proceeds benefiting NCPR’s annual fund.

The two-week tour will begin in Lima. Participants will travel through some of the world’s greatest archeological treasures including Cuzco Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the Uros Floating Islands on Lake Titicaca. The group will spend two nights in Paracas National Reserve, Peru’s only coastal wildlife sanctuary, and cruise the Ballestas Islands. The itinerary and details about the trip are available online at

Three information sessions are being planned:

• Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 5 p.m. at St. Lawrence University, 010 Carnegie Hall.

• Wednesday, September 26th at 6pm at Paul Smith’s College, Pine Room.

• Friday, Sept. 28, at 2 p.m., at SUNY Plattsburgh, Angell College Center.

Guests can participate in the sessions in person or online via webinar. For more information, contact June Peoples at 1-877-388-6277 (315-229-5356) or via email at

Business for disabled

PLATTSBURGH — A session called Small Business for the Disabled: Part 2: How CBVH and ACCESS-VR Can Help, will be held Thursday from noon to 1:30 p.m.  

The employment situation for people with disabilities has been poor for decades, as unemployment rates remain above 50 percent for nearly all categories. The barriers people with disabilities face in regards to employment — transportation, physical access to buildings and equipment, and general attitudes of employers — continue to be major factors in the high unemployment rate among the disabled, despite legal and social advances such as the Americans with Disabilities Act. Another barrier is a need for flexibility from employers who are increasingly demanding more and more productivity from workers as they face increasing pressure from competitors who are producing more for less.

The North CountryCenter for Independence (NCCI), in conjunction with funding from the TD Charitable Foundation, will be presenting a series of educational opportunities aimed at providing both basic and advanced knowledge and skill development that will enable people with disabilities to navigate and access small-business opportunities.

Part 2 will focus on the role or vocation rehabilitation services in assisting consumers developing and funding small business opportunities for people with disabilities.

Beatrice Beguine of the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH) will be the guest speaker.

Materials for Part 1: The Basics of Small Business will be available for anyone who missed the first session. The event will be held at the NCCI, 80 Sharron Avenue, Plattsburgh. RSVP to 563-9058.