FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: January 12, 2023
Contact: Audrey Schwartzberg, ANCA Communications Officer, (518) 891-6200 or
Entrepreneurs Wanted: CBIT Conference Fosters Small Business Connections
Small Communities. Big Opportunities. convenes potential business buyers, sellers on February 12-14
SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. — A regional partnership focused on retaining small businesses in northern New
York State will convene current business owners and potential buyers for a three-day educational and
networking conference. The North Country Center for Businesses in Transition (CBIT) partnership invites
aspiring business owners to attend its second Small Communities. Big Opportunities: Own a North
Country Business Conference, which will be held in-person with a virtual option on February 12-14, 2023,
in Saranac Lake, N.Y. on the heels of the Adirondack village’s ten-day Winter Carnival.
In-person events will take place at Hotel Saranac, where attendees can connect with current and aspiring
business owners, business support professionals, and CBIT representatives. The conference will kick off
with an opening reception before the Winter Carnival’s closing fireworks show. Registration for in-person
and virtual attendance is open at www.northcountryopportunities.com.
“The conference is designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of participants in a short amount of
time,” said Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) Entrepreneurial Economy Program Director
Danielle Delaini. “We’ll cover the whole gamut, from broad topics like what it’s like living in the North
Country to practical details like tax considerations, marketing strategies and business valuation.”
Ben Dixon, executive director of the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce and community liaison
with CBIT, said the conference offers attendees the chance to learn directly from current owners about
what it is like to operate a business in the North Country and connect with a wide range of business
ownership opportunities. Participants can meet face-to-face with owners of businesses located
throughout the region — including Nature’s Storehouse in Canton, N.Y.; Done Right Cleaning in St.
Lawrence County; Lafave Automotive in Vernon, N.Y., and other businesses including restaurants, shops
and service providers.
“All of the different business support organizations in CBIT work very closely together so that we can
connect the entrepreneur who’s looking to take on a new business with various resources in the North Country,” said Dixon.
“We have a well organized and well established entrepreneurial ecosystem here that supports the entrepreneur.
Attending the conference will help introduce the entrepreneur to that ecosystem.”
Following a successful virtual conference in 2021, this year’s event offers different tracks for aspiring,
beginning and more established entrepreneurs, no matter where they are in the ownership process.
From individuals who are just starting to explore the idea of owning a business, to people who have
already identified a business they would like to purchase, to owners who have recently taken over a
business — attendees will be supported wherever they are in the business ownership process.
Participants will have opportunities to meet with retiring owners, learn about available businesses, and
learn from experts about key elements of a successful business transition, including marketing, branding,
accessing capital and relocating the North Country.
Attendees will also hear from guest speakers who have engaged with the CBIT partnership. Sandy Maine,
founder of Adirondack Fragrance & Flavor Farm in Parishville, N.Y., recently passed on her successful
body products and candle business to her son and daughter-in-law. Cori Deans of Keene, N.Y. will speak
about her experience operating a successful fermented food business, Small Town Cultures, which has
rapidly outgrown its Lake Placid facility and will soon be moving to a larger space in Plattsburgh. Max
Nason, new owner of Happy Camping RV in Vermontville, N.Y., and David Reichel, who will take over an
established small business based in Gouverneur, N.Y. next month, will also present.
Citing that the average business transition takes three to five years to complete, Delaini said it is
remarkable that the CBIT partnership — which serves 14 counties in northern New York — supported 37
successful business transitions since ANCA established the Center four years ago. She said the 215
businesses that accessed CBIT services during this period represent over 1,040 full- and part-time jobs
retained in the region.
Among them is Adirondack Awards and Promotions, a Lake Placid company that has been providing
customized trophies, awards, and engraved and embroidered products for local businesses,
organizations and sports teams since 1962. Tyler Merriam and Nick Prechel purchased the business in
August 2022 with CBIT’s support.
“For people who are considering attending the conference, I would strongly encourage them to do so,”
said Merriam. “Networking and connections are critical in the business world. We have received so much
support from local business owners, from previous owners and sellers, and people who have gone
through this process before. Building those connections and learning from them has been invaluable.
“And for an entrepreneur who is looking for a place-based business, I would sing the praises of this
region hands down,” he added. “The Adirondack region is simply gorgeous. There’s so much that can be
done community-wise, recreation-wise. The opportunities are unlimited.”
CBIT encourages attendees to arrive early for the conference, experience Winter Carnival activities, and
explore the Saranac Lake area’s many small businesses, restaurants and shops. During the conference,
CBIT will announce travel and tour packages for eligible participants who are interested in owning a
North Country business and exploring the region’s scenic, cultural and recreational assets.
In November, National Grid awarded ANCA a $100,000 grant to support the conference and other 2023
CBIT programs. Additional funding has been provided by Adirondack Foundation; Community Bank;
Franklin County Government Office of Economic Development and Tourism; New York State Electric &
Gas (NYSEG), an Avangrid Company; and SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center.
CBIT was established by ANCA in 2018 with grant funding from the Northern Regional Border
Commission to address the loss of area businesses by providing matchmaking services with potential
buyers, access to planning tools, and connection with existing services. CBIT services have expanded to
provide support for aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to purchase an existing business. CBIT is comprised
of 13 community liaisons and partners across ANCA’s 14-county service area, including representatives
from the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation, Adirondack Park Agency Economic Services,
Essex County Industrial Development Agency, Franklin County Economic Development Corporation,
Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce, Hamilton County Economic Development,
Lewis County Economic Development, LivingADK, St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, Saranac
Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center, Ti-Alliance, and
Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce.
Registration for the three-day in-person conference, which includes the opening reception and daytime
meals, costs $100; participants who sign up by January 20, 2023 receive a discounted early bird rate of
$80. The virtual option costs $75 with a $60 early bird rate. Students who attend a North Country college
or university are invited to attend free of charge. Questions about student discounts, registration or
other event details may be directed to email@example.com. Registration is open at
Attached: one (1) PDF document, one (1) photo, one (1) graphic
Photo: Nick Prechel, left, and Tyler Merriam recently purchased Adirondack Awards and Promotions in
Lake Placid with the support of the North Country Center for Businesses in Transition partnership.
ANCA is an independent, nonprofit corporation with a transformational approach to building prosperity across
northern New York. ANCA’s community-informed, results-driven strategies for local food producers, small business
owners, aspiring entrepreneurs and municipal innovators offer targeted interventions that are designed to keep
wealth and value in local communities.
The North Country Center for Businesses in Transition (CBIT) partnership includes ANCA and the following
The Adirondack Economic Development Corporation Inc. (AEDC) is a not-for-profit economic development
corporation. AEDC was formed in 1976 as a cooperative effort of community leaders from towns in the northern
Adirondacks to reduce traditionally higher than average levels of unemployment and to expand employment
opportunities for the residents of the region. The AEDC’s mission is to foster the growth of North Country
communities through support for existing and new small businesses.
The Essex County Industrial Development Agency’s (ECIDA) mission is to create a viable business environment that
will attract compatible and diverse sustainable economic development opportunities focusing on major assets,
retention/expansion and attraction projects for public benefit to encourage business development and advance job
opportunities, health, general prosperity and economic conditions to improve the standard of living and quality of
life. They can provide assistance to eligible projects; financing, economic incentives, assistance with local regulatory
agencies and building and site location assistance.
Franklin County Economic Development Corp. exists to improve the quality of life in the Franklin County region by
supporting economic growth, employment and community development. FCEDC offers a broad range of services to
help local businesses expand and succeed. From loans and tax incentives, to technical assistance, to buildings and
business parks, we’re here to help grow local business.
The Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce (GWNC) is a membership organization with over
100 years of experience working to strengthen business and enhance the community in the Greater Watertown –
North Country region. Since its establishment in 1903, the chamber has grown to become the largest business
association in the North Country. They represent businesses of varying sizes and industries, helping them to drive
growth and make meaningful connections.
Hamilton County Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the Hamilton County Industrial
Development Agency (HCIDA): HCIDA assists with the general prosperity and economic welfare of the citizens of
Hamilton County. The primary objective of the agency is to encourage and foster entrepreneurial activity, business
expansion and job creation. The Economic Development and Tourism Department advocates, promotes and helps
to improve the quality of life in our communities both for our residents and our visitors. We help to foster the
development of healthy businesses and institutions through marketing, networking, promotion, business
assistance and outreach.
Lewis County Economic Development and IDA, as a one-stop-shop, work together as the central office to provide
business assistance and new business development in Lewis County, NY. The agency works locally and regionally to
enhance business opportunities, help create jobs and maintain economic stability within Lewis County. Through the
Naturally Lewis brand, we promote Lewis County as the ‘natural choice’ to live, work and do business.
Living ADK is a regional not-for-profit that focuses on the Western Central Adirondacks. This organization works
locally and regionally, in a flexible manner, to tackle the issues affecting local communities in the immediate.
Recently these needs have surrounded housing access, healthcare expansion, food security, climate change effect
mitigation and sustainable economies. Year-round sustainable economies require a healthy number of businesses,
a variety of business types and longevity for the businesses we already have. LivingADK will continue to spotlight
and expand existing programs on a local level to maintain this healthy balance.
The St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, Inc. plays a pivotal role in strengthening and maintaining the
economic health of St. Lawrence County. The mission of the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce is to
cultivate, develop and support Chamber members and other businesses by creating a vibrant business climate that
encourages growth and enhances the unique quality of life in St. Lawrence County.
The Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce (SLACC) acts as a catalyst for business and community development
in the Greater Saranac Lake Area. SLACC provides services for its membership and generates economic
development with promotional and marketing strategies.
The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) is a non-profit organization that serves, markets and
promotes the Ticonderoga Area including Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Hague, Moriah and Putnam, NY. TACC serves
as the area’s Business and Visitor Center. TACC’s Mission is to initiate and provide programs, services and
leadership which will enhance a cooperative business community and create a vibrant economy, making the
Ticonderoga Area an exceptional place to live, work and visit. TACC’s Vision is to be the leading advocate for
business, serving as a driving force in the economic vitality of the greater Ticonderoga Area, uniting communities
and maximizing resources. TACC’s key areas of focus include: membership, business, tourism, communication,
leadership and organization.
Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance (Ti-Alliance) is a non-profit 501c3 local development corporation (LDC) whose
mission is to restore economic prosperity in the Ticonderoga region by serving as a catalyst for innovative ideas and
resources, and for public-private partnerships and investment opportunities.
The SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is part of a statewide network of business assistance
centers supported by the State University of New York and the Small Business Administration. The New York State
SBDC (NY SBDC) is accredited by America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC). The SBDC is charged with
assisting North Country entrepreneurs, small business, and industry through advising, training, and research.
Additionally, the SBDC provides needed services to manufacturers, women, veterans, minority, and physically
challenged individuals, or on businesses impacting distressed and targeted areas. Counseling services are free and