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Halfmoon’s VASI Boutique, owned by Effie Vasilakos, exemplifies local businesses which have adapted to changing realities of the retail business during the COVID-19 crisis

This is the 10th consecutive December that I have had the pleasure of addressing Community News readers regarding news of business and community interest.

Perhaps the first realization that comes to mind is, “where did the time go?” Yet, so many things have happened during the decade of my association with the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County (CSSC).

In December of 2011, GLOBALFOUNDRIES was still an unfinished promise, the idea of “downtown” Clifton Park seemed unattainable, Historic Lock 19 was buried and decaying in the woods of Vischer Ferry, industrial sites in Halfmoon had yet to realize their potential, Mechanicville’s XO Tower remained unfinished, and other important resources in our area remained untapped. 

Efforts by community and business leaders have facilitated much positive change in the years since. Miles of trails were completed, historic sites preserved, industrial parks opened, and Saratoga County’s largest town has something approaching a real downtown. Hard work prepared our communities to take advantage of good economic times and weather the storm when things turned sour. I’m proud to have played a role in this team effort!

There remains much work to be done, and so much more can be accomplished. As our communities develop, we need to maintain the balance between commerce and quality of life that has made them so desirable. It’s imperative to fully utilize our transportation assets, increase mobility, build on the unique opportunities of our region (Halfmoon’s canalside Area 3 comes to mind) and preserve the legacy of our farms and other unique resources. The CSSC was strengthened by its 2020 affiliation with the Capital Region Chamber, and will remain a powerful advocate for this community.

We can’t do it without the steadfast community support this Chamber and its recently affiliated partners have received over the years. People like Nathan Hollander and later his son Barry, their family company a founding member of the CSSC in 1967 and for each of the ensuing 53 years, or Mike Stiles, of Stiles Excavating and Trucking in Halfmoon, a dedicated member for exactly five decades. Or those who started businesses in recent years and put their confidence in our organization and the significant few who managed to successfully commence business operations during the Pandemic.

I’m proud to say that Clifton Park and Halfmoon’s official chamber of commerce remains a strong and vigorous force for our area’s economic vitality, and we are looking forward to getting through the remainder of the COVID crisis and on to prosperous times in the future. Please enjoy a safe, blessed and wonderful holiday, and see you in the new year!

— Pete Bardunias is Senior Vice President, Community Advancement, Capital Region Chamber

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