Ann LaGoy, Sound Earth
LaGoy’s all-natural, animal cruelty-free cleaning products company was launched six years ago to provide the safest products possible and promote healthy living environments for people and their pets. She was inspired to create Sound Earth, the state’s only manufacturer of natural household cleaners, after becoming poisoned by commercial chemical products. Sound Earth manufactures its products in concentrates, which gives more product for less packaging. Beyond the ecological advantages, she also promotes the local economy by choosing 70 percent of her suppliers from within the tri-state area, with another 10 percent in the Northeast. www.soundearth.com
Chris and Kevin Schneider, Mother Earth’s Storehouse
The first Mother Earth’s Storehouse opened in Kingston in 1978 to support the local producers who were providing natural, organic, and environmentally considerate products. Today, under owners Chris and Kevin Schneider, the health food and vitamin retailer operates three locations in Kingston, Saugerties, and Poughkeepsie providing employment to 90 people. Aside from supporting the local suppliers, Mother Earth’s Storehouse is also involved with the community through the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, recently donating $25,000 to the charity, the result of a customer reward card program that designated one percent of sales for the cause.
Pat Adams, Adams Fairacre Farms
What began as a simple farm stand in 1919 has evolved into a supermarket alternative that employs more than 700 people in three stores in Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and Kingston. Adams offers profit sharing, a 401K, and paid vacation and holidays to part-time staffers. Full time employees receive those benefits plus personal and sick days, and comprehensive medical insurance. The driving principle that has led to Adams’s success is being able to provide customers with exactly what they’re asking for—a variety of quality products and excellent customer service. The business, still family-owned, sponsored more than 176 regional events in the past 18 months, ranging from penny socials to arts council award dinners. “We have always received so much from the community,” says Pat Adams, general manager and part owner. “We feel it is our duty to give back in every way we can.” www.adamsfairacrefarms.com
RAY OF LIGHT
Rick Lewandowski, Prism Solar Technologies
Prism Solar, which was founded in 2005, acquired a worldwide exclusive license for manufacturing solar power modules and specialty module applications that can be used in just about any type of electric application. Using this special technology, they’ll be creating modules that cost significantly less than 95 percent of the rest of the market, which CEO Rick Lewandowski said will have a major effect on the entire industry. Not only will the technology bring a more environmentally responsible energy option to us for less money, but Prism Solar aims to manufacture the products for the domestic and international markets from a facility it’s preparing to base in Ulster County. If all goes according to plan, Lewandowski estimates this will bring more than 400 new jobs to the area. www.prismsolar.com
Robert Miglino, Leonardo’s Italian Market and RhineBucks
Soon after opening the specialty foods store Leonardo’s Italian Market in 2006, Robert Miglino shared with his late father Frank Miglino. The market aims to satisfy the motto “only the best and only the real thing” with its selection of fine meats, cheeses, and other Italian specialty items. As a local merchant, Miglino recently joined his local Rotary Club and began brainstorming with other business leaders on how to support Rhinebeck’s economy. He was subsequently elected president of the board of trustees for a new project called RhineBucks.
“This project is formulating a local currency that will help local businesses by giving local residents an incentive to shop more locally, thereby supporting their local community,” Miglino says. “Projects such as RhineBucks also contribute to community capital, the goal of reduced-waste manufacturing, reduced fuel costs, and sustainable local agriculture.” www.rhinebucks.org
BANKING ON THE REGION
Marjorie Rovereto, Ulster Savings Bank
Ulster Savings Bank has been able to weather the economic storm and continue providing a range of banking services to the local community, employing more than 360 people and helping customers find ways to work through their financial difficulties. During the past eight years, the bank has expanded from five locations to fourteen. “Each of these new branches has brought new employment and additional spending throughout the valley,” says Marjorie Rovereto, the president and CEO of the bank. “It has also allowed us to significantly increase our local lending footprint.”
In 2001, the bank created the Ulster Charitable Foundation to support the region with community grants for nonprofits and educational grants for students. The bank has donated more than $1.8 million to regional organizations over the last five years, supporting housing, education and economic development.