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Publisher's View

Posted on November 2, 2022

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the North Country. In this issue of Strictly Business, we bring you the stories of seven men who started out working for others and then were inspired to set out on their own.

Our cover article features Corey Trombley, owner and president of Northern Blacktopping. Corey purchased the business in 1998 and merged its services with his family’s company, Tracey Trombley Construction. Not one to sit behind a desk, Corey can be found working alongside his crews across the North Country during construction season.

The Honey Do Team owners, Bill and Eric Jost, got their start in the construction industry by flipping houses, then working as contractors for hire. Along the way they realized there was a tremendous demand for skilled people who would take on small jobs. They had found their niche.

When Jim Dubrey Sr. opened his gas station on U.S. Avenue in Plattsburgh, the Air Force Base was in full swing and there was a gas station on nearly every corner in the city – 37 in all. Today most of the stations are gone, but Dubrey’s is still a fixture in the south end of the city.

Matt St. Clair started his career with a regional HVAC company, learned the ropes and then struck out on his own. His company, Be Cool, has built a solid reputation based on reliability, customer service and commitment to its employees.

For nearly 20 years, Chris Thomas has been roofing and siding homes and commercial properties in Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties, always with a dog close behind him. Operating as Thomas Construction he works in partnership with other specialize contractors.

And then there is our interview with Donny Phaneuf, a roofer from a family of roofers. Over nearly three decades Donny built a company and a reputation that was the envy of his industry and then sold it last year. Hear what he learned along the way in this month’s Insight feature.

Dr. Colin Read offers his view of the financial landscape that impacts each and every one of us whether we have a mortgage, loans or investments. He examines financial mistakes of the past and does his best to offer a measured look ahead.

Under the guidance of President Garry Douglas, the North Country Chamber of Commerce approaches each new year as a chance to maximize opportunities for the benefit of all businesses, large and small, in the region. In this issue he talks about the Chamber’s annual retreat and its plans for a prosperous 2023.

In a review of the articles for this issue of SB, there was one common theme – the need for more workers. Everyone is ready to hire. The North Country, like most communities, has opportunities for skilled as well as unskilled workers who are ready to learn. This is a wonderful community that offers a great quality of life. Recruitment is critical. We need to advance policies and investment strategies that foster concentrated growth while at the same time support solutions that benefit all of us – businesses, workers and residents. If we do...

…that will be good for business.

Herbert O. Carpenter, Publisher

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