Risks and rewards

Sullivan County Democrat - March 28, 2014

The copy of Sullivan County Business Edge magazine inserted in our issue this past Tuesday had, like its predecessors, instructive stories on successful business and what it takes to make it in the competitive world of free enterprise.
“Sweet Smells of Success,” in the latest issue, gave an update on the Catskill Mountain Sugar House in Grahamsville and the Brandenburg Pastry Bakery in Livingston Manor.

The Sugar House maple syrup operation, brainchild of Barbara and Walter Garigliano and their family, must be judged not just a county but a New York State success story. Expanding from 38,000 taps in 2013 to an incredible 50,000 this year on the hundreds of acres the family owns, Sugar House is now one of the largest producers of maple syrup in the state.

John Garigliano, the general manager, noted that maple syruping is a fast-growing industry and he employs 10 people full-time during the short but intensive tapping season, which is dependent on cool nights and warm days. A graduate of Auburn University in Ag Economics, John is making good use of his degree.

His parents already lead busy lives as lawyers with multiple public functions and roles, but five years ago they had the vision to turn an untapped natural resource into a productive and lucrative sideline. Of course, the Gariglianos had the capital to finance the acquisition of the maple tree-rich lands, as well as acquiring the technology and infrastructure needed.

But it’s worth noting that, as Walter told a reporter, “Whether you're growing cotton in the South or corn in the Midwest, farming is farming, and you’re always going to be subjected to the whims of Mother Nature and the weather.” As we like to say, farming is hard work, no matter what form it takes. And there is no doubt that the Gariglianos have pooled their disparate talents and worked hard to cash in on a growing sector of the agricultural industry.

The move by Brandenburg Bakery from Jeffersonville to Livingston Manor was necessitated by a wish to find larger quarters, which the village could not supply and the hamlet did.

Errol and Sarah Flynn, expert bakers, will hold the grand opening of their bakery/café this afternoon in the Manor, and we wish the couple great luck as they begin this chapter of their lives.

The couple supplied their sweat equity and long hours and desire to bring their exquisite creations to the public. In addition, the Flynns credit the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development and CEO Marc Baez, and Jill Weyer and the Sullivan County Planning Division, for help in the finances and extensive paperwork needed to buy the building and expand their business. They also gave a shout-out to Sam Kandel of the Small Business Development Center in Kingston.
The lesson one can take away from the Flynn’s story is that there are any number of resources available – we’d also like to mention the county’s Industrial Development Agency and Chamber of Commerce – to help aspiring entrepreneurs.
Getting a small business off the ground is never easy. It is, in fact, an enterprise with a high rate of failure. But those who want to assume the risks and rewards of being their own boss can look to resources of finance capital and knowledge to help them take flight.