NORTH CREEK After talking to Tom Stoddard, the owner of the Ski Bowl Cafe in North Creek, you develop the feeling that he takes challenges in stride. Whether hes discussing interactions with the county, working with the local planning board, or talking about the unlimited potential he sees for the region - he tackles each topic with a characteristic smile and strong sense of conviction. In January, Stoddard purchased one of the most visible North Creek commercial properties along Route 28. The log-cabin style building was the former home of a local newspaper, a gift shop, and until recently - the headquarters for a regional environmental group. In a few short weeks, the property will see a new use as a full-scale cafe and coffee shop. The cafe will offer a lite-fare menu, soups, pastries, and soft ice cream - along with specialty coffee from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. The business will be managed by Stoddards daughter, Melissa Vaughn, an experienced retail manager and food-service professional. While his purchase of the property is recent, Stoddard is quick to point out what many people have traditionally noted regarding North Creeks business district. Years ago we used to get off the Northway in Warrensburg and head north to take our daughter to college, Stoddard says. For a long time we never knew that North Creek even had a business district because you cant see it from Route 28. Stoddard plans to capitalize on his location along the main traffic corridor, and in turn bring more people to North Creeks Main Street business district. In this day and age, people are used to pulling on and off the interstate to get where they need to go, Stoddards comments in reference to his driveway that is two turns off Route 28. So when people see our place and turn off the main highway, theyre more likely to head down Main Street and visit other businesses too. Standing on a newly constructed deck, the sunny spring day and looming presence of the Gore Mountain chain across the road adds a final detail to Stoddards vision. When they put in the Ski Bowl Village, I think youll really see things perk up around here, he notes. With the new trails they have going in and everything else thats happening, I think were in the right place.