Chestertown business reopens; garners national TV attention

CHESTERTOWN - For the second time in a month, a local community received national attention for its vigor in warding off the pitfalls of the economic downturn.

Saturday saw a Chestertown business featured on Fox News' variety show Huckabee hosted by the former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee after a local family resurrected a bankrupt business and restored two-dozen jobs.

"This focuses national attention on the Adirondacks," said Chestertown Supervisor Fred Monroe. "I am really tickled they decided to come up here."

Earlier this month, North Creek received national attention when the New York Times featured the Gore Mountain region, describing it as a hidden oasis of activity and commerce.

Last December, log home construction firm Lincoln Logs closed its doors after filing for bankruptcy.

The closing of Lincoln Logs resulted in the loss of nearly 30 local jobs.

But all is on the upswing thanks to local sawmill and retail lumber product business owner Larry Stephenson, who - along with his wife Debbie and daughter Erin - purchased the business for $2.5 million, putting 25 local residents back to work.

At its peak, Lincoln Logs employed 120 local residents and was one of the largest producers of custom log homes in the country. "We have a real potential for synergy with our preexisting businesses," Stephenson said. "My vision is to position it well for when the economy improves."

Stephenson said that Lincoln Logs can work in tandem with his other business. One of which produces trusses, while three others timber retail yards have to ability to provide not only lumber, but man-power as well.

For his part, Stephenson is just happy to put many of those laid off by the closure of Lincoln Logs back to work.

"I saw it here everyday as I drove to work," he said. "Why not bring it back to life and put people back to work?"

Stephenson predicts that by mid 2010, Lincoln Logs may be able to begin growing and creating even more area jobs.

The potential impact of these jobs on a rural area was not lost on Huckabee.

"We wish you all the luck as you work to save your town," Huckabee said.

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