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SBDC lauded by its supporters, assisted small businesses

PLATTSBURGH - Small businesses throughout the North Country have been receiving a helping hand from the North Country Small Business Development Center for a quarter of a century.

The North Country SBDC recognized its 25th anniversary during an open house Jan. 8, in which the organization's representatives, local dignitaries and small business owners turned out to congratulate the center's staff on reaching the milestone.

Nancy Murphy, owner of the Hungry Trout Fly Shop in Wilmington, was among those in attendance, crediting the North Country SBDC for their help when she first examined purchasing her business last December.

"I wanted to do something that I loved and I've been working in the business for about 14 years and had managed the shop for four years before that," said Murphy, who was one of more than 50 clients served last year. "It was a business I knew well and I love the Adirondacks."

The 62-year-old Murphy said she was interested in purchasing the business as "a retirement job" but wasn't sure she'd be able to make her dream a reality when seeking small business assistance from NBT Bank. However, through the help of small business banker Chris Hey, Murphy said she was put in touch with the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation, who further put her in touch with Karen Stehlin, a small business advisor with the North Country SBDC.

"Karen was a great help when I began the process of a business plan," said Murphy. "She was very great with that and continues to help to this day. If I have a question, I pick up the phone and call [the SBDC]. They're a great resource."

Carol Calabrese, co-executive director and chief executive officer of the Essex County Industrial Development Agency, agreed.

"The Small Business Development Center is a huge friend to economic development," Calabrese said during the open house. "Everyone in this room probably has [their] own personal stories, but from the Essex County standpoint, the service they provide businesses is invaluable."

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