LOWVILLE — After a year marked by a global pandemic and severe economic challenges, there are also bright spots for North Country businesses and communities. As the North Country Center for Businesses in Transition (CBIT) enters its third year supporting transitioning businesses, the partnership has announced the successful sale of two regional businesses to a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Over the last two years, retiring owners of Tug Hill Vineyards and Adirondack Soy Candles accessed local business support services and resources, including CBIT’s community liaison network, in order to develop business succession plans and connect with potential buyers.
“Preparing to sell a business can be intimidating,”said Jenna Kraeger, economic development specialist at Lewis County Economic Development and one of CBIT’s new community liaisons. “These stories are testament to the hard work and dedication of these business owners, their professional services team and the economic development staff who supported them through the transition process.”
When Sue and Mike Maring decided it was time to sell Tug Hill Vineyards in Lowville, N.Y. —a pioneering farm winery that grows French-American cold-hardy grapes — the odds were stacked against them. Even before the COVID-19 crisis,only 20 percent of commercial listings actually sold. To beat the odds, the Marings planned ahead, connected with professional support and were patient and flexible in finding the right buyers. As a result, they successfully passed on their business to the Beller Family in January 2021.
“Out with the old and in with the new! We wish Jon and Taren Beller and their family much success as the new owners of Tug Hill Vineyards,” said Sue Maring. “We are sure you will come to love them as much as we have enjoyed working with them over the past ten months.”
Jon and Taren Beller and their three sons, Owen, Ty and Dax, are long-time Lewis County residents. Jon is an owner at Beller Farms where his family has milked cows for over 100 years. Taren is a special education teacher in Beaver Falls, N.Y.
“We are very excited to be purchasing Tug Hill Vineyards,” said Jon Beller. “It is truly a dream come true for us and combines Taren’s love of cooking and country style with my hobby of fruit trees and all things orchard related. We look forward to working together as a family to maintain and grow the wonderful business the Marings have established. We plan to make small changes, growing the restaurant and events, and adding more family-friendly activities. The staff at Tug Hill Vineyards are all maintaining their current roles and have been very patient teaching us about a business we knew little about.”
The new year also saw the transfer of home-based candle company Adirondack Soy Candles in Saranac Lake, N.Y. The 17-year business has successfully transitioned to Terry Reed, who is the store manager at The Village Mercantile. Previous owner Sue Amell moved from the region and continued to operate the business from out of state. She explored various transition options, contacting CBIT in 2018. She wanted her candle company to continue to grow in the place where it took root.
Read the full article in the Rome Sentinel.