Wednesday November 10, 2010

Lakeside Artisans Cooperative Winner of Next Great Idea Competition

Owners net $25K; want to enhance cultural offerings in Oswego
By Eric Anderson

    The Lakeside Artisans Cooperative is the winner of the 2010 Next Great Idea Competition for its idea to create a cooperative retail outlet involving local artists.

    A check for $25,000 was presented to Michele Southgate, Tim Ames and Allen Bjorkman.

    “Now is when we really kick things into gear,” Southgate said. “We need to find a site, figure out things like inventory and basically just put this whole operation together.”

    The Lakeside Artisans Cooperative is a start-up for-profit cooperative. The proposed idea is a retail showcase that will promote local artists and artisans. Its vision includes an art gallery, selling art supplies, holding demonstrations and offering art classes. The $25,000 prize will go toward making the idea a reality.

    “Currently, the Oswego area does not have an artists’ retail outlet and this business would help retain our local artist population as well as attract others,” Southgate said.

    The cooperative was chosen by a panel of judges from a total of nine entries into the competition. All contestants were required to submit an executive summary of their idea.  Those that made it to the second round of the competition submitted a comprehensive business plan, and then gave a 20-minute presentation to the panel of judges.

    Their presentations were judged based on the overall feasibility, attractiveness and realism of the ideas. The two finalists attended a luncheon where the winner was announced.

    “Before we heard about this competition, we had already visited some other cooperatives and put together a few business plans,” Southgate said. “When we heard about the ‘Next Great Idea’, we knew it was for us.”

    The panel of judges was made up of local business owners and executives which included Barbara Bateman of Alliance Bank, Roy Clark of Dunkin Donuts, Joe Fiumara of the Fulton Community Development Agency, Steve Osborne of Fulton Savings Bank, Pam Roach of Hart and Stone, Paul Vickery of Vickery Insurance, and Paul Williams of Felix Schoeller North America.

    The $25,000 prize was made possible by a number of competition sponsors, including Alliance Bank, Fulton Savings Bank, Key Bank, Operation Oswego County, SUNY Oswego’s Small Business Development Center, C and S Companies, the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency, Entergy, National Grid, New York Business Development Corporation, Pathfinder Bank, SUNY Oswego, Community Bank NA, Mitchell’s Speedway Press, O’Brien and Gere, Steve Chirello Advertising, Oswego County Business Magazine, The Palladium-Times and Your News Now.

    The runner-up of the competition was Michele King and William Pena of Adirondack Physical and Occupational Therapy. Their idea was to expand their facilities to offer more comprehensive treatment for stroke and brain trauma patients. Although they did not win, King and Pena are optimistic about the future.

    “The opportunity is still there,” Pena said. “It might take a little longer to get off the ground now, but we will still continue to pursue our idea.”

    Both finalists were introduced by Tammy Palmer, YNN anchor and native Oswegonian.  The check was presented by Larry Perras of SUNY Oswego’s Small Business Development Center and Austin Wheelock, economic development specialist for OOC.

    The competition was started in 2008, and just two years later has already proven to be successful. Previous winner Paul Grimshaw of Ocean Blue Technology credited the Next Great Idea for the success of his company. Ocean Blue Technology manufactures safety products for scuba divers.

    Southgate, Ames and Bjorkman said they are excited to pursue the Lakeside Artisans Cooperative.

    “We want to encourage an atmosphere in which artisans can grow,” Southgate said.

Oswego County Business Magazine
Issue 164

Issue 164
October/November 2019

Cover Story

  • Cruse Control
  • Jeff Cruse takes over as top leader for Novelis’ Oswego Works


Linda Eagan

On The Job

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Success Stories

The Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County

My Turn

Why President Trump Won’t Admit Mistakes


News Briefs on Local Businesses & Business People

Economic Trends

Oswego County IDA Recapitalizes Popular Loan Program

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Rodmon King