200 community leaders turn out as 'North Country This Week' is awarded 'Business of Year'
Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 12:20 pm

Jennifer McCluskey | McCluskey Photography

Staff members of North Country This Week on hand to receive the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce 2018 “Business of the Year” award included, from left, Julie Spadaccini, Diane Dockum, Debbie Morgan, John Basham, Miki Crary, Bill Shumway, Cheryl Shumway and Sean McNamara.

POTSDAM -- More than 200 St. Lawrence County business and community leaders were on hand Wednesday when the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce presented its 2018 “Business of the Year Award” to North Country This Week.

North Country Showcase in Massena received the “Customer Service Excellence Award” and The Soap Guys From Tucker Spring Organics were named “Producer of the Year.”

North Country This Week is “the ‘go to’ source for up-to-date information in St. Lawrence County and a way to stay ‘connected’ to home for St. Lawrence County natives who have moved away,” April Grant of the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Foundation told the audience.

The paper was also nominated for the award because “their commitment to this area is further evident by the purchase and renovation of their new offices on Clarkson Avenue in Potsdam,” she said. North Country This Week is the most-read paper in the county and NorthCountryNow.com receives nearly 3 million page views each month, she noted.

In accepting the award, Publisher Bill Shumway thanked readers and advertisers, as well as the paper’s 21-member staff. “It’s a team effort and this award belongs to our entire staff,” he said.

He noted many changes have taken place since the paper was founded in his West Stockholm living room in 1984.

The paper was originally an entertainment guide for college students and young adults in the Potsdam-Canton area. The paper has since added lots more news of interest to all residents, launched NorthCountryNow.com in 2000, started a second edition for the Massena-Ogdensburg area in 2013 and finished a complete redesign last month.

“Today, we are the only locally owned media company serving St. Lawrence County,” he said.

North Country Showcase, which recently moved to Harte Haven Shopping Center from St. Lawrence Centre in Massena, was honored for “extraordinary service in their delivery of product and/or service to their customers.”

The store now features over 100 vendors of gifts, artwork, wood products, food items, pottery and quilts.

Tucker Spring Organics of Potsdam received the “Producer of the Year” award for having “developed their capacity for creating and selling a product that is handmade, locally sourced or value-added, raising awareness and pride for local products.”

Jennifer McCluskey | McCluskey Photography

Brooke Rouse, St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce executive director, presents the “Producer of the Year Award” Wednesday to Brent Carbino, left, and Chad Graham, right, owners of Tucker Spring Organics.

The business creates cruelty-free, handcrafted artisanal soaps and skincare products that can be found at tuckerspringorganics.com

Brooke Rouse, chamber executive director, updated those attending on the chamber’s progress and successes in the past year.

Rouse cited the "important work people are doing” to make the county “the best place to live, work, invest and play, right now and in the future."

She touted strategic partnerships in business development and tourism as being critical to moving opportunities forward for members and the county economy.

She said partnerships with the Associated Colleges of the Seaway Valley, Northern New York Community Foundation, the Adirondack North Country Association, SLC Industrial Development Agency and Small Business Development Center were among a series of chamber workforce and business development initiatives.

Michael Besaw, the chamber’s assistant director, unveiled new websites designed to promote the county’s many fishing opportunities as well as dozens of trails for hiking, skiing and snowmobiling.


Jennifer McCluskey | McCluskey Photography

Accepting the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce “Customer Service Excellence Award” Wednesday were, from left, Bonnie McCarthy, Karen St. Hilaire and Bobbi Hull. Chamber Executive Director Brooke Rouse is at right.