Bucks Blog

Bucks Blog

Here is the Bucks Blog, used to talk about current events and such.

Describing himself as a very smart, but overweight kid, Jason shared his life story at a recent meeting and the decisions that led him to start his own business, Pique Fitness, and work as a personal trainer for "high achievers who want to obtain optimal performance."

After working on Wall Street as a head of Hedgefund recruiting, Jason tapped into his bioengineering and neuroscience course work from Syracuse University to help him propel his passion into a business. Not being in his best health during his time on Wall Street added to his decision to change his personal health situation and his career course.

Looking to offer some helpful advice with respect to exercise and nutrition so that everybody can be their best version of themselves, Jason offered tips during his presentation to help Bucks members with their optimal performance goals, such as:

-  Exercise or "play" just like your teachers required of you in school during recess. Our bodies and minds need time to move and be physical.

-  You will feel better and your organs will do their job if you stay away from the bad food and not eat inflammatory foods like processed foods, sugary foods, and fatty foods.

 

- Eat protein to build muscle and keep you full (eggs, meats, cheese, protein shakes).

- Drink 2 glasses of water per meal.

- Keep an eye on portion size.

- Keep a food log to notice patterns when you are not making good food choices.

Jason also shared with the club that he authored an e-book titled, "The One Hour Guide to Optimal Performance", that provides more insight into the tools and habits for creating optimal performance.

From developing his entrepreneurial spirit at a young age by selling baseball cards at school to working as a young lawyer at a firm that initially just guaranteed him a "place" there (no high wages or impressive title), Harold has always valued hard work. It is that spirit that has helped him be a successful attorney for decades.

As this week's speaker, Harold shared with us not only his career in the law but his career in politics. Harold enjoyed a long, working relationship with former Congressman Guy Molinari as his law partner and Chief of Staff when Guy first began his foray into politics as a New York State Assemblyman. As his Chief of Staff, Harold worked weekends, handled correspondence, and wrote press releases on issues of importance on Staten Island. At that time, he was also a partner in a law firm that included Molinari. Over the years the partners in the firm shifted with Guy exiting when he became Staten Island's Congressman. Harold eventually became a sole practitioner and ten years ago welcomed his son Christopher to the firm who brought with him a license to practice in New Jersey allowing the firm to service its clients in a broader sense.

 

Harold takes great pride in his dedication to thoroughly reviewing any type of contract his clients bring to his attention for legal review. Bucks members who have turned to Harold for legal advice commented that oftentimes contracts were returned to them with lots of notes and "cross outs." This attention to detail to ultimately protect the interests of his clients has helped him build a very good legal reputation.

Harold is a graduate of Xaverian High school, New York University School of Law, and is a married with four children and several grandchildren, who he described in his presentation, as those who "melted me" when they first arrived.

 

Having graduated with an undergraduate degree in Accounting and a Masters Degree in Taxation, Billy spent the early part of his professional career working for a large accounting firm in New York City. After years of long hours, he decided to join the family business, Reliable Office Solutions to help run it more efficientely and effectively and further develop a business his father grew over the years to be very successful.

Billy spent his initial time and energy on improving the administrative end of the business, improving the company's finances, and hiring a new service manager to further build the company and its reputation for providing quality Canon printers and service. The type of Canon equipment Reliable keeps in its inventory has changed over the years as Canon consistently develops and improves their copiers. In the 1980s and 1990s, Billy commented there was a transition in the industry when the color copier became available and many businesses embraced this technology greatly benefiting his customer growth and reach.

With four offices, two in New Jersey, one in Manhattan, and the corporate office in Staten Island, a majority of Reliable's business is "down the street" business servicing professional offices and businesses. Some of the company's successes are credited to the telemarketing team responsible for building the company's customer base and the addition of a computer program Billy helped build with computer programming professionals. The computer program, called Butterfly, helps with the company's workflow and management by tracking each client from the beginning to the end: from someone who is a prospective customer, to becoming a customer, the equipment\service agreement they have, and their inventory or upgrades. This program allows the whole team at Reliable  to have access to the history of each client they serve which enables them to more effectively interact with them and meet their needs.

Reliable is a full service office solution company assisting clients with their printing needs, suggesting replacement copiers when necessary, handling repairs and service, and even remote monitoring of copier usage and ink cartridge usage. They can offer suggestions to prospective clients on the type of copier equipment that best suits their particular business and monitor the maintenance and upkeep of the equipment to ensure their business operations run smoothly and uninterrupted.

Not treating Sleep Apnea could decrease your life span by 8 years. This startling remark was one of the many facts presented to Bucks members this month by Dr. Acker during his presentation on airway management and Sleep Apnea as it affects overall health.

17 years ago, Dr. Acker discovered some underlining issues with his heart and he also discovered that he had Sleep Apnea. Now that the Sleep Apnea has been treated he shared with us that his quality of life has dramatically approved. Dr. Acker discussed treatments for Sleep Apnea and how important it is for children through adults to get an airway assessment to make sure they are breathing correctly - ideally breathing through the nose and breathing less. This is ideal for your overall health as explained by Dr. Acker.

Dr. Acker stated there are medical consequences for poor airways which often lead to sleep issues. It can be managed correctly, however, with the proper appliances such as masks or oral devices you insert in your mouth before you go to sleep. Dr. Acker strongly encouraged that everyone, especially children, be screened to identify any underlying airway issues. Children, as young as three years old, can be assessed by a dentist to determine if their tongue is in the right position and their jaw is developing properly to avoid airway and possible sleep apnea later in life. Some studies have indicated there is a correlation between ADHD in children and not breathing properly.

Dr. Acker is working to get the medical community, including pediatricians, to work collaboratively on not only airway and sleep issues but a patient's overall health. This is been the philosophy of his practice for some time now and he is always looking for ways to treat his patients with a team of medical professionals that work in concert to allow a patient to achieve optimal health.

Dr. Acker is on the dental teaching staff of Brookdale Hospital and an instructor with the Kois Center.

 

Although her dream of becoming a Rockette did not come to be (although she did by happenstance come across the Rockettes and joined them for a spontaneous dance) , Gerry Fredericksen is a leader in the Travel industry opening up Love Travel in 1998 with encouragement from several members of the Bucks club. Gerry joined Bucks in 1995 when there were only 13 men and two women.

Now, almost 2 decades later, Love Travel is thriving with a majority of its increased business coming through referrals from satisfied customers. Just recently, Gerry received an industry award - Palace Resorts Pro Awards Global Conference -being recognized in the Gold category along with many other global and internet travel agencies. As stated in her presentation to the club this month, "not bad for a one woman show!".

Love Travel handles a variety of vacation packages and business assistance travel for a variety of clients and is very skilled at designing customized itineraries to Europe, destination weddings, and trips to Disney. To keep up her knowledge on the places that people enjoy vacationing, Gerry visits the popular destinations that her clients find appealing.

 

Gerry explained in her presentation that hiring a travel agency like Love Travel has so many benefits: travel fees and deals will be monitored and shared with you; customized packages and itineraries can be designed; travel professionals work through any problems or unexpected occurrences during your travel - before, during and after. Gerry also offered some tips to all travelers: make sure the right tag is placed on your luggage at airports or it will get lost; take photos of your luggage just in case it gets lost; and if you are connecting flights best to stay with same airline to reduce the possibility of lost luggage.

And lastly, when you use a travel agent you are hiring someone who is seasoned in finding the best deals and promotions for your vacation plans. "If you find a deal on the internet, just remember, if there is a better deal out there, the internet won't call you, but Love Travel will," said Gerry.

 

Jerry Amerosi, Past President of Bucks and owner\founder of Gerald Peters Jewelry in the Staten Island Mall, spoke to the club this month about the growth of his business over the years and how his sons are being groomed to lead the family business into the future.

Jerry discussed how he takes great pride in offering real, authentic products. Jerry has been able to offer this to his customers because of his commitment to becoming an authorized dealer of a variety of well known and upcoming jewelry lines. Jerry explained that when you are an authorized dealer of a brand you are able to vouch for the authenticity of what you are selling.  Jerry's business philosophy is to offer good products at a variety of different price points and couple it with an excellent level of service.  What is very fundamental to his business is the product. "Price is important but you ultimately have to offer a good product."

 

Jerry first entered the jewelry business in 1984 operating out of Cesar's Bay Bazzar in Brooklyn. In 1992, Jerry left that location and opened up on 18th Avenue in Brooklyn under the name, Gold Mine Jewelers. Noticing that many of his customers were moving to Staten Island he decided to relocate to the Staten Island Mall and opened up there in 1996. In 2016 he moved to a new location in the Mall creating a beautiful store that offered an inviting shopping experience. This new store with a new name - Gerald Peters - allowed Jerry to bring in more high end brands such as Breitling and Mikimoto Pearls. Gerald Peters is named after his sons who are both part of the family business.

In addition to Gerald Peters, Jerry owns a Pandora store in the Staten Island and one in Ocean County, New Jersey.

Bucks member, Ted Malloy of the Limeri Agency, spoke to our group last week about the various insurance policies available to protect small business owners.

Ted discussed changes following 9/11 with respect to the coverage of terrorist attacks. Stand alone terrorism policies are available for businesses however many insurance carriers cover terrorism to some degree through property insurance. Terrorism specific policies can be obtained for those who want to supplement their normal commercial insurance.

 

Employment Practice Liability Insurance is another insurance package that has value to small businesses since it covers claims that an employee's rights were violated or other instances such as failure to promote or hire or illegal background checks. Ted cited that employee lawsuits have risen by 400 percent with the average settled claim costing 75,000 dollars. Cyber liability insurance is also offered to small businesses to cover human error with not protecting computer systems and its data or an outside element hacking a business's computer system. Businesses that have been hacked incur expenses associated with alerting each of their customers to the hacking occurrence and credit monitoring.

Saying that the craft beer community is a strong community and New York Ciity and New York State has experienced a 50 percent growth in the craft beer industry, Sean Torres of Kills Boro Brewing Company spoke to our club recently about its plan to open a 10 barrell beer house this coming Spring. To be located in the Craft House at 60 Van Duzer Street, Kills Boro will brew 40 different styles of craft beer such as an Irish Dry Stout and Belgium Double Fig. To explain the type of individuals who enjoy craft beer, Sean described craft beer consumers as promiscuous always looking to taste a different type of beer. As a result, brewing companies are always looking to expand their offerings and work closely with their colleagues in the business as well.

 

The name of the company - Kills Boro - focuses on "Kill" in homage to the waterways surrounding Staten Island. The word "Kill" is a dutch word for body of water. Sean reminded the group of the rich roots in this borough for the production of beer and that many of those who began in the industry were from German descent and enjoyed the fresh run off water from Todt Hall to produce their beer.

Sean answered many questions after his presentation such as the reason certain beers are more conducive to being served in certain glasses; how to properly store beer for maximum taste; the higher alcohol content for craft beers; and how to brew your own beer in your home which Sean highly recommended that people do at least once.

 

 

With 15 cents in his pocket, Bucks member Ray Laursen was on his way to becoming a business owner.

After his mom gave him 15 cents to put in the collection box at church one Sunday, Ray somehow found himself in a bowling alley instead. He bowled a game and then went on to joining leagues and hanging around bowling alleys to learn the game and the fitting of bowling balls. As a young adult, bowling was very appealing to Ray and led him to a career.

 

Ray first entered into the bowling business 30 years ago working at Country Lanes and Pro Shop on Hylan Blvd. After discovering that bowlers don't bowl in the summer, he secured some space at the bowling alley and entered into the trophy business to supplement his income, a business he still finds himself in today.

In addition to a variety of trophy offerings, Country Awards offers many promotional items such as engraved leather picture frames, bible\book covers, water bottles, personalized flash drives, business card holders, and wine boxes.  Many of Country Awards' clients include local high schools, local sports leagues, and non profit organizations.

Discussing the many jobs and career opportunities presented to him throughout his life from his favorite job at 13 years old cleaning a church, which always put money in his pocket, to his career with the New York City Police Department, Steve Coppola offered many stories and commentary on how these work and life experiences shaped him and led him to becoming a successful owner of a security company.

APB Security is a full service company that has various niches in the security market including their video doorman service allowing landlords to control visitors and monitor loiterers through video monitoring and its own central monitoring station to monitor closely its customers security occurrences. Saying that APB's biggest investment was moving their offices to the Teleport, SI, it allowed the company to grow and include a central station and provide space for sister companies run by Steve's children:  Statewide Fire Corporation and Statewide Monitoring.

Saying its always good to have a healthy skepticism when it comes to running your business, Steve's stated his attitude and his desire to become an expert in his field allowed him to grow and create niches within the security industry.

 Steve is also involved in other local organizations such as Home Improvement Contractor's Association, Boy Scouts, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Small Business Development Center.

Saying that approximately 36 million Americans suffer from hearing loss with more than half of the people with hearing loss younger than 65 and approximately 6 of every 1000 babies having significant hearing problems at birth, member Audiologist, Dr. Mary Goodacre, reminded the Bucks membership this month that there is no age recommendation or limit in getting a baseline hearing test.

According to Dr. Goodacre, hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States and leads to a decrease in your quality of life. There are many signs that you may have a hearing loss such as:

Difficulty hearing in a noisy environment, such as a restaurant, wedding, car.

People seem to Mumble all the time.

Family and friends have to repeat themselves when speaking with you.

Have trouble hearing people when not facing you and have trouble following conversations.

You have ringing, buzzing or hissing sounds in your ears.

Untreated hearing loss can lead to sadness and contribute to dementia, depression, anxiety, paranoia and poor social relationships.

Genetics, the aging process, exposure to loud noise, and ear diseases can cause hearing loss and according to Dr. Goodacre there are many types of hearing aids that can help people hear better and live a better life. Dr. Goodacre spends a good part of her day at her practice, Staten Island Audiological Services, counseling patients and their families about the effects of hearing loss, something she finds very rewarding.

 

What began as a heating business in 1930 by Vito Scarangello, the grandfather of Bucks member, Tom Scarangello, Scaran has branched into offering homeowners a multitude of services in addition to oil and gas heating such as residential plumbing services and air conditioning systems.

Sharing the business operations with his brother Frank Scarangello, Tom and Frank are continuously looking for ways to re-establish themselves with their local market as homeowners change citing that 300 to 400 homes are sold on Staten Island every month. Adding a text option to the company's website, working on a presence in search engines such as google, and traditional marketing tools are ways Scaran attempts to stay in touch with customers. In the 1990s Scaran developed a full advertising campaign which resulted in consumers recognizing their company, their brand, and then ultimately recognizing Scaran trucks. Tom noted during his presentation that Scaran trucks are a big referral base for the company.

On a personal note, Tom received his Masters in Finance from New York University in 1987 and joined the Bucks in 1993. He also serves on the boards of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, the College of Staten Island Foundation Board, and the Staten Island University Hospital Foundation Board.

Saying that 2 and a half million Americans quit their job every month and half of employers saying that millenials have a greater job turnover, Belinda Digiambattista, CEO and Founder of Choose Your Metric, a business consulting company, spoke this week at Bucks offering tips on how to engage your employees so you can retain them.

Belinda discussed the different reasons why employees generally leave their place of employment such as:  lack of opportunity or personal development; wanting a more customizable career; looking for something different; inadequate compensation; bored, lack of a challenge; or looking for a better work\life balance.  These indicators are red flags for employers to be aware of and address so employees can be retained and professionally developed for the betterment of the company. Ms. Digiambattista pointed out that loosing a solid employee costs the company money in the long wrong.

 

"How to get your employees to stay" was outlined throughout the speaker's remarks and several tips and suggestions were offered with the goal of encouraging business owners  to engage their employees both in their work and the future of the company. Ms. Digiambattista suggested to our members that we  meet with our employees either individually or collectively such as through a company town hall meeting to discusss the state of the company and how employees are an integral part of the operation, the team.  Reminding us that millenials often want to feel connected to their work\their cause, the speaker suggested we work with employees to identify their goals and create a work culture or environment that supports them. Job sharing, working from home, time to attend to family commitments, are all examples of how employers can offer some flexibility to better support their employees, and in turn, breed loyalty and support for the company overall.

"When you show some support for the priorities of your employees whether with their professional goals or personal goals, you often get back so much in return when it comes to the support for your business, " said Ms. Digiambattista. She added that stay interviews and performance evaluations are important as well so employees know what is expected of them to ensure a solid future with the company.

Saying that Northfield Bank has demonstrated its longevity and commitment to our borough by operating on Staten Island since 1887, Robin Lefkowitz, Executive Vice President of Northfiled and Bucks member, discussed with the club membership the advantages of businesses using the services of Northfield Bank.

Businesses who use Northfield develop strong relationships with their branch managers who stay in contact with business owners about their business accounts, alerting businesses if any issues arise and offering them the latest products and services.  Northfield charges no analysis fees, offers free scanners for remote depositing, and has an app to help with banking interactions. Saying that Northfield is "as sophisticated as the bigger banks" the staff at Northfield takes pride in the service and support they provide to the Staten Island community including a foundation that dispenses grants to local non profit organizations and charities.  Northfield has 11 branches on Staten Island and several in Brooklyn and New Jersey.

Robin has had a long and distinguished career in banking having worked for Green Point Bank, Staten Island Savings Bank, and Independence Bank prior to joining Northfield Bank in 2006. She serves on the board of a variety of community organizations including Eden II and the Richmond University Medical Center Foundation. Robin has been a long time member of Bucks having competed against three other banking institutions to gain membership when the banking category was open in the club. During her remarks, Robin quipped, " I had to attend 15 meetings before I was even granted memership. I value being a member of this club."

Kevin Elkins from NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer's Office spoke to club members about the responsibilities and programs of the NYC Comptroller's Office. Kevin also took the opportunity to answer several questions from members about minimum wage, tax issues, paid sick leave, and city regulatory bodies that small businesses interact.

Kevin described in detail the duties of the Comptroller's Office including overseeing the pension fund, managing the variety of claims brought against the City of New York (there are 700 million claims against the City) , and auditing of city agencies to ensure that tax payer monies are being spent and managed appropriately.  The Comptroller's Office also reviews all city contracts to ensure they are legitimate and appropriate. Some of the Comptroller's audits focused on monies that should have been appropriated more efficiently to the special needs community through the NYC Department of Education and problems associated with the Hurricane Sandy recovery program - Build it Back.

Kevin also discussed the Comptroller's Red Tape Commissions, handed out a guide to becoming a vendor in New York City, and discussed Comptroller Stringer's understanding of Staten Island issues that are of importance and need attention like potholes and transportation alternatives such as light rail.

Describing themselves as the premier, nutritionally balanced, and affordable meal prep outfit, Noah Carter and Tim English, gave a presentation at a recent meeting about their company, CleanEats, and the services they provide.

CleanEats operates in New Jersey and New York and is designed to take the guessing work out of healthy eating. Following the principles of clean eating - replacing processed foods with fresh and natural foods - CleanEats provides fresh, never frozen, meals delivered straight to your door. With a certified nutritionist on staff, CleanEats can tailor your meals to your needs and goals whether they be loosing weight or getting stronger.  The company has three different types of programs: the shredding program (maintain\\\\increase muscle and deplete body fat), the bulking program (optimize muscle growth with minimizing fat gain), and the balance program (providing a well balanced overall diet).

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We do the work for you is how Noah and Tim described the value of their service and the reason many people find it appealing.

 

Bucks member, Pete Monzi of Shamrock Paints, cleverly began his remarks stating that he hoped after listening to the presentation members would not describe it as - watching paint dry!  Members did not.

Pete gave an overview of how long he has been in business and the adaptations he has made to the business over the years. A graduate of Wagner College, Pete bought Shamrock Paints from its previous owner in June of 1985 when he was 26 years old. He bought the business from a client of his father-in-law and the prior owner stayed on for 2 months to show Pete the ropes. With no experience in the painting industry, the assistance was most welcome. Pete built his mom and pop business to be one of not only selling paint to his neighbors and local contractors, but a business that provides all the products and services to be a full decorating center offering wall and floor products, for example. The staff at the stores (one is located on Victory Boulevard and one on Richmond Avenue) include an interior decorator and a color consultant.

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As someone who has been at the counter of the store for decades, Pete enjoys seeing the generation of customers who enter the stores and interacting with the children of those who were his first customers when he opened.

Taking great pride in the quality of paint he sells, Pete is also proud of the knowledge and years of experience he has accumulated to guide homeowners on important decorating decisions such as: how to pick the right color, what type of paint works for a type of room, and home decorating tips.

 

Massimo DiDonna of the Carl V. Bini Foundation spoke at a recent meeting to discuss the Foundation‘s news project, Carl‘s House. The Bini Foundation was organized by the family of Carl V. Bini who lost his life on 9/11. The foundation is a way to keep Carl‘s memory alive and give back to the community.

Carl‘s House is a place individuals, who are addicted to drugs, can go and seek help. Volunteers who are former addicts are very involved in Carl‘s House offering support to those looking for help and assisting them throughout their recovery. Carl‘s House acts as a resource center to direct people to the variety of programs available to someone looking to beat their addiction problem.

“It‘s a non-biased place to bridge the gap between addiction and recovery,“ said Massimo during his remarks. Massimo encouraged the Bucks, as local business leaders, to consider hiring those in recovery to help them get back on their feet and on their way to a more stable and fulfilling future.

 

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