The Saranac Lake North Country Dress Manufacturing Company began operation on September 18, 1961. 1 It closed in 1970, due to an insufficient number of workers. In 1977, the building became a roller skating rink called Fun Factory, and later, Furniture Weekend. Still later the building was torn down and the property became the site of the present Kinney Drugs.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, June 14, 1961
Local Group Votes $25,000 For Saranac Lake Industry
Realty and Industrial Corporation Stockholders Take Major Step
Stockholders of the Saranac Lake Realty and Industrial Corporation took a major step in making way for a dress factory in the village when they agreed last night to provide the sum of $25,000 for its establishment. The meeting was held in the Harrietstown Town Hall.
Thirty stockholders and 1,150 proxy votes approved the move to permit the board of directors to provide the Whiting Dress Company with a loan of up to $25,000, the funds to be raised by either mortgaging the corporation's assets, the factory building presently housing the Saranac Lake Footwear Company, or by sale of stock. There were 237 votes against the proposal.
The Whiting company will use the funds to purchase sewing machines and other equipment if the factory project goes through. The loan will be secured by a note from both the company and the company president, Whitey Sterngold. The new machinery will also be used as collateral.
G. Carver Rice, president of the realty company, assured the stockholders that the directors had investigated the dress corporation and had found it sound. Interest on the note would be paid by the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce with the loan to be repaid at a rate of $5,000 per year. The Chamber will also provide the funds to pay for rent, heat and light for one year. After this first year, the Whiting company will assume the expenses.
Mr. Sterngold told the stockholders that, in answer to questions asked, his company as of June 1 had accounts receivable of $900,000, a capitalization of $300,000 which indicated a financial turnover of about three times per month. Sales, he said, would hit about seven million dollars. The rapid turnover of capital, he explained, was the reason for the corporation requesting financial aid in establishing itself in Saranac Lake.
Sterngold said a payroll of $5,000 to $7,000 per week for 52 weeks would be paid and, if approved, the firm could be in operation by August.
The proposed site for the new factory is the former Ford showroom on Upper Broadway. Negotiations for acquiring this property are now being conducted.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, July 27, 1961
DRESS FACTORY STARTING SOON
Sewing in Month
"In three to four weeks we should be sewing there," stated Norman Halprin, manager of the newly approved Helen Whiting dress factory branch in Saranac Lake. Renovation of the former supermarket store on Bloomingdale Avenue and Depot Street was begun this week.
Halprin's decision to use the Bloomingdale Avenue site came as a surprise since the former automobile agency on Upper Broadway had been publicly considered for the factory. Halprin told The Enterprise that he thought the Bloomingdale Avenue location was "more conducive" to operation of the plant.
Its central location will help, he said. "More people pass there by accident than by Upper Broadway on purpose." Also, he pointed out, his workers will be able to stop in at local stores for lunch; this would be more difficult on the Upper Broadway site.
Added to these reasons was that the price of the building was more reasonable and its size was larger than the other considered, Halprin indicated.
Next week machinery and equipment will be moved in, the manager said. Painting, electrical work, and plumbing must be completed. The first operations will be limited, Halprin said.
Approval, of a loan to the dress company was made by the Saranac Lake Development Corporation two weeks age. Final arrangements with the Chamber of Commerce for payment of heat, light, and rent for a year were also completed.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, August 23, 1961
DRESS COMPANY SEEKS WORKERS
Saranac Lake's latest industry, North Country Saranac Lake, Inc., dress manufacturers, will seek applicants for its new plant on Bloomingdale avenue in Saranac Lake August 29 and 30, with interviews to be held between 9 a. m. and 9 p. m. on those dates at the offices of the Saranac Lake chamber of commerce in the Harrietstown town hall.
Miss Mildred O'Connor, chamber secretary, said today that all applicants who filed for work in the prospective dress factory in May will be called and given an interview time and date. Norman Halprin, company secretary-treasurer will personally interview prospective employees. He will be assisted by personnel of the New State labor department, Halpren, manager of the Tupper Lake branch and also executive of the parent company, the Helen Whiting corporation, dress manufacturers of Pleasantville, said that he expected to put the new Saranac Lake plant into operation during the week of September. He said he hopes to open the plant with 50 to 75 employees at work and in training.
For the past month, Halren has been renovating and preparing the one-story plant on Bloomingdale Avenue for operation and announced today that the factory would be in readiness for open house and public inspection Sept. 2.
July 23, 1970
Dress Factory in Saranac Lake Closes
Halprin Would Open Again If 65-70 Women Were Available
The North Country Saranac Lake Inc.— better known as the Dress Factory— closed today and its 25 to 30 employees have been offered work-in the company's Tupper Lake plant.
Norman Halprin, an official of the Helen Whiting, Inc., of which North Country is a subsidiary, said the reasons are that business in general is bad and the inability to produce enough in Saranac Lake with the help available to offset costs.
He added that the plant would be re-opened if he could get a total of 65-70 women who would work steadily and that he could use up to 120 women. The main operation here has been sewing.
He also said that Saranac Lake had tried its best for him and he had tried his best for Saranac Lake. "Our machinery is still there, we are not running away."
The factory was sponsored here by the Saranac Lake Development Corp. and Mr. Halprin said the company intended to "pay back 100 per cent, any obligations to anyone who ever put a dollar in the business."
"I'm lucky I've got going what I've got," Mr, Halprin remarked.
The Saranac Lake, rather than the Tupper Lake plant was closed, he said, because the Tupper Lake plant was the first opened and the cutting operation is there.
Ten or 12 Saranac Lake employees already are working in Tupper Lake and Mr. Halprin expects that all but about five will accept jobs there. This does not constitute an expansion, he said, just an absorbing of the operation here.
The girls who worked in Saranac Lake "were all champions" he said and were paid $2 per hour with paid hospitalization and vacation time. Although the plant is for sale or rent, there is still a possibility that it might be used as a receiving station for the North Country operation, employing about 20 men and bringing back about 20 machine operators.
News of the closing did not leak out until this morning when a member of the Chamber of Commerce board of directors called the Chamber office and reported that he had had applications from about five girls who said they had been laid off at the dress factory.
Douglas Brayshaw, chamber executive secretary, called Mr. Halprin who confirmed the fact that the plant was closed.
Mr. Brayshaw said this morning that about a month ago he had learned of a small manufacturer looking for space and had asked Mr. Halprin if he would rent some of the unused space.
At that time Mr. Halprin told him of the possibility of making the local plant the receiving center. This morning Mr. Halprin added that such an arrangement would create problems of security, closing time and in general would be like "living with your mother-in-law."
He stressed that if he could get enough help to turn out 1500 dresses a week he would re-open and bring back those now working in Tupper Lake. This would require about 40 new operators.
The plant here was opened in 1961 in what is now The Store. In 1963, while employing about 100, it was moved to the former shoe factory building on Broadway.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, November 2, 1972
Dress Factory reopens; will provide fifty jobs
By EVELYN OUTCALT SARANAC LAKE — The dress factory on Broadway is expected to re-open within four weeks with a beginning operation that will employ 7 to 10 men, and 30 to 50 women. It has been closed since July 23, 1970.
Applicants will be interviewed next week at the local State Employment Office. The company is anxious to re-hire former employees, a spokesman said.
The plant here which was sold in July by North Country Manufacturing Corp. to McRann Associated Corp., is in need of some repairs and preparations which will take at least three weeks to complete. Power and heat will have to be turned on and some, repairs to the roof are necessary.
Norman Halprin of Malone, who was manager for North Country Manufacturing, is the executive vice president for McRann in this area. McRann is the United States Division of McDonald-Steward Textiles, a Canadian corporation, and is now operating two plants in Malone and one in Tupper Lake, all purchased at the same time as the Saranac Lake plant. The other three operations employ about 400.
Mr. Halprin says that dresses and sportswear will be made here. In addition, stock from the other three plants in the county will be funneled into Saranac Lake for shipping. The local plant is being opened because of the volume of business in the others requires expansion . The company foresees a staff of 100 in the next two years.
He said that McDonald Stewart is noted for its knitwear and that it is hoped that eventually a knitting mill will. become part of the North Country operation.
North Country Manufacturing came to Saranac Lake in September of 1961 and located in the building on Bloomingdale Avenue now occupied by "The Store." It was supported by the Chamber of Commerce and the Saranac Lake Realty and industrial Development Corp. which raised $25,000 to lend to North Country for the purchase of equipment and plant installations.
In 1963, the factory was moved to its present location which had been occupied by a shoe factory that had moved its operation out of the village.
Around the time of the move, the weekly payroll for the plant was reported to be $8,000 for 161 employees. In 1966, Mr. Halprin announced the purchase of 20 new machines and said he would increase the number of machines as fast as the number of available employees warrants the expansion. However, Mr. Halprin has often complained that he has had trouble recruiting help in Saranac Lake. The 1970 closing was attributed to a lack of labor. He said again today that the success of the operation here depends, not on the corporation, but on Saranac Lake and whether it can provide an adequate labor supply.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, January 4, 1977
Indoor roller skating rink planned for dress factory
By CHARLES DECKER
SARANAC LAKE - If all goes well, Saranac Lakers will be enjoying indoor roller skating early this February!
The S. Curtis Hayes Real Estate Agency, Inc. announced this morning that sale of the Bea-Jay Manufacturing building at 204 Broadway has taken place, with Joan Frank assuming ownership of the former dress factory.
Contacted by telephone this morning, Ms. Frank told the Enterprise that she has taken over the building under the name of The Saranac Lake Fun Factory, Inc., and construction is slated to start almost immediately to convert the facility into a full-scale indoor roller-skating rink.
Ms. Frank said that her present plans are to have a main rink, 58 by 125 feet, located in the center of the building. The main rink will have lines painted on it making it adaptable to indoor tennis.
There also will be a second, small rink, 19 by 40 feet, for beginning skaters.
Other features in the- construction plans include a large game area with pinball machines, and several food and soda machines located throughout the building. In the future, Ms. Frank said she hopes to be able to install and operate a full-time concession stand in the building.
Special attractions at the facility will include a complete roller skate rental center. Ms. Frank said that initially there will be 200 pairs of skates available to persons needing them. In addition, she said she hopes to be able to stage special events at the facility like sock hops, or any other stagings appropriate to the "building's layout and capabilities.
Ms. Frank said that a special construction company from Texas has been contracted to build the skating areas, and as of a phone conversation yesterday, the company is planning to begin Jan. 15. If all goes according to schedule, Ms. Frank hopes to open for business on the weekend of Feb. 5.
Ms. Frank served as the managing director of the Lake Placid Center for Music, Drama and Art for several years from its founding until recently, and has been a resident of Saranac Lake for many years.
Formerly she directed the Saranac Lake Summer Theatre.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, October 3, 1986
Jakubowski purchases Broadway building
SARANAC LAKE - Camp Topridge owner Roger Jakubowski has added the Furniture Weekend building on Broadway to his growing list of properties in the Adirondacks.
The New Jersey hot-dog and pinball entrepreneur bought the former shoe factory at 204 Broadway from Knollwood Enterprises in early September, his attorney confirmed Thursday.
The purchase price was not disclosed, but it has been learned Jakubowski paid $140,000 for the structure at the corner of Broadway and Van Buren Street.
It appears the Saturday-and-Sunday-only Furniture Weekend store, owned by the Kriff's furniture firm, will stay in its present home for the time being. “The lease is being respected,” says Tim Smith, the Lake Placid attorney who handles Jakubowski's increasingly frequent acquisitions. “Jakubowski has no present plans to do anything but continue the lease.”
The latest addition to Jakubowski's Adirondack holdings comes on the heels of his purchase last month of the former Adirondack Store building in Ray Brook, radio station WKDR in Pittsburgh, and Crab Island on Lake Champlain.
Jakubowski could not be reached for comment.
The building has housed Furniture Weekend since July 1984. It started as a shoe factory, and was run for a time as the Fun Factory roller skating rink. Knollwood Enterprises, a Nettie Marie Jones firm, held the mortgage for the rink's operator, Joan Frank, and took control of the building when the skating operation shut down.
Jakubowski has cut a controversial figure on the Adirondack scene since Aug. 1, 1985. That was the day he bid $911,000 (“This is an emergency. I must own it”) for Camp Topridge at a state auction to sell the estate bequeathed to New York upon the death of cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post.
Since then, in addition to weathering a controversy over continued public tours of Topridge, Jakubowski has rarely been out of the spotlight…
See also Saranac Footwear Corporation
1. Adirondack Daily Enterprise, September 18, 1961