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News stories tagged with "wise-buys"

The Canton store that was once Ames, then Wise Buys, then Hacketts -- now shuttered.
The Canton store that was once Ames, then Wise Buys, then Hacketts -- now shuttered.

Seaway Valley & Hacketts: a special report

This morning, we have a special report on how two North Country retailers, Hacketts and Wise Buys, came together in a shifting delta of deals and dreams. And debt, because this is a story of a bold idea for a homegrown venture gone sour. Republican Dede Scozzafava's run for Congress helped turned the spotlight on the business dealings of her brother, Tom, and her involvement in them. But the fortunes of Wise Buys and Hacketts had been in the headlines for years. They were joined two years ago in a new company, headed by Tom Scozzafava. Seaway Valley Capital Corporation has now absorbed other local businesses as well, including Sackets Harbor Brewery and Alteri's bakery in Watertown. Dede Scozzafava plays no active role in the company, but she is one of its most valued lenders. The company is now buried under $37 million in debt, double its assets. A look at the company's public filings shows a thicket of complex debt instruments, used to raise capital and pay off other loans. Stockholders have lost millions of dollars. As with all struggling companies, it wasn't supposed to turn out this way. In this special report, David Sommerstein untangles the complicated story of Seaway Valley, Hacketts, and Dede and Tom Scozzafava.  Go to full article
Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R-Gouverneur)
Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R-Gouverneur)

Dede Scozzafava: "I'm proud of my investment"

Seaway Valley Capital Corporation has become a concern in Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava's campaign for Congress. According to her personal finance disclosure form, Scozzafava has at least $1 million invested in the company. Financial filings show her firm, Seaway Capital Partners, loaned Seaway Valley more than $400,000 last month.

Dede Scozzafava was mayor of her hometown of Gouverneur and has enjoyed broad support while serving in the state Assembly since 1999. Her public stature is often cited by investors as a factor in their decisions to buy stock in her brother's company. And now that their investments are nearly worthless, they want answers. "I can't defend any of that," Scozzafava says, "because I'm not involved in any decision making in the public company." Dede Scozzafava is vice-president and chief operating officer of Seaway Capital Partners, the firm that started Wise Buys in 2003. In 2007, Seaway Capital sold its share in Wise Buys to Seaway Valley in exchange for preferred shares of stock. Scozzafava told David Sommerstein she has always been just a "passive investor" in the new company.  Go to full article

Hacketts forced towards bankruptcy

Six national clothing and sporting goods companies are trying to force a North Country department store into bankruptcy. The creditors say Hacketts department store owes them $1.6 million. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Wise Buys, Hackett's eye merger

Two North Country retail chains may join forces. The move could position Hackett's and Wise Buys to better compete with the arrival of new "big box" giants, like Walmart. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Gouverneur Man Joins NYPA Board

A North Country native has been appointed to the board of the New York Power Authority. It's the first regional representative on the board in decades. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Wise Buys Signs Tentative Deal in Tupper Lake

A North Country owned discount retail store is finalizing a deal in Tupper Lake. Wise Buys has signed a tentative lease to open in the vacant Ames building. David Sommerstein has details.  Go to full article

New Retail Brings Needed Jobs

When Ames closed its stores almost a year ago, it left a retail gap in the North Country's small towns. From Saranac Lake to Lowville, people voiced their frustrations in getting basic items, from socks and underwear to sewing notions and shower curtains. The Ames closure also left an employment gap in the region, one that new retail stores are starting to fill. Wise Buys opens in Canton this weekend and Hacketts opens in Potsdam in November. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

'Wise Buys' Stays Local

St. Lawrence County-based partners developing a retail chain to replace Ames Department Stores are taking a local approach to get off the ground. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Former Ames CEO Joins 'Wise Buys' Team

A group of North Country investors hope to have a chain of department stores to replace Ames open by the end of the summer in up to seven towns in northern New York. As David Sommerstein reports, the developers have recruited Ames' former CEO to be chairman of the board for the new company.  Go to full article

'Wise Buys' Details Emerging

Plans for a North Country based retail chain to replace the Ames stores are slowly emerging. Investors in the "Wise Buys" project say they're pushing aggressively to open stores in May. But as David Sommerstein reports, they have to overcome the risky retail business climate.  Go to full article

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