Three Albany Companies Win Business For Good Foundation Grants

ALBANY – A restaurateur, florist and property maintenance owner. Three different jobs, three different paths.

All three known for their reputation for giving back, caring for and uplifting others.

And all three received significant grants from the Business for Good Foundation on New Years Eve in recognition of their work and the need to help businesses like theirs continue to be successful.

The grants went to the owners of Allie B’s Cozy Kitchen, Blooms by Marie and Kingdom Services, foundation co-founder Edward Mitzen said this week.

“One of the aspects of the Business For Good Foundation is to help entrepreneurs in underserved communities get ahead and grow their businesses,” he said. “As they scratched and climbed for success, they were always the first to volunteer to help others. “

Mitzen said the foundation’s CEO Jahkeen Hoke suggested companies to contact with grant funding.

Assistance is not limited to a simple check. Mitzen declined to say how much the foundation has given, but said with this financial boost there is a standing offer to work with businesses and connect them to other resources that allow them to continue to grow. . It could mean payroll, accounting, or other business relationships that might serve them better, he said.

Marie Campell, owner of Blooms by Marie, recalled sitting with the other two grant recipients in her shop as Mitzen explained why Hoke had called them all there.

“Ed handed me a white business envelope and I thought, ‘Sounds serious, this isn’t your ordinary visit,’ she said.

They were reluctant to open the envelope. And shocked when they did.

“I just burst out crying,” Campbell said.

They recalled the long hours they spent building their businesses from scratch, mentioning 20 hour days, waking up and coming back for more. The fact that someone recognized their effort seemed to affect them as much as the grants. And staying true to their nature, all three said some of that money would go to providing opportunities for others.

Campbell said she plans to use some of the money to hire a part-time marketing assistant and designer.

“I would love to grow my business and give back to the community and the neighborhood,” she said.

All three said the money and the offer of help will change the course of their business.

“I am open to any suggestions they can help me with,” said John Walker, owner of Kingdom Services, adding that a website and other advertising services would give it a boost beyond the word of mouth promotion he now relies on. .

Walker, who often hires young men who have uneven employment records, no driver’s licenses and other issues, said the money would also go to a service that helps its employees with these issues.

“We just have to be nice and give people a second, a third and maybe a fourth chance,” he said. “Everyone is someone for me. You just need an opportunity.”

For Kizzy Williams, owner of Allie B’s Cozy Kitchen, the money will mean desperately needed kitchen improvements

These upgrades, which include replacing a wall of refrigerators with a cold room, a second double oven, and purchasing a stove to replace its 25-year-old model, will accelerate its plans for the neighborhoods it serves. she declared.

Her future goals include opening a kitchen where she can give cooking lessons and starting a market for independent vendors to sell their products.

“It was really heartwarming that someone gave a grant where I can do exactly what I want with it,” she said. “It’s going to be an incredible change.

But it will also mean small changes. The other day in Cohoes, where she lives, she saw two boys without coats walking to school in freezing temperatures. She decided to change that.

“Rather than asking someone for help, I’m going to buy coats for these babies,” she said.

About Yvonne Lozier

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