ALBANY – A popular and wide-ranging soft-goods retail business that closed its doors in early June 2016 has reopened under new ownership at a new location, 412 Broadway, across from the SUNY Administration building. The Fort Orange General Store opened last week as part of a soft-opening phase, a ribbon cutting event was held on Friday at 11 a.m. The Store’s regular hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. City of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Capitalize Albany Corporation, the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District and members of the local business community joined the Store’s new owner, Schuyler Bull, in celebrating the opening of downtown’s latest attraction.
Serving as an incubator for local makers, crafters and creatives the Fort Orange General Store will continue selling many locally made products, handmade soaps and lotions, candles, jewelry, stationery, kitchen and barware—but will now be offering an even larger selection of home décor, accessories, men’s specialty products, and Albany-area themed objects. With a full calendar of workshops and community events the Store’s 2,000 sq. ft. of space was designed to be adaptable. The Fort Orange General Store will feature a variety of workshops and classes available to the public—from jewelry making and candle making, to yoga, calligraphy and embroidery classes. It can also serve as a unique event space for local groups and organizations.
“Our new location is designed to be a welcoming space for anyone who lives, works, or visits Downtown,” said Bull. “The layout of the store is meant to connect our customers to the local makers and their products, while showcasing the beauty and history of downtown Albany to residents and visitors alike.”
“It is wonderful to see the Fort Orange General Store reopened in downtown Albany,” said City of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “This fantastic addition offers unique, locally made goods, as well as a variety of workshops and community events. I look forward to seeing Schuyler’s new Downtown business thrive in this transformed historic space.”
The Argus Building at 412 Broadway is across from the SUNY Administration building. The property was completely renovated in 2014 to include 40 apartments on its upper floors and retail space on its ground level. This location is just a short distance from the site of the original Fort Orange that was built by the Dutch West India Company in 1624.
Renovations and fit up for the Store was supported in part by the Downtown Albany Retail Grant Program—made possible by the City of Albany Capital Resource Corporation and Capitalize Albany Corporation. The Program, created in 2016 to support business attraction and retention in downtown Albany, can assist with a location’s renovation, fit-up costs, and exterior improvements.
“The Fort Orange General Store is a catalytic amenity that will fill a major strategic need in downtown,” said Capitalize Albany Corporation president and City of Albany Capital Resource Corporation CEO Sarah Reginelli. “An authentic, eclectic soft-goods retailer like Fort Orange will serve the expanding downtown community and complement the more than $200 million in new investments to come online since implementation of the Impact Downtown Albany strategy began.”
The Fort Orange General Store will join Stacks Espresso Bar—which received support from the Retail Grant Program—as one of downtown Albany’s newest retailers, just a few minutes’ walk from each other along Broadway. The Impact Downtown Albany strategic plan’s retail market analysis’ recommendations for downtown Albany had identified both a third-place coffeehouse and a soft-goods retailer as two priority types of retail with the greatest potential to capture market demand and reinforce current retail businesses. With support from the Grant Program, Albany stakeholders’ vision for downtown retail is becoming a reality.
“Retail is an integral piece of the puzzle as more people seek to live, work and play in our District,” said Executive Director of the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District Georgette Steffens. “Individuals like Schuyler who invest in Downtown understand the level of investment taking place and choose to match it with unique amenities that will continue to draw people in to experience the landscape-changing transformation happening here.”
Downtown residential population growth as well as the influx in visitors from the opening of the Albany Capital Center in March and additional investments being made at the Times Union Center played a large part in the decision to move the Store to the Argus Building.
“Congratulations to Schuyler on the grand re-opening of the Fort Orange General Store and I commend him for bringing the store to downtown Albany where it will be a great addition to service the growing residential community in the area,” said Assemblymember John T. McDonald III.
“The reopening of Fort Orange General Store marks another positive step in the revitalization of Albany’s downtown,” said Assemblymember Patricia Fahy. “Their status as a launch pad for Capital Region artisans will surely boost the visibility of our region’s talented creative community. I thank Capitalize Albany and the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District for their efforts to bring this landmark back to Albany’s landscape.”
For more information and Store updates, visit www.fortorangegeneralstore.com, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.