Saratoga Springs – Fifty-one years in a row and a collection of 200,000 books stands to greet those who travel to the Lyrical Ballad on Philae Street.
Here, what begins with the first step of an innocent stroll leads to a series of new encounters, room to room, deeper and deeper. Countless entrances plunge into a labyrinth of characters and events. Things to learn. Dreams to be launched. It is all that the mind can conjure up and little that it has never imagined.
This is where Congressman Paul Tonko chose to visit this week during a multi-district regional tour to highlight and promote upcoming Saturday Small Business events this weekend.
“I think small businesses are the economic engine of our economy,” Tunku said.
“They have a vibrant proposition and[provide]an opportunity for the community. Their economic impact is three times greater than that of our chain stores, so we have to be very sensitive to their needs and concerns,” she said. said the congressman as he stood surrounded by rows of leather-bound editions boasting the writings of Henry James, Gustave Flaubert, Balzac, Chekhov, and Thackeray.
“Many small businesses have suffered through COVID, and so I’d also like to know if they’ve participated in any of the COVID programs, and how that worked. We’ve been through a once-in-a-century public health and economic crisis,[which]has caused global inflation. We just want to make sure that everyone is strong and steady as we move forward so that they can contribute to the whole economic picture.”
Small Business Saturday – Saturday, November 26, 2022 – is being promoted as a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all that they do for their communities. It was initially created in 2010 by American Express on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to shop small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses. In 2011, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution supporting that day.
The Lyrical Ballad Library was founded by John DeMarco in September 1971. He She died in 2019 and two years later DeMarco’s wife, Janice, sold the bookstore to Charlie Israel and Jason Zerillo—the latter of whom worked in the store for more than a decade.
“We bought the company because we like the company, and so we don’t want to change it dramatically,” said Israel, who grew up across the street from Congressional Park and remembers spending his money at the store as a child.
“I don’t want to change this place. It’s part of what makes Saratoga special. You know, I talk to people in their sixties now who tell us they used to come here when they went to Skidmore.”
“She’s been a part of the community for a long time and was a fulcrum when it took a little bit of vision to invest in downtown Saratoga. John (DiMarco) and a few visionary entrepreneurs did it, and it brought Saratoga back from the brink, and I Forever grateful to him for that,” Israel said, adding that the idea of the electronic age replacing physical media like books was overblown.
“The question hanging in the air is: How does the digital age affect companies like ours? And the answer is: Not as much as you think,” Israel said. “We’ve been here for 50 years and we fully intend to be here for another 50.”
“I love the personal impact that small businesses bring. You know, you go in and you see Charles, or you see Jay—there’s a relationship that develops. And those relationships are important. And those relationships are important,” said Tonku, who couldn’t see his way out of the bookstore without making some purchases—a two-volume set that revolves around The Civil War and a book about horse racing, “It Builds Community.”
“We want to spread awareness of the importance of small businesses and see what we can do to continue to sustain them, and enable them to grow,” he said.
Check out the Saturday Small Business pages. 16-17.