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    Oscar's thrives wih quality product and old-fashioned service

    Oscar's Adirondack Smokehouse in Warrensburg shipped out nearly 300 Internet orders on Monday, and about 200 the previous week, in addition to robust in-store sales.

    By the weekend, Oscar's will have sold about six tons of bone-in hams, about two tons of boneless hams -- about 6 percent of ham sales for the year -- and thousands of pounds of bacon and other meats for in-store and on-line Easter orders, making Easter the third busiest holiday season, surpassed only by Christmas and Thanksgiving.
    The boost in volume comes at what would otherwise be a slow time of the year, said manager Joq Quintal.
    In-store sales make up the bulk of business.
    Between 60 and 65 percent of annual total volume is at the retail store on Route 9 in Warrensburg, and another 10 percent is wholesale.
    The rest, about one-quarter, of volume is on-line, boosted by endorsements from celebrity television cooking show host Rachel Ray.
    The 75-year-old business, now in its third generation of management, has been tested by fire twice - the first time in 1945 when the Warrensburg Music Hall burned, after which Joq's grandparents moved the business to its current Route 9 location.
    Another devastating fire was in 2009.
    Each time, the temporary setback became an opportunity for improvement.
    After the 1945 fire, Oscar and Edith Quintal built a wood-fired brick smoker that son Jerry Quintal and grandson Joq would continue to use for decades.
    After the 2009 fire, Jerry and Joq updated to a stainless steel smoker and built a retail building with additional space to supplement its core business by adding locally-made products such as Valley Road Maple Syrup, Nettle Meadow Farm cheese, Rock Hill Bakehouse bread and Saratoga Cracker products.
    Sales volume doubled in about two years after re-opening, Joq Quintal said.
    He attributes the longevity of the business to quality products, friendly service and meats cut to order instead of sold in standardized packaging.
    Quintal said Oscar's offers a different type of experience instead of attempting to compete with supermarkets and convenience stores.
    "The banter between the customers and my (19) employees is a huge thing," he said.
    Location on a busy travel route is another factor.
    "We get a lot of people who are coming through Warrensburg to go to other points north," he said.
    After the 2009 fire, Saratoga Economic Development Corp. "pushed very hard" with incentives to try to convince Oscar's to relocate, but the family was committed to stay in Warrensburg because of tradition and because Warren County has vibrant tourism.
    "There's always a festival" going on somewhere, he said.
    Quintal said he's not certain why his grandparents decided to settle in Warrensburg, but if you look at a map, Warrensburg is right in the middle between Canada, where his grandfather grew up, and Long Island, where his grandmother grew up.
    Oscar Quintal, a French Canadian, spoke little English.
    "She was like more of the voice of the business, and my grandfather was the backbone," he said. "My grandfather's family had a background in butchering."
    Oscar's donates to many area charities, including donating bacon ends to Warren-Hamilton Counties Community Action Agency.
    Students at the BOCES vocational school on Dix Ave. in Kingsbury cut up the bacon ends and package them for Community Action Agency to freeze and distribute to needy families.
    In other Warren County economic development, business and quality of life news:
    Gore plan
    The EDC Warren County Board of Directors on March 20 endorsed proposed revisions to the Gore Mountain ski center management plan, prepared in 2002 and amended in 2005.
    "Gore Mountain has received recognition from the ski industry and the press for not only its quality ski experience but also its environmental stewardship," the proposed plan states.
    Recommended improvements include trail construction and widening, a new triple or quad lift from Northwoods Lodge up Lower Sunway, revamp parking and traffic circulation, improve snowmaking, construct a single-track mountain bike trail loop at top of Little Gore, and develop a hiking center out of the Northwoods Lodge.
    Irish polkas
    Folk musician Tim O'Shea of Ireland and two of his stateside friends appeared in concert at Crandall Public Library on March 22.
    I was surprised when the band announced it would play a sequence of polkas.
    "They came (to Ireland) through various methods, but we Irisihized them," O'Shea said.
    The library's Folklife Center free concert series brings diverse styles of music to Glens Falls.
    All of the musicians demonstrate a common trait of great job satisfaction.
    Concerts are funded by the New York State Council on the Arts and Friends of Crandall Public Library.
    The schedule for remaining concerts in the spring series is as follows:
    • 7 p.m. April 5 - GoldenOak, brother and sister folk music duo from Sandy River Valley of western Maine
    • 7 p.m. April 12 - Emerald Rae, fiddler from Boston
    • 7 p.m. April 19 - The Sun The Sea, upstate New York indie-folk pop duo
    • 7 p.m. April 26 - Che Apalache, four-man string band from Argentina
    • 7 p.m. May 3 - Nordic Fiddlers Bloc - fiddle band with members from Norway, Sweden and the Shetland Islands
    • 7 p.m. May 10 - Fara, Scottish folk music quartet
    • 7 p.m. May 17 - Techung - Tibetan folk and freedom singer living in exile
    DirtDAZE, an adventure bike rally, will be held in Lake Luzerne June 6-7 in coordination with the annual Americade rally in Lake George, the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce announced.
    The adventure bike rally will be held on private property in Lake Luzerne, with access to dirt roads for riding.
    Registered attendees of DirtDAZE receive free admission to the Americade Expo in Lake George.
    Information is available at dirtdazerally.com.
    History note
    It took collaboration between manufacturers and printers to fill a last-minute rush order for campaign literature for the New York state election in 1901.
    "Perhaps the order for 900,000 copies of a pamphlet to be ready six days before the election is the biggest rush order that staggered any printer," The Toiler, a labor newspaper published in Glens Falls, reported in its Nov. 29, 1901 issue. "To get the paper for this pamphlet it was necessary to communicate with thirty-eight paper mills, twelve envelope manufacturers and sixteen printing offices before the order could be gotten out."
    The Nov. 29, 1901 issue of The Toiler can be found in the Jerry Mahoney scrapbook on file at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library archives.
    Maury Thompson covered the region for The Post-Star for 21 years before retiring in September. He keeps his finger on the pulse of economic development, business and quality of life in Warren County by writing a twice-a-month column for EDC Warren County.
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