Business owner spends $5,000 to help 3 local restaurants

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 December 2020 at 10:21 pm

Captain’s Cove owner funds gift card promotion at Black North Inn, Tillman’s and Roadies

File photo by Tom Rivers: George Lacey, owner of the Captain’s Cove Motel and Marina, joins office manager Alexis Montes at the business on Roosevelt Highway in Carlton, near the bridge over the Oak Orchard River. This photo was taken in October. Lacey said the business kept going through his dedicated employees, including Montes, Taylor Paniccia, Luanne James, Mark Darrow and Kevin Richardson.

CARLTON – George Lacey, owner of a marina and motel in Carlton, said his customers’ happiness is often tied to whether they catch a big fish – and get a good meal at a local restaurant.

Lacey can’t guarantee they will reel in a big Chinook salmon or brown trout, but he feels confident in telling them they will be satisfied if they eat at the Black North Inn, Roadies Pizzeria and Sports Bar or Tillman’s Village Inn.

Lacey, the owner of Captain’s Cove, said his customers give him very positive feedback about those local eateries, and those places are a big part of them having a good experience when they stay at Captain’s Cove.

Lacey knows the local restaurants have had a very difficult year. They were limited to take-outs only early in the Covid-19 pandemic. Then they could offer outdoor dining and then at a reduced capacity indoors.

Lacey’s business, which includes 14  motel rooms, was booked solid since the summer and through Nov. 30. Many of the customers are fishermen, but Lacey said there was a big increase in people staying from New York City. They wanted a break from the city during the pandemic and sought out a spot near water, Lacey said.

Captain’s Cove has had some difficult years recently. In 2017, flooding devastated docks and a building near the river. That building was demolished and Lacey rebuilt on higher ground. He put in new docks. Flooding hit again in 2019.

He worries about the restaurant operators. They are his friends and he knows the winter months tend to be lean times for those businesses.

Lacey decided to put $5,000 towards a promotion to give those businesses a boost. He reached out to the Orleans Hub and Lake Country Pennysaver for ideas. The sales representatives worked with Lacey and the three businesses to have a matching gift card promotion, where people get a free $25 gift card if they buy one at $25. Lacey will pay up to $1,600 for the free ones at each of the three businesses. He also is spending $200 in advertising to promote the gift cards.

“I’ve been in business my whole life and I know how hard it is to run a business in New York State,” Lacey said. “Orleans County needs business. We have people coming from all over the country and we need to support one another. This is about small business supporting small business.”

The gift card promotions started today. They are good while supplies last. They were in hot demand at Roadies today, which reported they were sold out. The Black North Inn went through the first $500.

Alana Piccirilli and Kristin Rowell have owned the Black North the past 3 ½ years. This year many of the concerts, fishing tournaments and other events that draw people to Point Breeze were cancelled.

“This pandemic has been very difficult for all of our businesses,” Piccirilli said.

She thanked Lacey for funding the gift cards. By making them a matching offer, the three businesses will see nearly $10,000 in sales from the promotion.

“He’s a great guy,” Rowell said. “It’s a wonderful thing he’s doing.”

Piccirilli said the businesses near the Point look out for each other.

“We send people there and he sends people to us,” she said. “We all stick together. We are a community down here.”

The Black North is currently serving customers through take-outs only. People can call and the Black North will bring the gift cards out to customers if they buy a matching gift card. Rowell and Piccirilli said the customers have been supportive during a difficult year.

“We’re grateful for George and we’re grateful for all the community support,” Piccirilli said. “Hopefully we can get more people to shop local and think about the restaurants.”

At Tillman’s, Lacey has been a long-time customer and friend, said Samantha Tillman, the front house manager.

She said the Village Inn has endured a slow year, with a spike during the summer. The gift cards should help bring in customers after the holidays when traffic usually is at the low point for the year.

“It been extremely tough for all of us,” Tillman said. “It’s because of the community that we are still there. It’s hard to survive but we’re in it for the long haul.”