My 'Best Of' List for 2015 - Businesses & Contractors You Won't Want to Live Without

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wow, thank you for your amazing response to my last post and thank you for welcoming the Vischer Ferry General Store.  I have one more post I've wanted to do before the year's end and that post is to give a little nod to some of the local businesses that I've had the privilege of doing business with that have not been subjects here in my blog.  One of the big reasons I blog is to share with all of you places we've discovered, some new, some established.  It's been my way of Paying it Forward and giving some great people and great businesses a little publicity.  That is why I always ask you to share my posts!  We tend to hear the horror stories about business gone bad, but not often enough do we hear about those businesses that go above and beyond for their customers.  So today I want to share some businesses we've had the pleasure of working with, some I hope you might think about using should the need arise.

The first business I want to tell you about is Home Evolution.  I normally prefer finding contractors through referrals from family and friends, but when I can't, my go-to resource is Angie's List.  That's where I found Home Evolution - one of the highest rated companies, for installing our new roof last year.  I'd never heard of them but with an A rating and over 100 reviews, I knew they were the company for us.  From the moment we placed the call for an estimate, Home Evolution was top notch. Not only did they come out quickly to give us an estimate, they did the job soon after and got it done in one morning.  Their entire crew was polite and efficient.  Special care was taken to protect our property and everything was cleaned up thoroughly when they were finished.  If you need a roof, insulation, windows and more, Home Evolution is a great company to work with.
The fact that they sent a Christmas card that did not worry about being politically correct just made me love them even more!

Another business I've been anxious to tell you about is DF Construction.  Another Angie's List find, Donald Frame is the owner and operator of DF Construction in Clifton Park.  We hired Don and his team a couple of years ago to replace the aluminum siding on our home.  From the get-go, Don was a great guy to do business with.  His no-pressure approach with a genuine interest in not draining your bank account, Don and his guys were professional and courteous and did an amazing job from patiently helping us select siding color right till the end of the project.  He gave us a long list of addresses of houses in the area he'd done in colors we were interested in which was a huge help in deciding on a color.  They arrived each morning and put in a full day and each day his crew cleaned up from their day's work.  They also replaced a garage window for us.  I'd definitely recommend them.  You can reach Don at 383-0900 or
Before (l) and After (r)

Need some hardscape work done?   I've got just the guy for you.....Mark Petrecki & Son is the best around.  I've used Mark on several occasions and there's just no one in the business who is better.  Mark has a vision for what is aesthetically pleasing.  I've learned that when I have a job, I leave the design up to him because I know whatever he dreams up will be far more beautiful than anything I could imagine.  He's a little OCD in his work and will not rest until each stone laid is laid perfectly.  He is thorough and considerate in his business and so are the men he employs.  Over the years I've had Mark build a retaining wall, a patio, a drain in front of our garage door, repaired a chimney, resurfaced our foundation, and laid a sidewalk.  Each and every time, Mark has done an outstanding job.  On top of that, he's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.   To contact Mark, find him on his Facebook at :  or call him at 858-6809.  Here's a few examples of Mark's work......
Retaining Wall
Front Walkway

Next on my list is my Contractor Extraordinaire - Barry Katz of BK's Custom Services.  Barry is an old neighbor and friend and over the years has remodeled my kitchen, foyer and bathroom, taken down wallpaper, and a laundry list of other smaller jobs.  But.....Barry's real expertise is in Custom Designed Cabinetry Solution and Built-ins.  Like Mark, Barry is a perfectionist.  He shows up early in the morning and works tirelessly all day, cleaning up at the end of each day.  He's honest and trustworthy and immensely talented.  You can reach Barry at 581-5900.  Here's a glimpse of some of his work:

Next on my list of awesome businesses is Advanced Power LLC, a company that specializes in power generators for home and business.  We used this company about 4 or so years ago to install a whole-house generator by Generac.   They did a wonderful job and come once a year for an annual service.  It's no wonder they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.  I can't tell you how wonderful it is having the security of a generator which comes on automatically within 30 seconds of the power going out and turns off once power is restored without any help from us.  No more loss of food after power outages.  We always have heat, power and security during outages whether it be from a winter storm or a summer thunder storm!    To reach Advanced Power LLC, check out their website at or call 895-2884.

Just as important as home repairs, car repairs are probably life's biggest headache.  For maybe 20 years, we've been using Dave Crawford for all of our car repairs.  Originally with Borst Tires on Vischer Ferry Road and now in his own business, Dave is an honest and fair-priced mechanic who we trust to do our repairs in a timely and affordable fashion.  It's great never having to worry about being 'taken' when it comes to car repairs.  Dave will never sell you something you don't need and when you drive away, you have the confidence to know your car is repaired right.  Dave is located on Bruno Road in Clifton Park and can be reached at 368-6302.

If it's lawncare you need - mowing, spring and fall clean up - I depend on Saratoga Turf Care.  Doug Smalley and his guys do a wonderful job.  We've used them in the spring for our spring clean up and our neighbors use them for both spring and fall clean up.  Watching them the first time we hired them, I was so impressed by their thorough job.  When I mentioned to them how impressed I was, Doug's response was, "well, I'm doing it like I'd want my own yard done"!  To reach Saratoga Turf Care, call 371-0508.

Need some gutters, gutters cleaned or gutter covers?   We depend on Todd Pilgrim of Malta Seamless Gutters.  Todd and his men have installed half of my gutters, installed covers on previously installed gutters and cleaned out my gutters.  Prompt, thorough and courteous service make Todd our go-to gutter guy!  You can reach Todd at 899-1100.  Check out his website at:

If it's computer help you're after....I have just the guy.  Steve Bleznyk of Capital Region Tech has been our computer guru for the past four years.  Forget about the Geek Squad!  Steve comes to your house and fixes your computer right, the first time.  If the job is too lengthy, he'll bring your computer home and return it.  With over 10 years of experience Steve will do:  computer and laptop repairs, Iphone and Ipad support, spyware and virus removal, software solutions, networking and security, hardware installation and computer lessons.  Got a new computer you need set up, call Steve.  I'm telling you, for extremely reasonable rates and outstanding service, you'll never find a better computer tech than Steve.  Check out his website, read some of his very informative blog posts, and keep him in mind the next time you need computer support.   He can be reached at or 518-701-9058

And then.....sometimes life calls for repairs of a more personal nature.  For instance eye care.....this year we found a gem of a business to provide our eye care.  Burnt Hills Optical on Route 50 is the best!  Kris and Dave Cameron are the owners and opticians at Burnt Hills Optical.  Not only do they provide friendly service, Kris is the best gal on the planet for helping select just the right frames.  When we walked into the shop for the first time with John's prescription for new glasses, she looked at John, listened to his preferences when it comes to his glasses and before we could try on 3 frames on our own, Kris walked over with a pair she suggested he try on.  They were spot-on perfect for both appearance and in meeting his needs.  I thought this might be a fluke - her talent for picking so perfectly in one try, but after just a few tries, she found me the perfect frames.  I've worn bifocals (progressive) glasses for about 20 years and have hated every pair of glasses I've ever worn.  For the first time in 20 years, I love my glasses and don't feel self conscious in them or fidget with them constantly.  Kris knows how to adjust your glasses perfectly and make you look great and see great!  After years of getting glasses in those big box stores, I am so thrilled to finally have an eye glass vendor who makes wearing glasses not feel like a disability.  I also took advantage of  their optometrist, Dr. Craig Murcray, for my eye exam!  Burnt Hills Optical participates in several insurance plans, including CDPHP, Davis Vision, MVP and many more.  Give them a call today at 399-6130 or check out their website at  From the moment you arrive, everyone at Burnt Hills Optical will make you glad you chose them!
I'm never in front of the camera, much less do selfies, but these new glasses make me a bit more willing!
While I use this blog for promoting businesses I sincerely love (and rarely accept requests for posts), I also maintain a non-sponsored blog, meaning I don't carry ads and therefore don't make an income from my blog.  However, there is one exception to that rule and that is my ad for Beekman 1802. Since I've begun my blog, I have covered the Beekman Boys (Josh Kilmer Purcell and Brent Ridge). In addition to being totally smitten with the Beekman 1802 estate, Farmer John and his many goats and a number of the Beekman products, I am over the moon impressed with these two men who have created a small empire that began with goat's milk soap.  From that product, they have grown and grown and now have products in Target, online, on Evine, and in their Beekman 1802 Mercantile in Sharon Springs. They have written cookbooks, and have recently published the premiere issue of their new magazine, Beekman Almanac.  No prettier publication exists!  This is one magazine you will not want to throw away.  Despite their fame and success, Josh and Brent have remained humble and genuine and have used their platform for the good of all the local neighbors, farmers and artisans in and around Sharon Springs.  So while they are nationwide celebrities, they live their lives like the humble local neighbors they are.  I recently contacted Beekman 1802 with a question about a product I'd purchased.  Not only did I receive an email from customer service, I received a personal email from Josh and one from Brent!  I have never had that experience with any other large company - ever.  If you aren't yet familiar with the Beekman 1802 don't know what you're missing.  Click on the ad on the sidebar of this blog to check out their website, view the Live Goat Cam and check out their quality products!

Just to list a few more of our favorites:
  1. Tree Services - David's Tree Topping Service - 371-0361
  2. Lawncare (fertilizing,  tree trimming, etc) - Davey's Tree - 785-9417
  3. Best in Hair Care - Joeann Carman - Studio D in Clifton Park - 371-1010
  4. Best Pharmacists - Bob and Sonny at Rite Aid in the Price Chopper Plaza - 371-6155
  5. Best Shop From Home Service
  6. Best Kids' Fun - Huck Finn's Playland
Well, I'm sure I may have missed someone, but in a world where the negative can sometimes outweigh the positive in the news and even our minds, I just wanted to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to some of the folks that always provide us with great service each and every time.  Keep them in mind next time you're looking for headache free,  dependable service.  If you know of anyone who is looking for any of these services, share this blog post with them.  
Thanks for reading and come back to for more Life As I See It.  Stay tuned for a very special Christmas post next to help you keep in the true Christmas spirit!  

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