Our Fourth Annual Best Business List 2020

Sunday, January 10, 2021

It's become a tradition here on the blog to devote one post a year to shining the light on businesses we've used during the calendar year, businesses who have exceeded our expectations, businesses we're proud to recommend. Good help isn't always easy to find, but with the help of Angie's List and some word of mouth recommendations, we continue to be blessed with a large group of great folks to help keep life in the Welter household running smoothly. 2020 may have been a difficult year, but despite the challenges Covid presented, our favorite businesses came through when we needed them. It gives me great pleasure to share these wonderful businesses with you today.

  • All Star Plumbing - Topping our list, and making his third appearance on our Best Business List, is All Star Plumbing.   Since we found All Star Plumbing, we have enlisted Nate's expertise (as well as Ryan, his partner) to update or replace numerous plumbing fixtures around the house.  From new and better valves, shut-offs, outside fixtures, Nate has brought the plumbing in our home up to snuff and working like it should.  This year we decided to bite the bullet and pre-emptively replace our hot water heater before it leaks or dies and once again, Nate did a thorough, and covid-safe job.  From the booties he dons when he enters our home, to his home inspection and membership program, to his warrantied work, Nate takes the headache out of plumbing worries.  Friendly, punctual, and always a perfectionist, I don't know how we'd ever face a plumbing issue with anyone but All Star Plumbing.  You can trust Nate for all your plumbing needs!  https://www.facebook.com/Allstarplumbing518
  • KT Electric - (formerly owned and operated by Ken Tibbits since 1987) Brad Smith has continued the legacy of KT Electric. We've been using KT Electric since 2018.  This year we called on Brad to replace our kitchen light fixture and to once and for all replace a faulty 3-way dimmer switch in the family room.  It's no surprise KT Electric ranks high on Angie's List with over 200 A reviews.  To reach KT Electric, call Brad at 518-412-4114.
  • Absolute Pest Control -After many years of trapping a half dozen or so mice in our attic each year, we decided it was time to call in the professionals.  Josh from Absolute Pest Control came, inspected every nook and cranny in the house, basement, garage, crawl space, attic and roof and quickly determined the mice were crawling up the chimney and entering the attic through a space under our ridge vent.  Josh fixed the compromised ridge vent and left bait in all the appropriate locations of our home.  I'm happy to report we have not had one visitor since (as proven by the untouched bait and empty traps).  Their competitor, Meerkat, quoted their 'fix' in the thousands when Absolute charged hundreds.  It was a no-brainer decision.  For 25 years we've battled mosquitos in our yard because we live near a wetland.  Normally we use a Mosquito Magnet which runs on propane and attracts and catches mosquitos.  While this has done a pretty decent job, it requires a new propane tank every 3 weeks, plus other expenses, and some time investment, so this year we contracted Absolute to spray the yard (boundaries and thickly vegetated areas) for both mosquitos and ticks and I can tell you I didn't see one mosquito all season.  We are thrilled with both the success of their program and with the professionalism and courtesy of their staff.  Call Absolute Pest Control to get rid of all your unwanted pests.  Absolute Pest Control Facebook Page and https://absolutepest.com/ 518-382-5577
  • Advanced Power LLC - During every storm, winter or summer, I rest easy knowing my power will stay on and so will my heat or AC. Thanks to Advanced Power, my home has energy backup from my Generac whole house generator.  This year my daughter had a Generac generator installed by Advanced Power too.  Every year I get a call to schedule our annual maintenance and like clockwork our serviceman shows up and makes sure we're in tip top shape for the year ahead.  If you've been considering adding a whole-house generator to your home, I strongly suggest you give Advanced Power a call..http://www.advancedpowerllc.com/  It's an investment you'll never regret.
  • Mangino Buick GMC - There are few things I hate more than car shopping so when we decided it was time to replace John's 2009 Toyota Matrix, I was not looking forward to the process.  Growing up on Saratoga Lake, the Mangino family has been a familiar name in the business world.  Several of our friends are long-time customers of the Mangino's and it became clear to us quickly why.  From Anthony our salesman, to Ralph Mangino Jr. the owner and every staff member in between, we could not have asked for an easier, more friendly or professional purchase.  The entire process was simple, covid-safe, and frustration free.  Next time you're in the market for a new car, consider Mangino Buick on Route 50 in Ballston Spa.   https://www.manginobuickgmc.com/
  • Daigle's Automotive - Once again, I couldn't do our annual list without including Daigle's for our automotive repairs.  Howard and his mechanics always handle our repairs with prompt scheduling, honest diagnostics and fair pricing.  It's such a pleasure knowing I can trust a mechanic who isn't out to empty my bank account.  In fact, Howard is the opposite, always doing what's right and fair for the customer to save money whenever possible.  If you're tired of being taken and are ready for a reputable, quality service, call Howard!  He's located at 229 Vischer Ferry Road in Rexford, NY 518-383-2689.
  • Kulak's Nursery - Once again, I have to include Kulak's Nursery and Landscaping in our list because once again, they proved they're top notch in the business.  This year I decided to revamp one of my gardens, a long narrow strip that was crowded with several day lilies and other perennials.  I was envisioning a garden that would look more presentable for the majority of the season and require less maintenance and deadheading.  We contacted Pam at Kulak's because she'd done such a fabulous job picking out plants for our front landscape.  As it turned out, that day was to be her last day before maternity leave (her due date was the next day), but she happily walked us through the nursery, in the hot sun, laying out perennials in a mock garden bed.  She looked at photos I'd brought of the space and listened to the details of what I was hoping to accomplish and once again came up with the perfect choices including about a dozen perennials, a hydrangea, a spirea and some ornamental grasses.  This project took place at the beginning of September so I can't wait to see how beautiful everything looks this spring.  For healthy plants and the best customer service, I highly recommend Kulak's Nursery & Landscaping for all your gardening needs!  Located on Balltown Road at 1615 Balltown Road in Rexford NY  https://www.facebook.com/KulaksNursery
  • Green Gardener - Another repeat on our favorite list, another I couldn't live without.  In order to accomplish the big job listed above...a lot of muscle and dirt moving was necessary.  While Kulak's could have provided the manpower, I already have a gardener who I was thrilled to work with again.  Maia van Holsteijn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture and has been building her Green Gardener business since 2018.  From lawn maintenance to pruning, weeding, plant installation and everything in between, Maia is a wonder in the garden.  I had my son-in-law dig out the majority of the long-established day lilies, but Maia dug up the rest, prepared the soil for the new plants and then planted every one of them - after she and I mapped out a pleasing design.  I am so lucky to have found her.  I'm able to keep up my overly ambitious appetite for flowers while Maia helps handle the maintenance.  If you need some help with your gardening, Maia is your girl.  She's as sweet as she is strong, a little powerhouse in a sunhat and gardening gloves.  Contact Maia at https://gogreengardener.com/
  • Vinmar Solutions - It is with mixed feelings that I share my love for this small business.  This was our first year using Vinmar for our lawn care (fertilizing, weed prevention, etc..) and I couldn't be more pleased with their service. We've tried the big names in the past and our lawn never looked good.  With Vinmar, our applications are done with patience and care, always in a timely fashion with email notifications a few days prior to their visits.  Their price is lower and their results are superior.  The bad news is that they are a small company who wants to stay small so they can continue to do a great job for their existing customers, meaning they may not be able to accept new customers.  Still, I can't share my favorite businesses without including them.  If you're in need of a lawn service, check them out....http://www.vinmarsolutionsllc.com/
  • Burnt Hills Optical - For several years now we've been using Burnt Hills Optical for our eyeglass needs.  For annual eye exams and the most expert help in choosing the right pair of glasses, the folks at Burnt Hills Optical are the best in the business.  Located on Route 50 in Burnt Hills, this business is convenient, professional and so nice to do business with. Check them out: https://www.facebook.com/burnthillsoptical and https://www.burnthillsoptical.com/
  • Saratoga Turf Care - Another awesome business that is at full capacity and not accepting new customers, but too exceptional to leave out.  Doug and his guys mow and trim our property every week in an eighth of the time it would take John to do it at a price that's less than nice dinner out.  He does our spring and fall clean ups and trims our burning bushes as needed.  While John is certainly still strong and capable of handling most of the chores these professionals handle for us, there are many things in life we'd rather be spending our time on.  I'm not ashamed to admit we'd rather take a ride in the country or play with the grandkids than maintain our lawn. It's all about priorities!
  • Mother Theresa Academy - This may not be a service business, but I need to take time this year to acknowledge the amazing job the folks at MTA do educating and nurturing kids from 3-Kindergarten.  MTA knows kids are not all the same and they work hard to help each child grow at his/her own pace, teaching values the children can use their whole life.  Beginning with chapel time each day followed by enriching programs in math, science, language, physical education, art and more, at the end of the day what I'm most impressed with is the amount of love, patience and encouragement kids get in the atmosphere throughout MTA.  Our granddaughter and now our grandson have both loved and benefited from this wonderful preschool.  In fact our first grader regularly says how much she misses MTA , her teachers, and all the fun she had there.  If you're looking for a great place that offers fulltime education and quality life lessons, look no further than Mother Theresa Academy. http://www.motherteresa.academy/
  • The Speckled Hen and Bluebird Home Decor - these are not service businesses, but they are businesses I love and frequent.  At my age, shopping isn't something that interests me, but I love decorating my home and these two shops are my go-to when I'm in need of home decor.  Maureen at the Hen and Nicolle at Bluebird provide the friendliest, most caring atmospheres for escaping our sometimes ugly world.  If you've seen my Holiday Home Tour blogs, you know I depend on these two shops for most of my holiday (and year-round) decor.  If you're not already a customer at these fun shops, what are ya waiting for?  https://www.facebook.com/thespeckledhenscotia/ and  https://www.facebook.com/Bluebirdhomedecor
  • This has been an unusual year, for sure.  Many of our regular business were closed and some places we stayed away from due to Covid, but there are a few that went above and beyond to keep their patrons safe while serving their usual fare.  We appreciate them and have tried to support them for take-out throughout this pandemic.  They are Power's Pub, Vischer Ferry General Store, King Brothers Dairy and Ravenswood Pub. 
Well that's it folks, our favorite businesses of 2020.  One thing I need to point out....all of them are small and/or family businesses.  That's not the way we planned it, but in the end, I believe it makes a difference.  I'm not out to get the cheapest price, I'm looking for companies who take the time to listen to our needs and do their best to provide the best service to meet those needs, people who look at me as a person, not a source of income, people who care about my home with the same respect they have for their own.  I've found that relationship in all the businesses I share in this annual post.  I hope you'll consider them the next time you need superior service.

"Your customer doesn't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
                                                                               - Damon Richards

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