Downtown Albany store featuring local products expands

The Fort Orange General Store, which has carved out a retail niche in downtown Albany with locally made gifts and goods, is expanding with a second store in Guilderland.

“We kind of built on it and it’s worked really well with downtown audiences,” owner Schuyler Bull said of the expansion plans. In addition to the store at 412 Broadway, they will add one at 1766 Western Ave. in Guilderland.
Bull said they plan to open this store in the spring.

Fort Orange offers a range of items from stationery to “Nipper” t-shirts, which pay homage to the famous dog statue at the top of Broadway in 1991, to jewelry, CBD products and kitchen utensils.

They also have home items, pet items, and books, among others.

Bull took over the store in 2017 and moved it from Delaware Avenue to Broadway.

He believes the COVID-19 pandemic, while boosting online sales, has also sparked an appreciation for locally made gift items. He said his sales for 2020 were up 30% from the previous year and 2021 saw another 50% increase.

The retail store closed for three months during the pandemic, but when it opened Bull worked to feature locally made items with pop-ups or tabletop displays outside the store.
“We started doing weekend pop-ups because a lot of our makers didn’t have a place to sell their products,” said Bull, a 2010 College of Saint Rose graduate.

“COVID has made most of us realize that you need to support local businesses.”

In addition to the expansion, Bull recently signed a new five-year lease for its current Broadway location.

Bull is looking to hire eight people on a part-time basis in the positions of sales, event organization and assistant manager for expansion.

[email protected] 518 454 5758 @RickKarlin

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