Big Ideas 2016


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About the Challenge

The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, through the generosity of its Corporate Partners, sponsored the Impact Opportunity Challenge. In an effort to promote entrepreneurship, the Challenge served as a pilot program for downtown economic development. The Challenge was open to individuals and/or groups that have an innovative business concept for downtown Utica. Start-ups and “Early-Stage Businesses” (defined for purposes of the Challenge as any business venture with total lifetime revenues of $50,000 or less) were eligible to submit an application.

And The Winner Is…

Smtih Market - Winners of $25,000 Impact Opportunity Challenge

 Smith Market

Luciann Gould & Christopher Tillotson

Smith Market was selected as the winner of The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties’ $25,000 Impact Opportunity Challenge. The market was one of five finalists to pitch their idea for an innovative business concept for downtown Utica to a panel of judges on Wednesday, August 10.

The market will be located at 412 Main Street, Utica, in the previous D.B. Smith & Co. building. Smith Market will offer a selection of organic and locally grown produce, flowers, chemical-free groceries, natural body care and eco-friendly household products. It intends to meet the growing demand for a natural food store and year-round local market in the downtown community.

“Our focus is to be local with our products with our efforts,” said co-owner Luciann Gould. “This is an idea that has evolved in me for years. I grow gardens and frequent [local] markets. I talk to farmers and learn everything there is to know about the food – how it is produced, how the animals are raised and what the animals are fed. For years, I have often wondered why we didn’t have [a health food store] in Utica and now we will!”

Gould and co-owner Christopher Tillotson plan to invest the award money in new equipment, shelving and furniture for the market.