Paul Camarda discusses Putnam Paradox at Business Expo
Putnam County Courier
May 4, 2006

Developer Paul Camarda is tired of seeing "Shop Putnam" signs dotted around the county with few places to shop.

Camarda delivered the keynote address last Thursday at Putnam's second annual Business Expo-sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of the Mahopacs in conjunction with the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

More than 500 attended the get-together at the Villa Barone Hilltop Manor in Mahopac that was highlighted by a series of entrepreneurship seminars provided by a number of professionals including members of the Putnam SCORE Chapter.

SCORE played a major role in the conference. "Starting Your Own Business" was divided into three seminar topics-"What to consider before going into business-Developing a winning business plan;" "Marketing: Sales strategy and advertising;" and "Finance and Taxes; Business Law and the Internet."

Members of Putnam SCORE (Service Corps of Resourceful Executives) who will be celebrating its 4th anniversary this month, presented the sessions. The corps of volunteer successful business executives, affiliated with the United States Small Business Administration is committed to sharing their business knowledge and experience to help local entrepreneurs start their own businesses and succeed.

Jim Reilly, a business coach employed by Action International, led a workshop tabbed "Six Steps to a Better Business" while attorney Greg Riolo hosted a workshop called "Wage and Hour in New York: What Every Employer Needs to know!" The session examined the pitfalls experienced by all employers, large and small, as well as providing tolls for companies to conduct a self audit.

Camarda, one of Putnam's most active developers, told the audience about his seven projects on the drawing board comprising 800 acres. "Let's put that into context. Putnam contains 158,000 acres containing 40-percent green space. My acreage is a drop in the bucket or one-half of one percent," he said. Camarda explained the footprint of his projects was divided into thirds - "one-third blacktop and building; one-third landscaping sand ponds and one-third natural."

Projects outlined by the developer included the Gateway Summit on Route 6 in Carmel that will include the construction of a luxury hotel; 50 units of senior housing set within the Centennial Golf Club; 381 multifamily and townhouse units constructed off Stoneleigh Avenue in Carmel; Patterson Crossing; Stateline Retail Center in Southeast, Kent Center and Baldwin at the Putnam-Westchester border.

Camarda described New York as one of the most unfriendly business entities in the nation ranking 49th of the 50 states.

Camarda told the gathering about the "Putnam paradox" in which $2 of every $3 spent is expended outside of the county's borders in Dutchess, Westchester or Connecticut. "Shoppers tend to go to these municipalities to do their shopping. Big box stores like Costco and Lowe's would keep these dollars closer to home and would more than double Putnam's sales tax revenue," he said.

Peter Bardunias, Expo chairman, described the event as a "huge success. Our 2006 edition was bigger and better than our initial Expo and next year's will top the current version."