State launches registry for historic businesses

— From NYS Historic Business Preservation Registry

Albany’s B. Lodge & Company was founded in 1867.

ALBANY COUNTY — Albany’s B. Lodge & Company is one of a hundred businesses across the state to be part of the state’s launch of an Historic Business Preservation Registry.

Proposed by Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell and State Senator Jose M. Serrano, the online registry was established to honor and promote New York businesses that have been in operation for at least 50 years and have contributed to their communities’ history.

Lodge’s was established in 1867 by Barrington Lodge and his two sons, Charles and William, remaining in the Lodge family for nearly a century, the registry says. The North Pearl Street department store is now run by the Yonally family.

In 2020, when Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy was holding near-daily press conferences on the pandemic, the Yonallys joined him along with other small-business owners.

“While many of our local small businesses continue to struggle to keep the lights on, big-box stores have announced record growth in quarterly sales and tremendous increases in e-commerce sales in the second quarter,” said McCoy at the Aug. 25, 2020 press conference.

Jack Yonally and his son, Mark, owners of B. Lodge & Co., spoke about generations of families that have come to their store for school uniforms.

When the store was able to reopen in June, Jack Yonally said, “Every customer that came in said, ‘Thank God you’re open again.’”

Among the good works undertaken by the store is distributing winter coats to inner-city children; in 2019, Lodge’s gave away 6,000 coats, Jack Yonally said.

“We employ your neighbors. We hire your kids. We give back to the community,” said Mark Yonally.

He also said that Lodge’s often offers better products at prices comparable to big-box stores or the same product at a better price. “We’re the lifeblood of the community,” he said.

“The big-box stores ran out of underwear but we didn’t,” said his father.

The honorary historic-registry program, which provides educational and promotional assistance to help ensure businesses in the state remain viable, will be coordinated through the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

An interactive storyboard map, which provides information about the location and history of each business, can be found on the agency website.

Nominations to the registry must be sponsored by an elected state official. Each elected official may nominate two businesses for inclusion per term. The program is non-competitive and, as long as the nomination criteria are met, businesses will be added to the registry.

“Many of our state's homegrown businesses have helped shape the character and identity of the communities that they call home,” OPRHP Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said in a release announcing the registry. “From small bakeries owned by generations of the same family, and farms dating back to the 1700s, to manufacturers who ship products around the world, these homegrown businesses serve New Yorkers well. With the launch of the New York State Historic Business Preservation Registry, we are excited to showcase the businesses, large and small, that are the backbone of our state’s economy.”

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