Business directory

A socially responsible business directory, and green too

ALBANY — In other circumstances, they might have welcomed the sharp drop in greenhouse gas emissions triggered by last spring’s lockdown.

They were environmentalists who considered themselves socially responsible. But the pandemic “has come as a shock to all of us,” said Owusu Anane, a common council member for Albany’s 10th Ward. “It brought businesses to their knees.

Anane spoke Tuesday afternoon outside the aptly named Green’s Appliance store on Central Avenue as he and others gathered for the official launch of the Buy Local Grow Local online directory, a compilation of more than 250 businesses and services. green and socially responsible, all locally based.

The idea for a directory gained momentum in March as Covid-19 spread rapidly in New York and other parts of the country. The people of Albany United for Safe Energy led the effort, with PAUSE’s Sandy Steubing serving as project director.

Anane knows firsthand the important role small businesses play. In the Albany area he represents, they are a source of jobs as well as goods and services.

“This campaign will inspire the community to support small businesses, he said before leaving to resume his day job as a teacher.

The creators of the directory say they believe it’s the first of its kind in the country. No other directory, they say, focuses on companies that are both environmentally friendly and socially responsible.

As for the economic impact, Steubing says that of every $100 spent locally, $68 stays in the community. “With big box stores, less than half” of that stays local, she said.

Madeline and Al Green, whose appliance store hosted the press event announcing the directory, are among the types of businesses included. Their third-generation family business grew a decade ago by adding energy-efficient upgrades and sourcing building materials locally. The result, Madeline Green said, was the first appliance and furniture retailer in the state to receive LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification from the US Green Building Council.

Angela and Elroy Tatem own You Inc. Wealth Education Services, a Niskayuna-based company that educates people on the financial knowledge they need to help them get out of debt, save money and learn the basics of investing.

And there is Jack Magai, who formed a cooperative with his employees who made them business partners. The company, More Trees Arborist Collective, prefers to save trees rather than cut them down, and he said he was delighted that the company had been nominated for its sustainability and social responsibility.

The directory also features vendors of locally grown produce, sustainable restaurants, community gardens, and farmers’ markets.

The online directory is a work in progress. It can be found at

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