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Marcella’s Clearance Center in Schenectady, planned for renovations, damaged in Tuesday fire; Owner responds

Categories: -The Daily Gazette, Business, News, Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY — Not even three weeks after announcing plans to renovate his Crane Street appliance store, John D. Marcella is trying to figure out if the building is salvageable after a fire broke out there Tuesday morning.

The fire was called in at the 810 Crane St. building at around 8 a.m. Tuesday. The initial cause is believed to be water seeping into a light fixture, Marcella said.

The century-old building serves as a clearance outlet and a warehouse for the larger headquarters of Marcella’s Appliance Center down the hill on Broadway, as well as a smaller Clifton Park retail location.

In late September, Marcella’s announced it would renovate the façade and other parts of the Crane Street building. The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority announced it would provide a $50,000 façade grant for the project, which it said would boost the ongoing city-county effort to revitalize the Crane Street corridor.

As a first step, Marcella said, he had the roof partly replaced over the last two weeks at a cost of more than $40,000.

The first employees arrived at the location around 7 a.m. Tuesday, he said. They smelled something odd inside but couldn’t track down its source.

The origin became very apparent an hour later, when flames erupted through the roof, Marcella said.

The workers escaped harm. The building did not. Firefighters got the blaze out in about an hour, officials said. One firefighter suffered minor injuries, officials said, but no other injuries were reported.

“What a mess,” Marcella sighed Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t believe it’s restorable right now. … All the walls are shot and all the electric is shot.”

Beyond that, 150 new appliances were damaged.

The engineering and architectural plans for parts of the project were completed

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Henderson Country Club golf course sold; owner eyes improvements

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With a toast of champagne and expressions of thanks, members of the Henderson Country Club last week celebrated the sale of the golf course to one of its members.

With it, club advocates and staff hope to see the golf course rebound and recapture some of its previous popularity and remain in operation for years to come.

“Thank you for your support,” Charles Morris, who closed on the purchase of the 18-hole, 142-acre course on Tuesday, said during a celebration at the club’s upstairs banquet room.

“We appreciate what you’re doing,” Eric Williams, who has been president of the club’s board of directors, replied.

A deed recorded at the Henderson County Courthouse indicated that Morris Enterprises LLC paid the country club just over $1 million for four parcels of real estate. But Morris said he has also agreed to make a “considerable investment” to enhance the property and operation.

In an interview, he outlined a vision for upgrading course facilities and services, making continued improvements to the golf course itself and rebuilding the club as a social venue.

And while ownership changes from an association into private hands, he said the facility’s name won’t change.

“We’re leaving the name ‘Henderson Country Club,’” Morris said. “I thought, it’s been around since 1899; it would be a disservice to change the name.”

The sale comes after

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Solidcore Owner Anne Mahlum Is Selling Her DC-Area Homes

Photo courtesy of Solidcore.

Anne Mahlum, owner of popular boutique fitness chain Solidcore, announced on her Facebook page that she is selling two Washington-area homes. On Monday, she listed her waterfront property in Royal Oak, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, for $1,795,000. Her Adams Morgan condo hit the market on Thursday for $1,600,000.

In a Facebook post about the Eastern Shore house, dated September 25, Mahlum writes: “I love this house so much, but it’s time to start making some moves on the next chapter to build some new memories in new places.”

It’s been a tough seven months for Solidcore, as Covid-19 has devastated much of the fitness industry. In March, Mahlum announced that she had laid off 98 percent of her employees. In July, as instructors slowly began to return to her studios, Washingtonian reported that many of them felt Solidcore wasn’t doing enough to keep them safe from the virus. Then, in August, BuzzFeed News published an in-depth story about an alleged culture of toxicity and sexual harassment within the company.

Though Solidcore was founded here—and counts Michelle Obama among its fans—it now has studios across the country. It’s unclear whether Mahlum is selling the houses because she plans to leave DC altogether. (She has not yet responded to an email from Washingtonian asking for more details.)

In a September 26 post about the Adams Morgan condo, Mahlum emphasizes its “incredible views of the monument and capital.” Indeed, both homes appear to be lovely. The condo has 2,000 square feet of living space among three levels, a dramatic staircase, and a high-end kitchen. The Eastern Shore house sits on more than two acres, with a pool, 12-person hot tub, outdoor kitchen, and a private dock. The full listings, which Mahlum also shared on Facebook, are available here and

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Kingfisher, owner of B&Q, results H1, H2 outlook

Kingfisher (KGF.L), owner of DIY giant B&Q, reported a surge in pre-tax profit and online sales as Brits rush to renovate their homes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The group said in its first half results statement that while sales were down 1.1%, reflecting an adverse impact of COVID-19 in the first quarter, this was partially offset by strong recovery in Q2.

Like-for-like sales also fell 1.6% in the first quarter but growth in B&Q across Poland and Romania and a 19.5% surge in sales in the second quarter offset some of the pain.

E-commerce sales also rocketed 164% and now accounts for 19% of total group sales in the first half of 2020, as people turned to online shopping during the coronavirus lockdown.

Retail profit also rose 17.7%, largely driven by lower overall costs and B&Q performance while adjusted pre-tax profit rose 23.1%.

“We delivered a resilient financial performance in the first half of the year, with the adverse impact of COVID-19 in Q1 offset by a strong recovery in Q2. This recovery has continued into Q3 to date, with growth across all banners and categories,” said Thierry Garnier, CEO of Kingfisher.

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“The crisis has prompted more people to rediscover their homes and find pleasure in making them better. It is creating new home improvement needs, as people seek new ways to use space or adjust to working from home. It’s also clear that customers are becoming more comfortable with ordering online. And delivering value to consumers is imperative against a challenging economic backdrop.”

The group highlighted its strategic plan, which was originally unveiled on 17 June 2020, which includes a fundamental reorganisation of Kingfisher’s commercial operating model and the rollout of its own exclusive brands (OEB) including new kitchens,

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