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Greene County Podcast Coming to the Catskills

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 2/29/24 | 2/29/24

By Michael Ryan

CATSKILL - A unique connection between history and commerce is being revealed in a podcast from Greene County Economic Development.

Thomas Boomhower, an economic development specialist with the agency, sat down for an interview on WRIP radio in Windham, earlier this week.

He shared details of the new show, serving as co-host along with Mark Gustavson, the creative lead behind the county’s “Buy in Greene” and “Invest in Greene” programs.

They are calling the podcast, “The Best Kept Secrets of Greene County, New York,” delving deeper than the dollars and cents aspects of local businesses, telling how and why they came into existence.

Boomhower and Gustavson will also offer historical tidbits on who and what may have come before at the same site as well as interesting insights into the owners, bringing otherwise mundane facts and figures to life.

“We are letting the Catskills out of the bag,” Boomhower told WRIP host Jay Fink, taking literary license with the old adage.

“Our goal is to highlight all the communities in our county, letting listeners know how Greene County is a great place to live and do business.

“We will touch on each village and town [on the mountaintop and in the valley], airing a fresh tale the third week of every month.

“A lot of people, including myself, don’t necessarily realize how cool and historic these places are,” Boomhower said, noting he is in his late 20’s.

He has a Masters Degree in History which is all well and good but acknowledges it is not the same as being in the field.

“It is totally amazing, going into all these beautiful towns,” Boomhower said, stretching from riverside Catskill, Coxsackie and New Baltimore to hilly and rural Lexington, Prattsville and Hunter, passing thru lowland Greenville, Cairo and East Durham.

“Once you get talking to these entrepreneurs and you see their passion and how much work and blood they put into their business, you come away inspired,” Boomhower said,

“Just talking to them, getting the ins and outs of how they do their business, so far has been really awesome to do.”

The seed for the podcast was planted by Terry Weiss, director of business marketing for the county, known around the shop as “the brainchild.”

Programming debuted with an interview of Economic Development director James Hannahs, “giving potential listeners an overview of what they can regularly expect,” Boomhower said.

“We also talked about the various programs the county offers to help small businesses in Greene County, opening our tool kit.”

“The Best Kept Secrets of Greene County” dove in with its next chat, visiting the Red Star Cafe and Bakery in the town of Cairo.

“Red Star is an anchor business for what Mark calls the Cairo renaissance. It is a fantastic episode,” Boomhower said.

“The owners, Shahen and Kim Guiragossian, have no background in coffee or pastries. But they love coffee and one day just decided, ‘let’s start a coffee shop.’ They are doing both at a phenomenal level.

“They gave a lot of information about making a business work in Cairo, their passion for it, coming here to live and raising a family.

“We also learned they have roots in the film industry. Shahen was a key grip. Kim worked in costuming, on Oscar-winning films.

“That’s exactly the kind of personal element we’re looking for,” Boomhower said, noting it can be tuned into on multiple platforms including You Tube, Spotify, Apple, Amazon Music and I Heart Radio.   

“The Greene County Chamber of Commerce is a valuable partner in this endeavor,” Boomhower said. “Our hope is that we get enough audience, allowing us to expand the type of topics we talk about.

For more information, phone (518) 719-3290 or check out the website or Facebook, or Instagram,

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