SCHENECTADY — A production crew from NBC’s “Today” show will film a segment at Puzzles Bakery & Cafe in downtown Schenectady throughout the day Thursday.
Puzzles founder and owner Sara Mae Pratt said Wednesday afternoon that the longtime morning television show contacted her a couple of months ago to see about visiting the Schenectady eatery, which is at 515 State St. She expects the footage taken Thursday to be used during a two-minute segment to be aired in the near future.
“They reached out to me and are very interested in our mission here,” said Pratt, a 2008 graduate of Mohonasen High and a Skidmore College graduate who opened the business four years ago. “It’s a feel-good piece about what we do here.”
Puzzles, which opens for breakfast and lunch and closes at 3 p.m. each day, has a workforce of about 16, according to Pratt. About three-quarters of her employees have developmental disabilities, she said.
“Our mission is to help people with developmental disabilities, and the ‘Today Show’ is interested in highlighting that,” said Pratt. “We want to bring attention to what we think is a pretty neat idea, and hopefully a lot of people from around the country will see it and try to replicate what we do here.”
Pratt, who majored in political science and international affairs at Skidmore College, said Puzzles was her first solo business venture.
“I worked at Panera Bread in high school and at some restaurants in Saratoga when I was at Skidmore,” she said. “This is my first business to actually own and operate myself. But I’m very happy with the way things are going. Our catering business is also picking up, so things are going quite well. We only have one store right now, but we’re interested in opening other locations.”
Pratt said she was told by NBC officials the film crew would probably spend most of the day at her establishment.
NBC did not return calls seeking comment on the filming on Wednesday.
“They’re going to be talking to me, some of the members of our staff and probably to some of our customers,” she said. “I have no idea when it will run, but they said they will probably post it as an online story, and then, how much traffic it gets will determine when they actually air it on the show.”
“Today” airs from 7 to 9 a.m. weekdays locally on Channel 13, WNYT. The show is co-anchored by Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb. The show’s original host, Dave Garroway, was born in Schenectady in 1913 and was on the show from 1952 to 1961.