GLENVILLE — A maple syrup producer and retailer on Route 5 has abruptly shut down, after a little more than two years in operation.
Riverside Maple Farms, in the western reaches of Glenville near the Town of Amsterdam border, has taken down its Facebook page and placed a two-sentence notice on its website thanking people for their support but saying the doors are closed.
No explanation was offered for the closure.
Chris and Erica Welch opened Riverside in October 2017 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by state Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball and a gaggle of local, county, state and business development officials.
Since then, Riverside had maintained a visible presence in the community, with special events during the late winter-early spring maple sap season and a year-round part-time retail operation.
The couple purchased the 30-acre site at 7152 Amsterdam Road in 2016, when it was an abandoned apple orchard, and built a barn for production and retail sales. They tapped about 3,000 maple trees, some on site but most in a large family-owned tract in the Glenville hills, where Chris Welch grew up.
Officials had seen potential in the project beyond its dimensions, drawing shoppers and travelers to what would be Schenectady County’s only maple syrup business.
The Glenville Local Development Corporation provided a $65,000 loan from a revolving loan fund seeded with state money and the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority provided a $125,000 loan from a revolving loan fund that uses federal funds.
Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said Wednesday that Riverside was not required to start repaying the loan until 36 months after it was issued, as long as the owners met their hiring commitment. They did, so the full amount is still outstanding, but it is secured by the land and the barn. Also, the Welches have been responsive and responsible, so he’s not worried about the loaned money.
Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said about $57,000 is outstanding on the LDC loan, but it is up to date, with a payment submitted as recently as two weeks ago. It too is secured by the maple syruping apparatus, a high-tech array that includes a vacuum system to collect sap and reverse osmosis equipment to concentrate it into syrup.
Koetzle and other officials had high hopes of making Riverside Maple Farms part of an agricultural business district — Wolf Hollow Brewing is a nearby neighbor of Riverside. He’s hoping someone will take over Riverside and keep it in business.
“It’s sad for us,” he said. “That was a business in Glenville that we were really proud of.”