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How I Got Started: Anthony Pauldine

He started in business as a roofer more than 40 years ago and quickly became a contractor and developer. Today he owns six companies, including the Canal Commons and Curtis Manor, both in Oswego. He employs about 30 people.

By Stefan Yablonski

Q: How long have you been in business?

A: I’ve been in business since 1989.

Q: How did it all start?

A: I went to work for my brother in 1977 after high school graduation. At that time we specialized in roofing. I bought the company later and expanded it into siding, insulation, construction and roofing divisions.

Q: And then you became a developer?

A: In about 2001 I wanted to be a developer and changed my business cards to reflect “general contractor/developer” to set a course and make it happen.

Q: What was your first big project?

A: The first thing was the King Arthur building [in downtown Oswego]. My first opportunity came with the sale of the Buckhout-Jones building downtown by the city and the IDA [which became the King Arthur building]. While creating King Arthur’s Steakhouse and the hotel above, I was hooked on downtown and began negotiating for the vacant Greens department store owned by Don Cole of Cole Muffler shops. From there we went on to purchase the B&D Photo, Main Moon and Vona’s Building and add them to the new Canal Commons.

Q: You’ve done a great job saving old buildings. Is that your passion?

A: Our first major tackling of a super distressed building was actually the Crazy Eddy building that housed Edward Jones Financial. It was a tax sale purchase that we were the only bidder due to part of the building being demolished and the remainder probably should have been as well. I found a passion to take on the hardest projects to see how we could save and restore them! By the time the Cahill building came up for auction, I was hooked. I had to save that building and make it shine again! The Curtis Manor farm was an even bigger challenge to save. Soon after the former YMCA building that was condemned was on the schedule.

Q:  What was it like starting out?

A: Starting out was slow and funding was not available for what we wanted to do. Later we found that investing out of pocket was the way to get things done. In the middle of our projects, Pathfinder Bank became a believer in what we were doing and saw the betterment in the community. Pathfinder is now our sole bank and partner

Q: How much did you invest?

A: I don’t know if there is a way to calculate how much we’ve invested in Oswego. It goes way, way back. It’s quite a lot. I think it’s worth noting that every single property we own is located within the city limits of Oswego. We take pride in using local people, local vendors and lumber stores.

Q: How many employees do you have?

A: We have about 30 employees across several companies and great crews that allow expanding and growing. It’s an honor the have a core of employees that are like family and many years with me. I am very blessed to work with two sons who are super dedicated and hard working!

Q: Are you working on anything right now?

A: Yes, the building next to Curtis Manor. It’s going to be a second wedding venue, with an industrial theme. It has substantial larger capacity. We’ll be able to hold larger events — 100 plus people.

Q: Anything else?

A: Eventually, the former Ladies Home in Oswego. It will become like a bed and breakfast. We’ve been on a tear, doing as much as we could do. We’ve got a couple things in the works, but I’m not ready to talk about that yet.

Q: How do you balance everything?

A: I think if you’re juggling balls, if you can learn to juggle two or three or four it’s not that hard to add one. The problem is you can’t stop when you have a lot of balls up in the air.

Q: Do you have any hobbies?

A: My hobbies are only two. Work and the gym and I do both seven days a week.

Q: Ever think about slowing down or even retiring some day?

A: I can’t see myself ever retiring or doing anything else! My job certainly has been hard and at times gut-wrenching, but it is addictive, fun and a passion I can’t see myself removed from.