Cleinman Reflects on 30 Years
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – The secret to business longevity, said Al Cleinman, is knowledge.
“We had six people around the table the other day, and I realized that between them, they had 70 years of experience here,” he said. “We employ smart people.”
The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce honored Cleinman Performance Partners this morning with a luncheon celebrating their 30 years in Oneonta, building one of the leading business consultants for larger optometry practices.
“Al’s business acumen has been honed through the launching more than 20 businesses and scores of business services,” said Barbara Ann Heegan, president of the Otsego Chamber. “Today, Al continues to deliver innovative opportunities for independent eye care providers and the industry that serves them through his unmatched approach to business solutions.”
In 2009, the City invested $30,000 in a façade grant, and the county IDA – now Otsego 2000 – gave the company a loan for $100,000 to complete the effort. “When you add up our investments in the past decade, we’ve delivered $3.4 million in local investments, while importing over $30 million into Otsego County over the past decade. Now that’s a return on an investment!”
“You could have taken your business anywhere,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “But you didn’t. That tells us that Oneonta has the quality of life people are seeking, and businesses like yours help the people who want that quality of life get it so they can stay here. I don’t know who made the decision to invest that $30,000 from the city, but it paid off.”
In addition to running Cleinman Performance Partners, Cleinman has been active in local charities and beautification work, including the garden at the top of the Lettis Highway.
He also brought his message of a knowledge-based workforce to the Chamber’s Economic Summit. “You won’t find heavy equipment, industrial infrastructure or the environmental impact that goes with such operations,” said Cleinman. “We want to communicate the importance of knowledge-based businesses to our community.”
In addition to the plaque given to him by the Chamber, Cleinman also received a plaque from state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, in recognition of his contributions to economic development.
“In simple terms, Oneonta needs more Cleinman Performance Partners,” said Cleinman. “Knowledge-based businesses today represent about 29 percent of the world economy, but clearly our segment doesn’t receive 29 percent of public investment. I ask all members of the chamber, and our elected officials, to help challenge that.”