Startups

In the power-conversion business, it’s who you know

By GREGORY ZELLER // A six-year-old power play and its three-year-old sister startup are providing something truly unique on Long Island – a two-headed engineering enterprise with the ability to empower the powerless. That could have many interpretations, but it takes a fairly literal spin at Unique Technical Services, a 2012 launch and member of Stony Brook University’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, and Smithtown-based Unique Electric Solutions, that slightly younger sibling. With a…

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Getting the Drop on new co-working spaces

By GREGORY ZELLER // Long Island’s intriguing co-working marketplace is growing again, in more ways than one. Bridgeworks founder Graham Beck is already an entrepreneurial innovator in the regional co-working game: He’s the founder of the Long Beach shared-office campus, a 2016 startup for early-stage business owners (and established professionals) looking to mix surf and sand with their sporadic workspace requirements. Now, Beck – who’s already doubled Bridgeworks’ size and is deep into planning a…


The case of the $2M (and counting) stay-home dad

By GREGORY ZELLER // Philip Smith follows plenty of leads. It makes sense the Port Jefferson native and lifelong Suffolk County resident would land in the lead-generation business. Smith is a true entrepreneurial detective, more apt to study a problem than to charge ahead, always picking up clues to unravel the bigger mystery. It’s evident throughout his tactical business career. After earning an online degree from the University of Phoenix, the then-23-year-old started his first…


In $2 million startup, 11,000 wines and one full circle

By GREGORY ZELLER // As the latest cog in a multistate corporate wheel likely to spin past $3 billion in revenue next year, Total Wine Spirits & More is not your typical startup, for Westbury or anywhere else. And it’s not particularly innovative – though actually it is, contorting Maryland-based Total Wine & More’s proven formula (170-something stores and counting) to squeeze through New York State’s regulatory hoops (more below). But if the megalithic retailer…


A co-working facility for mom and pop, literally

By GREGORY ZELLER // From Albany’s corridors of power to the local co-working facility’s unassuming cubicle, there’s plenty of support for the little guy. Entrepreneurs can leverage the overhead-cutting benefits of a shared-office environment, the tax-cutting delights of a Startup NY-type incentives program and a dozen other concerted efforts designed specifically to boost their startups. But these socioeconomic engines largely stall when it comes to one fairly common truth about risk-taking business-starters: They’re often thirtysomething…


After curing what ailed it, ‘TopDoc’ startup soars

By GREGORY ZELLER // And you thought medical school took forever. It’s been 10 long years since husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Anthony Casimano and Siobhan O’Grady launched their online appointment-setting service for local doctors and dentists. But it was just three years ago that the floundering startup found its path, thanks to some skilled digital programmers and an evolved business plan. Built around a proprietary, comprehensive and free public database featuring 1 million-plus board-certified providers, FindaTopDoc.com is…


At Port Jeff comics shop, doing the time warp, again

By GREGORY ZELLER // Holy old school! In a digital era decidedly defined by screens large and small, a forward-thinking entrepreneur is turning back the clock by inviting customers to turn actual pages. At a minimum, un-caped crusader Joshua Darbee is turning heads at Red Shirt Comics, a relative newcomer that’s already feeling right at home in downtown Port Jefferson. Since opening in May, the friendly neighborhood industrialist has made plenty of fans, attracted precisely…