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How Do You Take Care of a Spotted Zebra? Ask The Anderson Group Property Management Co.

The Spotted Zebra wanted to run its center not worry about property management.

The Spotted Zebra Learning Center is a state-of-the-art, year-round, preschool program designed to prepare children of all abilities for kindergarten and the state’s high learning standards. The learning center and its programs, formerly located on Kross Keys Drive in Albany, became so popular that they simply ran out of room. So executive director, Sheri Townsend, began the search for a larger facility.

property management

Back: Jane Schulke, bookkeeper; Jason Ford, activities coordinator; Matthew Ryan, director of programs
Front: Sheri Townsend, executive director; Shannon Harmon, director of special education programs

In 2013, the organization found one, purchasing the building at 26 Computer Drive, just off of Wolf Road. In doing so, the learning center increased its usable space from 4,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet.

“Our new building is three times the size of our old one,” Townsend says. “It gives us an opportunity to grow our services and meet our families’ and community’s needs.”

She says their old space was near a very busy road. The new space, however, has a yard for children to play in and is located on a dead end that abuts a quiet, residential neighborhood. Townsend says she likes that their location on Computer Drive makes the facility more centrally located to major highways. The Spotted Zebra draws students from around the Capital Region, from a 25-mile radius throughout the Capital Region.

And although The Spotted Zebra owns their building, they turn to The Anderson Group to manage it. The Anderson Group provides The Spotted Zebra with everything from housekeeping services and grounds maintenance to HVAC, electrical and plumbing services.

“We shopped around when we were searching for a property management company. As an agency, we need to follow the three-bid rule,” Townsend explains. “We put out a request for proposals. The Anderson Group’s proposal was the most comprehensive, and all of their client feedback was positive.”

As property managers, Townsend says The Anderson Group goes above and beyond.

“The Anderson Group is responsive morning, noon and night. Whenever I send an email or text, they respond immediately. Whenever we have an emergency issue, they are here very quickly,” Townsend says. “They are very meticulous. We are never left un-served.”

For more information about The Spotted Zebra Learning Center, visit their website or call (518) 438-4800. For more information about The Anderson Group’s property management services, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or




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Office space leaser, beware: How well do you know your commercial landlord?

office space landlordIf you’ve ever leased office space, you know how important your background is to a prospective landlord. They often want to know your income, credit score, and the contact information of several people who can vouch for you.

But did you ever think to turn the tables on a prospective landlord? When you’re entering into a commercial lease, it’s a good idea to spend some time researching the person or company from whom you’ll be renting, because their reputation should be every bit as important to you as yours is to them.

What you should know

Here are some basics you’ll want to know about your commercial landlord or property manager before your business moves in.

  • Who is the landlord?

It may seem like an obvious question, but it’s one that shouldn’t go unasked. Who is the individual (or who are the individuals) behind the name? Are they local or are they “managing” your property from afar? Will you be dealing with a bank, an large corporation, or an actual person? And will they, or a representative, be immediately accessible in the event of an emergency? Doing a little digging on who – and where – your landlord is can save you a lot of hassle down the line.

  • How does your landlord rate on office maintenance and repair?

This question applies to proactive and reactive maintenance and repair work. As you walk through the property, you should take notes. Does the landlord keep systems and machinery in good working order? Are the parking lots well maintained and well lit? Is the interior clean, attractive and odor free? A landlord that takes pride in his or her office buildings preserves their value, builds stronger landlord-tenant relations, and ultimately adds credibility to your business.

  • How does your landlord stand in the community?

Good news may travel fast, but bad news travels faster. That’s why it’s good to know what others think and say about your prospective landlord. Does the landlord have a reputation for being fair and honest with his/her commercial tenants? Do they attract the kinds of businesses you want to be associated with? Are they active in professional organizations, charities and volunteer efforts in your community? Their involvement in and contribution to your community shows they care about making it better and stronger for those who work in it.

How you can find out about your prospective landlord

There are many ways to get the skinny on commercial landlords and property managers. Here are a few of the easiest and least expensive.

  • Contact local business organizations

Check with your local chamber of commerce and your regional Better Business Bureau and see if there have been any problems with or complaints against your prospective landlord.

  • Conduct a good “old-fashioned” Google search

If you haven’t already, fire up the computer and do an online search on your prospective landlord and your prospective new office address. Look for articles, reviews and ratings on the property or owner. Whether they’re good or bad, they’re sure to tell you an awful lot.

  • Interview current tenants

Before you sign a lease, interview the experts – that is, your prospective landlord’s current tenants. Let them know you’re considering space in the building, and ask them questions about repairs, parking, rent, fees, and responsiveness. Existing corporate tenants might have sage advice to offer you before you make a decision.

Good landlords not only won’t mind that you’re doing a little pre-deal fact checking, they’ll expect you to do a little pre-deal fact checking.

“We have a fairly comprehensive sit-down with all of our prospective tenants. It’s as much about them learning all about us as it is us learning all about them,” says Andy Anderson, partner at The Anderson Group. “We encourage questions and we will gladly help facilitate conversations with new and longstanding tenants. Reputable commercial landlords and property management companies have nothing to hide.”

The Anderson Group helps keep your small business running. For information about The Anderson Group or available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or



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Going up? Why elevator maintenance is important in your office building.

You’re in a hurry, and the elevator is slow. So you do what any normal person in a rush would do: You punch the up button repeatedly, hoping it will speed up the process. In your heart of hearts, you know it does nothing. But it sure feels good.

In the big scheme of first-world work problems, slow or out-of-order elevators rank pretty high. After all, time is money, and for better or for worse, today’s workforce expects instant gratification.elevator maintenance

So what’s a tenant to expect, and what’s a building owner to do? Routine maintenance and constant assessment.

“A healthy elevator system is critical to the safety and productivity of a building’s tenants, whether it’s a commercial building or a residential building,” says Dave Eck, maintenance manager at The Anderson Group. “We are vigilant about checking elevator function in our office buildings, and we know that sometimes the only option is full replacement of a system. It’s a big investment, but well worth it in terms of safety, efficiency, and peace of mind.”

The Anatomy of an Elevator

Like the human body, an elevator has hundreds of parts that must be maintained to prevent excessive wear and breakdown. Failure to do so can negatively impact everything from elevator response time and door operation to lighting, alarms and intercoms.

Although only properly trained and licensed elevator technicians should perform maintenance and tests on elevator equipment, good property managers and owners should periodically ride building elevators and compare their functions with manufacturer’s specifications to evaluate their performance. This is important not only to ensure tenant safety and satisfaction, but also because an elevator is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in a building—at initial purchase and throughout the elevator’s lifespan.

Elevator Care and Maintenance

Here are a few important things to keep in mind when you own or lease a building with elevators:

  1. Plan ahead. Elevator maintenance is governed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, which requires facilities to have a written maintenance control program for its elevator systems. The point? To help ensure that building owners and managers create a regular maintenance schedule and stick to it to avoid preventable accidents. Check with your building owner and make sure he or she has a plan in place. If you own a building, be sure to get your plan in place before you need it.
  1. Be proactive. When you inspect and service your elevators on an ongoing basis, you run less risk of breakdowns and tenant complaints. Moving into an office building with elevators? Ask your property manager or landlord how old your elevators are and how often they are inspected. If you can, ask other building tenants how they’d rate the building’s elevator service and maintenance. Out-of-service elevators inconvenience tenants. Proactive maintenance can increase tenant satisfaction and extend the lifespan of your investment.
  1. Hire qualified contractors. Elevator repair is among the most dangerous jobs in the construction industry. Make sure that anyone and everyone servicing your elevators is educated and licensed in elevator repair. Having trouble finding certified elevator technicians in your area? The National Association of Elevator Contractors can help you find reliable elevator contractors in your area.
  1. Know the signs. Many building owners and managers don’t know or recognize the symptoms of an aging or malfunctioning elevator system early enough to avoid disruptive and expensive issues. Some issues are obvious, such as elevator downtime, increased service calls, and slow operation chief among them. Other issues, such as inefficient/high energy use, inconsistent power quality, and overheating, aren’t so obvious. And remember: Even well maintained elevators eventually need to be updated or replaced.
  1. Listen to your tenants. If you own or manage a building with an elevator, there’s one foolproof way to know if something is wrong with it: Your tenants will complain. And then their customers will complain. And when a poorly maintained elevator impacts their bottom line, it will impact yours, as well. Take tenant complaints seriously, and contact your contractor if you see, hear, or feel anything suspicious outside of your regular maintenance schedule. A service call is always cheaper than an accident.

Extending Your Elevator’s Useful Life

Elevators are standard in nearly every office building in the United States, and unless they’re malfunctioning, the millions of people who use them every day don’t give them a thought. Building owners and managers can help keep it that way—and save the headache and expense of repeat service calls or accidents—by establishing and executing a care and maintenance plan that doesn’t just address problems as they happen, but keeps things running smoothly between checkups.

The Anderson Group helps keep your small business running. For information about available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or




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Office Temperature Check: Keeping your office cool when it’s hot outside.

office temperatureHere in upstate New York, temperatures and humidity levels can fluctuate wildly from one day to the next. This summer has already been a case in point—a heat wave one week and temps in the 60s the next.

Office temperatures have a powerful impact on employee productivity and performance. Researchers from Cornell University found that employees committed 44% more errors when office temperatures were cold than when they were warm

So what’s the best way to keep cool—or at least stay comfortable—those 8+ hours a day you’re at work? Start knowing this: You can’t please everyone. While one employee fans herself with a piece of paper, another is reaching for a sweater. Here are five quick and easy tips for keeping your employees happy and your office comfortable when temperatures flare.

  1. Layer up.

Hot? Cold? Be prepared either way by wearing layers. If you’re a business owner, consider implementing a casual dress code during the summer months so employees can leave the suits and ties at home in favor of lighter options.

  1. Stay hydrated.

“The rule of thumb is, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated,” says Dr. Irvin Sulapas, sports medicine physician and assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor University. When you’re dehydrated, you can become sleepy, irritable and confused. Dehydration can even lead to headaches and dizziness. Provide an office water cooler and encourage employees to use it by giving them company water bottles.

  1. Tune up and turn on.

Open windows and air conditioning don’t mix. In fact, it’s a combo that can wreak havoc on your employee comfort and your energy bill. Keep the cool air inside and the hot air outside by properly maintaining your air conditioning unit from coil to filter. This small measure helps ensure your AC unit runs efficiently and effectively throughout the summer months.

  1. Switch off and cool down.

We can sum this one up in one word: unplug. Unused and obsolete office machinery not only increases your energy bill, but also increases your office temperature. Unplug unused equipment and ask employees to turn off computers when they leave for the night. (Sleep mode still uses energy and contributes to office warming.)

  1. Use high-efficiency lighting.

Incandescent bulbs radiate heat and add to your bottom line during peak energy usage months. When you switch to high-efficiency lighting, such as LEDs, you’ll use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent. In addition, high-efficiency lights last as much as 25 times longer than traditional bulbs.

As summer kicks into high gear, you might also consider getting an office energy audit—an expert assessment of how much energy your office consumes and measures you can take to make it more energy efficient.

“An energy audit is a good first step in making your office more comfortable, not just in the summer months, but all year long,” says Dave Eck, maintenance manager for The Anderson Group. “When employers implement audit recommendations, they often see lower utility bills and more comfortable and productive employees during months with extreme temperatures in either direction.”



The Anderson Group helps keep your small business in great shape. For information about energy efficiency or available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or

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What does your landscaping say about your business?

what does your landscpaing say about your business

Poor landscaping reflects on your business.

We’ve all heard the adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” but that’s not entirely true. When you pull up to a business with an overgrown lawn, damaged pavement or unruly shrubs strewn with litter, you’ve judged…and you’ve likely judged correctly.

When you own or run a business, first impressions go far beyond a friendly receptionist and professional décor. They start the minute your customers drive up to your building and get out of their cars—or the minute potential customers drive past and notice your building. What does your building say to visitors and passers-by? If you’re on top of your commercial landscaping, it says “professional,” “doing well,” and “proud.” If landscaping and property maintenance aren’t on your radar, you might be telling customers all the wrong things.

“Your customers’ first impression of your business can also be their last,” says Dave Eck, maintenance manager at The Anderson Group. “Nice landscaping and clean grounds can be an indirect statement about your company’s attention to detail,” says Eck.

External Affairs

Property maintenance is more than running a vacuum and repairing a leaky roof. It’s also taking care of your property on the outside…year round. It can be a full-time job, as each season brings its own challenges. In the winter, you need to be sure your walkways and parking lots are clear of ice and snow. In the spring, you’ll be cleaning up sticks, leaves and other debris, as well as weeding, planting, and mulching. Summer brings endless outdoor responsibilities, from fertilization and irrigation, to weeding, pruning and insect and disease control. And fall? That means cutting back perennials, raking and preparing your landscaping for winter.

An attractive landscape plan doesn’t need to involve a truckload of gardeners and a bottomless bank account, but it will be a labor of love well worth the time and investment. A neat landscape not only beautifies your business, but it can also contribute to employee and visitor safety when it comes to nicely paved surfaces and proper lighting.

Think Outside the Box

Own your own building? If you have the time to install and maintain your commercial landscaping yourself, great! Many landscaping professionals do, however, recommend investing in a professional plan to ensure that the selected plants, shrubs, trees and flowers work with your soil type and sun/shade ratio. A professional plan can also help you figure out which plant types and colors complement your building, signage, and desired maintenance schedule.

Don’t have time to handle landscaping plans and maintenance yourself? Source qualified landscapers with commercial landscaping experience from local nurseries and garden centers. Most offer weekly, bi-weekly or monthly maintenance plans as well as landscape planning and installation.

Last but not least, if you rent or lease space in a commercial building, talk to your landlord or property management company if your building’s landscaping isn’t up to par. but also attract more tenants to their buildings.

“Good property management companies and building owners recognize that first impressions make for happy tenants, not only in terms of tenant morale, but also in terms of attracting customers to their businesses,” Eck says. “Those first impressions also attract new tenants to the building. Attractive and well-maintained landscaping is a win for everyone involved.”



The Anderson Group helps keep your small business in great shape. For information about available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or



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