Your BottomLine Text Version

SeaComm Business Newsletter

3rd Edition 2022


While traveling through the North Country, you have undoubtedly found yourself needing to refuel your vehicle, yourself, or both; therefore, it is likely that you may have been a patron at a Parkway Express convenience store along the way.

Parkway was established by Schiel Wood, Greg Wood, Wade Wood and Gerald McDonald, who were all born and raised in St. Lawrence County. The Parkway team knew they wanted to be self-employed and when the opportunity presented itself, they jumped at the chance to purchase the former Agway building in Ogdensburg. From there, the Parkway enterprise came to life. The team opened their first convenience store on September 1, 1988.

In addition to their original location, they have since grown their company to now include 6 stores. Today, you can find Parkway in Lisbon, Ogdensburg, Canton, Potsdam, Waddington, and Raymondville. Come spring 2023, the Parkway team will open its newest location, Parkway Express in Malone. They will be breaking ground on the new location in September of this year. They will also acquire an additional location in September of this year to make it 8 locations.

As the Parkway team continues to develop new locations, Schiel mentions several factors they take into consideration. “We try and partner with Tim Hortons and Valero whenever possible. Tim Hortons is a great attraction…it gives us that edge to get additional business to our site,” he states. Each Parkway Express location also features multiple services, including fuel stations, and a quick service restaurant called “Not Just Sandwiches”. They also carry an extensive selection of snacks and beverages. “We’re doing a lot more than your typical convenience store,” adds Schiel.

In discussing the company’s strategy, Schiel mentions their number one focus is to “take care of their customers in the best way possible.” The “customer experience” at Parkway, is key to attracting people and ensuring they return. In order to do this, Parkway employs approximately 150 full and part-time staff throughout their multiple locations. Another important objective, per Schiel, is taking care of their employees. Parkway has a great retirement plan, multiple health care packages and growth opportunities.

“In order for your employees to take care of your customers, you have to take care of them as well,” he emphasized. Having a good work culture and maintaining a happy work environment directly impacts the desired service Parkway provides to its customers. Their goal is to have bright and clean stores, with a team of friendly staff prepared to assist.

As the Parkway team looks to the future, Schiel stated they want to make sure they have the proper controls and environment in place to handle the growth they have experienced over the last few years. “In the next 6 months, we will be rolling out new software in our convenience stores. It will give us the tools to not only operate, but analyze the data and make sure we’re putting the proper products in place throughout our stores,” he explained. “It is also our hope to add a loyalty card for our customers that will earn them points when they shop at our stores that in turn will be used towards future purchases.” With the implementation of new software and making sure the current locations continue to run as smooth as possible, the Parkway team is prepared for a busy but successful year ahead.

When it comes to their relationship with SeaComm, Parkway has been a proud member for nearly 20 years. “SeaComm does a great job taking care of us. They’ve helped us grow as well,” he stated. Schiel, Greg, Wade and Gerald have worked closely with SeaComm’s Member Business Lending team and stated, “We appreciate everything SeaComm does for us.”

On your next road trip through the North Country, make it a point to visit one of the various Parkway locations and experience the outstanding service for yourself. While refueling your vehicle, don’t forget to enjoy a hot cup of coffee from Tim Hortons or a quick snack from the Not Just Sandwiches restaurant, as they offer more than sandwich fare; including pizza, quesadillas, salads, hamburgers, hot dogs, and more.

Manager's Notebook

What Are Stock Buybacks and Why Do Companies Use Them?

If you happen to read the Wall Street Journal or other finance journalism, you've probably seen stories about companies buying back their own stock. Curious why organizations would buy their own shares? Turns out, buybacks offer a variety of benefits for both companies and shareholders.

Stock buybacks have increased substantially in recent years, both in terms of the number of companies buying back and the total amount invested. Before the turn of the millennium, roughly 30 percent of U.S. firms were engaging in stock buybacks, yet over the past few years, more than half have, according to S&P Global. In 1996, these firms spent less than $200 billion on buybacks, but by 2018, spending approached $1 trillion.

Companies buy back stocks for myriad reasons, although at the end of the day, the aim is to benefit shareholders and the company itself. With economics, supply and demand are crucial. When a company buys back stock, it increases demand for their shares, creating upward pressure. At the same time, as the company purchases stock, it often decreases the amount of shares available in the stock market.

Buying back shares can also signal to investors at-large that the company is confident in its position. If internal leaders were worried that a firm's share prices were set to decline, they likely wouldn't buy stocks, as doing so would rack up losses.

Often, when stocks are bought back, they disappear, absorbed into the company, resulting in fewer shares outstanding. As a result, shareholders who still own shares may see their ownership increase. Sometimes, companies will keep the shares and then sell them to raise capital.

Meanwhile, companies often want to avoid having too much cash on their books. Generally, investors like to see funds put to good use, not wasting away. Stock buybacks offer companies a straightforward way to use money while adding value to shareholders.

"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." - John D. Rockefeller

Into the Metaverse: The Virtual Future

If you follow tech news, you may have heard the term metaverse tossed around in recent months. In October 2021, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram rebranded itself as Meta. Meanwhile, other companies, big and small, have been pouring investments into the metaverse. Wondering what that means? Let's dig in.

The metaverse was first coined by Neil Stevenson in his 1982 classic novel "Snowcrash." Before the Internet even went mainstream, Stevenson envisioned a world where society was connected by large data networks and gadgets. In Stevenson's novel, people could use virtual reality and avatars to step into the metaverse -- essentially a massive online environment where you could create avatars to go on dates, hit up clubs and generally live life.

Technology in the early 1980s was a long way from making the metaverse a reality. But now, high-speed internet connections, 5G, VR headsets and various other technologies are helping turn the metaverse from fiction to fact.

In line with this, Meta is expanding from 2-D social networks, like Facebook and Instagram, into immersive experiences. As the company put it during the rebranding: "The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today's online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together -- and do things together you couldn't do in the physical world."

Meta/Facebook isn't alone in investing in the metaverse. Microsoft, Google and other big companies are exploring meta concepts and many startups are also emerging to offer related products and services.

Want to see what the metaverse might look like? Reading "Snowcrash" is a great start. You can also check out the book "Ready Player One" (or check out the film adaptation) to see a fleshed-out virtual reality-powered metaverse. What will the real-world metaverse become? Only time will tell, but some believe it could be as revolutionary as the internet itself.

Quick Tip:

Keep your finances in check while on the move with SeaComm’s Mobile Branch, which offers access to account balances, mobile deposit capture, travel notices and more. Download the app on the Apple App Store or get it on Google Play!

Find more financial tips at

Onboarding Boosts Productivity & Effectiveness

Keeping employees on staff can prove difficult. Effective onboarding, however, may increase retention by more than 80 percent while boosting new hire productivity by 50 percent, according to the Brandon Hall group.

Unfortunately, Gallup found that just 12 percent of employees felt strongly that their company did a great job onboarding. For everyone else, work remains to be done. And given that half of all employees end up leaving within 18 months, according to SHRM, onboarding could make or break your organization.

Of course, recognizing a problem is different from solving one. So how can organizations build an onboarding process that educates new hires, boosts productivity and reduces employee turnover? New hire training requires more than a few general meetings and PowerPoint presentations. One-on-one time is vital, with nearly 90 percent of companies reporting that buddy programs speed up productivity, according to

The process of training an employee is often the focus of many onboarding efforts. It's also necessary to explain why certain tasks are important. Why are processes set up this way? How do customers make their journey and why do they buy your product or service? Pulling back the curtains provides clarity. And if at any point a new hire has questions, they should have a contact person on staff who they can turn to for mentorship.

You also want to promote your company's culture during the onboarding process. Organizations should have set standards made clear from the get-go for how to treat fellow employees, for example. You can also reinforce your organization's values and purpose during training, but make sure you walk the walk.

And don't fret oversharing, at least, not with business processes. You might share customer inquiries, showing a new hire how you handled an issue. Or you could explain something that seems tedious or even commonsense. But what's obvious to a practiced hand may not be for a new team member.


Main Office

30 Stearns Street
Massena, NY 13662

Malone Branch

3349 Route 11
Malone, NY 12953

Potsdam Branch

6 Sisson Street
Potsdam, NY 13676

Canton Branch

101 East Main Street
Canton, NY 13617

Ogdensburg Branch

3001 Ford Street Extension
Ogdensburg, NY 13669

Plattsburgh Branch

139 Smithfield Blvd
Plattsburgh, NY 12901

South Burlington Branch

1680 Shelburne Rd
So. Burlington, VT 05401

Essex Branch

125 Carmichael Street
Essex, VT 05452

Watertown Branch

605 Coffeen Street
Watertown, NY 13601

Branch Managers

Joanne Langdon

30 Stearns St. Branch Manager

Christine Marshall

Malone Branch Manager

Barbara Bessette

Canton Branch Manager

Elizabeth LeValley

Ogdensburg Branch Manager

Ashley Allen

Potsdam Branch Manager

Yvonne Alterie

AVP Regional Manager/Plattsburgh Branch Manager

Leslie Bush

Watertown Branch Manager

Joseph Feltz

Essex Branch Manager

Larry Bridglal

South Burlington Branch Manager

Business Development

Jerry Manor

Business Development Manager

Craig Chevalier

Member Business Loan Manager

Christina Smutz

Member Business Loan Officer

315-764-0566 / 800-764-0566

Let us Spotlight your business!

We are proud of our business members and want to share your story! Contact Jerry Manor for more information. Call (315) 764-0566 or toll-free (800) 764-0566 or email


30 Stearns St
Massena, NY 13662

*This publication does not constitute legal, accounting or other profesional advice. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither the publisher nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this material.