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Young entrepreneurs bet on Sullivan County

Charles Marinaro

By Fritz Mayer
March 15, 2012

MONTICELLO, NY — As befits a new company that’s all about promoting its clients, the office of the new company “The Client’s Advocate” was designed with an eye focused on style and image: the sleek, spare, glass-topped desks adorned with over-sized chess pieces look as if they would be found in Soho or in a scene from some trendy TV show. But these desks are located on St. John Sreet in Monticello, where the founders have hung out their shingle offering video production and resume services and just about everything in between.

The three founders are young, and attending college, but this is their passion. At a visit to the office on March 12, co-founder Christopher Gomez said he and co-founder Charles Marinaro started a local record company together, and the photography, video and promotion business takes their activity one step further. He said one of the reasons the company was started was to give local youths something to look up to. “If three young entrepreneurs can start a business, why can’t anyone else?” As an extra inspiration for locals seeking to get a business going, these three entrepreneurs are home grown: Marinaro grew up in Monticello, Cohen grew up in Liberty, and Gomez moved from NYC to Monticello at age 14.

But is there enough promotional business in Sullivan County to support a business like The Client’s Advocate? Marinaro said, “Sullivan County is the perfect place for self promotion.” He said there are not only a lot of people that could benefit from promotion, but also a lot of local artists that could use their services.

Co-founder Melissa Cohen reiterated the fact that there are plenty of potential customers here, and singled out photography. She said, “There are other photographers in the area, and if you look at our pricing and what we offer, we beat out all competition.”

The economy is still weak in Sullivan County and the rest of the country, but the founders have minimized the risk by not taking out big loans to launch the company. Marinaro said, “We put all of our fun money together for this.” “Money we would use for vacations and the like,” Gomez added. Also, the three, who are friends outside of the business, have other jobs.