Guests wander from the not-so-warm night into the dimly lit bar. Some gather around the pool tables, while even more gather round the bar. The entire bar, bathrooms included, is covered in quirky decorations and odd graffiti. The center hosts a console covered with what looks like hundreds of knobs that control volume, bass, treble, etc, etc. More and more people make their way to the back of the bar where a stage is located. They’re here for a show and the men that will put it on have made Mechanicville their launching pad.
Recently, a small business grant allowed people to start new businesses in Mechanicville. New businesses that the city of Mechanicville has never had the like of before. That is the case for The CKMJ Group, a new media and marketing company.
“We help businesses create content for the online medium,” said Michael Murphy, co-owner of The CKMJ Group. “That includes building their websites, helping and maintain content for their social media pages, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, foursquare, Pinterest, all those avenues. In addition to that we also do film work and photography work and we are also able to record artists in our studios.”
Located on 211 Park Ave, The CKMJ Group occupies the second floor of a building that at one point was a bank and at another a Masonic Temple. Now it is home to the offices of owners Murphy and Cole Charbonneau who offer one of the unique, new businesses that have arrived to Mechanicville.
Winding up the staircases and through unoccupied offices of the brick building on Park, the sound of music rippling through the walls created a rhythmic bread crumb trail to The CKMJ office door.
Ushered in by Murphy, I walked past the recording booth. I took a few seconds to take it all in. It’s a familiar sight and nothing out of the ordinary about it, white walls, a mic, the basics. Here, though, in this city there seems to be an almost alien, exotic quality about it. Some monolithic energy radiated off it, it was the bringer of something new to this city.
Getting myself together and surrounded by performers for the show later that night, I asked Mike if The CKMJ Group occupies the entire floor or if it was just the offices here. He at first responded with a grin.
“That,” Murphy said with a wry smile and chuckle, “that is motivation.”
They are young and have a shark-like hunger to succeed. They sure are heading in that direction, with a number of projects lined up to keep them busy.
“Right now, we have a couple customers in the city of Mechanicville,” said Murphy. “We are working extensively with the Connors Agency and the Ugly Rooster Cafe. Those are the two that we’ve been recently working with and helping build out their social networks. Aside from that, on the music side of things, we just finished up Dao Jones’ (Charbonneau’s rapper alter ego) latest musical project and we’re in the process of promoting that, marketing that to his audience.”
Murphy is optimistic about the future, not just for his and Charbonneau’s venture but for the city itself. The inner workings of The CKMJ pulse with a fresh, go-getting attitude that may be the proverbial shot in the arm that causes momentous changes.
“With the other projects the city is putting together, this could become the center of the city once again,” said Murphy. “And we’re just looking forward to that. We’re happy to get in on the ground floor to the rejuvenation of Mechanicville.”
Later that night, The CKMJ Group hosted a show. In between rounds of Blonde-On-Blonde ales, we witnessed young, independent rappers from all over New York State take center stage. They shredded their names their parents bestowed upon them at birth, replacing them with aliases, nicknames, guerrilla superhero-like nom-de-plumes under which they spun garish tales. This is youth in revolt of trying to break the dull cycle. It is trying to better something with that maniac energy Murphy and Charbonneau hope to apply to their business and create a better future, not for themselves, but for the city that has helped them along their path.
“Kind of growing up and going out and seeing those different things and coming back, it kind of gives us a different perspective on things,” said Murphy. “Now we are able to understand that there is potential here. You have good people…that are really working to make this city fresh and young. I think in the near future things will change and we’re just happy to part of that.”