The Cantine Field pavilion in Saugerties became the center of a mini-amusement park on Sunday, September 5, as the Sawyer Savings Bank held its 150th anniversary celebration. The event was open to the public, whether they were bank customers or not, and featured a tossing game, a dartboard, several slides and “bouncy-houses,” a large obstacle course, a photo booth and trivia contest, along with food provided by Brooks BBQ and fried dough supplied by Saugerties Little League.
The celebration was simply to recognize the impressive landmark of 150 years in business, said bank CEO Doug Sturgis. The bank first opened in 1871. It was the Saugerties Savings Bank until1973, when it changed its name to Sawyer Savings Bank. “I think that’s about the time they started expanding outside of Saugerties,” he said. In fact, the bank is continuing its expansion; “we just opened a new branch in New Paltz [at Woodland Pond] two weeks ago,” he said.
“We were proud of our history and we wanted to celebrate,” Sturgis said. “We probably would have done it earlier in the year if it weren’t for Covid.”
In an interview with Justin Foy of WDST Radio Woodstock, broadcast live from the celebration, Vice President of Customer Experience Jenn Gutheil-Denier contrasted banking in 1871, when customers drove horses and buggies to the bank, with today’s technology, where people may do their banking on a smart phone,” and never actually come to the bank.
When Foy said 150 years is a long time for any business to endure, Gutheil-Denier acknowledged the bank had seen hard times, “but they always came through. However, if it weren’t for the people of Saugerties, Marlboro, Highland and New Paltz, the bank may not be here.”
The Sawyer Savings Bank has always given back to the community, “but for its150th year, the bank will be donating $150,000 to local not-for-profits,” Gutheil-Denier said.