Member Story: Rachel Williams and Derek Carter of The Airport Diner

Potsdam resident returns to fulfill dream of opening a restaurant and is grateful for the support of Adirondack Regional Federal Credit Union.
Derek William The Airport Dinner Serving up Food


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Member Story: Rachel Williams and Derek Carter of The Airport DinerWhen Rachael Williams and her husband, Derek Carter, opened The Airport Diner in Potsdam last year, they fulfilled a long-held goal to open their own restaurant. 

As a locally owned place, they go out of their way to support other local businesses. They serve real maple syrup from a sugarhouse 15 minutes down the road. They buy cleaning supplies from a local vendor, even though it’s a little more expensive than ordering online. Some of their meat comes from a local butcher.

They do all that because the Williams-Carters understand: When you have a relationship with a local business, it means always having somebody nearby who can help when you need it. And they know that keeping their money in the community supports the people and places important to them.

And that’s why they’re members of the Adirondack Regional Federal Credit Union.

“I opened my first account with Adirondack Regional when I was 18,” says Rachael, who grew up in Canton. “My mom banked there, so I ended up banking there. We’ve known the staff the entire time, and we love the small community setting. You go in and they know you by name—it’s just a great place to bank.” 

Eventually, Rachael wound up in Dallas with Derek, who was originally from Arkansas. When they returned to Potsdam five years ago, drawn by the promise of being closer to family, Rachael came straight back to the credit union.

For Derek, who had previously been a customer of big, national banks, the difference didn’t take long to see.

“We’re in the restaurant industry, and we know what it’s like for someone to put on a show welcoming people—because everybody has bad days,” he says. “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen any of the staff at the Potsdam branch have a bad day. When you walk in and they say ‘How’s it going?’ it’s genuine.” 

“Joe and Makayley, they’re phenomenal,” Rachael adds. “And Carol, too. We would never want to bank anywhere else. You feel like they’re friends and family.”

Friends and family support each other. The diner donates to Potsdam-area schools. And the credit union does its part to give back, too—something that the Williamses appreciate. Part of that is through donations, such as to the Tri-Lakes Humane Society. Some are through our scholarship program, which awards $6,000 a year to area students. But even more comes from our day-to-day work, re-circulating the deposits we get in the form of personal loans and small business lending.

“To be able to keep that money local, especially in an area like ours that already struggles, it’s important to us,” Rachael says. “The fact that we’re able to feel like we’re helping even a little bit, making other people’s dreams come true—that’s huge.”

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