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July 21, 2017 - 1:19pm

Press release:

As the proud sponsor the 11th annual Genesee County Mega Blood Drive, Tompkins Bank of Castile is calling on all eligible donors to give blood on Tuesday, Aug. 1 from noon to 7 p.m. at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia. It is located at 8200 Park Road.

“Tompkins Bank of Castile has been a proud sponsor and supporter of the annual blood drive in Batavia for years,” said Gregg McAllister, VP, Marketing Communications, Tompkins Bank Of Castile. “This year’s blood drive comes at a time when the Red Cross is facing a critical blood shortage, which makes donations more important than ever.

"This is an opportunity for everyone in our community who is able to do so, to make a blood donation so patients can continue to receive the lifesaving treatments they need.”

According to the Red Cross, the shortage of blood donations may lead to delays in urgent medical care to vulnerable patients. Blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, and more donations are needed now to replenish the blood supply. According to the Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, and approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day nationwide.

The blood drive will also honor the area’s everyday heroes with the second annual “Battle of the Badges” competition for first responders such as Mercy EMS, Batavia City Fire Department, Town of Batavia Fire Department, State Troopers, Batavia City Police and the Sheriff’s Office.

However, donors don’t need to be a first responder to participate in the blood drive on Aug. 1, and walk-ins are welcome. All those who donate can do so to honor our local first responders, and all participants will receive a Target e-gift card.

To make an appointment to donate to the blood drive, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org.

July 21, 2017 - 11:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Tompkins Bank of Castile.

Press release:

Tompkins Financial Corporation (NYSEMKT:TMP) reported net income of $16.9 million for the second quarter of 2017, an increase of 14.1% from the $14.8 million reported for the same period in 2016. Year to date net income was $32.6 million, an increase of $3.6 million, up 12.2% over the same period in 2016.

Diluted earnings per share were $1.11 for the second quarter of 2017, up 13.3% over the second quarter of 2016. For the year-to-date period ended June 30, 2017, diluted earnings per share were $2.13, up 11.5% over the same period in 2016.

President and CEO, Stephen S. Romaine said, “It is especially rewarding to show strong performance through the first half of 2017, while our team was also focused on a conversion of our core banking system, which was successfully completed in May of this year. Improved net interest income, which was supported by solid loan growth over the prior year, has been the primary driver of improved earnings performance in 2017.”

SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS FOR SECOND QUARTER AND YEAR TO DATE:

  • ●  Diluted earnings per share of $1.11 for the second quarter represented a 13.3% increase over the same period last year, while year-to-date diluted earnings per share of $2.13 reflect the best earnings through the first six months of any year in our Company’s history.

  • ●  Quarterly returns on average assets and average equity of 1.07% and 11.85%, respectively, are at their highest levels since June 2015

  • ●  Net interest margin improved for the second consecutive quarter and is at its highest level since March 2015.

  • ●  Total loans of $4.4 billion were up 11.1% over the same period in 2016; and are up 3.8% over December 31, 2016.

  • ●  Total deposits of $4.8 billion reflect an increase of 6.3% over the same period last year, and are up 2.7% from December 31, 2016.

    NET INTEREST INCOME

    Net interest income of $50.3 million for the second quarter of 2017 increased by $5.4 million, or 12.0% compared to the same period in 2016. For the year-to-date period, net interest income was $98.3 million, up $9.4 million, or 10.6% from the same six-month period in 2016.

    Net interest income benefited from growth in average loans and deposits. Average loans were up $467.1 million, or 12.2% in the first six months of 2017, versus the same period in 2016. Average deposits were up $260.3 million, or 5.8% in the first six months of 2017, versus the same period in 2016. Certain loans benefited from higher short term interest rates in 2017, resulting in an improved net interest margin in 2017. For the second quarter of 2017, net interest margin improved to 3.45%, compared to 3.38% in the first quarter of 2017, and 3.36% in the second quarter of 2016.

    NONINTEREST INCOME

    Noninterest income represented 25.8% of total revenues in the second quarter of 2017, compared to 27.6% in the same period in 2016, and 26.4% for the most recent prior quarter. Noninterest income of $17.5 million was up 2.1% compared to the same period last year. Declines in insurance commissions and fees, and gains on the sale of available-for-sale securities during the quarter were offset by improved card services income, which included approximately $500,000 of volume based incentives related to our branding agreement with MasterCard. Other income for the second quarter was up $379,000 from the same quarter in 2016. The improvement included approximately $130,000 of recoveries of nonaccrued interest on loans previously charged off.

    NONINTEREST EXPENSE

    Noninterest expense was $41.6 million for the second quarter of 2017, up $2.2 million, or 5.5%, over the second quarter of 2016. For the year-to-date period, noninterest expense was $82.9 million, up $4.0 million, or 5.1%, from the same period in

2016. The increase in noninterest expense for both the second quarter and year-to-date periods was mainly due to higher salaries and benefits. Expenses for the quarter also included $411,000 of expense related to our recently completed core system conversion, compared to $262,000 in the quarter ended March 31, 2017, and $76,000 in the quarter ended June 30, 2017.

ASSET QUALITY

Asset quality trends remained strong in the second quarter of 2017. Nonperforming assets represented 0.36% of total assets at June 30, 2017, unchanged from December 31, 2016, and up slightly from 0.32% at June 30, 2016. Nonperforming

asset levels continue to be well below the most recent Federal Reserve Board Peer Group Average1 of 0.55%.

Provision for loan and lease losses was $976,000 for the second quarter of 2017, which was in line with the second quarter of 2016. Net recoveries for the second quarter of 2017 were $15,000 compared to net charge-offs of $383,000 reported in the second quarter of 2016.

The Company’s allowance for originated loan and lease losses totaled $37.0 million at June 30, 2017, and represented 0.91% of total originated loans and leases at June 30, 2017, compared to 0.92% reported for the most recent prior quarter, and 0.93% from one year ago. The total allowance represented 178.58% of total nonperforming loans and leases at June 30, 2017, compared to 164.98% at December 31, 2016, and 183.01% at June 30, 2016.

Though most credit quality metrics remained relatively stable for the quarter, the level of special mention loans increased during the quarter to $39.0 million, up from $21.2 million a year ago, and up from $19.4 million at March 31, 2017. The increase is largely related to the Company’s agricultural portfolio that has been negatively impacted by lower milk prices over the past 12 months. Though lower prices have negatively impacted cash flow for this group of borrowers, payments on all of the loans in this portfolio were current as of June 30, 2017.

CAPITAL POSITION

Capital ratios remain well above the regulatory well capitalized minimums. The ratio of Tier 1 capital to average assets was 8.43% at June 30, 2017, compared to 8.41% reported for December 31, 2016. Total capital to risk-weighted assets at June 30, 2017 was 12.45%, compared to 12.22% reported at December 31, 2016. Both ratios are down from the same period last year, in large part due to the redemption of $20.5 million of 7% fixed rate Trust Preferred securities in January 2017.

ABOUT TOMPKINS FINANCIAL CORPORATION

Tompkins Financial Corporation is a financial services company serving the Central, Western, and Hudson Valley regions of New York and the Southeastern region of Pennsylvania. Headquartered in Ithaca, NY, Tompkins Financial is parent to Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Mahopac Bank, Tompkins VIST Bank, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc., and offers wealth management services through Tompkins Financial Advisors. For more information on Tompkins Financial, visit www.tompkinsfinancial.com.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform of 1995:

This press release may include forward-looking statements with respect to revenue sources, growth, market risk, and corporate objectives. The Company assumes no duty, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to update forward-looking statements, and cautions that these statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks, and uncertainties, all of which could change over time. Actual results could differ materially from forward-looking statements.

TOMPKINS FINANCIAL CORPORATION CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CONDITION

(In thousands, except share and per share data) (Unaudited)

As of

06/30/2017

76,079 2,096 78,175

1,424,871

139,994 4,070,755

As of

12/31/2016

62,074 1,880 63,954 

July 20, 2017 - 10:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Bank of Castile, business.

Press release:

Proving that a minute can matter, Tompkins Bank of Castile is launching the fourth and final round of the quarterly Community Minute Challenge. Each quarterly winner is awarded $2,500; by the end of the contest, a total of $10,000 will have been provided in much-needed funds to local not-for-profit organizations.

“In each of the first three rounds, the support for the Community Minute Challenge has been impressive, with thousands of votes cast for the participating organizations,” said John McKenna, Bank president and CEO. “As proud members of the communities where we operate, we’re thankful for the important services that are provided by non-for-profit organizations in our area.

"We’re thrilled to be able to bring attention to their positive work through the Community Minute Challenge.”

The fourth round will begin July 24 and run through Aug. 7. The winning organization is determined by public voting on the Bank of Castile Facebook page, where visitors can watch the one-minute videos produced by participating nonprofits and then vote for their favorite. Each video explains how the nonprofit would use the awarded funds. The seven organizations competing in this round are:

  • Delphi Drug and Alcohol Council Inc. (Monroe County)
  • Friends of Letchworth State Park (Wyoming County)
  • Friends of the Richmond Memorial Library (Genesee County)
  • Genesee Cancer Assistance (Genesee County)
  • Geneseo Parish Outreach Center (Livingston County)
  • Gilda's Club Rochester (Monroe County) 
  • Pathstone Enterprise Corporation (Monroe County)

To show support for the initiative and cast a vote, participants should “like” the Tompkins Bank of Castile Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TompkinsBankofCastile and click on the Community Minute Challenge app. They can then select their favorite nonprofit after watching the one-minute videos. Individuals can vote once per day during the contest period.

Launched in August 2016, the Community Minute Challenge has awarded $7,500 to date.

The first-round winner was Going to the Dogs Rescue in Wyoming County, an organization dedicated to helping homeless pets find loving forever homes. The second-round winner was ARC of Genesee Orleans, a resource of choice for people with disabilities and their families in both Genesee and Orleans counties. The third-round winner was Community Action for Wyoming County, an organization that seeks to improve the quality of life of all people they serve by focusing on their needs and encouraging them to realize their goals and become self-sufficient.

July 18, 2017 - 5:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in HP Hood, GCEDC, batavia, business, news, notify.

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(Photo of HP Hood Chairman John A. Kaneb taken this afternoon at his company's new processing facility in Batavia's Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.)

With existing plants at capacity and demand growing, HP Hood was looking for a facility the company could get up and running quickly for long-shelf-life dairy and nondairy products, said its Chairman John A. Kaneb today in an exclusive interview with The Batavian at the company's new processing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. 

The plant was built in 2012 for $206 million as a joint venture between PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group and became known as the Quaker Muller Dairy plant.

Now, it's the HP Hood plant, which Hood acquired June 30 from Dairy Farmers of America for $54 million.

Kaneb said Hood knows Upstate New York well -- with four existing plants -- and knew the area had a good supply of raw milk, so when the plant became available, Hood took a keen interest.

"This plant happens to be located fairly well for us -- not ideally -- but fairly well," Kaneb said.  "The availability of the plant, that overcame a lot of, let's say, whatever reluctance we would have because we have to do a lot of very expensive repurposing here. We're moving from a plant that was designed for mass production of lots of yogurt to two fluid products. So that there were some warts and such, but we're very happy to be here."

The staff at Genesee County Economic Development Center made the whole process easy, understood it needed to be expedited, and that added to Hood's interest in locating in Genesee County, Kaneb said.

"Your economic development people here are superb," Kaneb said. "I mean they really are good and they're knowledgeable and they're friendly to business. Hopefully, we will not disappoint them."

Scott Blake, senior vice president of operations for HP Hood, added that the GCEDC staff provided a wealth of information on the area, businesses, and people, which helped them get comfortable with the decision to open a plant here.

HP Hood has committed to creating 230 jobs at the plant. They will take on the original PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) agreement signed by Muller Quaker to receive $7 million in tax abatements over 10 years. The state is also providing a $2 million capital grant from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

If employment goals are met, Hood is also eligible for $5 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits. 

The 170-year-old, Lynnfield, Mass.-based company is adding 100,000 square feet of refrigerated warehouse space to the plant, which is already 363,000 square feet. After the expansion, with retooling the plant, and the purchase price, Hood will have sunk nearly $200 million into the new facility by the time it goes into production in early 2019.

There has been a rumor recently that the Hood plant could eventually employ 500 people. That's too far down the road to think about, Kaneb said, and he doesn't want to promise that level of growth. He believes they will hit the 230 employee target, but in the first priority is hiring 140 people over the next 12 months.

"I think we're we're confident that it will be reached, but I don't want to get into when we get to 230 or 250 or whatever," Kaneb said. "As far as going beyond that, I hope so. I will tell you that the only other situation that's halfway comparable to this is a greenfield plant we built from the ground up in Winchester, Virginia. We built that in basically 2000 to 2001. Today, 17 years later, here it is employing about 600 people. This plant has the acreage and, et cetera, et cetera, to do something like that, but that took 17 years."

(For photos of the Winchester plant, click here.)

Kaneb is a former Navy man. He graduated from Harvard in 1956, before joining the Navy, with a bachelor's degree in Economics. He acquired a controlling interest in Gulf Oil, tripled its sales to $4.5 billion, and got out of the business in 2005.

The Kaneb family acquired HP Hood in 1985.

It was almost happenstance that the family got into the dairy business, Kaneb said. The only way to grow the oil business was through acquisition, and with growth opportunities limited, they were sitting on excess capital that needed to be put to work. Hood was a great brand and as a native New Englander, Kaneb grew up drinking HP Hood milk. So did his children. But the company had fallen on hard times.

"(Hood) was a company with a great reputation and a great name," Kaneb said. "It was in some difficulty. In fact, a lot of difficulty. As we looked at we thought it might benefit from management that was highly motivated and with energy, et cetera. We thought we could bring some money to the table. We said, 'you know this isn't the business we know but it doesn't look like a complex business. It looks like a basic blocking and tackling business.' "

Since the acquisition, HP Hood has grown to $2 billion in annual sales and has opened new facilities around the Northeast and around the country, such as Virginia, California and Minnesota.

Hood’s portfolio includes its own brands and licensed products. The familiar names include Crowley Foods, Simply Smart Milk, Heluva Good!, Lactaid, Baileys Coffee Creamers, Hershey's Milk and Milkshakes, and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze.

When the Kaneb family took over Hood, they replaced much of the management, though they also identified some bright young talent, such as Blake, Kaneb said. Since then, Hood's executive team has been stable.

"(Blake) is certainly one of those stars who could take on more responsibility," Kaneb said. "We found those who had the skills that have helped us build the company into what it is today," Kaneb said. "It's really common sense, frankly, having a true partnership with your employees. If you want to put a motto on it, how we as owners look at the business and the employees, is that 'You take care of us, we take care of you.' Very simple."

Kaneb said he thinks that approach has been good for the company and it's what potential employees can expect in Batavia.

"You take care of us, we take care of you," Kaneb repeated when asked about company culture. "I mean, do your job and do it well and then you'll find the company will appreciate it and take care of you. We prize low turnover and we have low turnover, I would say, very low turnover, at every level."

As for the kind of corporate citizen Hood will be in Batavia, Kaneb said getting involved in the community is something Hood will strive to do, but the first order of business is getting the plant into production.

"First of all, get our business set up," Kaneb said. "We need to get to the level of employees we need to get going. I would call that, from my Navy days, as the shakedown period. Then we can be open to being a reasonably active corporate citizen. I don't think it's a great idea for us to do anything but get ourselves comfortable here, with the employees we need, and get our production going and so on. That should be our sole activity for the foreseeable future."

July 15, 2017 - 9:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in HP Hood, batavia, business, GCEDC, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Public Notice:

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that the Genesee County Legislature will hold a public hearing on the submission of an application for Community Development Block Grant funding from the New York State Office of Community Renewal to provide financing to assist in the establishment of milk processing operations at the former Muller Quaker Dairy facility at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in the Town of Batavia, New York by HP Hood LLC.  More detailed information regarding the project will be presented at the hearing.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that the public hearing will be held at the Old Courthouse, 7 Main Street, Batavia, NY on the 19th day of July, 2017 at 5:30 PM. All persons who wish to speak will be heard. Written comments are invited and will be accepted upon delivery to: Clerk, Genesee County Legislature, 7 Main Street, Batavia, NY 14020 prior to the hearing. The hearing location is in compliance with accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

July 13, 2017 - 4:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve, hawley, news, business.

Press release:

With the advent of Independent Retailer Month, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia), who himself has been a small-business owner for more than 40 years, is encouraging his neighbors to shop local this month.

It is a chance to support the local economy and strengthen community growth in Western New York.

“This month is the perfect opportunity to support your neighbor’s businesses and show the strength of our community,” Hawley said. “As a local business owner, I know the importance of the issues so many business owners face.

"The regulation and taxes meted out by Albany stifle the prosperity of all of us. It is with this in mind that we use this month as a symbol to band together as neighbors and show that our local economy has never been stronger and will continue to keep local money in local pockets.”

Hawley is a strong opponent of regulation and governmental oversight that prevents local businesses from operating efficiently in New York State.

This motivated him to sponsor the Red Tape Reduction Act (A6916) to help start cutting back harmful laws sent down from Albany. Less regulation and less red tape means more jobs, lower taxes, and more money in your pocket at the end of every day.

July 13, 2017 - 12:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Creekside Inn, Farmer's Creekside Inn, Le Roy, business, news, notify.

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It's been years of effort and expense for Bill Farmer, but nearly a decade after he acquired the Creekside Inn, after a fire destroyed most of the building, the tavern that is part of so many local memories, is once again welcoming customers.

The 200-year-old building has been completely refurbished from top to bottom and is gorgeous. Farmer has hired a top-notch staff and the Creekside is set to become a local favorite, but a regional dining destination.  

Tavern dining on the second floor and the patio bar are open. The third-floor fine dining won't open for a few weeks yet.

This weekend, during Oatka Fest, the Creekside is not accepting reservations. It is first-come, first-served.

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July 12, 2017 - 4:28pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in news, business, batavia, Movies in Motion.

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Lynda Edenholm and her husband, Jeff, announced Tuesday that Movies In Motion, their video rental business located at 511 E. Main St. in Batavia, will be closing down. While they are sad, Lynda said she is excited to start their new venture, in the same building, called “Lynda’s Custom Wooden Signs and Furniture.”

“Technology took over,” said Lynda. “Even at the dinner table, people are on their phones. We’ve lost sight of the whole reason why we’re here.”

There is no definite closure date, but Lynda said the transition will be over the next two months. They are liquidating more than 10,000 DVDs and Blu-rays starting at 25-percent off. The percentage off will increase as the inventory diminishes.

Movies In Motion has been at its current location for nine years, but opened in 1996 with 180 movies.

Lynda said she has become a big part of the community over the last 21 years.

“We’ve donated to many different school functions, church functions and special fundraisers,” Lynda said. “We did it mainly for the people. We like the interaction with people.”

Because the video store was open seven days a week, Lynda said she has missed many birthdays, anniversaries and special events.

“You can’t just close down anytime you want,” Lynda said. “I want to spend more time with family.”

The best part of running the video store has been watching people grow up, Lynda said. She said she is going to miss all the faces that they normally see.

Lynda has been making custom wooden signs for about two years. She said it seems to be the source of most of her income right now.

“We’re hoping that we’ll get a following after we leave,” Lynda said. “But it’s bittersweet. It really is.”

Lynda said she is not sure how long they will stay in the current building because eventually she would like to move the wood signs and furniture business to online and at their residence in Stafford.

“Our plan is to stay here and still service the community,” Lynda said. “Just on a different level this time.”

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July 12, 2017 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Capish Brick Oven Pizza Ristorante, Le Roy, business, news, notify.

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Jim Frascati started working on his plans to open an Italian restaurant somewhere nearly two years ago, but the big hang up was finding the right location.

He visited the Village of Le Roy, but the location he looked at didn't seem quite suitable to him. He missed the vacant, 110-year-old building at 49 Main St.

At an event one day, he met a Le Roy resident who asked him if he had looked at the former Pontillo's Pizzeria building.

He hadn't, so he did.

"When I came to see it, once I stepped inside the building, I fell in love with it," Frascati said, a resident of Monroe County. "Even though the condition of the building wasn't great, the outside was very attractive. I think it's one of the best looking buildings downtown."

In the interior, he was taken by the exposed brick on the eastside wall and the big arched window at the front of the building.

That's when he knew for sure he was going to have his own restaurant, he said.

Finding the right name for the business wasn't a straightforward journey, either.

Frascati was born in Sicily, raised by a Sicilian mother. His family immigrated, making an eight-day boat journey, when he was 12 years old. 

He knew his ristorante would have a fired brick oven (really, the way to cook pizza, as far as he's concerned), and feature his mother's homemade Sicilian recipes, so he wanted a name that spoke to his Sicilian roots.

When his father was a young man, he would walk to work with a bag with his lunch in it hanging from a stick, so his nickname became "la caffa." A la caffa is a kind of purse or satchel that was originally designed to hang on donkeys for transporting small items.

So, Frascati planned to use "la caffa" as his business name, but his daughter said "No, dad, that's a stupid name. Nobody will know what it means."

He tried to come up with other names, but none ever seemed quite right. Then one day he was talking with a friend about plans they were making. The friend laid out the summary of the plans and ended his sentence with, "capiche?" Frascati replied almost in rote, "capiche."

Then it struck him. When he was a boy, whenever he would do something bad ("I wasn't always a perfect kid," he said), his mother would scold him, often with threats with words along the lines of, "if you do that again, I'm going to break your legs," and end the threat with, "capiche?"

Frascati told his friend, "Thank you. Thank you so much."

"For what?"

"You just gave me the name of my restaurant."

Capish! Brick Oven Pizza Ristorante, 49 Main St., Le Roy, has been open for about three months now, long enough for Frascati to see if customers return.

"We are starting to see some of the same faces over and over," Frascati said. "We're glad to see them come back. It's a nice testament to our food that they do come back."

Besides pizza, the restaurant has a full bar and a menu filled with a variety of Italian dishes.

Le Roy is starting to become a nice destination village for people who like to eat at good restaurants and Frascati is glad to be part of that mix. He thinks his brick oven offers people throughout the region something different because there is no other brick oven pizzeria close to the area.

Frascati is excited about talk of revitalization along the waterfront of Oatka Creek. That will only help bring people in from Rochester and Buffalo.

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On the mantle above the bar, a model of the ship Jim Frascati and his family spent eight days on when they immigrated to the United States.

July 11, 2017 - 10:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in HP Hood, Andrew Cuomo, batavia, news, business, notify.

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Some businesses fail and some thrive, and if New York is going to grow economically, it needs to take the risk that not every business that receives state aid will live up to expectations.

That was the theme of comments by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Howard Zemsky, president and CEO of Empire State Development, today in Batavia.

Muller Quaker Dairy didn't work out after being promised millions of dollars in state aid (most of which the project never received), but Cuomo and Zemsky are confident HP Hood is a good company for the state to assist as Hood prepares to expand the 363,000-square-foot facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

"If you want to be in the economic development business, you have to get accustomed to the adjustments," Cuomo said. "You know, only 50 percent of the businesses that start exist after five years. Fifty percent. By the time you get to the 10-year mark, only one-third are still in business. That's the nature of business.

"In the state of New York, we're doing economic development," he added. "We're creating hundreds of businesses, creating thousands of businesses. Well, then, you have to be prepared to have that number of defaults because that is the way the world works. The trick is to keep the fundamentals sound. Keep taxes low. Stay pro-business."

Both Cuomo and Zemsky said they believe Hood will succeed in Batavia.

"Think about the spectrum of industries out there," Zemsky said. "On the one hand, you've got relatively low-risk industries -- I would consider fluid milk to be a pretty stable. We're not figuring out if consumers like milk or not. You're not breaking new ground and producing milk.

"So milk is a pretty low-risk investment in the whole spectrum of things. On the other side, you've got chip fabs or really next-generation industries. We do take some calculated risk, but I'd say this is very low on the scale of calculating risk."

HP Hood is a 170-year-old company based in Lynnfield, Mass., with four other locations in New York. The company is licensed to produce, or has produced, brand-name dairy and non-dairy products throughout the United States.

Hood’s portfolio includes its own brand, Crowley Foods, Simply Smart Milk, Heluva Good!, Lactaid, Baileys Coffee Creamers, Hershey's Milk and Milkshakes, and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze.

The former Muller Dairy plant is the largest dairy processing plant -- even before Hood adds 100,000 square feet of the refrigerated warehouse -- in the United States and in the middle of Upstate dairy country. It cost PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group $206 million to construct. Pepsi took a $60 million write-off when the plant closed. It's unknown how much money Muller lost on the venture.

Muller Quaker was attempting to enter an already crowded and competitive Greek yogurt market with a product that tried to position itself as Greek yogurt but really wasn't.  

Dairy Farmers of America purchased the plant shortly after it closed in December 2015 for $60 million. News broke in June (as first reported by The Batavian) that HP Hood was acquiring the plant from DFA and last week, Hood closed the deal for $54 million.

To assist Hood with its $200 million investment in the plant, Empire State Development will provide up to $5 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits. As with Muller Quaker, these tax incentives are withheld until employment targets are met.

There is also a $2 million capital grant from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center is also amending the current PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes), which will provide Hood with more than $7 million in tax abatements over 10 years.

In return, Hood is planning upgrades and equipment purchases and labor costs for reconstruction of more than $150 million. Construction will create more than 500 jobs. There will be another 230 to 250 permanent jobs at the plant.

The support the state is providing HP Hood has an immediate payoff, regardless of what comes down the road, Zemsky said. He called the support a "no brainer."

"This is huge for the dairy farmers," Zemsky said. "It's huge for the whole footprint of the dairy industry. The returns are immediate. Fifty-four million to buy the plant, about $150 million to repurpose it. Two hundred and fifty jobs. That's more than was here at the peak when it was Muller."

During his public remarks, Cuomo said he's trying to reverse 40 years of Albany's neglect of Upstate's business needs, that includes commiting more than $25 million to the Finger Lakes Region for economic development. He said that's more than any governor in history.

"You keep raising taxes, you make it difficult for businesses to be here," Cuomo said. "I'll tell you what's going to happen at one point -- they're going to leave. And they did. We had what I call a 'hangover New York arrogance.' Well, wait, the businesses will stay here. Where else are they gonna go?

"There are actually other places they can go. You look at a map you will see around the State of New York other shapes squares and triangles. Those are called other states. If you force people, they will leave New York and we have essentially forced people (to leave). It's been a tough business, high-tax environment, high-regulation environment.

He expanded on that theme with the press after his speech.

"We have businesses in New York who just get calls at their desk from other states -- come to my state and you won't have to pay any taxes and we'll send the plane and we'll bring you and your wife for the weekend," Cuomo said.

"It is amazing, the competition. So if you said, 'Well, I'm not going to try to do economic development,' you would just be sitting there as a target for every other state.

"One by one they would pick off your companies, and in a relatively short period of time, you'd be sitting there alone -- losing jobs, losing people, which is what happened to Upstate New York."

Representing Hood at the event was Vice President Jeffrey Kaneb. He is the son of John Kaneb, who first tripled revenue for Gulf Oil to $4.6 billion before selling it in 2005.  The Kaneb family acquired Hood in 1995, growing annual revenue from $600 million to more than $2.3 billion. 

"We're very excited to have this opportunity to grow our business here," Kaneb said. "We are very very grateful for the support that we've gotten from the governor's office, from his staff, from the county, from the entire community, in getting us to this point. We look forward to becoming a supportive member of this community, a good neighbor, and an employer of choice here in Batavia."

Hood is hiring. People interested in a job should call (1-800) 428-6329.

As for STAMP (Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park), the super site in Alabama intended to attract high-tech manufacturers, Zemsky said he thinks it's inevitable that big businesses start to move into that park, because of the location and its access to hydropower and fresh water.

However, Zemsky sounded a cautious tone about whether 1366 Technologies, the solar wafer startup from Massachusetts, that was the first announced tenant for the park, ever breaks ground. 

"I have met with them," Zemsky said. "I haven't talked to them in a while and I think, again, these businesses are competitive. They have to raise capital. I think they have some more capital to raise, so whether or not it happens depends, but it's not going to be all state-financed."

One of the holdups may be the change in presidential administration, from one that supported renewable energy to one that may be more skeptical about the need to support wind and solar. While 1366 has raised substantial private equity, receiving backing from the Department of Energy seems to be a key component of its financial package. The company was previously promised a $150 million loan guarantee from the DOE.

"I think, like anything, the changing of the landscape politically through regulations of the federal government, the vagaries of the financing market, the price of alternative energies -- these are all factors that make being in business really difficult," Zemsky said.

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Hood VP Jeffrey Kaneb.

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July 10, 2017 - 9:32pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Andrew Cuomo, batavia, GCEDC, business.

Announcement: 

From Governor Andrew M. Cuomo:

Fellow New Yorker,

New York is one of the largest dairy producers in the country, being home to nearly 5,000 dairy farms and more than 600,000 dairy cows.

And the majority of the farms in the state are family-run operations -- that's why it's crucial the state invest in hard working New York families and ensure they have the support they need to succeed.

Tomorrow, I am announcing the details of a new partnership that will create hundreds of new jobs at an idle dairy facility in New York.

Join me tomorrow, July 11th at 12:30 p.m. as I unveil the details of this new investment.

WHAT: Announcing new investment in New York dairy industry
WHEN: Tuesday, July 11th at 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park
5140 Ag Park Drive, Batavia 14020

Thank you for your support, ever upward.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

July 10, 2017 - 3:41pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in corfu, news, Wind Turbines, energy, agribusiness, business.

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(Submitted photo)

Northern Power Systems, a Vermont-based wind energy company, will host an “Open Turbine Day” at 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on July 21, at Miller Sonshine Acres Farm in Corfu.

Attendees will celebrate the successful operation of two wind turbines on the farm, highlighting significant energy cost savings, as well as getting an up-close look at the turbines.

“This is a great opportunity for those who don’t have it and don’t know how they work,” said Maureen McCracken from Northern Power Systems.

The family-friendly event will be held in conjunction with Buffalo Renewables and the Miller Sonshine Acres Farm, located at 10021 Simonds Road in Corfu.

At the event, attendees will learn about the benefits of wind power and talk to representatives from the companies.

Miller Sonshine Acres Farm has two wind turbines. McCracken said the farm has had one of them for two years and recently installed the other at the end of last year.

McCracken said they will be opening the door to the turbine, for attendees to see how it works.

The turbines that will be shown at the farm are not for home use, but companies do sell smaller wind turbines. At the event, people can learn about financing options. Wind turbines allow people to use wind energy to cut costs, McCracken said.

“In New York, there are good incentives through NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) and the costs for the turbines have decreased,” McCracken said. “Now more than ever, it is easy for people to own a wind turbine.”

Residents can register for the event by July 17 by emailing:  [email protected] or by calling 877-906-6784, ext. 6070.

July 8, 2017 - 2:09pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Hearth & Soul, batavia, news, business, notify.

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Saturday morning, Siobhan Larkin (left) and Jennifer Petry (right) celebrated their grand opening of a holistic home goods store, Hearth & Soul, located at 214 Ellicott St. in Batavia.

Hearth & Soul offers handmade Bohemian décor, holistic accessories, jewelry, organic skin care, clothing and more. 

Petry said the building recently got a new coat of paint, just in time for the grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

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Visitors enjoyed wine tastings, courtesy of Christine Crocker, owner of The Yngodess Shop on Main Street, music from local artist Justin Reynolds, and light hors d’oeuvres.

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July 7, 2017 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, bergen, Bethany, batavia, news, notify.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider approving incentives for three projects at its meeting on Thursday, July 13, in the Innovation Zone board room on 99 Medtech Drive, starting at 4 p.m.

The Board will vote on whether to approve incentives for a $7.1 million expansion for a new 40,000-square-foot warehouse and service center for West Seneca-based Freightliner Western Star.

The expansion will create 24 new jobs and the center will be located adjacent to the New York State Thruway and next door to the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP).

The GVEP graduates are seen as an "ideal" workforce for the new facility. Freightliner Western Star is seeking approximately $662,000 in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions.

The popular Coach Tony’s, which makes a wide variety of food sauces, is seeking to expand its operations in the Town of Bergen. The company is expanding and planning on constructing a 5,000-square-foot building on three acres at Apple Tree Acres. The project will create three new jobs. Coach Tony’s is seeking approximately $50,000 in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions.

The third project for consideration by the GCEDC is a $170,749 GAIN! loan fund for First Light Creamery in East Bethany. The loan will be used to assist with its existing production of goats' milk cheese from local distribution to regional distribution by adding to their barn, and associated infrastructure, to house more goats.

The GCEDC Board meeting is open to the public.

July 7, 2017 - 11:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in HP Hood, batavia, business, news, notify.

HP Hood, the Lynnfield, Ma., dairy processor who is taking over the former Muller Quaker Dairy facility, already has human resources staff in Batavia so the company can start hiring immediately for its new dairy plant.

The company hopes to break ground on reconfiguring and expanding the plant this fall, and it won't be until early 2019 that the new plant is in production. But a source familiar with HP Hood's plans said the company is excited about coming to Batavia and is eager to start lining up its workforce.

People interested in applying for a job at the plant can call (1-800) 428-6329 for more information.

According to public documents, Hood plans to hire 250 people locally and expand the plant with a new 100,000-square-foot warehouse.

The source said details are still being worked out, but the plant will be used to manufacture extended-shelf-life beverages, both dairy and nondairy.

It's expected that Dairy Farmers of America, who initially purchased the plant from Muller Quaker for $60 million and held onto it until last Friday, when the cooperative sold the plant to Hood for $54 million, will be at least one of Hood's milk supplier. There are several DFA dairy farmers in the region.

There is still a lot of work and planning to do, but the source said that right now, Hood's focus is hiring a workforce for the plant.

Since DFA acquired the $206 million plant in December 2015, there have been seven to eight workers at the plant helping to keep it maintained and ready for the next producer. That staff has been offered jobs with Hood and our source believes all current workers accepted positions with Hood.

The source said the acquisition process has taken a year and now that the deal is closed, Hood executives are eager to see things move forward and get the plant into production.

Multiple sources have told The Batavian that staff for Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been trying to coordinate a visit by the governor to Batavia to celebrate the acquisition of the dairy plant by HP Hood. That could happen within the next couple of weeks.

Previously:

UPDATE: Here's a video about HP Hood:

July 6, 2017 - 2:09pm

One of the Northeast's largest dairy producers now officially has a footprint in Batavia.

HP Hood, based in Lynnfield, Mass., closed on the deed to the former Muller Quaker Dairy plant on Friday, paying $54,216,000 to Dairy Famers of America for the facility.

DFA acquired the property from Muller Quaker in December 2015 for $60 million.

As part of the deal, Hood agreed to take over the obligations of Muller Quaker for the property, which includes making payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) along with paying a variety of fees to Genesee County Economic Development Center.

The GCEDC board has yet to improve a new PILOT agreement for the 363,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art milk processing facility, but is considering providing Hood with more than $7 million in tax abatements over 10 years, with an anticipated total economic benefit to the region of more than $330 million.

Hood will pay GCEDC $1.7 in annual installments of $280,000 over six years, starting with an initial payment delivered Friday at closing.

There is also an annual $1,000 administration fee and a $5,000 annual property maintenance fee to assist with maintenance of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, where the plant is located (next to the Genesee County Fairgrounds on Route 5).

Hood is reportedly planning to add a 100,000-square-foot warehouse to what is already the largest dairy processing facility in the United States.

The plant cost PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group $206 million and Hood is planning to invest significantly more into the plant. Reconfiguring the plant from one that made just Quaker Muller's own take on Greek yogurt and adding the warehouse will create more than 500 construction jobs with a payroll of $26 million. 

While Muller Quaker topped out at 162 jobs created, Hood promises 250 jobs at the plant, with an average annual salary of $47,000.

Hood plans to begin construction this summer and be operational by the first quarter of 2019.

Previously:

July 3, 2017 - 10:41am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Hearth & Soul, batavia, news, business.

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Siobhan Larkin (right) and Jennifer Petry (left) always wanted to be surrounded by beautiful things, which inspired them to open a holistic home goods store, Hearth & Soul, at 214 Ellicott St. in Batavia.

Hearth & Soul offers handmade Bohemian home décor, holistic accessories and crystals, jewelry, organic skin care, and everything people need to create a nurturing and comfortable home. They also feature local artists in the store.

“We want to make sure we’re educating the community,” Petry said. “We want to try to make sure we build the community we wish we had when we were growing up here.”

Petry said anything in the store that is not handmade, such as diffusers, are high quality products recommended by professionals.

The products in the shop come from all over the country, including Vermont and Oregon, and from Ontario, Canada. A line of clothing in the store is also made in Nepal and there is a selection of organic baby clothes made in Peru.

“We’re really proud to support these small businesses,” Petry said. “We’re trying to get things for everyone.”

Larkin grew up in Medina and Petry was born in Arizona, but grew up in Pembroke. Petry opened up a daycare when her children were little, so she has experience as a business owner, while Larkin spent time in management positions while working at a hotel.

Larkin and Petry met when they were both working at a local hotel in Batavia. They hit it off right away and have been friends ever since. Larkin said it was a mutual goal of theirs to open a holistic home goods store. They put off the idea for a while, but the timing fell into place.

Both Larkin and Petry come from families where small business ownership was common, so it was not hard for them to take the leap into entrepreneurship.

The community has supported them every step of the way, Larkin and Petry said.

“We cannot say enough how amazing it has been,” Petry said. “All of these people have in some way encouraged us or gave us business information. The support has been tremendous.”

Petry said they will eventually have meditation classes in the shop, but when they will start, has yet to be determined.

Larkin said they are trying to get a feel for what people in the community want to see at their shop.

“Any products that people want to see here and that fit in the naturally made or support small businesses thing, we’re taking suggestions,” Larkin said. “We really want to be able to offer everyone something.”

They are still working on their website, but can be found on Facebook here. They plan to do a sharing contest to give away a salt lamp. Larkin said community involvement is important to them and they appreciate the support everyone has given them. 

On July 8, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:30 a.m., followed by wine tastings, courtesy of Christine Crocker, owner of The Yngodess Shop on Main Street, light hors d’oeuvres, and music from local artist Justin Reynolds.

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June 30, 2017 - 2:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, bergen.

 

Submitted image and press release:

Bergen-based Liberty Pumps introduces NightEye® wireless enabled products.

The app and cloud-based system designed by Liberty Pumps allows Internet connection of a pump via the home’s wireless router and provides alarm and other performance information to your mobile device.

The NightEye® system sends information via text, email and push notifications, to up to four different address/phone numbers i- anywhere in the world.

NightEye® connected products include the ALM-EYE series indoor pump alarm, 442 battery backup pump systems and the SumpJet® water powered backup pump.

The system is easy to use and setup -- all through your portable device. No need to log into a computer. Simply download the app, register the device and connect to the equipment using BlinkUpTM technology. The NightEye® app is a free download and is compatible with Apple® iOS and Android® devices.

There are no subscription or service fees for use of the NightEye® system. For more information visit www.libertypumps.com/nighteye or look for Liberty products with the NightEye® logo.

June 29, 2017 - 4:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, STAMP, business, news.

A company that could revolutionize the solar industry, with manufacturing based in Genesee County, is making progress on bringing its solar wafer technology to market at scale.

This week, 1366 Technologies announced that a Japanese energy company has opened a new power station using wafers manufactured with its proprietary high-performance wafers.

Though work is proceeding to prepare the STAMP industrial park in Alabama for its first tenant, there is no word yet on when there will be a groundbreaking for STAMP or for the 1366 plant, which could eventually employ as many as 1,000 people. The plant is expected to manufacture solar wafers primarily for export to industrial solar installations, such as the new facility in Japan.

Press release:

Silicon wafer manufacturer 1366 Technologies today announced that Japan’s IHI Corporation, through its wholly owned subsidiary IHI Plant Construction Co. Ltd (IPC), has completed the grid connection and begun commercial operation of a 500-kW solar installation featuring 1366’s high-performance wafers. During its lifespan, the array is expected to displace approximately 9,500 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. 1366 and IHI celebrated the completion of the system this week at a ceremony in Tokyo.

“This commercial installation delivers all of the expected benefits specific to solar power and then some, the energy payback of an installation featuring Direct Wafer products is accelerated to less than a year due to the fact that our technology uses just one-third the energy,” said Frank van Mierlo, CEO, 1366 Technologies. “IHI has a long history of identifying and adopting groundbreaking technologies, we’re proud the Direct Wafer process is part of that story.”

The array, located in the Japanese prefecture Hyōgo and consisting of IEC-certified modules fabricated by a Tier 1 manufacturer in China, includes more than 120,000 wafers made with 1366’s revolutionary Direct Wafer® process. All the wafers were produced at 1366’s demonstration facility, using the Company’s production-ready Direct Wafer furnaces.

This installation builds on the success at test sites in the United States, Germany and Japan and demonstrates the Company’s ability to run the Direct Wafer process at scale. It also underscores the broad appeal of the technology downstream where customers want advanced, high-quality systems with lower carbon footprints.

“It has been our goal to expand our portfolio of renewable energy systems with innovative technologies that dramatically reduce cost and deliver superior performance of photovoltaic systems. This installation achieves that goal,” said Otani, of IHI Corporation.

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June 29, 2017 - 4:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, darien lake, Darien, business, news.

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The folks at Darien Lake are celebrating the 35th anniversary of The Viper, a roller coaster that was not only revolutionary for the theme park industry but led to other changes, including a name change from Darien Lake Fun Country to Darien Lake Theme Park.

The Viper was the first roller coaster in the world with five inversions.

General Manager Chris Thorpe said the addition of the Viper really put Darien Lake on the map in the amusement park industry and allowed the park to expand its marketing reach beyond the immediate Western New York area.

Riders and staff were invited to a ribbon cutting and ice cream social this morning to celebrate the anniversary of the historic ride.

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Here's a 1982 promo video from WHEC featuring the ride:

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