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October 18, 2016 - 7:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ellicott Station, Ellicott Street, news.

When it comes to redeveloping the Santy and Della Penna properties on Ellicott Street in Batavia, local officials are ready to go, but on the Empire State Development's map of projects, the project is somewhere five years down the road.

To help move things along, Julia Pacatte, economic coordinator for the Batavia Development Corp., is seeking support from the County Legislature and the City School District, both economic partners in the project, to pass resolutions asking ESD to speed up the process.

"This is an affirmation that the local community is ready to support the project and asking the state to move more quickly than in the next five years," Pacatte said. "We’re ready to go now."

Most of the money for the $17 million Ellicott Station Project is coming from private investment, with a portion of financial support coming from local tax abatements. But officials are also looking for ESD to follow through on its commitment of $2.4 million in grants to pay for environmental cleanup of the properties.

The property qualifies for assistance under state programs because: of the environmental remediation required; the adaptive reuse of property that was developed but fell into disuse; and the economic struggles of the census tract the property is in, with 30 percent of the residents at the poverty level or lower and an unemployment rate of 7 percent. 

The project is expected to produce 60 temporary jobs and 90 permanent jobs.

There are already tenants lined up for office space and the entertainment and restaurant space within the project, and ensuring those potential tenants stay on the hook is one reason for trying to get a faster response from ESD.

The county's Public Service Committee approved the resolution unanimously and the school board will be asked to act on it tonight.

October 14, 2016 - 11:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Dunkin' Donuts, batavia, business, news.

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Construction began this week on the new Dunkin' Donuts location on West Main Street, Batavia. The location is on the south side of the street, across from Redfield Parkway and next to Barrett's Batavia Marine.

October 13, 2016 - 8:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, news, business.

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The new Hotel at Batavia Downs opened for business today.

The ribbon cutting for the new facility won't be until early November.

October 13, 2016 - 8:47am
posted by Genesee Chamber... in Le Roy, Pully's Farm Market, news, business.

On a foggy morning earlier this week, we paid a visit to Pully’s Farm Market, located at 8160 Lake Road (Route 19) in Le Roy. It’s just one mile off the New York State Thruway. In the fall months, “Pully’s” is a major destination for visitors looking for autumn fun and decorations. There is so much to love about this place! We’ll let the pictures show why Pully’s is worth the journey.

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Visit www.VisitGeneseeNY.com to learn more...

October 8, 2016 - 1:07pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Department of Planning will present and gather comments on the draft revisions to the Smart Growth Plan as part of its 2016 triennial review in a series of public meetings. There will be three meetings, all beginning at 7 p.m., as follows:

Monday, Oct. 24 -- Oakfield Community and Government Center 3219 Drake Street Road, Oakfield

Tuesday, Oct. 25 -- ​Genesee County Building 2 – Large Conference Room, 3837 W. Main Street Road, Batavia

Wednesday, Oct. 26 -- Le Roy Town Hall, 48 Main St., Le Roy

On May 9, 2001 the Genesee County Legislature adopted the Smart Growth Plan. The Plan is a mitigating action of potential significant environmental impacts of the Genesee County Water Supply Project upon the viability of agriculture in Genesee County.

Smart Growth Development Areas throughout the county were designated based on their access to transportation, minimal conflict with County Agricultural districts and State regulated wetlands, feasibility of extending public water service, and the potential for extending public infrastructure to support development.

The Plan requires that it be reviewed every three years by the Legislature and that recommendations for its revision be made at that time.

During this review, the towns of Alabama, Darien, Le Roy and Oakfield proposed changes to the Development Area Boundaries. The meetings will focus on the modifications being recommended to the County Legislature by the Planning Department, County Planning Board, County Agricultural & Farmland Protection Board, and County Water Resources Agency.

For individuals with disabilities, requests for reasonable accommodations should be made with at least five days’ notice. Call The Genesee County Planning Department at (585) 815-7901 or email at [email protected]

October 7, 2016 - 4:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, restaurants, fab fajita & pita, business.

An array of fresh, healthy, tasty salads, wraps, fajitas, pitas and "fun food" like Jersey Shore "Disco fries" is offered at a new eatery on West Main Street in Batavia's Valu Plaza.

Fab Fajita & Pita is a place where you can "Wrap up some WOW!" The menu boasts a moveable feast that spans the globe: Mexico, Italy, Sicily, Greece, Asia with options to build your own or suit to your liking.

If you have a sweet tooth, you'll appreciate the flaky, honey-laden baklava, moist cookies and hefty brownies -- all made from scratch.

"What we offer is fresh, high quality, afforable food," said owner Victor Canastraro, who lives in East Amherst and would like his first foray into the restaurant business to be successful enough to grow into several locations.

Crafting the menu and trying out different combinations and flavor profiles took time. The result is a range of uncommon fare prepared in a spotlessly clean kitchen for diners in a spotlessly clean, spacious eating area.

Some menu items that "just hit" and just right, too:

One appetizer is the Red Eye Fries ($4.25) -- fries topped with two eggs sunny side up and a spicy Sriracha sauce that "will make your eyes pop!" The Asian Salad ($5.95) is made up of a fresh spring lettuce mix with mandarin oranges, Roma tomatoes, fresh strawberries, sliced almonds, served with sesame ginger vinagrette, topped with crispy Asian noodles.

"The Greek" ($5.95) is a traditional pita filled with gyro meat -- a mixture of beef and lamb perfectly seasoned, with lettuce, tomato and feta cheese, topped with a snappy Tzatziki sauce. "The Sicilian" ($6.50) features succulent calamari, wrapped with lettuce, tomato, lemon juice and topped with a special homemade sauce.

At Thanksgiving time, they plan to offer a wrap and/or pita that will include turkey, stuffing and gravy.

"We experimented," Canastraro said. "We wanted something that explodes in your mouth. I enjoy making flavor. I pride myself on being creative."

He has some experience in the flavor department. For the better part of the last decade, he has grown a successful chain of electronic cigarette shops, and flavor is mighty important to e-cig consumers. He has two stores in Rochester, one in Irondequoit, one in Gates, one in Depew, and two in Florida.

The 43-year-old also knows the food business can be "a nightmare" -- his dad was in the restaurant business. But he's up to the challenge of building something from the ground up after an official with Valu Plaza convinced him that a specialty restaurant would be a good fit for the location.

Getting it ready to open was "a hell of an awakening."

He spent $80,000 on new equipment that included refrigerators and freezers, new paint, new tables and chairs. He took some solace in at least not having to buy a new heat and fire-suppression system. That was, until an inspector came out and found two holes on the sides of the existing system (used at this former restaurant site) and said it, too, would have to be replaced.

Done.

A week ago Monday, some friends and family and a few others stopped by for a training day, which ended up being quite busy and prompted some additional equipment purchases. Fab Fajita & Pita officially opened Sept. 30.

His credits his father, the son of Sicilian immigrants, with teaching him the value of hard work.

"My father was the kind of guy who always had a full-time job, plus a part-time job," Canastraro said. "He always told me 'If you want anything in this world you have to work for it.' "

One lesson was learned when the younger Canastraro became a new father at age 20 and money was tight. His utility bill came due and he needed money to pay it. He asked his dad for help. His dad said "Are you hungry? Come over and I'll feed you a bologna sandwich. You need a loan? Go to the bank."

"It was the best thing he could have taught me," Canastraro says in hindsight.

Eventually, the grandson of Sicilians got into the mortgage and finance business and succeeded. He's lived in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Fla., and in Colorado.

In sensing the economic climate and the state of the real estate business in 2007, he convinced his wife, Dawn, to sell their assets in 2007 and move back to Buffalo in 2008. It was a fortuitious move.

"I like Buffalo," says its native son. "People drive a Chevy Impala if what they can afford is a Chevy Impala, not a BMW."

Dawn is the baker in the family. He credits her with the ability to make "50-pound brownies" that will have you "grinning from ear to ear."

"It's all about love," Canastraro said, noting he is "blessed with an unrivaled faith in God." "Take care of people. If you do that -- the guy upstairs -- whatever you want to call it -- takes care of us."

To that end, he said he hopes to grow with the community in Genesee County, which he believes is uniquely poised for growth, and be charitable, especially to first responders, the disabled and veterans.

Fab Fajita & Pita is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight. Closed Sunday. The address is 4125 W. Main Street Road. (www.fabfajita.com).

October 7, 2016 - 1:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, business, Announcements, news, healthcare.

Press release:

Genesee Community College continues to demonstrate a commitment to student success and community connections on Thursday, Oct. 27, when more than 25 of the area's top healthcare employers and four-year universities will attend the ninth annual Fall Nursing Job & Transfer Fair to explore career and educational opportunities.

The event is open to the public and will be held from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Batavia Campus of Genesee Community College in the Forum. Parking and attendance are free.

The fair is designed to introduce potential new employees and/or transferring students to four-year nursing colleges or a future employer, and also provides healthcare businesses an opportunity to present their trade and services to the local community. It is free and open to all community members.

As of today (Oct. 6), the following employers and universities represented will include:

ArnotHealth, Elmira

Elderwood, Williamsville

Nursefinders Inc., Rochester

The Arc of Monroe County, Rochester

GreenField Health & Rehab Center, Lancaster

Visiting Nurses of Rochester

Guthrie Healthcare System, Sayre, Pa.

Jewish Home of Rochester

Campanion Care, Rochester

Livingston County Center for Nursing, Mt. Morris

Kaleida Health, Williamsville

Medical Staffing Network, Rochester

Newfane Rehab & Health Care, Newfane

Air Force

Highland Hospital, Rochester

Rochester Psychiatric Center, Rochester

Lifetime Care, Rochester

HomeCare & Hospice, Warsaw

Chamberlain -- College of Nursing

The College at Brockport

D'Youville College -- School of Nursing

Grand Canyon University

Keuka College

Nazareth College -- Nursing Dept.

St. John Fisher College -- Wegman's School of Nursing

Roberts Wesleyan College

SUNY Alfred State

SUNY Delhi School of Nursing

Trocaire College

Participants are encouraged to dress prepared for an interview and to bring their resume. Students will have the opportunity to access real jobs, promote themselves and get their "foot in the door" at several local health centered organizations. This is also an opportunity to obtain information about furthering their education to obtain their BSN. For a full list of attendees, please visit www.genesee.edu/career and log into and/or create an account with Purple Briefcase.

For directions and additional details, please contact the Career Services office at 585-345-6888.

October 7, 2016 - 8:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Pavilion, business, agriculture, news.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved an application for Growing the Agricultural Industry Now! (GAIN!) revolving loan fund for a project in Pavilion. The Board also approved a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) extension for Empire Pipeline in the town of Oakfield at its Oct. 6 meeting.

The GCEDC board approved a GAIN! loan in the amount of $65,000 to Cottonwood Farms for the acquisition of milking equipment that would combine wind and solar power in one turbine in order to increase efficiency and electric energy output. The new equipment for the farm’s robotic dairy system is expected to reduce annual electricity costs by approximately $7,000 to $8,000. Cottonwood Farms LLC operates a 300-cow organic dairy farm in Pavilion.

Empire Pipeline owns and operates a compressor station and pipeline in the town of Oakfield. The GCEDC Board accepted the application and will set a public hearing for Empire Pipeline’s request to extend their PILOT agreement for 15 years.

“The GAIN revolving loan program has the opportunity to provide significant benefits to the agricultural sector in Genesee County,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “While the program was just launched in May, the GCEDC has made a tremendous effort to get the money out to the farms, and working in our local economy.”

Through funding provided by Empire State Development, the GAIN program provides loans to qualifying businesses in Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties, all of which are in the top 10 agricultural counties in New York State.

October 6, 2016 - 11:46am
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, 139th assembly district, business, news.

Press release:

As part of his re-election bid for the 139th Assembly District, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that he has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Hawley, a vocal voice for upstate gun owners and small businesses, has also received an "A" rating from the NRA, an endorsement from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and a rating of 88 percent from Unshackle Upstate, solidifying him as one of the strongest Second Amendment and small-business proponents in the entire State Legislature.

"Supporting the Second Amendment and the rights of law-abiding gun owners in Western New York has been part of my platform since I originally ran for the Assembly," Hawley said. "When the NY SAFE Act was rammed through the Legislature in 2013, I was adamantly opposed and I still fight its unconstitutionality today. Hunting and target shooting are part of our area's culture, and if I am privileged enough to serve another two years in the Assembly, I will defend those rights with everything I have. I am humbled by the NRA's endorsement and will continue to support their efforts."

"As a member of the small-business community for over four decades, I know the hardships faced by companies right here in Western New York,” Hawley said “While more influence and political gimmicks continue to be funneled downstate, the lifeblood of upstate communities, our family-owned small businesses, continue to suffer and that is absolutely unacceptable. Albany's tens of thousands of pages of rules and regulations suck the life out of small businesses trying to sustain a profit and keep from outsourcing local jobs. I am honored to have the endorsement of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce and will continue to fight for New York's business community upon re-election to the Assembly."

October 4, 2016 - 8:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Pavilion, GCEDC, news, business, agriculture.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider two applications for GAIN! revolving loan funds for agricultural projects in Pavilion and East Bethany.

Cottonwood Farms LLC in Pavilion is seeking to install a wind turbine system that would combine wind and solar power in one turbine in order to increase efficiency and electric energy output. The GCEDC is considering a GAIN! loan in the amount of $65,000 to Cottonwood Farms for the acquisition of the dual system equipment.

The GCEDC also is considering another GAIN! loan for $177,139 for Sandvoss Farms LLC -- First Light Creamery in East Bethany. The loan will be used for the construction of a new refrigeration and storage facility, site work to improve access and traffic flow as well as a new hoop house for feed and materials storage and a new goat nursery facility. Sandvoss Farms processes pasteurized cheese, milk and yogurt from raw goat’s milk.

The Growing the Agricultural Industry Now! (GAIN) initiative is a $400,000 revolving loan fund for Genesee County farms and agribusinesses. It is designed to follow existing revolving loan funds that return investments directly back into a pool for the next round of projects. Projects can receive between $25,000 and $200,000 in gap financing at a 1 percent interest rate.

THE GCEDC will also review an application from Empire Pipeline to terminate their existing PILOT agreement, and instate a new 15-year fixed PILOT for their compressor station and pipeline in Oakfield. As the project incentives are more than $100,000 a public hearing will be set if the GCEDC Board accepts the application.

The GCEDC board meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6th, at the MedTech Center, across from Genesee Community College, on the first floor at the Innovation Center, Suite 107. All board meetings are open to the public.

October 4, 2016 - 8:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, news, batavia, business.

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With clowns in the news recently, it's perhaps ironic that these old posters would reappear in the offices of WBTA about this time.

Dan Fischer, owner of the 75-year-old station, said a listener delivered the two posters to the station years ago and they were stored behind a bookshelf. They reappeared again during remodeling. 

The listener who brought them in knew nothing about them and Dan doesn't know anything about them either.

If anybody knows anything about the history or what they were promoting, leave a comment.

September 26, 2016 - 3:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, news, business.

Press release:

Located at 20 Main St., in the Village of Le Roy, this two story former bank building at the corner of Main and Bacon streets, will be auctioned online onlybidding closes on Thursday, Oct. 6th at 2 p.m.  ET.

The brick and masonry building is 5,352+/- square feet with two drive-through lanes and basement. The building was built in 1929 with additions in 1969 and occupies .4 +/- acres and is zoned C-2 Commercial.

There will be a property inspection at noon on Monday, Oct. 3. This is an absolute auction, the property will sell to the highest bidder, regardless of price.

Auction Management Corp. conducts this auction in conjunction and cooperation with local affiliate William David Kent, NY Broker Lic. #31KE0298344.

September 26, 2016 - 2:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, gc chamber of commerce, taxes.

"Year-end Tax Planning Tips -- Smart Investments in Your Business to Help You Grow!" is the topic of a workshop sponsored by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce on Wedensday, Oct. 12.

Networking begins at 7:30 a.m. and the seminar runs from 8 to 9 a.m. at the chamber office, 210 E. Main St. in Downtown Batavia. 

It is to be presented by Denise Neamon, CPA/Partner, The Bonadio Group. A questions-and-answer session will follow.

Small business owners need to plan and pay special attention to planning for each year's taxes. Putting a plan in place it invest wisely in your company is critical. Reducing your taxable income can help you keep more monet to grow your business.

The seminar is free to chamber members; cost is $10 for non-members.

Contact Kelly B. at 343-7440, ext. 26.

September 26, 2016 - 12:45pm

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Press release:

Please support the next fund-raising efforts of the Batavia Business and Professional Women's Club by joining us for our Oct. 15 Basket & Live Auction and Dinner. It's being held at the Ascension Parish Hall on Sumner Street in Batavia. Doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6. Tickets are on sale now for $20 each or two for $35 and include appetizer, dinner, dessert and a sheet of basket raffle tickets. 

This is sure to be a FUN event! Theme:  Mexican Fiesta. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year. We encourage both men and women  to attend. We have had some amazing donations to date with more coming in each day. 

To purchase tickets or if you cannot attend and would like to donate a basket, gift card or other item(s) to the auction, please contact Michelle at 585-297-0779 or send an email to [email protected]Tickets are pre-sale only.

Statement from the BBPW:

The Batavia Business and Professional Women’s Club (BBPW) has been an active part of the community now for 95 years. The group works together to help improve the lives of others. Throughout the year its members raise money through various activities to provide scholarships for local high school seniors, Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP) students and adult GCC students as well as provide Service Award donations to several local charitable organizations. 

The BBPW chose five high school students to each receive a $750 check to support their educational and career goals, one Genesee Community College (GCC) adult student received a $500 scholarship award and two Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP) students each received a $250 scholarship award.

Additionally, BBPW club members voted at their May meeting on the Service Awards to be distributed and this year. Four $300 checks were awarded. The awards were given to Genesee Cancer Assistance, Crossroads House, Operation Injured Soldiers and Bethany Volunteer Fire Department.   

September 26, 2016 - 9:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in DIsabled American Veterans, chapin, batavia, business, news.

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Press release:

The ninth Annual Chapin Charity Golf Tournament was held on Aug. 13th at Terry Hills Golf Course with 204 golfers participating.  The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Transportation Group received $10,600 through funds raised from this year’s event.  The funds were raised with the support of businesses and individuals and have already been put to use as a down payment for a new vehicle for transporting disabled veterans to and from medical appointments.  

Next year’s event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 12. If anyone has any questions regarding the tournament or would like to recommend a deserving charity for next year please contact Norm Hubbard, tournament director 585-343-3140, ext. 3018, or email  [email protected], or contact Laurie Shepland, VP Human Resources 585-3140, ext. 3082 or email [email protected].

Statement from DAV:

DAV Chapter 166 is absolutely thankful to Chapin International for being chosen as the recipient of proceeds from the ninth Annual Chapin Charity Golf Tournament. Special thanks go to Jim Campbell, Chapin CEO, Laurie Shepland, Chapin VP Human Resources, and to Norm Hubbard, as tournament director. Norm's tireless efforts made the tournament an absolute success. 

The DAV, comprised of volunteers, transports veterans from their homes in Genesee and Wyoming counties, to medical appointments at the VA facilities in Batavia and Buffalo. DAV Chapter 166 is totally responsible for obtaining donated funds, which in turn are used to purchase their vehicles for veteran transport.

Without our volunteer service, hundreds of veterans would be unable to get to their medical appointments.  The veterans we transport range in age from the mid-20s (Iraq and Afghanistan) to 96 years old (WWII). We at DAV Chapter 166 are so proud of our veterans, and to the service that they gave to our country.

Any questions and/or donations for the DAV Chapter 166 Van Fund can be directed to Doug Titus, Hospital Service coordinator, 222 Richmond Ave., Batavia NY 14020, or call at (585) 297-1170.

September 23, 2016 - 2:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in corfu free library, corfu, Announcements, business, news.

Press release:

Residents with questions about computers and other electronic devices can come to the Corfu Free Library for answers and assistance at this month’s Technology Tuesday help session from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

This month the theme for Technology Tuesday is “Fun with Scanning,” and there will be hands on scanning with one of the latest scanners available. Residents with items they like to be scanned can drop in and learn how to scan their items, and they are encouraged to bring in a thumb drive or an SD card so they will be able have their scans on their own storage device. Scans can also be emailed to their email address if they have one.

Of course residents can ask questions about other technology topics, and they are encouraged to bring in their own devices such as an iPhone, Kindle, Nook, iPad, flash drive, or laptop computer (including charging cords) to be able to work with them that evening.

Attendees can also ask for help to learn how to download digital items from Hoopla as well as eBooks from Overdrive and eMagazines from Zinio right at the session so they will know how to use these services provided free to library patrons through the Nioga system.

The Corfu Free Library periodically offers sessions like Technology Tuesday and residents are encouraged to check the library’s website at www.CorfuFreeLibrary.org or stop by the library at 7 Maple Ave. in Corfu for program information, or they can call the library at (585) 599-3321.

September 22, 2016 - 7:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wny stamp, Alabama, business, news, 1366 Technologies.

A groundbreaking ceremony should take place in Alabama sometime next month for the WNY Science, Technology & Advanced Manufacturing Park -- the STAMP project -- complete with state government dignitaries, said Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, during a meeting Wednesday of the County's Ways and Means Committee.

It will signal the start of development of STAMP, a planned high-tech industrial center that Hyde first proposed more than a decade ago.

Initial development will be building the infrastructure to support the site's first tenant and serve to attract additional tenants with the dream of eventually creating 10,000 jobs at the industrial park.

The first tenant is 1366 Technologies. With headquarters in the Boston area, 1366 will use a revolutionary manufacturing process to create silicon wafers for solar panels. 

Once the infrastructure work -- roads, sewer, water, electrical -- starts, 1366 will begin the design process for its facility.

Hyde expects there will be a second groundbreaking especially for 1366 sometime in the spring and the plant will be completed by the end of 2017.

Legislature John Deleo asked Hyde to explain why local residents shouldn't be worried about the prospects of 1366 when Solar City, part of the Buffalo Billions project, seems to be struggling.

Solar City and 1366 are completely unrelated projects and the two companies are pursuing very different business models, Hyde told Deleo.

Solar City is building a very large factory to manufacture residential and commercial solar panels that the company will sell itself to a domestic market.

Whereas, 1366 is only making solar wafers and its product will be a component in solar panels built by others for large industrial solar operations in overseas markets.

So far, 1366 has about $100 million in private investment capital, overseas strategic partners and its initial customers.

At full capacity, 1366 is expected to employ about 1,000 people.

For prior 1366 Technologies coverage, click here.

September 22, 2016 - 6:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Made in America store, Batavia Downs, business, batavia.

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A big crowd on was on hand, including Nashville recording artist Ricky Lee, for the ribbon cutting of the Made in America Store at Batavia Downs on Wednesday.

Founder of the Made in America Store, Mark Andol, said that the idea began to develop quickly after the key players converged in July of this year.

"I'll tell you Ricky Lee, a sponsor of us, ambassador of Made in America Store for six years actually, you know, me and Mike Nolan (Batavia Downs executive) and Rick had been talking about different things, and Thurman Thomas is kind of an ambassador. Tie in Rick with the music and one thing led to another. I mentioned to Mike 'why don't you put a store in here?' he said 'I would if I had a store' and one thing led to another and here we are today.”

For more coverage of the opening, visit WBTAi.com.

Photo and information from our news partner, WBTA.

September 21, 2016 - 6:28pm

The former Muller Quaker Dairy plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park is a big, gorgeous (if you're into such things), state-of-the-art dairy processing facility and Dairy Farmers of America officials think it has great potential. But they just don't know what to do with it yet.

DFA has yet to submit planning documents to the Town of Batavia and at the County's Ways and Means Committee. Today, Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, said there are ongoing negotiations about the future of the plant, but he can't discuss them.

Hyde did say there are businesses interested in acquiring the plant outright and DFA is in negotiations with potential partners, but nothing is settled to date.

"They are fully committed to bringing milk into the plant and sending out dairy products," Hyde said.

There will be jobs in that plant again, Hyde said. It's just a matter of when and what business model either DFA or some other suitor decides to pursue.

Negotiations are ongoing.

DFA acquired the plant, which cost $206 million to build, for $60 million in January.

PepsiCo and Germany-based Muller Dairy formed a joint venture, Muller Quaker Dairy, to create tasty yogurt products designed to capture a portion of the growing Greek yogurt market, though the yogurt produced by the plant wasn't exactly Greek yogurt.

Whether through lack of marketing (either enough of it or the right message), lack of good distribution or lack of consumer interest, the product never caught on (though there was, according to sources, $100 million in first-year sales); the joint venture was dissolved and the plant closed in December 2015, costing about 200 people their jobs.

There are, we are told, still three former Muller employees on site, keeping the plant maintained so that when somebody does decide to do something with it, everything is in working order.

How much money Muller lost on the joint venture isn't known, because Muller isn't a publicly traded company. PepsiCo is, and the company took a $78 million impairment charge in 2015. An impairment charge is a somewhat complex accounting term that can mean a write-off on a loss of fair market value.

With gross sales of more than $66 billion annually and a net profit of nearly $10 billion, the write-down warranted nothing more than a footnote in PepsiCo's 2015 annual report.

The Wave Project, as it was initially known, did receive some subsidies along the way to assist in construction and starting production, but Muller Quaker never qualified for all of the subsidies it signed up for.

The PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes), mortgage tax abatement and sales tax abatement on construction totaled about $11 million, but Muller Quaker never benefited from most of that tax relief. Since the PILOT is spread out over a 10-year span, as a reduction in property tax on the increase in assessed value, with the size of the abatement declining over time, Muller Quaker doesn't benefit for any of the PILOT relief from 2015 onward. The new owners, DFA, or other, could benefit from the PILOT until it expires (or is replaced by a new agreement as part of a new business being established).

From Empire State Development, Muller Quaker was promised $4.5 million in tax credits tied to job creation. As a result of creating 446 jobs in 2013 and 2014 (the number is combined for the two years -- one job in one year warrants credits for that year, and the same job, still in place, counts in the second year, and so on), Muller Quaker received $556,446 in tax credits, not the $4.5 million originally offered.

The company was offered, and received, $995,000 from New York State Homes and Community Renewal.  The grant was based on meeting specific investment and job-creation goals. 

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) also made a commitment for nearly $2 million to offset the cost of installing energy-efficient equipment and HVAV measures that would lower costs at the plant. Only $1.2 million had been awarded prior to the plant closing.

The New York Power Authority awarded a 1.3-megawatt grant of power under the ReCharge NY program and the plant used the full allotment of the grant.

September 20, 2016 - 1:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, Announcements, Neighborhood Legal Services.

The nonprofit legal aid office known as Neighborhood Legal Services Inc. (NLS) is moving. It is currently located at 5073 Clinton Street Road, Batavia, and will be relocating its office downtown to 45 Main St, Batavia.

To accommodate the move, the office will close at 5 p.m. on Friday Sept. 23rd and will reopen in the new space on Main Street at 9 a.m. on Thursday Sept. 29th. The new location is west of Jackson Street near Evans Street.

NLS operates three offices in Western New York. The Batavia office serves people in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

Its mission is to provide a full range of free civil legal representation to low income and disabled people in matters involving their financial security and the legal rights which affect the stability of families and individuals. Its goal is to create the greatest access to the justice system for those low-income and disabled people without the means to pursue their rights. It also provides outreach and training services to underprivileged populations and the community agencies which serve them.

Neighborhood Legal Services' phone number is 343-5450.

For more information, visit the NLS website by clicking here.

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