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April 7, 2015 - 2:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture.

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $1.4 million in funding for projects related to the research, promotion and development of New York’s flourishing agricultural economy. Approved by the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, this funding includes support for a second year of malting barley research at Cornell's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, equipment and operating expenses at the New York Wine & Culinary Center, and funding to help Western New York maple syrup producers better market their products.

“The agricultural industry is vital to the success of Upstate New York, and by making targeted investments like this we are planting the seeds for long-term growth for New York’s farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will support both new opportunities and existing success stories, and ultimately give farmers and vendors the tools they need to thrive in today’s competitive economy.”

Every year, the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, in cooperation with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, solicits applications to assist in the development of agriculture and agriculture-related businesses in a nine-county region, which includes Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties. On Friday, March 27, the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority Board of Directors voted to fund the following projects in 2015:
· NY Wine and Culinary Center - $300,000 – equipment replacement, facility repairs and expansion, and operational costs;
· New York Wine and Grape Foundation - $216,664 – Phase Five of the NY Drinks NY campaign;
· Western NY Maple Producers - $33,336 – Mobile maple exhibit;
· Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wayne County - $60,231 – To provide support and training to farmers through a farmers’ market specialist program;
· Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County - $43,416 – To provide specialty cut flower, vegetable and mushroom production for the county’s Bhutanese market;
· New York State Agricultural Experiment Station – $74,518 – To support research to improve the profitability and productivity of lima beans in New York State;
· New York State Agricultural Experiment Station - $159,893 – To support maintenance and equipment, including a temperature controlled ploy house and summer scholar support.
· New York State Agricultural Experiment Station - $241,716 – To accelerate production of organic grains, corn and soybeans in Western NY;
· New York State Agricultural Experiment Station - $133,242 – To support the second year of a multi-year research plan for malting barley production in New York State;
· Foodlink - $100,000 – To purchase equipment necessary to maximize efficiencies and create product diversity in value-added product lines.

In addition to these projects, Governor Cuomo announced $250,000 in funding to support soil and sediment control projects in counties located in the Genesee River Watershed, including portions of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben and Wyoming counties. Provided by the State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, soil and water conservation districts can apply for grants of up to $10,000 for projects that reduce erosion or control sediment in the Genesee River Watershed. These projects can include reduced tillage practices, cover cropping, critical area seeding, riparian buffer, grassed waterways, filter areas, water and sediment control basins.

Districts can apply for the grant through the Grants Gateway program at https://grantsgateway.ny.gov/intelligrants_NYSGG/login2.aspx.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The Genesee Valley and its surrounding areas are extremely critical to the health and diversity of New York agriculture. This funding will support that diversity by making strategic investments in emerging industries that have a great future here in New York State, while protecting the region’s natural resources.”

Dennis Piedimonte, Chairman of the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, said, “We’re happy that we can be of assistance of the agriculture community in New York State through the money we are able to raise at our market. We believe that this funding is going to be put to good use through research that will in turn help New York’s agricultural economy move forward.”

Jack Moore, board member of Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, said, “It’s very good to see some of the GVRMA profits put to good use in the region for production agriculture. I encourage more entities to apply for such grants in the future.”

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, “For the past several years, our region has benefited from the innovative funding opportunity provided by the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority and the Department of Agriculture. I applaud the State and GVRMA for investing in important organizations like the Wine & Culinary Center and Foodlink, which are using our region’s agriculture to provide a public benefit. This year’s awards reflects the legislature’s intent when we created this mechanism, which continues to provide vital funding to promote and advance our area’s agribusiness.”

Senator Mike Nozzolio said, “This funding is extremely important to the continued success of the growing food and beverage industry in New York State and it enhances the world class agricultural research conducted at the Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. Agriculture is our state and region’s number one industry, and continued support such as this furthers the growth of the industry by providing jobs, increased crop value and product promotion.”

April 6, 2015 - 9:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, p.w. minor.

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that PW Minor, a manufacturer and international distributor of leather footwear and orthopedic products, will bring previously outsourced production work from China back to New York State. The move will create 100 additional jobs at the company’s Batavia facility. This news comes on the heels of the Governor’s announcement in August 2014 that PW Minor, which was scheduled to close on July 31, 2014, will remain open under new local ownership and management, retaining more than 50 manufacturing jobs.

“I am pleased that these jobs are being brought back to New York State, where they belong,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our priority is not only to attract new businesses to New York, but also to ensure that the ones already here continue to grow. PW Minor’s decision to bring jobs back to Western New York will add to the region’s growing reputation as a great place for businesses to thrive and I look forward to their continued success.”

The owner of PW Minor, which was founded by two brothers in 1867 shortly after they returned from fighting in the Civil War, is Batavia Shoes LLC, headed by Andrew Young and Peter H. Zeliff. PW Minor is one of a few remaining shoe manufacturers in the United States and the oldest company in Genesee County.

Andrew Young said, “What an awesome opportunity for us to positively impact our community. The people of PW Minor have stepped it up and my money is on them that they will again. We look forward to growing production in Batavia and adding to the PW Minor family.”

Peter H. Zeliff said, “Bringing our production back to New York is our priority. There will come a day when again we can proudly stamp “Made in America” on each and every pair of shoes with the PW Minor brand name.” We are excited to be a part of the resurrection of this American icon.

PW Minor’s $7.35 million project will automate its processes, allowing the company to close the gap between Batavia and China and thereby granting the company the ability to shutdown overseas operations and bring 100 new jobs to Batavia. Empire State Development (ESD) will provide up to $1.75 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits in return for job creation commitments. This is in addition to the previously awarded $449,505 in 2014. If ESD did not incentivize this project, the company would not be able to close production in China and continue to grow in Batavia.

Howard Zemsky, President, CEO & Commissioner of Empire State Development, said, “PW Minor’s decision to bring jobs back from overseas is a testament to the quality of the region’s workforce and New York State’s welcoming environment for growing a business. It’s great news that more than one hundred employees of this iconic and valued business will continue to make hand-crafted quality shoes in Batavia for years to come.”

President and Chief Executive Officer of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Steve Hyde said, “The Governor and his economic development team at Empire State Development have once again made a significant commitment to Genesee County to bring new jobs and investment to our region. It’s also a belief in the vision and business acumen of Pete Zeliff and Andrew Young in their efforts to restore the rich tradition of PW Minor in our community.”

Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer said, “PW Minor’s decision to continue doing business in the City of Batavia and bring jobs back from China is proof positive that Genesee County is a good place to operate a business. With the partnership between Governor Cuomo, Empire State Development and this historic business, the opportunities for Genesee County residents continue to grow.”

Assemblyman Stephen Hawley said “As a small-business owner, I know the struggles and successes that New York’s small-business owners face on a daily basis. Locally-owned businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and I am proud to see my business advocacy in Albany materialize. I am thankful to Pete Zeliff and Andrew Young for re-energizing the new PW Minor as an historic mainstay of our Western New York economy.”

Genesee County Chairman Raymond F. Cianfrini said, “Today is a great day for PW Minor and its employees and a great day for Genesee County. Our thanks go out to Peter Zeliff and Andrew Young for saving this historic business when it was on the brink of closure and now, with New York State’s assistance, bringing additional jobs back from overseas. We in Genesee County are fortunate to have these two individuals, as well as the support of Empire State Development, who are committed to economic development and keeping our county vibrant.”

City of Batavia Council President Brooks Hawley said, “P.W. Minor has been a company deep routed in Batavia for well over 100 years and I am thrilled to see their continued growth in our community. Thanks to Empire State Development for the State’s incentives and to the commitment of new, local owners, Andrew Young and Peter Zeliff, PW Minor has a bright future in Batavia.”

April 3, 2015 - 8:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC.

Press release:

The Summit Street Entrance at United Memorial Medical Center will close on Monday, April 6, as construction begins for the new comprehensive cancer center. Fencing will be placed around the wedge-shaped parking area and there will no longer be an entrance to the facility off of Summit Street.

Visitors and patients should use the Main Entrance of the Hospital off of North Street or the Emergency Department Entrance at the rear of the building. Required employee parking at the Bank Street Campus was recently expanded to increase the number of available parking spaces for patients and visitors to the Hospital.

Previously closed on weekends, the Main Entrance will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. United Memorial will assess the need for transport services, additional wheelchairs and alternate weekend hours to best serve patients.

A sidewalk will be installed on the east side of Summit Street leading to the Main Entrance, along the side of the Hospital so that pedestrians can more easily access the front entrance.

Beginning on April 6th, visitors and patients should expect to see greater activity at the North Street facility as the construction begins. Cranes, earth-moving equipment and other construction vehicles will be brought on site. Every effort has been made to create and maintain a safe environment for our neighbors, employees, patients and visitors.

The new cancer center is a $6.5-million project, which will bring comprehensive cancer services to the Genesee County region and provide a new high-tech, fully integrated and comfortable home for life-saving oncology services.

These include: a state-of-the-art linear accelerator to deliver radiation therapy; the ability to use the hospital’s existing technology to plan customized radiation therapy treatment plans; chemotherapy infusion services; medical oncology for diagnosis, treatment planning and monitoring; navigator services to guide patients through their individualized treatment process; and surgical oncology.

Architectural services are provided by Clark Patterson Lee and construction management is being provided by Manning Squires Hennig.

April 2, 2015 - 12:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, liberty pumps, bergen.

Press release:

Liberty Pumps, a manufacturer of sump, sewage and wastewater pumps is undergoing a major expansion of its facilities in Bergen, New York.

The construction, which doubles the size of the current facility, will occur in three phases over the course of 2015. In total, the expansion will add over 123,000 square feet to the corporate operation in Upstate New York.

Phase one, already underway and nearing completion, is 81,600 square feet of additional manufacturing area. The added space will allow for new manufacturing cells, increased warehouse area for component inventory and expanded machining operations. A new powder coat line is also planned as part of this expansion. Phase two, scheduled for completion in May, increases the research and engineering lab, service area and features a new lunchroom facility for its members. The 14,200-square-foot lab expansion allows for the addition of new equipment required for Liberty’s recent qualification as a CSA test facility. The area also features an additional 20,000-gallon test pit designed to support Liberty’s expanding product line.

Phase three – a 23,000-square-foot sales/marketing wing and product training center -- is slated to begin construction in April with a target completion date of August. The new wing features an 80-seat multipurpose room, product display area for hands-on product training and demonstrations, as well as additional offices, a historical product display and visitors lounge.

Randall Waldron, V.P. of Sales & Marketing, said “As our products continue to advance technically, we realize product knowledge is critical -- not only to our sales team, but for those who use and install our products on a daily basis. The new product training center will allow us to better share this knowledge in a way that provides a great experience as well.”

Credit: Building rendering by Smart Design, of Batavia.

March 31, 2015 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, economy, jobs, employment.

There are fewer people with jobs and fewer people without jobs in Genesee County, according to labor statistics released this afternoon.

The Department of Labor reports that in February, 27,200 residents in Genesee County had jobs, compared to the same month a year prior when 27,500 had jobs.

At the same time, the number of residents without jobs dipped from 2,200 to 1,900 over the same period. 

The county's unemployment rate dropped 7.3 percent to 6.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of jobs in the county remained unchanged at 21,800. That number was 21,300 in 2013 and the most recent historical high for February comes from 2008, when there were 22,400 jobs reported.

The state's unemployment rate is 6.4 percent and the nation's is 5.8, both better than a year ago.

Erie County's rate is 6.1, Monroe is 6.5.

In the GLOW region, Livingston is 6.0, Orleans, 7.8 and Wyoming 8.0.

March 31, 2015 - 10:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

Mostert, Manzanero & Scott, LLP, presented a summary of the audit process undertaken and the scope of their engagement, as well as the findings and various observations related to the Genesee County Economic Development Center’s financial position at an open meeting of the GCEDC Board on March 30, 2014.

The GCEDC Board engaged Mostert, Manzanero & Scott, LLP, a certified public accounting firm, to perform the audit of 2014 financial statements. The audit was designed to issue an opinion on the financial statements of the GCEDC for the year ending December 31, 2014, a management letter to the Board of Directors and management and a report about internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Government Auditing Standards.

Included in the management letter is a statement from Mostert, Manzanero & Scott, LLP, affirming that no material deficiencies in internal controls were identified during the audit. They also affirmed that, in their opinion, the audited financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the GCEDC as of December 31, 2014, in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.

“I am confident that the GCEDC internal control policies are functioning correctly and that our finance team monitors the finances in accordance with the highest accounting principles,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “GCEDC CFO, Lezlie Farrell, who is a Certified Public Accountant, does an outstanding job monitoring all of our agency procurement and financial activities."

The financial statements of the GCEDC are reported using the accrual basis of accounting. Revenues are recorded when earned and expenses are recorded at the time liabilities are incurred, regardless of when the related cash transaction takes place. For example, expenditures are recorded in the period that services are provided, even though corresponding payment for those services may not be made until a later date.

The GCEDC finished 2014 with a net operating loss of $14,990 as compared to a net operating loss of $198,403 in 2013. As expenses remained consistent overall in 2014, revenues from project fees were significantly higher in 2014 as compared to 2013. The largest project in 2014 was the Yancey’s Fancy project. Yancey’s began construction on their 112,000-square-foot facility in the Buffalo East Technology Park, located in Pembroke, NY, in the spring of 2014. Overall, Yancey’s Fancy will invest more than $20 million and create 50 new jobs at the facility.

“The GCEDC budgeted for a loss of $175,000 for 2014 and I am pleased with our year end results,” said CFO Farrell. “At the end of 2014 there were several attraction projects in the sales pipeline that still remain active today. We anticipate that one of these major attraction projects will close in 2015 and bring significant investment and jobs to the region."

March 31, 2015 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, darien lake, Darien, darien lake theme park.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for an application for assistance from Darien Lake Theme Park Resort at the March 30, 2015, board meeting. 

Darien Lake Theme Park Resort is planning to add new attractions for its 2015 operating season, including a 75-foot “super loop” thrill ride and dual waterslide complex speed ride.
The company was approved for a sales tax exemption of $180,000 and the planned capital investment will total an estimated $2.5 million.

“The tourism industry is extremely competitive so enhancing our attraction through new rides and investments in other amenities is critically important to our business operations,” said Chris Thorpe, general manager, Darien Lake. “The support of the GCEDC allows us to make these investments and maintain our reputation as a popular and fun tourism destination and remain competitive against other attractions in the Northeast.”

“Darien Lake is one of the most impactful economic contributors to our local economy, providing over 400 full-time equivalent jobs and approximately 2,000 seasonal positions each year,” said Wallace Hinchey, GCEDC Board chairman. “It is in the best interest of our community to help Darien Lake remain a popular tourism destination and the resulting economic benefits in doing so.”

March 30, 2015 - 2:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Alpina Foods.

Press release:

Alpina Foods announced today they are launching the first-ever line of yogurt infused with real coffee called Alpina Café Selections. The new lineup includes Mocha, Caramel Macchiato, Vanilla Latte, and Coffee. The combination of smooth creamy Greek yogurt and the robust bold taste of real coffee makes Alpina Café Selection a perfect addition to anyone's morning or afternoon routine.

The line of Alpina Café Selections – different than anything that can be found on the market today -- uses real Colombian coffee and not "coffee flavoring" found in the dairy aisle. An excellent source of calcium, Café Selections also includes protein and caffeine and, at only 120 calories per cup, they provide a great option for breakfast or afternoon snack break.

"Thirty-four percent of Americans drinks coffee, higher than soda consumption. Specialty coffee makes up a large percentage of this growth, which is why we decided to launch Alpina Café Selections," said Gustavo Badino, Alpina Foods' general manager. "We are always looking to innovate in the dairy aisle. Once we found a recipe that tasted just like the consumer's favorite flavor and were able to include actual Colombian coffee, we knew we had a unique product the consumer would want and enjoy."

An alternative to sugary snacks and drinks, Alpina Café Selections are high in protein (12 grams) and calcium (20 percent), have 0 grams of fat, and provide 30-50 mg of caffeine (the equivalent to about half a cup of coffee) – perfect choice to help power anyone through their day.

Alpina Café Selections is sold in select regional and independent retailers including, ShopRite, Shaw's, Fairway Markets and Lowe's Markets, with plans to expand its distribution this summer; follow @alpinaUSA for updates.

Alpina Foods manufactures a variety of dairy products available in retailers throughout the United States, including Wal-Mart, Shaw's, Wegmans Food Markets, ShopRite, Duane Reade, Western Beef, and other national, regional, and independent food retailers. For a full list of retailers, visit www.alpinaus.com.

March 30, 2015 - 1:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Darien, darien lake theme park.

We may still be waiting for the weather to warm, but the folks at Darien Lake are certain spring will arrive some time soon and they'll be ready with two new rides come opening day May 9.

Pieces of Rolling Thunder are rolling into the park and being assembled now and work will begin soon on the new water ride, Brain Drain.

Season pass holders will be able to get a preview of Rolling Thunder during a special event May 8.

Brain Drain will open May 16.

Photos submitted by Tipping Point Media.

March 28, 2015 - 1:20pm

It’s an annual tradition that has some patrons make an hour-long trek to continue. Oliver’s Candy Store on Main Street in Batavia welcomed Spring with the arrival of the Easter Bunny earlier today. 

Genesee County’s “sweet spot” has extended business hours – from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, April 4. Oilver’s is closed only two days a year – Christmas and Easter – regular business hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

March 27, 2015 - 10:14pm

Who is ready to jump into a pool, hot tub or just get outside? The second annual Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Home Show, "Think Spring!", is being held at the Falleti Ice Rink, 22 Evans St., Batavia. The event kicked off Friday featuring more than 80 booths and 60 vendors.

The event continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Friday night's crowd hailed more than 300 visitors, according to Kelly Bermingham, chamber director of membership and special events. The home show is anticipating another couple thousand attendees throughout the weekend.

Tickets are $3 and include a chance to win $500 at your choice of vendor at the home show. Some booths are offering their own event specials.

For a detailed map of the event click here: http://www.geneseeny.com/homeshow

March 27, 2015 - 3:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, darien lake, Darien.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider a project from Darien Lake Theme Park Resort at its March 30 board meeting.

Darien Lake Theme Park Resort is planning to add several new attractions, including a 75-foot “super loop” thrill ride and dual waterslide complex speed ride for the 2015 operating season. The projected capital investment is approximately $2.5 million. The company is seeking final approval of a sales tax exemption of $180,000.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 10 a.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the first-floor Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, across from Genesee Community College.

March 27, 2015 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, schools, education, Notre Dame.

Press release:

Wednesday, March 25, was the Virtual Business Trade Fair at Genesee Community College. Nine high schools from the G.L.O.W. region competed with 11 businesses created entirely from scratch by students. At Notre Dame, this year-long project is incorporated into the college credit course Principles of Business or BUS 101 through collaboration with GCC’s Accelerated College Enrollment Program (ACE).

This is the first year Notre Dame participated in the event, but that did not stop the eight-member team from receiving multiple recognitions at the fair. Their teacher, Lindsay Warner, says the team has shown incredible commitment to the project since it began in September.

“They have had a contagious enthusiasm for this project that propelled them to a well-deserved victory!” Warner said.

This course is driven by student-centered projects. Each member has developed public speaking, problem-solving, and communication skills. They have learned to work together and value input of others, even if it is different from their own. They have learned that hard work pays in the end and that learning can be valuable and even fun. There are no tests and no quizzes but Drew Morabito, senior and chief financial officer, wants to clear up any confusion, saying “I have never worked harder in any class.”

Students learn because they want to succeed and suceed they did. 

Notre Dame placed in four out of five judged categories at the trade fair. The Cupcakery -- a small bake shop specializing in upscale cupcakes -- received First Place for Salesmanship and Number of Transactions. They also placed 2nd for Transaction Dollar Amount and tied with T&T from Pavilion High School for Best Booth Design.

The teams will also be judged on 20+ page business plans submitted at the event as well as product catalogs and Web sites with results expected in the next few weeks.

Notre Dame’s Bus 101 class and Cupcakery business owners are: Lindsey Bender -- chief marketing officer; Dylan Fix -- financial executive; Joseph Falkowski III -- human resource manager; Chase Hughes -- financial executive; Drew Morabito -- chief financial officer; Caleb Nellis -- human resource executive; Taylor Perzia -- chief executive officer; and Joseph Zickl -- marketing and sales executive.

ND currently offers Economics, Introduction to Careers, Personal Money Management, Accounting 1, and Accounting 101 in addition to Principles of Business. Business-minded students can graduate Notre Dame with 12 college credits, equivalent to one semester of college.

Anyone interested in learning more about this program and the other opportunities Notre Dame is providing its students should contact the school or visit during the upcoming Open House, April 19, from 2 - 4 p.m.

Total # of Deposits:
The Cupcakery                  Notre Dame                       256
Vision Vacations               Dansville                              155
Able Sports                         Elba                                        114
Oatkan Outdoors             Le Roy                                    114

Total Amount of Deposits:
Vision Vacations               Dansville                              $378,009.35
The Cupcakery                  Notre Dame                       $330,624.33
Road Trip                             Attica                                    $187,953

Booth Design:
The Cupcakery                  Notre Dame                       770
T & T Services                    Pavilion                                                770
Elite Feet                             Way-Co                                                743
Sugar Shack                        Batavia                                 730

Salesmanship:
The Cupcakery                  Notre Dame                       427
T & T Services                    Pavilion                                                407
Vision Vacations               Dansville                              395

March 26, 2015 - 7:44pm
posted by Steve Ognibene in business, chamber of commerce, Home Show.

Pictured above are Batavia Chamber of Commerce members Kelly Bermingham, director of membership and special events, and Tom Turnbull, president of the Chamber, sitting in a garden landscaped by Ehrmentraut Landscape, Le Roy, who partnered with Cedar Street Rentals in their booth.

Think Spring is the theme for the second annual Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Home Show. The event kicks off from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Falleti Ice Arena. Discount tickets can be purchased from local businesses or at the Chamber of Commerce before Friday evening. Tickets at the door are $3 each and children 12 years and younger are free. More than 2,000 people attended last year.

More than 60 vendors and 80 booths will be on display. Get a jump on spring projects during the weekend event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

March 25, 2015 - 10:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce, Home Show.

Press release:

The second annual Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Home show takes place this weekend March 27-29 at the Falleti Ice Arena.

Sixty-three area businesses will be displaying their products and services at the Home Show and offering home improvement tips and suggestions on a face-to-face basis to the general public that attends.

“Our first Home Show last year was a tremendous success and we have just continued to build on that success this year,” said Chamber President Tom Turnbull. “We have sold out all of the 88 booths that were available.”   

The Home Show will be open Friday, March 27 from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, March 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admission to the event to $3 with children 12 and under admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Discount $1-off-admission coupons are available at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce office, 210 E. Main St., Batavia, or at any of the participating businesses.

There will also be a drawing for a $500 gift certificate that can be used at any of the participating Home Show businesses. The drawing will take place on Sunday at 3 p.m. The winner need not be present.

Food concessions will be provided by the award-winning restaurant Alex’s Place.
A complete list of participating businesses and a map of the booth layout is available at:  www.geneseeny.com/homeshow

For more information call the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce at 585-343-7440.

March 23, 2015 - 5:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Advanced Imaging.

A Batavia-based medical business has piled up a long list of financial woes, according to public documents obtained by The Batavian.

There are mechanics liens, money judgments, property seizures and demands for back pay to employees against Advanced Imaging, 35 Batavia City Center, Batavia.

The current owner even has pending criminal charges against him for allegedly issuing bad checks.

All told, the pile of debt exceeds $1.3 million.

Advanced Imaging was once owned by Dr. Mitchell Chess, and it's uncertain which if any of the debts were accumulated during his ownership tenure, during the tenure of Mark Zdrojewski, or both.

Attempts to contact Chess and Zdrojewski were unsuccessful.

Zdrojewski has been charged with issuing a bad check at least four times, both to a local contractor and to an employee.

The Department of Labor investigated complaints of unpaid wages to employees and concluded, according to a letter sent to one of the employees, "We have found that your employer owes wages and/or fringe benefits to one or more current or former employees."

As a result, the department issued a formal "order to comply," demanding payment to employees.

Zdrojewski still has time to appeal the ruling.

Former employees also complained that Zdrojewski took checks sent to Advanced Imaging for health insurance premiums under COBRA and used the funds for other expenses instead of paying the premiums.

There are mechanics liens from local contractors exceeding $14,000.

The real eye-popping sums come, however, from the list of money judgments against Advanced Imaging:

  • $966,598 to General Electric
  • $108,988 to Phillips Healthcare
  • $105,145 to Caritas Medical Arts Building
  • $69,410 to Caritas Medial Arts Building
  • $35,792 to Insight Health Corps
  • $3,699 to the Commissioner of Labor
  • $794 to the Commissioner of Labor
  • $13,229 to the Commissioner of Taxation and Finance
  • $13,242 to Turnbull Heating and Air
  • $4,475 to the Commissioner of Taxation and Finance
  • $600 to the Commissioner of Labor
  • $1,343 to the Commissioner of Labor
  • $6,789 to Medrad

The City of Batavia issued tax liens for more than $47,000 in back property taxes according to filings with the County Clerk's Office.

The three parcels of property in City Centre once owned by Advanced Imaging have been seized by the Sheriff's Office on behalf of Philips Healthcare and will be sold at auction at 10 a.m., May 4, at 165 Park Road, Batavia.

Some of the other money judgments may already be satisfied through other means.

Meanwhile, Advanced Imaging remains open for business.

March 23, 2015 - 1:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Oliver's Candies.

The steel frame for the new Oliver's sign was anchored in place today.  The concrete foundation needs to set for as much as four weeks before the new sign is put on the frame. The same day the new sign is installed, the old Oliver's sign will be removed and taken to storage.

Previously: Oliver's Candies planning new neon sign with message board

March 19, 2015 - 4:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that he has become a co-sponsor on legislation, Assembly Bill 06256, that will ease the financial burden placed on farmers. The bill would forgo the requirement that farmers who employ aliens admitted to the United States to perform farm labor pay unemployment insurance for such workers. Under state law, alien laborers are not eligible for unemployment insurance, so there is no need for employers to pay into the unemployment insurance fund.

“I have introduced this legislation with Assemblyman Bill Magee (D-Madison County), current Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, after meeting with Farm Bureau representatives from my district,” Hawley said. “As the former owner of Hawley Farms, I know firsthand how hard farmers work for their profits and that sustainability of their business is not guaranteed year to year. This is common-sense legislation that will correct a glaring deficiency in the labor law that mandates farmers pay unemployment insurance for workers who are ineligible. My district contains many farm operations and I will do everything I can to help them keep more of their profits.”

March 18, 2015 - 3:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Chassix Holdings Inc..

A multinational car parts company with a location in Batavia has filed for reorganization under federal bankruptcy laws, but a spokesman for the company said there are no plans to eliminate jobs.

Earlier this week, a bankruptcy court granted Chassix Holdings, Inc., a series of "first day" motions that the company says will set the stage for recapitalization and ensure the company is able to continue normal business operations.

Chassix locally is at 4320 Federal Drive, Batavia.

The restructuring deal transfer ownership to the company's bondholders.

The company has been given access by the court to $205 million of debtor-in-possession financing. The new financing, according to the company, combined with cash generated by ongoing sales, will be available to Chassix to maintain operations and meet restructuring needs.

Reuters reports:

Tom Gores' Platinum Equity Advisers, Chassix's current equity owner, signed onto the proposal to cut company debt by 68 percent, from $680 million to $217 million, the company said in papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

Chassix blamed a 2014 spike in demand for chassis components and powertrain products from customers like Ford, BMW and Nissan, saying its inability to keep up led to an "onslaught of quality issues and missed release dates" that increased manufacturing costs.

The Batavia plant produces assemblies, brackets, control arms, knuckles and tow hooks.

The number of people employed locally wasn't immediately available, but a company spokesman confirmed there are no anticipated layoffs in Batavia.

March 18, 2015 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture.

Farmers are facing ever escalating expenses, lower prices and now Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to raise the minimum wage on them.

That's just more than many New York farmers are going to be able to bear, said Dean Norton, a farmer in Elba and president of the New York State Farm Bureau.

"New York is already a tough state to do business in and a minimum wage increase is going to continue to make us disadvantageous," Norton said during a conference call this morning with media from throughout the state.

Joining Norton on the call were Sandi Prokop and Brian Reeves, owners of multi-generation farms in Middleburgh and Baldwinsville.

Each said a minimum wage increase would add significant costs to their operations, $44,000 annually for Prokop and $50,000 for Reeves.

And that doesn't include the pressure a minimum age increase would put on suppliers and service companies to raise their rates, driving operational costs up even further.

The average farm worker in New York earns $12.50 an hour already, Norton said. Even though the proposed increase from Cuomo is less than that -- to $10.50 an hour -- a minimum wage increase tends to drive up wages across the board.

When trainees and entry-level workers get more money, the people above them want to keep pace with the higher pay, so they demand higher wages.

Farmers who don't meet those demands, Norton said, risk losing skilled and experienced workers to other farmers willing to pay those wages, or the workers will look for work in other states where conditions are more favorable.

Workers who are dissatisfied with their current conditions will also change careers, going into related industries, Reeves said.

The upward pressure on wages just encourages farmers to abandon labor-intensive crops or move to greater mechanization, such as robotics at dairy farmers, which means fewer workers churning economic buying power in their local communities.

Both Prokop and Reeves noted that in their segments of agriculture -- dairy and vegetables -- they're not price makers, they're price takers."

The food processors and supermarket chains who purchase their crops set the prices, based on supply and demand and in competition with other states.

"We're already one of the higher cost states," Reeves said. "When I sell a box of zucchini, I'll have a buyer tell me he can get it cheaper in another state. He'll say, 'I can buy all I want for $11 a box, why do you want $13 or $14 a box?' "

Dairy prices have been falling for months, Prokop said, and haven't hit bottom yet. In February, she said, she received $24,000 less for milk than the month before, and her revenue was down $13,000 the month before that.

"It's only going to get worse this month," she said. "The price is now below the cost of production."

It would help, Reeves said, if Congress would step in and set a higher minimum wage across the board, because at least then farmers in all states would be paying the same price for labor.

"We need to be able to compete," he said, "with Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan."

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