Online News. Community Views.

>> Download <<
The Batavian Mobile
Droid | iPhone

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

business

December 11, 2015 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, STAMP, Alabama, Le Roy.

Five projects in Genesee County are receiving more than $2.1 million in state aid, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council announced.

The aid is part of $500 million awarded to the council by the Governor's Office.

From the announcement:

Buildout of major sites in Genesee County, including: $1,500,000 to the Town of Alabama to help build water infrastructure to serve the STAMP site; $920,000 total for the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia and the Le Roy Food and Technology Park; $750,000 for the soon-to-be built Genesee Biogas facility at the Batavia Agri-Business Park; and $500,000 to revitalize the Newberry Building in Downtown Batavia.

From the announcement:

The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) was named an Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) Best Plan Awardee for its new strategic plan, entitled “United for Success: Finger Lakes Forward.” This means the region will receive $500 million over five years, in addition to economic development funds announced through Round V of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council competition. In total, more than $2 billion in economic development resources was awarded statewide through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative and REDC competition.

“We are proud that Governor Cuomo and New York State have singled out the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council as a ‘best plan awardee’ and that we will receive half a billion dollars to move the region forward,” stated Joel Seligman and Danny Wegman, co-chairs of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. “This is recognition that Governor Cuomo believes in the Finger Lakes and is giving our region the attention it deserves. With this infusion of funding in our pockets, we are united for success and ready to move our communities forward.”

The Finger Lakes Region’s URI plan consists of three industry clusters, or pillars, that will act as the core drivers of job and output growth: optics, photonics and imaging; agriculture and food production; and next generation manufacturing and technology. 

December 10, 2015 - 5:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Muller Quaker Dairy, GCEDC, batavia, business.

It's a tough time of the year for people to lose jobs, said Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee Economic Development Center, but there is a silver lining on the dark clouds hanging over the Quaker Muller Dairy Plant.

A large dairy processing organization is close to closing a deal to purchase 320,000-square-foot plant, which cost PepsiCo and Muller Group an estimated $200 million to build. 

"We expect it won't take long and they will employ lots of folks," Hyde said. "Probably more than Muller Quaker and it will be good for Western New York dairy farmers."

While details of the plant closing are not available, some sources indicate it won't close immediately, even so, right before Christmas is a hard time to hear you might be out of a job soon, Hyde acknowledged.

"It is a sad day, especially this time of year, and we're all very sad about it, but there is a silver lining," Hyde said.

The GCEDC is already working with the Job Bureau to find suitable replacement jobs for Muller Quaker employees, along with job search assistance and transition training, Hyde said. There may be a job fair to assist workers. Hyde noted there are a lot of local job openings right now.

While Pepsi and Muller made a substantial investment in the plant, they did so with the backing of the state and the local IDA. The state promised Pepsi/Muller some $14 million in tax credits, but those tax credits were contingent on meeting specific job creation goals.

Quaker Muller never went beyond its Phase I goals, which was a bit less than 200 jobs, Hyde said, so the company received "only a fraction" of the anticipated tax credits though Hyde did not have the exact amount of tax credits awarded immediately available.

The project was also eligible for $11 million in tax abatements related to the improvement of the former farm field, mostly in the form of a Payment in Lieu of Taxes on the increase in assessed value. Such tax abatements are not a direct subsidy but are only realized if the project is built and the property tax assessment goes up. The next owner, assuming there is one, will inherit the PILOT.

There were also federal grants that have gone into the creation of Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park that did not directly benefit Quaker Muller, but provided infrastructure, such as sewer and roads, to make the plant construction possible.

Hyde said it's impossible to say, at this point, when this dairy processing organization might complete its acquisition of the plant, but he is optimistic the deal will go through. 

UPDATE 6:15 p.m.: Empire State Development has issued the following statement: “Empire State Development will be working with the new plant owner, DFA (Dairy Farmers of America), to restart operations soon.”

UPDATE 6:20 p.m.: Assemblyman Steve Hawley said he was briefed on the plant closing last night and only recently learned of DFA's purchase plans. He's hoping DFA will rehire the displaced Muller workers. "I'm not sure what the future holds, but we're moving forward and I hope this shutdown is short term." 

UPDATE: Statement from DFA: "DFA has agreed to acquire the Muller-Quaker Dairy Plant in Batavia, NY. The acquisition is a strategic one for DFA as it is in an important milkshed for us. This facility creates multiple potential milk handling and dairy manufacturing opportunities. We are currently exploring these."

Previously: Developing: Muller Quaker plant reportedly closing

December 10, 2015 - 3:53pm

Muller Quaker Dairy apparently announced the closing of its Batavia yogurt plant today.  We have not been able to confirm that announcement with the spokeswomen for Muller Quaker.

GCEDC issued this statement a few minutes ago.

“While we are extremely disappointed about today’s announcement by Mueller Quaker Dairy, we are optimistic that the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility will continue to play a key role in the agricultural sector in our region, including remaining a major employer.

“The Genesee Agri-Business Park where the facility is located is a community asset and it continues our strategy of building and marketing sites targeting industry clusters. 

“Regardless of this announcement, we will continue to enhance the infrastructure at the Ag-Park in our efforts to bring new jobs and investment to Genesee County in the agricultural sector.

“Our immediate focus in the meantime is to do everything we can to assist the impacted employees.”

December 9, 2015 - 2:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Settler's Restaurant, batavia, business.

settlersmacandcheesedec92015.jpg

What started out as a daily special has become a daily staple at Settler's Restaurant -- Mac and Cheese.

"We'd see it around other places and thought we would give it a try," said John Spyropoulos. "People love mac and cheese these days. It's kind of a fad. We tried it and people loved it."

The eight-item special mac and cheese menu will be incorporated into the restaurant's regular menu next month, Spyropoulos said. 

"We're already known for our homemade soups and our Greek salads, so if this becomes one more thing we're known for, that's good," Spyropoulos said.

The choices on the menu are:

  • Homemade Mac and Cheese
  • Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
  • Philly Steak Mac and Cheese
  • Tomato and Bacon Mac and Cheese
  • All-American Mac and Cheese
  • Broccoli Mac and Cheese
  • Hot Dog Mac and Cheese
  • Stinger Mac and Cheese

Settler's regulars might detect a theme to the menu -- the options match many of the recipes on the restaurant's sandwich menu.

John's wife, Miranda, created the cheese sauce (milk, cheddar and American cheese, white pepper and garlic powder), but what really tops off the huge bowl of elbow noodles is the Ritz-cracker crumb topping.

"Now we have to make cheese sauce all the time," Miranda said. "We’re going through gallons and gallons of milk and butter."

December 8, 2015 - 12:51pm

Press release:

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County is pleased to announce that MeatSuite.com, an online directory of livestock farms selling in bulk, has arrived in our county!

MeatSuite.com connects consumers interested in buying local meat with local farms selling meat in bulk, thus promoting farm viability and food affordability.

Cornell Cooperative Extension's research has found that selling meat directly to consumers by the whole, half, or quarter animal is more profitable for the farmer and more affordable for consumers. When purchased in bulk, local meat prices are competitive with meat sold in grocery stores.

Farms interested in joining can visit www.MeatSuite.com or contact their local Cornell Cooperative Extension office for more information.

Creating a MeatSuite farm profile is one way to reach new potential customers and expand your farm’s online presence. MeatSuite offers you an opportunity to explain to consumers why your farm is unique. While we cannot guarantee that MeatSuite will generate sales for you, we encourage you to take a few minutes to join. It’s easy, fast, and free. The more farms that join, the more consumers will see MeatSuite as a great shopping resource.

On Thursday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. there will be a Meat Suite Producer Informational Meeting held at the CCE Ontario County office -- contact: Marie Anselm, 585-394-3977, ext. 402. Nancy Glazier, NWNY Team Small Farms/Livestock Specialist, will provide an overview of MeatSuite, how to develop your farm’s pro-file, and meat cutout.

This meeting will be also broadcast live at two locations; Wyoming County CCE -- contact Sarah Carlson 585-786-2251, ext. 112; and Niagara County CCE -- contact Amanda Henning 716-433-8839, ext. 231 for more information.

MeatSuite.com went live in 2012 and originally served nine counties. The current expansion, made possible through a grant from the New York Farm Viability Institute, reaches 16 new counties, including Genesee County.

For more information contact Jan Beglinger at 585-343-3040 ext. 132 or at [email protected]

December 4, 2015 - 12:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Press release:

To help support our local agriculture industry and to provide producers with expert information, Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension offers its annual “Agriculture Enrollment.”

Farms enrolled in 2016 will receive direct access to the NWNY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team and Cornell Vegetable Program specialists who work hard in our region to address the concerns of our producers.

The Cornell Vegetable Program (CVP) specialists work together with Cornell University faculty and extension educators statewide to address the issues that impact the industry. The CVP provides educational programs and information to growers, processors and agri-business professionals, arming them with the knowledge to profitably produce and market safe and healthful vegetable crops. This in turn contributes to the viability of farms and the economic well-being of New York State. Specifically, the CVP focuses on food safety, variety evaluation, market development, pest management and cultural practices.

The NWNY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team specialists work together with Cornell University faculty and extension educators statewide to provide service to farms large and small, whether dairy, livestock, hay, corn, wheat or soybean focused. The team is part of the Cornell College of Agriculture & Life Sciences Pro-Dairy program outreach. Specialists cover the areas of dairy production, field crop production, farm business management, small farm management and livestock production. For dairy farms, a bilingual dairy specialist provides producers with employee training and human resource facilitation in Spanish.

Both teams serve Genesee County by providing educational programs with classroom and hands-on training, farmer discussion groups, newsletters with timely production information, telephone/email consultations, direct mailings of special events, as well as farm visits and research opportunities. Enrollees are eligible for reduced registration fees for educational meetings.

Cost of enrollment is $65 per team. Cornell Pest Management Guidelines (hardcopy and online) are available for an additional cost. To receive an enrollment form please contact Jan Berlinger at 585-343-3040, ext. 132, or at [email protected].

December 4, 2015 - 12:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, HEALTHeLINK.

Press release:

HEALTHeLINK today announced ACM Medical Laboratory, Inc., has joined Western New York’s clinical information exchange as a data source. Recent laboratory results from ACM’s patient service centers in Albion, Batavia, Cuba and Olean can now be securely accessed via HEALTHeLINK by more than 3,400 participating physicians. 

“By being able to view the most current clinical information, such as recent lab results, on the patients they are treating, physicians are able to provide more informed care,” said Dan Porreca, executive director, HEALTHeLINK. “In addition to being able to provide timely and effective treatment, physicians can also avoid duplicating lab tests which may have already been performed on their patients.”

Nearly 100 percent of laboratory results generated in Western New York hospitals and independent laboratory centers are currently available to participating physicians through HEALTHeLINK.

”We are pleased that our providers in the Western New York market can now access our results through HEALTHeLINK,” said Tom DePalma, national sales director, ACM Medical Laboratory. “The technical team at HEALTHeLINK provided excellent support in the development and validation process, essential for us to meet the needs of the healthcare community we serve.”           

ACM, an affiliate of Rochester Regional Health System, is a full-service clinical and pathology laboratory providing high-quality diagnostic testing services for physicians, hospitals, employers, and other health care providers and the patients they serve. For more information, visit acmlab.com.

December 4, 2015 - 11:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Frost Ridge Campground, Le Roy, business.

The current Zoning Board of Appeals in Le Roy will conduct a hearing on an application by Frostridge Campground for live music concerts by Dec. 18, Interim Supreme Court Judge Mark Grisanti ruled this morning, and any further interference by the Town of Le Roy board will constitute contempt of court.

Almost as soon as the case was called and the five attorneys from the two opposing camps were standing at their tables, Grisanti expressed dismay that even though Judge Robert C. Noonan ordered such a hearing seven months ago it still hasn't taken place.

Reid Whiting, attorney for the Town of Le Roy, blamed Frostridge and the ZBA for the delay.

"Frostridge has been sitting on its hands for seven months and for some reason the ZBA did not give proper public notice," Whiting said.

David Roach, attorney for Frostridge, clearly couldn't believe what he was hearing.

The delay was certainly the fault of the town board, Roach said, first by firing the original ZBA attorney, throwing the process into confusion, then by rewriting the ZBA's public notice so that it no longer reflected the true nature of the hearing.

"We come here with clean hands," Roach said.

After months of delay, there was an election in November, and Supervisor Steve Barbeau retained his seat. At its first meeting after the election, the town board decided to end its inter-municipal agreement with the Village of Le Roy for a joint ZBA and scheduled a public hearing to disband the ZBA and appoint a new, town-only zoning board.

Grisanti ordered the town not to conduct that meeting as scheduled Dec. 10.

"I know what's going to happen (if they meet)," Grisanti said. "I can see the town putting up some other kind of roadblock."

Grisanti also ordered Jeff Steinbrenner, who is the code enforcement officer, but also ZBA's secretary, to help ensure the notice of the meeting is sent out properly.

In the notice originally drafted by the ZBA, the notice said the hearing would be about whether live music concerts constituted an allowable non-conforming use. Somebody with the town changed the language of the notice to say the hearing was about "permissible use," which after court today, Roach explained, are diametrically opposite issues.

Frostridge has always maintained that under the code as it exists, operating a concert venue is not a permissible use, which is why they are seeking a variance as a prior (meaning similar activity took place before the current zoning law was passed) non-conforming use.

The current ZBA previously determined the concerts were a prior non-conforming use, but Noonan ruled the meeting where that decision took place was conducted without proper public notice, which is why he ordered a new public meeting.

That failure of proper public notice is one reason the current board needs to be disbanded, Whiting argued in court. The board failed to do its job properly.

He argued, also, that the issue isn't whether the concerts are a prior non-conforming use, but whether they are permissible.

Roach countered that Whiting was getting into the merits of the issue, which is a matter for the ZBA to decide and not a subject of the motions being considered by Grisanti.

David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell have owned Frostridge since 2008 and began holding concerts in the campground's natural amphitheater in 2012. The campground has been known by various names since 1957 and was once a popular local skiing location. Prior owners, and before the current zoning law making the area Residential/Agriculture, reportedly had both live music and amplified recorded music.

More than a year ago, neighboring families, the Cleeres and Collins, both related to the original campground owners, filed a lawsuit in parallel with the Town of Le Roy alleging impermissible and uncorrected violations of the zoning laws, both in the composition of the campground and the series of live music concerts hosted there.

After the hearing, Roach said one issue Grisanti didn't get into that he wished had come out was the claim by the town that the town is facing budget constraints and the ZBA is running up costs by hiring outside counsel (James Wujcik represents the ZBA now).

“If you’ve got a budget problem, town, don’t sue my client," Roach said. "You already have the Cleeres suing my client for you. They filed a town law 268 action. They stepped into the shoes of the town to enforce the zoning code. The town, filing its own lawsuit, is merely redundant and it is a monumental waste of taxpayers’ money.”

For prior coverage, click here.

December 3, 2015 - 10:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Fair, fair, agriculture, business.

Press release:

The year 2016 marks the 177th anniversary of the Genesee County Fair! 

The Genesee County Agricultural Society is pleased to announce that the 2016 Genesee County Fair will be held on July 12th – 16th. Please note that the Fair dates have changed by one week to allow the Agricultural Society to secure a top of the line midway and entertainment. This date change will enable the Fair to continue to grow into the future. 

Preparations have already begun in the planning of the 177th Genesee County Fair. The Agricultural Society welcomes the return of Midway Rides of Utica as the midway ride provider for 2016. This year, once again, admission to the Fair is only $5 per carload. Several of the popular Grandstand events will be returning this year, including the Demolition Derby, ESP Tractor Pulls & Stock Car Racing. Other returning events include the Genesee County Fair Talent Show, The Grand Parade, a classic/antique auto & farm equipment show, small fry tractor pull, 4-H livestock auction, 4-H animal exhibits and the Fair Queen Pageant.

For a complete listing of events during fair week, visit  HYPERLINK "http://www.gcfair.com" gcfair.com 

These are just some of the events happening during the 177th fair. With your help, the Agricultural Society hopes to make 2016 a memorable year for the fair by adding new and exciting events. The board of directors would like to extend a personal invitation to become a volunteer, exhibitor or a sponsor of the fair. Volunteers are needed not only during fair week, but also the weeks before and the week after the fair. Many hands make light work!

Becoming an exhibitor or a sponsor of the fair is a great way to promote your business to thousands of fairgoers that live and work in Genesee County and visit the fair every year. If you are interested in volunteering, exhibiting or becoming a sponsor of the fair, go to  HYPERLINK "http://www.gcfair.com" gcfair.com to download all of the forms and for contact information.

The Agricultural Society would like to make the 177th fair special. In order for this to happen, your help is needed! The Genesee County Agricultural Society would like to thank everyone for their continued support of the Genesee County Fair over the years!

December 1, 2015 - 5:14pm
posted by James Burns in business, batavia, downtown.

untitled_shoot-9640.jpg

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was in town today for a meeting with local business organizations. After her meeting, Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, and Laurie Oltramari, director of the Batavia Business Improvement District, took Hochul for a shopping trip on Main Street to support the campaign to “Shop Small."

First stop was Charles Men’s Shop.

untitled_shoot-9644.jpg

David Howe, the owner of Charles Men’s Shop, explained to Hochul that he was skeptical of “Shop Small” when he heard about it but it has been rather successful the last two years. An encouraging discussion about the strength of the town and local business ensued but was interrupted by Hochul because, like most who go into the Men’s shop, her eye was drawn to the tie rack. I will not divulge what happened after that because I do not want to ruin the surprise of William Hochul’s Christmas present.

Off to Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle. 

untitled_shoot-9647.jpg

Miller’s is another classic local business with unique items and something for everyone. Hochul asked store owner John Roche what the hot item was this year and the answer was the Yo-Yo, American made no less. 

Next stop was p.w. minor

untitled_shoot-9670.jpg

p.w. minor is a company on the move. Andrew Young, the president of p.w. minor, light ups when Hochul asks him how things are going. Apparently they are going well, very well. Young is delighted with the progress the shoe manufacturing business is making and says he's very happy with the local work force.

untitled_shoot-9679.jpg

Young explains to Hochul some of the technology in the athletic shoes that is unique to p.w. minor.

The last stop was Main Street Pizza. It's another small business success -- doubling in size, taking over the store next to it. Inside, the popular pizzeria is celebrated with pictures and wall murals mixing up the past and present. Owner Vic Marchese is pictured in his red apron.

untitled_shoot-9688.jpg

December 1, 2015 - 7:55am
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, business, beef production, dairy.

Press release:

If you are thinking about adding a new profitable enterprise to your dairy or beef operation, dairy beef production could be a natural fit. If you would like to learn more about raising dairy beef, Cornell Cooperative Extension and JBS meat packers will be hosting this meeting at the Cooperative Extension Education Center in Albion to discuss the production and marketing of dairy beef.

Cornell University Beef Cattle Specialist, Dr. Mike Baker will discuss the beef cattle cycle, and rations that can be used when raising dairy beef. Livestock Specialist, Capital Area Agriculture and Horticulture Program, Tom Gallagher, will discuss vaccination programs for dairy steers and dairy beef quality assurance. Vice President for Cattle Procurement at JBS, Larry Rose, from Greely, Colo., will give an overview of JBS, including a feedlot leased by JBS in Nicholville, marketing dairy beef and risk management in regard to raising beef.

Please register for one of these programs below by Dec. 2 to give us an accurate lunch count. There will be no charge to attend these educational events but your timely registration guarantees a lunch.

Dec. 7, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Office Orleans County

12690 NY-31, Albion, NY 14411

Contact Cathy Wallace to register at 585-343-3040, ext. 138 or e-mail[email protected]

 

Dec. 8, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Tally Ho Restaurant

14 Main St., Richfield Springs, NY 14411

Contact Cathy Wallace to register at 585-343-3040, ext. 138 or e-mail[email protected].

December 1, 2015 - 7:48am
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, dairy farmers, heifer raisers, business.

Press release:

Calf & Heifer Congress 2015 – “Manage What Matters” will take place in East Syracuse on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 15-16, at the Doubletree Hotel. This exciting program will cover topics pertinent to replacement heifer management from birth to calving, and is once again planned and coordinated by Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team.

An excellent slate of speakers and outstanding dairy producers will deliver practical information of interest to dairy producers, industry, extension personnel and college staff alike. Numerous supporters to this two day conference will be on hand with displays and representatives to visit with attendees about ways to achieve superior results in the heifer enterprise.

Several standout speakers this year include Dr. Sheila McGuirk of the University of Wisconsin and Dr. Franklyn Garry of Colorado State University, who will discuss the impacts of dystocia, health risk assessment and strategies for disease control. In addition, Dr. Mike Van Amburgh of Cornell University and Dr. Bob Corbett of Dairy Health Consultation will delve into the research, biology and field experiences of providing consistent, superior management from birth to calving.

For more conference information including the complete agenda, cost, lodging, meals and registration details go to http://nwnyteam.cce.cornell.edu/event.php?id=287. You may register with a credit card on-line or print off a form to fill out and mail in with payment by check.

Accommodations for persons with special needs may be requested by contacting Cathy Wallace at 585-343-3040, ext.138 or [email protected] by Dec. 5.

December 1, 2015 - 6:52am
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, business.

Press release:

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) gives notice that it will hold the annual NRCS Local Work Group meeting for Genesee, Orleans and Niagara counties. These meetings are open to the public.

WHEN: Dec. 14
TIME: 2 - 4 p.m.

WHERE: USDA Service Center, Conference Room

                 29 Liberty St., Suite 3

                Batavia, NY 14020

The Local Work Group will focus on identifying agricultural and natural resource issues existing in your community and providing information and feedback to direct NRCS programs. Participants can be agricultural producers; owners of nonindustrial private forest land; representatives of agricultural and environmental organizations; and representatives of governmental agencies carrying out environmental, agricultural, or natural resource conservation programs and activities.

NRCS Local Work Groups are subcommittees of the NRCS State Technical Committee and they meet annually to provide recommendations on local natural resource priorities to assist USDA NRCS in providing Farm Bill program conservation programs in New York. For information about the State Technical Committee, contact Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, Tammy Willis at 315-477-6503.

To participate in your local conservation work group, visit your USDA Service Center. Directions and phone numbers to your local USDA Service Center can be found online at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=NY.

November 30, 2015 - 5:16pm
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Genes County, Wyoming County, real estate, business.

Home sales surged this summer in Genesee County, reflecting an overall regional trend.

In Genesee County, closed deals for the four months ended Sept. 30, increased by nearly 26 percent to 186, up from 148 last year, according to data provided by the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors.

The median sale price rose by 5 percent, to $105,500. The average sale price rose by 1.8 percent, to $114,427.

“This was probably one of the busier summers in the last five or 10 years,” said Robert Gerace, a broker for Realty USA in Batavia. “Once September hit, things quieted down again.”

Total closed sales from June through September in the Buffalo-Niagara region rose 9.2 percent to 4,728, up from 4,329 last year, according to the BNAR.

For the year-to-date, closed sales rose 7.7 percent to 8,187, up from 7,604 in 2014.

“We’ve had a record year,” said Joe Rivellino, the BNAR president and owner of Rivellino Realty in Warsaw.

The BNAR credits an improved job market, falling unemployment and rising earnings for driving home sales. 

“We’ve had a strong market for quite some time,” Rivellino said. “We also still have very aggressive interest rates.”

Rivellino reminded that “real estate is local.”

“The Erie County market is stronger, and that’s where you tend to (see) more multiple offerings and sales above list price,” Rivellino said.

Beyond Erie, the situation varies by county and municipality.

“Wyoming County might have a few pockets where there are slower numbers,” he said. “Property taxes being higher here than they are in some other areas is somewhat of a deterrent.”

Indeed, closed sales from June through September in Wyoming county fell 12 percent from last year, from 128 to 113, the BNAR said.

Both the median and average sale prices were up in Wyoming, however. The median sale price rose 4.3 percent, to $98,500, while the average price rose 3.8 percent, to $114,837.

Homes in both counties were however spending more days on the market before sale — 80 days on average, compared to 74 days in 2014.

Still, summer saw a seller’s market overall.

Gerace recalled taking one couple on visits to 30 listings this summer.

“There were multiple offers,” he said. “Everything was full price — and more.”

Which prompts an observation: To the quickest go the spoils.

“If you want it, you’d better jump on it,” Gerace said.

Rivellino, who has owned his agency for 12 years, is optimistic the trend will continue for at least a little while.

“I believe the interest rate is going to stay aggressive for a little bit longer,” Rivellino said. “There’s no doubt they’re going to go up, but I just don’t know how quickly.”

November 28, 2015 - 4:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Town Center, batavia, business.

towncentercarriage2015-2.jpg

Shoppers at Batavia Town Center today could get a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.

November 24, 2015 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Larry's Steakhouse, batavia, business, downtown.

larryslgnov242015.jpg

There's been too much bad news in the world recently, so Brenden Mullen, co-owner of Larry's Steakhouse, on Main Street, Batavia, decided he wanted to do something good.

Larry's will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day serving free meals to "anybody and everybody" who wants to stop in.

The meals will include turkey, mash potatoes and gravy, stuffing, squash and cranberry sauce along with a slice of pumpkin pie.

All for free.

"Somebody very dear to me, touched my life, had a positive impact and made me want to better myself in any way I can," Mullen said. "I thought it might be a step in the right direction."

Word has spread quickly on social media, Mullen said, and just today he got a touching call from an administrator at Batavia High School who said a student who had been wondering what he would do on Thanksgiving, with no place else to go, heard about the community meal and now he plans on being at Larry's.

That really touched Mullen, he said. It's hard to believe in this day and age a high school student would need some place to go on Thanksgiving Day, but there are people in our community with all kinds of needs, he said, and perhaps his gesture will help a few people out.

He just came up with the idea Saturday, enlisted the chef to help, and started getting things organized. He doesn't know what to expect and said additional volunteers to help are welcome.

"I thought it would be a good way to do something good for the community," Mullen said. "Like I said, I just get sick of reading the news, turning on the TV, and it's nothing but bad news anymore, so I wanted to give people a reason to smile and feel good about something."

November 20, 2015 - 4:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Foxprowl, Foxprowl-Con, conventions, Clarion, batavia, business.

foxprowlconnov20215.jpg

The Clarion Hotel in Batavia will be filled this weekend with superheroes, space aliens, monsters and robots, all gathering to partake in Foxprowl-Con, the first local comic and collectables convention.

Bill Hume, owner of Foxprowl Collectables on Ellicott Street, is the lead organizer of the event, which he said could draw from 2,000 to 4,000 guests from all over the region.

The convention will feature more than 100 vendors and several celebrities from the world of comics and sci-fi/horror entertainment, including Mark Dodson, from Star Wars and Gremlins, Kevin Duhaney and Jeff Parazzo, from Power Rangers, Adam Minarovich from the Walking Dead, Steve Cardenas, from Power Rangers, and Tyler Green and Rashaad Santiago, from FaceOff, among others.

These photos are from this afternoon while vendors were setting up. The convention opens this evening and continues Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit foxprowl-con.com.

foxprowlconnov20215-2.jpg

foxprowlconnov20215-4.jpg

foxprowlconnov20215-3.jpg

foxprowlconnov20215-6.jpg

November 20, 2015 - 11:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Dunkin' Donuts, batavia, business, Redfield Parkway, land use.

It took the city's Zoning Board of Appeals more than 45 minutes Thursday to make motions, collect seconds and tally votes on five variances that clear the way for a new Dunkin' Donuts franchise on West Main Street, across from Redfield Parkway.

After a presentation by the project's engineer Kip Finley and comments from members of the public, all Redfield Parkway residents opposed to the project, it came time for the ZBA board to vote on the variance requests for parking, driveways, building placement and height.

Minutes would pass before a motion would be made, then a long pause before a second, and when the question was called, the votes came slow.

All of the variances were approved, but as Chairman Jeff Gillard confirmed later, the board wasn't really thrilled to be the final hurdle the developers need to clear to be able to proceed with the project.

"You can't go by emotion," Gillard said. "You've got to follow the law."

With no legal reason not to approve the variance requests, the board didn't have much recourse, even if they are sympathetic with the concerns of Redfield Parkway residents over potential traffic congestion in the area.

The traffic issues are not part of the ZBA's legal authority to consider.

On the fifth and final variance, allowing a 14-foot wide driveway to access the property from West Main, Board Member Emma Kate Morrill-Mahoney struggled with her vote. She's expressed concern that the angle still wouldn't prevent cars from trying to use it as an exit. The zoning code calls for a 20-foot wide driveway, but that width would probably make it even more likely that patrons would use it for an exit, causing traffic issues. So if Morrill-Mahoney voted no, causing disapproval of the variance on a tie vote, the driveway would have to be 20-foot. When she realized her vote would potentially only make matters worse, she decided to vote yes.  

The Redfield Parkway residents who spoke uniformly raised concerns about traffic congestion.

"What does Dunkin’ Donuts have against the better neighborhoods in Batavia?" asked Donald Fryling. "First they build at the end of Ellicott Avenue, now they want to build at Redfield. What’s next, a donut shop on Naramore Drive?"

A Dunkin' Donuts at this location, between Barrett's Marine & Sporting Supplies and Five Star Bank, was first proposed a year ago and that proposal was rejected by city planners. Finley met with city staff and fashioned a new proposal to address the concerns of the city and the residents. The building will be Cape Cod style in design to better match the homes in the area; it's frontage will align with Barrett's to be a little more urban and less suburban sprawl in feel; and the driveways will be narrower to better channel traffic in the directions that least hinder the flow of traffic.

All of these changes necessitated approvals for variances from the ZBA, and since they were good faith efforts by the developer to address concerns, the ZBA couldn't just arbitrarily reject them. 

Among the questions raised through the planning process is why Dunkin' Donuts in this location? Why not another location?

Franchisee Mike Mikolajczyk said it's simple, this location makes the most business sense.

"It's absolutely the best location we could have in the city," Mikolajczyk said.

There have been marketing studies and traffic flow studies and all of the data singles out this location as the best one currently available among all other options.

"It's a great intersection, a great area, that's why everybody wants to be there and that's why it's busy, and that's where Dunkin' goes, a busy area," Mikolajczyk said.

Finley said the next step in the process is completing the architectural drawings and completing the purchase of the property.  The earliest the new shop could be open is prior to Christmas 2016.

Since a donut shop isn't a destination type of business, but a business that captures existing traffic, it's important to be where the traffic is, Mikolajczyk explained, and since it's not a destination, it won't add to traffic congestion, as some neighbors fear.

"I've visited with people in the neighborhood and they all have my phone number," Mikolajczyk said. "I don't' want to be a bad neighbor. I don't want to have people hate me before I even get in there, so I'm doing my best to be a good neighor and be a good businessman and asset to the neighborhood."

One reason the location is important to Mikolajczyk is that his current location -- on the corner of Ellicott Avenue and West Main -- does a great job of capturing eastbound traffic. It doesn't capture a lot of westbound traffic, and the new location will do that, he said.

Asked why this location instead of something on East Main, and Mikolajczyk kind of smiled. That may be coming, too, he said.

November 18, 2015 - 7:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Dunkin' Donuts, batavia, business, land use.

The process of getting approval for a new Dunkin' Donut's has served to make for a better plan, project engineer Kip Finley told city planners during Tuesday's meetings, where planners eventually approved or recommended approval of a series of plans and variances allowing the project to go forward. 

The proposed Dunkin will be slipped in between Barrett's Batavia Marine and Five Star Bank on West Main Street, with the cooperation and blessing of those two property owners. The three properties will share driveways in and out of the location, helping traffic flow and thereby addressing one of the recurring objections to construction of the franchise store.

Finley, working on behalf of Dunkin' Donuts and franchisee Mike Mikolajczyk, who owns the current Dunkin' in the city, at West Main and Ellicott Avenue, has been hauling elevation drawings before city and county planners since September 2014, and until Tuesday's votes hadn't received much in the way of nods of approval.

The new design fits into the current environment better, Finley said.  The building will be a little more residential looking and the frontage will align with Barrett's, making it more of an urban approach to aligning storefronts.

Even so, there are still residents from nearby Redfield Parkway who object to the proposed location.

"Regardless of how good the aesthetics of the building, none of the design changes will improve its location," said Nan Zorn, a Redfield resident.

The planning committee approved the site plan review and recommend to the Zoning Board of Appeals that it approve variances for the frontage, the driveways and parking.

By code, the size of the building would require 80 parking spaces, which board members agreed was a bit much.

The Burger King on West Main has 80 spaces and Finley pointed out that is way more than the drive-thru restaurant needs.

"If you go there, the front third are used, and the rest you could play basketball on," Finley said.
"There are weeds growing. It doesn't get used."

Finley's work is not done. Dunkin's new location doesn't get built if the city's ZBA doesn't approve the variances.

November 18, 2015 - 1:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, BID, Shop Small Saturday.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) is a neighborhood champion for Small Business Saturday, also known as “Shop Small Saturday.”

Shop Small has become a national movement along the lineup of Black Friday & Cyber Monday. This year’s Shop Small event is Saturday, Nov. 28th, and will take place all over the country. The Batavia BID distributed promotional materials for the event to its downtown retail and restaurant businesses and encouraged them to do their own form of promotion as well. The nonprofit organization also invited local business owners, residents, and politicians with postcards to come to specific places to encourage the understanding that downtown Batavia has great places to shop, dine, live and play.
 
The Batavia BID intends to take pictures on Shop Small Saturday and encourages those that shop small that day to share them with the Batavia BID. You can post on the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District Facebook page or contact Laurie Oltramari at (585) 344-0900 or e-mail [email protected] to share pictures or to ask questions about the event.
 
Please join the movement to support your local economy by shopping small not only on Small Business Saturday, but each Saturday!

Pages

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
29
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2016 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

blue button