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August 10, 2017 - 10:08am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Bethany, business, news, arts.

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In the end of July, Terry Weber opened a new art gallery and antique shop in the Old General Store in East Bethany on Route 63, where she displays and sells her artwork, and sells antiques.

Bethany Arts is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon until 5 p.m., and whenever there is an open flag hanging outside of the store.

"I sell to a lot of antique dealers because my prices are quite low," Weber said. "There is no middleman, I go out and find the stuff myself."

Weber was an art major in college and taught art for most of her life. She started playing around with the idea of opening an art gallery and selling antiques a year and a half ago.

She has been doing watercolor painting for 12 years and has recently started alcohol ink painting on tiles, but has used other media, including oils, acrylics, needle felt and wool.

“I've always drawn," Weber said. "When I closed the grocery store, I started painting and didn't stop."

Weber will begin holding art classes on request with four or five people in each. Those interested, can contact her at 993-0509.

"If you want to have an evening class in needle felting, alcohol ink painting, or even regular painting we could do that," Weber said. "I've got enough easels and tables and everything else."

The facebook page is located here and Weber just created a website located here.

The building Bethany Arts is located in was a grocery store owned by Weber when she bought the building in 1988. She closed the grocery store in 2005, and it became her art studio.

The profits from the antiques and her art, are going toward restoring the building, which was built in 1835, as a store.

"I want to hopefully make enough money to finish restoring the building," Weber said. "I would like to put the front porch back on it. I would like to do the roof and I have a lot of brick repairs."

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August 9, 2017 - 12:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in domino's, batavia, business, pizza.

Press release:

When you think of quality pizza and customer service, think of your local Batavia Domino’s store. Domino’s, located at 563 E. Main St., was recently recognized for its outstanding operation, perfect pizza making and quality of customer service as part of Domino’s Operations Evaluations Report (OER) program.

“We’re committed to maintaining the highest standards of store operation and customer satisfaction,” said Allan Erwin, Batavia Domino’s franchise owner. “Our goal is to make great-tasting, quality pizza without taking shortcuts. It is very exciting for our Batavia team to be recognized by Domino’s.”

The store was evaluated under Domino’s OER program, designed to ensure customers the highest level of quality and service. To assure flawless operation, the rating system provides comprehensive feedback to franchisees and Domino’s.

“Maintaining high standards within Domino’s involves running the finest stores in the pizza industry and delivering the best product to every consumer who orders from one of our stores,” said Scott Hinshaw, Domino’s executive vice president of franchise operations.

August 8, 2017 - 3:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Newberry Building, Eli Fish Brewing Company.

Press release:

Three Batavia natives are giving a nod to the city’s past with an exciting plan they hope will be a cornerstone of Batavia’s future.

Eli Fish Brewing Company will be the official name of a microbrewery currently under construction in the former JJ Newberry Building at 109 Main Street, the brewery’s owners announced today. The name is in honor of Eli Fish, who operated Fish’s Malt House, a brewery located on the corner of Elm and Main Streets in the 1800s. The brewery, which reportedly had the capacity to produce 16,000 barrels of beer annually in 1883, burned many times during Fish’s ownership, with Fish rebuilding it each time at the same location.

Eli Fish Brewing Company is led by Batavia natives Matthew Gray, owner of Alex’s Place in Batavia, as well as Buffalo Brothers Pizza and Wing Co. in North Carolina, Jon Mager, a third-generation owner in Arctic Refrigeration in Batavia, and Matthew Boyd, a partner in both Alex’s and Buffalo Brothers Pizza and Wing Co., who oversees Buffalo Brothers’ five North Carolina locations. The owners expect to open Eli Fish Brewing Company by the end of the year.

“Eli Fish was a renaissance man who played an important role in the development and growth of early Batavia, and his entrepreneurial and rebuilding spirit really spoke to us,” Mager said of the decision to name the microbrewery. “That’s the same spirit and vision we want to bring to this project and bring people back to Main Street.”

The brewery will house 20 taps, featuring ten beers brewed in-house and ten rotating beers from around New York State. Along with New York beers, the bar will also pour craft cocktails and fine wines, all sourced from New York State wineries and distilleries. The brewery operation will be a seven-barrel system, with all brewing performed on site, using locally-sourced ingredients.

Eli Fish Brewing Company will be the cornerstone of a $2.8 million renovation of the Newberry building into a mixed-use development with a restaurant incubator, known as FreshLAB, joining the brewery on the first floor and apartments planned for the second and third floors.

“Newberry’s was a destination for generations of Batavia residents,” Gray said, recalling the store’s lunch counter and creaky wooden floors. “We want to make this building, and the Main Street corridor, a destination again. Jon, Matt and I were all born here. Our families saw the decline of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, and we want to be part of Batavia’s next renaissance.”

The FreshLAB restaurant incubator will feature three commercial kitchens, with Eli Fish Brewing Company operating the largest kitchen and serving a menu of locally-sourced seasonal fare, including gourmet salads, sandwiches, soups, platters and bread. The other two kitchens will be available to start-up restaurateurs to develop and grow more dining concepts within Genesee County. The vision is to have tenants occupy the turnkey kitchens for short-term leases of approximately 18-24 months, sharing the food hall dining room during which time they can focus on unique menu offerings, sourcing local ingredients and honing their operational systems, such as ordering product and paying their bills.

“The idea is to help other restaurateurs and entrepreneurs develop their businesses without the financial burden of outfitting their own locations right off the bat,” explained Boyd. “Once they have perfected their operation and their lease matures, the vision is that they will then plant their roots and continue their operations in Genesee County, creating an opportunity for a new eatery to locate at FreshLAB.”

The incubator concept was fueled, in part, by statistics that show local residents spend more than $13 million annually on dining and nightlife outside of Genesee County.

“People want a choice,” added Gray, who labels himself a “serial restaurateur.” “Every eatery at FreshLAB should bring a fresh perspective and their own culinary vision to the kitchens. We’re looking to provide a culinary experience you can’t enjoy elsewhere in the area.”

The partners’ development vision for the Newberry building is being supported by the City of Batavia, Batavia Development Corp., Genesee County Economic Development Corporation, USDA Rural Development, National Grid and New York Main Street.

The announcement of the Eli Fish Brewing Company name comes as beer lovers from throughout the region prepare to celebrate the Beertavia craft beer festival on Saturday, August 12 from 3-6 p.m. at the corner of Bank Street and Alva Place. The event, presented by Alex’s Place, will feature offerings from more than 20 breweries and cideries, as well as live music. Information is available at www.downtownbataviany.com

August 5, 2017 - 2:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in business.

Press release:

A recent classified ad Thermory USA placed in the local news was pretty specific and called the attention to exactly who the company was looking for. The heading read: One Amazing Human Being.   

Thermory USA is the American subsidiary of a European manufacturer. The company specializes in thermal modification of hard and softwoods for any application, but ideally decking and cladding. Thermal modification is an all-natural, chemical free process that produces an environmentally responsible hardwood product with unrivaled luxury, which out-preforms the finest tropical woods. The raw material is harvested from sustainable hardwood forests in Canada, United States and Europe. 

The Batavia-based company, run by Principal Kevin DeMars, is located in Jackson Square with a partner branch, run by Principal Mark Challinor in Wilmette, Ill. It has been steadily growing since its inception in 2012. With growth in sales, came the need for growth in staffing. Joining the company are two Genesee County residents, Amber Reese, of Oakfield, and Lauren Humphrey, of Le Roy.

“Amber and Lauren would both agree that our interview style was…unconventional," DeMars said. "Well, we do not look for conventional people. We want people that thrive when given the opportunity to make decisions, contribute immediately to the direction of our company and not be afraid of making mistakes. It’s amazing what great people can do when given the latitude to get outside the fence of mundane corporate protocol."

Some may say that Reese, Thermory USA’s newest senior service specialist, has lived a nomadic life, having resided in seven different states over the last 30 years. She graduated from high school in Ohio, earned her bachelor’s degree in Tennessee, and cultivated her employment experiences at jobs from Florida to Massachusetts.

When life shifted and offered new and interesting adventures, she was open to the opportunity. This ability to embrace change really came into play when Thermory USA entered the scene.

“When I read the description for the position with Thermory, I knew this wasn’t your typical run-of-the-mill company. I was intrigued, to say the least! It has been incredibly energizing to be a part of a growing team where my opinions, ideas and concerns truly do matter,” Reese said.

Coming most recently from a seven year banking career as an assistant branch manager, Thermory USA could have been perceived as quite a change in paths; however, it couldn’t be a more perfect fit. Reese has always had a passion for helping others, whether it be teaching elementary kids and coaching sports or managing a bank branch of tellers and customer service representatives.

That passion has a place to grow with Thermory USA by being part of providing excellent relationship service and knowledge to customers who are interested in a phenomenal product. 

Humphrey, a graduate of the Le Roy Central Schools, attended the education program at Genesee Community College. During this time she was employed full time as a teaching assistant. It wasn’t until her bachelor's program at SUNY Geneseo that she decided teaching wasn’t the proper path for her.  

Purchasing a home and settling down with a husband and three young children were good reasons to take a brief career pause and be a stay-at-home mom. Volunteerism had always been a major part of her life so it was no surprise that she decided to “plug-in” and become even more involved in her community during this time.

Through the volunteer work she realized a knack for marketing which likely stemmed from her younger years – watching her father run a small business on his own. She began freelance marketing for several local organizations and businesses while still being able to stay home with her young children. 

After several years as a stay-at-home mom, community volunteer, and small business owner, Humphrey decided it was a good time to re-enter the workforce. Earning the position as tourism marketing assistant at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, she was able to further develop her skills. After 15 months at the Chamber of Commerce, Humphrey was approached about a marketing position at Thermory USA and knew it was a perfect fit.

“I’m energized by the team atmosphere and excited about the opportunity to work for a company that is making waves in an industry,” Humphrey said.

As a wife, mother of three, member of the Rotary Club of Le Roy, chairperson of Le Roy’s Annual Oatka Festival as well as a class member in Leadership Genesee 2017 Lauren is a busy individual, but as they say: “If you want the job done, give it to the busiest person.” 

In five years the company has managed to create a specific market segment for modified wood products in the building industry.

“We did this by creating an environment where creativity, mistakes, fun, hard work are all rewarded when every one of us in our team plays a part in the process. Changing an industry is fun and to be included in that process - every part of that process, brings out the best traits in amazing people that care about their work.” says DeMars.

“In just the first few weeks, Lauren and Amber are making a difference -- they probably don’t realize it yet, but they are. Creative, kind, intuitive, fun loving, hardworking…amazing human beings can do great things -- just let ‘em.“  

To learn more about Thermory USA and their team, visit ThermoryUSA.com or find them on social media.

August 4, 2017 - 12:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Ellicott Station, Gateway II, batavia, news, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved incentives for the $17.6 million Ellicott Station project by Savarino Companies in the City of Batavia at the agency’s Aug. 3 board meeting. The GCEDC Board also accepted an application for assistance from Gateway GS LLC, which is proposing to invest $2.625 million for a phase one development of a 25,000-square-foot spec structure in the Gateway II Corporate Park.

The $17.6 million development by Savarino is anticipated to create approximately 60 new jobs. It was recently announced that the first tenant for the site will be the Resurgence Brewing Company. This project would contribute to the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (BP2) redevelopment fund and be eligible to draw funds out of the fund to support the project investment related to infrastructure and related improvements in and around the site which offers a “public benefit.”

As a part of the project, the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) will submit a “certificate of consistency” and infrastructure development plan, which is a requirement to enable funding to flow from the BP2 redevelopment fund.

Savarino is receiving approximately $1.5 million in sales and mortgage tax and property tax exemptions. For every dollar of public benefit, the company is investing $21 into the local economy.​

A Rochester area developer has created an LLC and is planning to invest $2.625 million to build a 25,000-square-foot “shell” spec building at Gateway II in the Town of Batavia. The building allows potential customers the flexibility in final design while reducing construction lead time. The master plan will build out in four or five phases of 27,000-square-foot facilities, each on 10 acres.

The GCEDC receives several RFPs annually from companies looking for “ready to go” warehouse, distribution, light manufacturing, technology and office space tenants. This has been a market opportunity that the agency has been unable to pursue in the past.

The company is seeking sales and property tax exemptions of approximately $140,000. Since the incentives being sought are more than $100,000 a public hearing will be held at a date and time to be determined.

“We are anxious to see work get started at Ellicott Station as this is a major investment in the City of Batavia under the B2P program,” said GCEDC Board Chair Paul Battaglia. “The spec building being proposed at Gateway aligns with our success in taking the ‘build it and they will come approach’ at our various business parks which has proven to be a successful business model.”

August 3, 2017 - 1:46pm

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer yesterday (Aug. 2) called Canadian Ambassador Nominee Kelly Knight-Craft and strongly urged her to work with Canadian officials to persuade them to reverse the protectionist and restrictive trade policies that are currently harming the Upstate New York milk industry and farmers.

Schumer explained that the Province of Ontario and Canada’s federal government have adopted restrictive measures on the importation of milk products. These measures will cost tens of millions in U.S. dairy contracts. Producers like O-AT-KA Milk in Genesee County, Cayuga Milk Ingredients in Cayuga County and Ideal Dairy Farm in Washington County have all been harmed, he says.

Schumer said these policies are blatant violations of existing fair trade agreements with Canada. Schumer said this is an affront to current U.S.-Canadian trade agreements, and therefore urged Ms. Craft to push Canada reverse these unfair policies and work with the United States to keep current dairy trade agreements strong. 

“Canada’s restrictive dairy trade and pricing policies are blatantly violating our trade agreements signed by the U.S. and Canada, and they are hurting New York’s dairy producers who simply want to deal fairly with our Canadian partners," Schumer said. "That’s why I called the Canadian Ambassador Nominee and I urged her to push Canada to end these unfair policies and work with the U.S. to keep both of our dairy industries strong.

"These kinds of policies put our dairy farmers in grave jeopardy. Our New York dairy producers work hard every day to provide for their families and export quality products to the world – and they deserve to know that everyone’s competing on a level playing field.”

Schumer has long fought to protect the Upstate NY dairy industry and milk producers across the state. In September, Schumer urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Secretary Vilsack and the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman, to continue to pressure Canada to end these unfair policies.

The senator said it is critical that the federal government protects the Upstate NY dairy industry, and that these protectionist trade policies should not be allowed to continually impair the value of fair trade provisions the U.S. previously secured under our prior trade agreements.

In the Spring of 2016, Schumer visited O-AT-KA Milk, Cayuga Milk Ingredients and Ideal Farm as he urged the USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Michael Froman, to protect Upstate New York’s dairy sector from the then-proposed barriers to trade. Following that push, Schumer again urged these two federal agencies to ramp up all available resources to investigate new Canadian dairy trade policies that could hurt dairy farmers in Upstate NY.

The Canadian province of Ontario has already imposed limitations on American imports and recently Canada’s national government put out a proposal to expand these restrictions nationwide.

Schumer said that the Province of Ontario and Canada’s federal pricing policies, are designed to crowd out New York’s dairy sales and discourage Canadian cheesemakers from using imported ultra-filtered milk from the United States in their products. These new pricing policies essentially set the price of Canada’s products below that of New York’s ultra-filtered milk imports, which hurts O-AT-KA and Cayuga’s more efficiently produced ultra-filtered milk.

Schumer explained that Canada’s National Ingredients Strategy for dairy takes a similar approach to Ontario’s new Class VI pricing policy by incentivizing Canadian processors to shift away from using dairy imports from the U.S. Upstate New York producers have invested millions in order to be able to export to Canada because they have long enjoyed duty-free access for this specific product under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Schumer said these Canadian trade barriers have already started to hinder development and growth of the Upstate NY dairy industry. Companies like O-AT-KA and Cayuga Milk Ingredients, along with Ideal Dairy Farm, rely on trade with Canada for a significant percentage – millions of dollars – of their revenue.

As the country’s third largest milk producing state, a significant impact on New York’s ability to tap into key foreign markets could also impact farmers in surrounding states. Therefore, Schumer said, any reductions in export sales could impact NY dairy manufacturers and their supplying farms, which are already struggling with depressed milk prices.

August 3, 2017 - 10:25am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in corfu, Three T's Family Diner, news, restaurants, business.

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A few members of the Toy family, from left to right, Coby, Tracy, Wade and Tyler.

Wade and Tracy Toy have five kids and know the struggle of getting a good meal for a large family, without breaking the wallets.

That’s why they opened Three T’s Family Diner, located at 2 Corfu Plaza in Corfu. While they live in Cheektowaga, the travel time is worth it, Tracy said.

“It seemed like the small town didn’t have much going for it,” Tracy said. “We figured if we do this, maybe other things would pick up and the town would be back to where it was years ago.”

Wade and Tracy found the Corfu location on Craigslist and thought the place had potential.

They started renovating the location in January and finished in May. Wade said they stripped everything right down to the firewalls.

Wade used to drive a truck and Tracy was a railroad clerk, up until the beginning of this year.

“We both quit our jobs to put our time and effort into the diner,” Tracy said.

Tracy said they plan to leave the diner to their kids, Jessica, 23, Joshua, 21, Jacob, 19, Tyler, 15, and Coby 13.

“We also have a 4-year-old grandson that comes here,” Tracy said. “He gives out the menus and straws.”

The hope is that further down the road, Wade and Tracy will pass the diner along to their kids, while they go mobile and purchase a food truck for events and parties.

For locals, if they have ideas for what should be on the menu, Tracy and Wade are open to suggestions.

“We’ll try it out,” Tracy said. “Even if we don’t know what it is, we will look it up and figure it out.”

Wade said one customer requested chipped beef and gravy last week, which has been added to the specials. Tracy said they hope to receive a lot of feedback from customers.

The diner is open every day of the week, except Wednesday, from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., and accepts cash only.

They just started with takeout and delivery only to local businesses.

Tracy said they hope to expand to dinner hours in the near future.

“People can come here with their families and have a good, decent meal,” Tracy said. “Then, they can leave with money in their wallet and still be able to take their kids out.” 

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The diner is located behind the carwash in the Corfu Plaza, next to the American Family Market.

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July 27, 2017 - 6:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Dunkin' Donuts, batavia, business, news.

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At the new Dunkin' Donuts on West Main Street, Batavia, you can get a free charge, if you have an electric car, to go with your morning jolt of coffee.

This is apparently a trend for Dunkin' Donuts with a few popping up around the country.

The charging station is listed on PlugShare -- a listing that might encourage drivers of electric cars to exit the Thruway in Batavia if they're a little low on energy.

July 27, 2017 - 12:42pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Syngenta, agriculture, business.

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Farmers in New York State are being advised to take legal action against a Swiss agrochemical company that is being accused of mishandling the marketing of its genetically modified corn seed.

“New York farmers have been ripped off,” said attorney M. Scott Barrett, an Albion native who is a partner in Barrett Wylie LLC of Bloomington, Ind.

Barrett and Albion lawyer Conrad Cropsey are part of a four-attorney team available to represent New York corn growers who may have been affected by circumstances surrounding the 2010 rollout of the Agisure Viptera corn seed developed by Syngenta AG.

Ken Walsh of Mount Kisco and John Jernigan of Brewton, Ala., are the other lawyers handling New York cases.

Litigation against Syngenta, which was acquired by China National Chemical Corp. in June for $43 billion, began in 2014 – four years after Syngenta began marketing the corn seed.

The problem, Barrett said, was that Syngenta failed to get Chinese approval of the seed, which contained the MIR 162 GMO seed trait.

“China ultimately detected MIR 162 in U.S. corn shipments in November 2013 and, as a result, China, then the third-largest U.S. corn export market, embargoed all U.S. corn -- thereby driving down corn prices and damaging American corn producers,” Barrett said.

“The U.S. corn market has yet to fully recover, nor is it likely to do so anytime soon because after the U.S. corn ban in 2013, China entered into long-term contracts with a number of South American producers.”

Syngenta’s inability to obtain approval by China and alleged misleading statements about when the seed would be approved prompted farmers to file a class action suit in Kansas City, Kan.

Since then, a federal judge dismissed the suit, leaving farmers in all but nine states -- Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and South Dakota – without a national class action protecting their legal rights. The nine states mentioned can proceed via state law class actions.

Cropsey said farmers in other states, such as New York, have the right to file individual cases.

“We are working principally in the GLOW region and have a couple of signed clients in Suffolk County and Niagara County,” Cropsey said. “Farmers only need to sign a contract. We will handle all the paperwork and file their cases in Williamson County, Illinois court.”

Cropsey said the opportunity to file individual cases is open to all New York corn producers who grew and sold corn for market at any time after 2012.

“It makes no difference whether they purchased Syngenta seed or a competing brand such as Pioneer or DeKalb,” he said. “All of them have been damaged no matter what brand(s) of seed they purchased.  Nor does it matter whether the corn was sweet corn or field corn.”

Barrett recounted the litigation against Syngenta in three phases:

-- The one-count national class action, based on the federal statute known as the Lanham Act (which since has been denied);
-- A Minnesota state class action filed in state court in Minnesota;
-- Thousands of individual, non-class cases filed in both the Kansas and Minnesota courts as well as a state court in Williamson County.

“The three judges from Kansas, Minnesota, and Illinois have appointed a Special Master to work with the parties towards settlement on a parallel track with 48 test-case trials selected by the federal court in Kansas. This is being done to establish liability and damages parameters that will inform the settlement discussions,” Barrett said.

In an encouraging sign for farmers, the first Kansas test case trial last month ended with a jury verdict of $217 million in favor of the certified class of Kansas corn farmers.

“The Kansas class asked for $217 million in actual damages and that is exactly what they received -- no punitive damages were awarded,” said Barrett, adding that it took the jury less than a day to render its verdict.

A second test case trial, this one involving a single Nebraska plaintiff, was set to start on July 10 in Minneapolis, but a confidential settlement was reached four days earlier.

The third test case trial, this one involving the certified class of Minnesota corn farmers, is scheduled for mid-August in Minneapolis. The certified class of Minnesota corn farmers is seeking actual damages in the range of $600 million.

According to published reports, Syngenta lawyers are disputing the farmers’ claims of damages and are denying the company did anything wrong – noting that the seed wasn’t sold until U.S. approval was obtained and that it didn’t need China’s approval.

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For more information about the litigation, contact Cropsey (photo above) at 585-589-9400.

July 27, 2017 - 8:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Bank of Castile, business.

Press release:

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

“In each of the first three rounds, the support for the Community Minute Challenge has been impressive, with thousands of votes cast for the participating organizations,” said John McKenna, bank president and CEO.

“As proud members of the communities where we operate, we’re thankful for the important services that are provided by non-for-profit organizations in our area. We’re thrilled to be able to bring attention to their positive work through the Community Minute Challenge.”

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

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

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

Launched in August 2016, the Community Minute Challenge has awarded $7,500 to date. The first-round winner was Going to the Dogs Rescue in Wyoming County, an organization dedicated to helping homeless pets find loving forever homes. The second-round winner was ARC of Genesee Orleans, a resource of choice for people with disabilities and their families in both Genesee and Orleans counties. The third-round winner was Community Action for Wyoming County, an organization that seeks to improve the quality of life of all people they serve by focusing on their needs, and encouraging them to realize their goals and become self-sufficient.

July 27, 2017 - 8:30am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Job Bureau, business, news.

July 31 is the last chance for youths, ages 14 to 19, to apply for summer jobs through the Genesee County Career Center in Batavia.

This state-funded program offers 42 positions for youths to work 100 hours, approximately 20 hours a week, for minimum wage.

Lisa Smith, the employment and training counselor, said this is a great opportunity to get job experience.

“This gets them out into the community and building relationships,” Smith said.

Each youth will attend a three-day training, where they learn about how to interview, how to create a resume and cover letter, and how to interact with coworkers.

The Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union came to the last training, Smith said.

“They taught them how to balance a checkbook, how to write a check, and how to start saving money,” Smith said.

Once each person is placed, Smith visits once a week to check on the employee and employer.

This program has been around since 1980, serving Genesee County youths. They have worked at places such as the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District, rec programs, the Genesee County Animal Shelter, and public libraries in the area.

For those interested, they can contact Smith at 344-2042, ext. 4237, or by email at [email protected], or stop by the Genesee County Career Center located at 587 E. Main St., Suite 100.

July 24, 2017 - 3:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Muller Quaker, HP Hood, batavia, business.

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Press release:

State-of-the-art production equipment from the former Muller/Quaker Dairy greek yogurt plant in Batavia, New York, will be offered at auction Sept. 13 by Harry Davis & Company.

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) this week announced the facility — originally constructed by Muller-Quaker to process yogurt via a joint venture formed in 2011 between PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats Co. unit and Germany’s Theo Müller Group — has been purchased by HP Hood LLC. HP Hood will invest more than $200 million over several years to repurpose the 363,000-square-foot, currently idle processing facility to produce extended shelf-life beverages.

Meanwhile, the remaining state-of-the-art production equipment is being offered at auction by Harry Davis & Company.

Leonard Davis, president and senior appraiser for Harry Davis & Company, says this is a rare opportunity for processors to purchase equipment from 2012 or newer that was used for only 18 months of production time.

“This is a virtual showroom of equipment,” he says. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for the dairy world to purchase this equipment.”

He notes in particular the equipment available for production of Greek yogurt, which has soared in popularity at retail.

In addition to getting ultra-modern equipment at significant savings, Davis says it’s a rare opportunity to get equipment of this quality so quickly.

“Typically, if you wanted to get one of these filling machines, you’re looking at 18-24 months of lead time,” he says. “This is an opportunity to acquire like-new equipment well below new cost and have it installed and running in a matter of weeks.”

Some of the featured equipment, valued at $200 million, includes: • Aseptic S/S Silos & Tanks
• Pasteurization, Homogenization & Culture Injection
• Finnah Horizontal Form, Fill & Seal Packaging Lines
• Hamba/Oystar A+F Filling Line
• Kasag Fruit Batch Cooking Plant.

Since the former yogurt plant added fruit to some of its varieties, state-of-the-art fruit processing equipment also is available, including a fruit receiving, sorting and cutting system, Davis notes.

“There’s a complete fruit production sub-facility within this plant,” he says. “It’s highly desirable not only for other yogurt manufacturers, but also those involved in jam and other fruit manufacturing.”

Additional general plant and spare parts also are available.

Harry Davis & Company is seeking buyers from North America, South America and Europe. Interested parties can access the auction online at http://bit.ly/MullerHDC. The auction will be held at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time Sept. 13. 

Photos provided. (click here for more photos)

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July 21, 2017 - 1:19pm

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press release:

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

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

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

SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS FOR SECOND QUARTER AND YEAR TO DATE:

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

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

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

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

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

    NET INTEREST INCOME

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

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

    NONINTEREST INCOME

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

    NONINTEREST EXPENSE

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

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

ASSET QUALITY

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

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

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

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

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

CAPITAL POSITION

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

ABOUT TOMPKINS FINANCIAL CORPORATION

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

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

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

TOMPKINS FINANCIAL CORPORATION CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CONDITION

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

As of

06/30/2017

76,079 2,096 78,175

1,424,871

139,994 4,070,755

As of

12/31/2016

62,074 1,880 63,954 

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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Kaneb family acquired HP Hood in 1985.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Public Notice:

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

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

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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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