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May 18, 2016 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in town of batavia, batavia, planning, land use, business.

From the Town of Batavia Planning Board's meeting last night:

  • Jeff Price met with the board to discuss his plans for two or three off-road truck events at the Genesee County Fairgrounds this year. Called Flex Rock 4x4, Price organized two events last year and he said they went very well. The first event wasn't well publicized and the turnout was mostly local drivers and truck owners, but by the time the second event rolled around, word had gotten out and drivers came from as far away as North Carolina. He said neighboring residents attended the first event to see what it was about and he hasn't received any complaints. He said the fair board is happy with his events. He asked the planning board for a letter approving the events, which the board will provide.
  • Chris Moiser, owner of Area 51, presented his plans for the 2016 season and received board support. He is planning races June 4-5, July 2-3, July 30-31, Sept. 3-4 and Nov. 13, with an MX race Oct. 29-30 and the Dirty Girl Mud Run on July 16.
  • Dale Banfield presented plans for outdoor concerts at the Waggin Wheel restaurant on Park Road. He's planning on hosting a couple of concerts featuring country bands and '80s classic rock. The concerts will be in a fenced-in area with proceeds from food sales going to local volunteer fire departments. Ticket sales would cover the cost of the bands. He said he's already spoken with representatives fo Batavia Downs and COR Development about parking and traffic and he said both are willing to work with him. He said he plans to have the venue entrance behind the Waggin Wheel, along the property line with Batavia Towne Center. A special use permit is required and a public hearing was set for June 21, by which time the board expects Banfield to have more details worked out.
  • The board approved a site plan review for Alpina Foods, which is planning a 3,360-square-foot expansion. No representatives of Alpina attended the meeting.
May 17, 2016 - 5:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Summer in the City, batavia, downtown, business, news.

There will be no Elvis impersonator, no hot rods, no dunk booths, no kettle corn on Main Street in Batavia this August. 

Summer in the City is cancelled for 2016, and quite likely, in any future summers, according to Laurie Oltramari, executive director of the Batavia Business Improvement District.

Oltramari is in her first year as BID director and since taking the position learned that city is clamping down on the BID's operational budget, restricting spending to just $55,000 a year.

In recent years, the BID has spent $120,000 on operations, but City Manager Jason Molino said the BID has been allocating more of its special tax levy to operations than state law allows.

The law allows only 20 percent of the city's levy on properties in the BID to go to an improvement district's operations, plus an additional levy to service any debt.

The BID took on nearly a million in bonds in 1999 to fund a series of upgrades to downtown, such as new street lamps, paving stones and landscape improvements. The BID's final $15,000 payment will be made this year.

While Molino's insistence this year that the BID follow the budgeting requirements of the General Municipal Law, a memo Molino prepared for next week's City Council meeting makes it clear that prior to Oltramari taking the director's job, he tried to bring the requirement to the attention of the BID.

"When reviewing prior records, budgets and the district plan, the BBID (Batavia Business Improvement District) has struggled to comply with the GML regarding oversight of assessment funds and consistency with the district plan," Molino tells council members in the four-page memo. "In addition, as recent as 2013 and 2015 the city has advised the BBID of both budget management concerns as well as compliance with the GML faults."

Dropping Summer in the City is the biggest change in the BID's budget, Oltramari said, but there will be other cuts, including cutting down the hours worked by her part-time assistant.  

There are other annual programs that the BID sponsors that will continue, Oltramari said, because they both make money and do a better job of promoting downtown businesses, including the Fall Wine Walk, Beertavia (in June) and Christmas in the City. All are self-funding, if not profitable, and help boost local business, but downtown merchants have long complained that Summer in the City took away parking while doing little to generate foot traffic into their stores. Oltramari said it generated very little revenue for the BID.

Even without Summer in the City, the BID can continue to work hard to promote downtown, Oltramari said, and seek out opportunities for "small victories" that in the long run can pay off big for the local business community.

May 17, 2016 - 1:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Farming, agriculture, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) in conjunction with Empire State Development has created a new revolving loan program to assist the agricultural industry in the Finger Lakes Region.

“Growing the Agriculture Industry Now” (GAIN) Revolving Loan Program is an initiative to capitalize local agricultural businesses that are using new technologies and expanding operations.

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

“Growing our agriculture and food processing industry is one of the utmost priorities of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) as it represents a crucial part of the region’s economy,” stated FLREDC Co-Chairs, Monroe Community College President Anne Kress and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman.

“GAIN’s revolving loan pool to support the capital needs of agriculture and food processing companies, including new technology, diversification and expansion, will further advance the needs of the industry.”

According to the most recent Census of Agriculture (2012), farm-gate sales throughout the region totaled $1.6 billion, comprising 30 percent of statewide farm sales, with food processing and other support businesses as additional multipliers.

"Genesee County is one of the top ten agricultural regions in New York State," said State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer. "This new loan program will help to support our hardworking farmers, giving them a better chance at growing their business and our local economy. By supporting our farmers, we all can continue to enjoy fresh, local and quality food."

“As the former owner and operator of our family farm, I am always eager to help New York’s farmers and agriculture industry,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia). “In a profession where profits are not guaranteed year to year and weather can wreak havoc on products, our small farms need all the help they can get.

"I am excited to announce that the Growing our Agriculture Industry Now (GAIN) Loan Fund is available. The loan pool will help fund capital projects that foster job creation, renewable energy creation, farm diversification, and investment in technologies, among other things. I look forward to spreading the word about this tremendous opportunity and helping local farmers succeed at their craft.”

The GAIN revolving loan program will give priority to agricultural and related business projects, including food processing and operating farms, which support job creation and job retention, as well as farm diversification (i.e., participate in farm-based retail & wholesale markets).

The program will also support businesses that invest in new technology, including renewable energy projects and new processing equipment, as well as ones that demonstrate growth in net revenue for agriculture enterprises; leverage other sources of funding; and provide secondary economic multipliers (i.e., business expansions).

“This is another example of the ongoing collaboration between the public and private sectors,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “While we are excited about advanced manufacturing opportunities such as STAMP we also cannot forget that the foundation of our regional economy is the agricultural sector.”

Those interested in learning more about the application process and the program can contact Chris Suozzi, GCEDC V.P. of Business Development, at (585) 343-4866 or [email protected].

For more information about the program, visit http://www.gcedc.com/pdf/marketing/Gain%20Loan%20Fund%20Brochure.pdf

May 17, 2016 - 8:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in County Airport, batavia, business.

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The County Legislature's Public Service Committee held its monthly meeting at the new terminal at the County Airport. Before the meeting, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens gave attendees a tour of the facility.

We'll have coverage of the meeting later today.

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May 14, 2016 - 4:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ferrellgas, batavia, business, charity.

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Ferrellgas hosted a $5 fill up today along with a chance auction on several items, including a BBQ grill, with proceeds benefiting the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation.

May 11, 2016 - 3:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in michael ranzenhofer, NYCLU, farms, business, agriculture.

Sen. Michael Ranzerhofer today issued a statement about the lawsuit filed Tuesday by the NY Civil Liberties Union seeking improved rights for farmworkers. The Senator says the suit will have a devastating impact on local jobs and farms.

After the lawsuit was filed against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state in the New York Supreme Court in Albany, the governor made it known that he backed workers' rights and the NYCLU's efforts and that he would not contest the litigation.

Among its aims is to allow farmworkers to unionize and get paid overtime. The NYCLU maintains that existing state law does not provide farmworkers with the protections that other worker groups are afforded. Cuomo noted "inconsistencies" and said workers in any sector should not be exploited.

The increase in the minimum wage approved last month in New York includes farmworkers and the wage will become $12.50 per hour by in end of 2020 in Upstate New York. Farms are expected to get a $30 million subsidy to accommodate the wage increase.

Ranzenhofer issued the following statement this afternoon:

“The New York Civil Liberties Union is trying to push increased regulations on farm workers through the courts. These burdensome regulations would force local farms to eliminate jobs and potentially go out of business. Whether it is New York City politicians or the NYCLU, they have little to no understanding of the economic realities of the agriculture industry. If the NYCLU wins this lawsuit, then it will have a devastating impact on our family farms and jobs in our rural communities.”

May 11, 2016 - 2:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, business, Announcements, news.

The Genesee County Ag Society will present a Livestock Fitting, Showmanship & Judging Clinic May 20-22 at the Genesee County Fairgrounds. It is located at 5056 E. Main Street Road, Batavia.

It is intended to be a learning opportunity for young people. All youths age 8 to 19 are particulary welcome and they do NOT have to be members of 4-H or Future Farmers of America (FFA).

Friday, May 20, is Livestock Game Night. Saturday, May 21, is a Livestock Clinic. Sunday, May 22, there will be industry speakers talking about nutrition, genetics and the ag business.

Topics covered during the weekend will include: Nutrition & Care, Basic Training, Showmanship Overview & Practice, Fitting & Hoof Trimming, Livestock Species Knowledge, and Judging & Oral Reasons.

Tickets are $30 per youth, which includes a T-shirt and chicken BBQ. Accompanying adults are $15 (but if they want a T-shirt and chicken BBQ, it's $30).

Camping is available for the weekend. Cost is $25 one night, or $40 for both Friday and Saturday nights.

Early registration is recommended.

Any questions, call Heather Weber 585-297-3032.

 

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, 420 E. Main Street, Batavia NY 14020

Phone: (585) 343-3040 ext. 101 Fax: (585) 343-1275

http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/

May 10, 2016 - 2:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, business, news.

The Clarion Hotel on Park Road in Batavia is now the Quality Inn & Suites. Prices are unchanged. But the wireless service, which had problems previously, has been replaced with state-of-the-art Wi-Fi service and the bedding is all new, too.

So says General Manager of the location, Evan Sakeeb.

"We're bringing a lot of new stuff with the new name," Sakeeb said. "We're constantly changing, working to better serve our customers."

Whereas the Clarion was only one of 158 nationwide, the Quality Inn & Suites is a more with familiar brand with many more U.S. locations.

"Quality Inn is more familiar and more popular," he said.

The owner of the Batavia location remains the same, Chan Patel.

More changes/upgrades are planned there soon and will be announced later.

Our news partner WBTA contributed to this report.

May 9, 2016 - 2:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, business.

Press release:

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide a new financing option to help farmers purchase portable storage and handling equipment.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Elanor Starmer announced changes to the Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program today during a local and regional food roundtable in Columbus, Ohio. The loans, which now include a smaller microloan option with lower down payments, are designed to help producers, including new, small and mid-sized producers, grow their businesses and markets.

“As more communities reconnect with agriculture, consumer demand is increasing for food produced locally or regionally,” Dolcini said. “Portable handling and storage equipment is vital to helping farmers get their products to market more quickly and better maintain product quality, bringing them greater returns. That’s why we’ve added this type of equipment as a new category for our Farm Storage Facility Loan program.”

The program also offers a new “microloan” option, which allows applicants seeking less than $50,000 to qualify for a reduced down payment of five percent and no requirement to provide three years of production history. Farms and ranches of all sizes are eligible. The microloan option is expected to be of particular benefit to smaller farms and ranches, and specialty crop producers who may not have access to commercial storage or on-farm storage after harvest. These producers can invest in equipment like conveyers, scales or refrigeration units and trucks that can store commodities before delivering them to markets. Producers do not need to demonstrate the lack of commercial credit availability to apply.

“Growing high-value crops for local and regional markets is a common entry point for new farmers,” Starmer said. “Since they often rent land and have to transport perishable commodities, a loan that can cover mobile coolers or even refrigerated trucks fills an important gap. These producers in turn supply the growing number of food hubs, farmers markets or stores and restaurants interested in sourcing local food.”

Earlier this year, FSA significantly expanded the list of commodities eligible for Farm Storage Facility Loan. Eligible commodities now include aquaculture; floriculture; fruits (including nuts) and vegetables; corn, grain sorghum, rice, oilseeds, oats, wheat, triticale, spelt, buckwheat, lentils, chickpeas, dry peas sugar, peanuts, barley, rye, hay, honey, hops, maple sap, unprocessed meat and poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and renewable biomass. FSFL microloans can also be used to finance wash and pack equipment used post-harvest, before a commodity is placed in cold storage.

AMS helps thousands of agricultural food producers and businesses enhance their marketing efforts through a combination of research, technical services and grants. The agency works to improve marketing opportunities for U.S. growers and producers, including those involved in specialty crop production and in the local and regional food systems. Visit http://www.ams.usda.gov/ to learn more about AMS services.

Today’s announcement will further advance the efforts of USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, which coordinates the Department's work to develop local and regional food systems. USDA is committed to helping farmers, ranchers, and businesses access the growing market for local and regional foods, which was valued at $12 billion in 2014 according to industry estimates. Under this Administration, USDA has invested more than $1 billion in more than 40,000 local and regional food businesses and infrastructure projects. More information on how USDA investments are connecting producers with consumers and expanding rural economic opportunities is available in Chapter IV of USDA Results on Medium.

To learn more about Farm Storage Facility Loans, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/pricesupport or contact a local FSA county office. To find your local FSA county office, visit http://offices.usda.gov/.

May 8, 2016 - 11:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, business, Darien.

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Yesterday was the first day of another new season of fun at Darien Lake Theme Park.

While we didn't get out to Darien for photos until the afternoon, after the clouds arrived, the morning blue skies helped encourage a great first-day attendance, park officials said.

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May 6, 2016 - 9:56am

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for an application for assistance from Alpina Foods, Inc., at its May 5 board meeting.

Alpina Foods, Inc., will add 3,200 square feet to its existing facility in the Town of Batavia to accommodate space for a bottle-filling machine and packaging equipment for a new drinkable yogurt product.

The facility’s expansion will result in the creation of four new jobs and the retention of 23 current full-time employees. Based on the success of the product line and other growth opportunities there is the potential for the creation of additional new jobs at Alpina.

The company was approved for a sales tax exemption of $15,405 and a property tax exemption of $62,903. The project’s planned capital investment will total an estimated $1.1 million.

“It is exciting to see Alpina adding a new yogurt product to the marketplace that is being made right here in Genesee County,” said Christopher Suozzi, vice president of Business Development at the GCEDC.

“The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park is an important community asset and continued investment and expansion there will only help us market the site to other food processing and food manufacturing companies.”

May 6, 2016 - 8:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, STAMP, business, Alabama.

Press release:

Silicon wafer manufacturer 1366 Technologies (“1366”) today announced it has received a $10 million investment from the Hanwha Investment Corp., one of Korea’s leading private equity/venture capital firms with more than $500 million under management. The funds will be used toward the construction of 1366’s first large-scale commercial factory, scheduled to be online in 2017.

“Our Direct Wafer™ technology represents one of the most significant manufacturing innovations in solar, with the potential to propel the industry forward and deliver dramatic cost advantages,” said Frank van Mierlo, CEO, 1366 Technologies. “We are thrilled that Hanwha Investment Corporation, with its deep expertise in and understanding of the manufacturing industry, has invested.

"It is a tremendous validation of our commercialization plans, and a clear signal that we’re poised to disrupt the $10 billion and growing silicon solar wafer market.”

“Hanwha Investment Corporation actively seeks out companies with groundbreaking technologies that transform industries. In just a short period of time, 1366 has moved from proof of concept to commercial-ready technology, achieving technical milestones steadily and rapidly. We believe the 1366 team is well positioned for commercial success,” said Woojae Hahn, president and CEO, Hanwha Investment Corporation.

1366’s Direct Wafer technology is a transformative manufacturing process that offers significant advantages over traditional cast-and-saw wafer production technologies. The process makes wafers in a single step, pulling them directly from molten silicon instead of today’s multi-step, energy- and capital-intensive approach, resulting in significant wafer production cost savings.

CLARIFICATION: We were asked to clarify a prior report that said the Hannah company that is purchasing solar wafers and the Hannah company making the investments in 1366 are the same company. While related, they are not the same company and operate independently.

May 5, 2016 - 3:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Eastown Plaza, Eastown Beverage, batavia, business.

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The expansion of Paul Parise's Eastown Beverage, which includes more space for his redemption center, coincides with that redemption center becoming the last privately owned, independent one in town.

Rob's on Ellicott Street, where Parise got his start more than a dozen years ago, closed last month. The nonprofit ARC operates a redemption center on East Main Street Road in the Town of Batavia, and Tops Market chain also has one.

This spring, Parise has expanded his redemption center into space, formerly a detail shop, next to his beer store. 

The new redemption center is bigger and Parise promises it will always be the cleanest around with the fastest service.

At the same time, Parise has been able to add more coolers -- now 24 doors -- to the beer shop and he's increased the number of craft beers he carries, and unlike a lot of shops, everything he sells is refrigerated.

The shops are located at 563 E. Main St., Batavia.

Eastown Beverage is open seven days a week: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; Thursday through Saturday to 9 p.m.; and from 11a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The redemption center is open 9 to 4:30, except Saturdays when it closes at 4, and its closed on Sundays.

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May 4, 2016 - 10:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, Darien, business.

Press release:

Darien Lake, Western New York’s largest theme park, opens this weekend for its 53rd season of family thrills and entertainment. This season guests will experience the new RipCurl Racer water ride, updated Ignite the Night laser show, and four free in-park concerts.

RipCurl Racer

Towering above the ground at 42 feet, six mat-riding competitors launch themselves headfirst into side-by-side tunnels and rocket through the twisting tunnels before accelerating into separate racing lanes. Riders then drop down the home stretch, enjoying speed, compression and zero gravity moments as they blast into a high-velocity finish. RipCurl Racer will begin taking riders on the water park’s opening day – May 21.

Ignite the Night Laser Show

Darien Lake’s Ignite the Night laser show has been upgraded to include full-color laser beams; extra pyrotechnics, and an all-new soundtrack. Ignite the Night, presented by Tops Friendly Markets, takes place every evening at 10:10 on the lawn at the Lakeside Amphitheater from May 20 to Sept. 4.

In-Park Concerts

The in-park concert series presented by Tops Friendly Markets are free with a Season Pass, a hotel/camping package or daily admission. The series will take place on the Performing Arts Center stage, with access to and from shows provided exclusively through the park. The concert series includes performances by Jacob Whitesides and Laura Marano on May 28, Rachel Platten on June 4, Sabrina Carpenter on June 25, and the latest addition Daya and Shawn Hook on July 2.

“We continue to improve and develop the park to provide exceptional value and extraordinary experiences for our guests,” said Darien Lake General Manager Chris Thorpe. “The new RipCurl Racer water ride and the stunning must-see laser show elements are as awe-inspiring and exhilarating as they are colorful. If you haven’t visited the park in a while, now’s the time to come out and see what’s hot and happening at Darien Lake.”

With park admission or season pass, guests receive unprecedented access to all in-park entertainment/concerts, special dive-in movies, special events, shows, and now more than 50 rides. A 2016 season pass has even greater value than ever before, paying for itself in less than two visits.

Season Pass holders will have front-row access to RipCurl Racer at Darien Lake’s Season Pass Preview Party on May 20 and receive a free souvenir mug, free tickets for friends and free parking. Restrictions apply, visit www.darienlake.com for more details.

May 4, 2016 - 10:44am

Live Nation's concert line up for 2016 at Darien Lake looks pretty much like it's set for the season.

Here it is:

  • Bad Company & Joe Walsh – Tuesday, June 7th
  • Miranda Lambert w/ Kip Moore & Brothers Osborne  – Thursday, June 23
  • Zac Brown Band – Sunday, July 3
  • 5 Seconds of Summer – Wednesday, July 6th
  • Vans Warped Tour – Thursday, July 14th
  • Toby Keith w/ Eric Paslay – Friday, July 15th
  • Disturbed w/ Breaking Benjamin – Sunday, July 24th
  • Josh Groban w/ Sarah McLachlan – Tuesday, July 26th
  • Heart & Joan Jett w/ Cheap Trick – Wednesday, July 27th
  • G-EAZY with Logic – Friday, July 29th
  • Darius Rucker with Dan + Shay and Michael Ray – Sunday, July 31st
  • Brad Paisley w/ Tyler Farr – Friday, Aug. 19th
  • Goo Goo Dolls w/ Collective Soul – Saturday, Aug. 20th
  • ZZ Top & Gregg Allman --Tuesday, Aug. 23
  • Blink-182 w/ A Day to Remember & All Time Low – Wednesday, Aug. 24th
  • Florida Georgia Line w/ Cole Swindell – Friday, Aug. 26th
  • Kidz Bop Kids Live! – Sunday, Aug. 28th
  • Def Leppard w/ REO Speedwagon & Tesla – Wednesday, Aug. 31st
  • Jason Aldean w/ Thomas Rhett & A Thousand Horses – Thursday, Sept. 22nd
May 4, 2016 - 10:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in liberty pumps, bergen, business.

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Press release:

Liberty Pumps hosted hundreds of visitors for their 2016 Open House held on April 27.  The event was planned with two separate segments, one for family and friends of employees and one for the community.

The company welcomed visitors to show the completion of the recent three-phase expansion which nearly doubled the size of the facility.  In total, the expansion added over 123,000 sq. ft. to the corporate operation in Bergen, NY.  New additions included manufacturing areas, engineering lab and test facilities, as well as a new training center.

Attendees were treated to a tour of the facility, product demonstrations and a presentation and dedication of the new facility by Charlie Cook, President and CEO.

May 3, 2016 - 12:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in liberty pumps, bergen, business.

Liberty Pumps hosted hundreds of visitors for their 2016 Open House held on April 27. The event was planned with two separate segments, one for family and friends of employees and one for the community.

The company welcomed visitors to show the completion of the recent three-phase expansion which nearly doubled the size of the facility. In total, the expansion added over 123,000 square feet to the corporate operation in Bergen. New additions included manufacturing areas, engineering lab and test facilities, as well as a new training center.

Attendees were treated to a tour of the facility, product demonstrations and a presentation and dedication of the new facility by Charlie Cook, president and CEO.

May 3, 2016 - 8:26am

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider an expansion project for Alpina Foods, Inc., at its May 5 board meeting.

Alpina Foods, Inc., is planning to construct a 3,200-square-foot addition to its existing facility in Batavia to accommodate space for a new bottle-filling machine and packaging equipment for a new drinkable yogurt product.

The company’s investment will total more than $1.1 million in the drinkable yogurt line, resulting in the retention of 23 current full-time employees.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the first floor, across from Genesee Community College.

May 2, 2016 - 10:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Fired Up, crafts.

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Another old thing that's new again is ceramics.

Decades ago, buying clay figurines and painting them according to your own craft or whimsy was quite the thing, but then the hobby kind of faded away.

It's starting to make a comeback, which is one reason Shirley Nigro-Hill decided to open a ceramics shop on Ellicott Street in Batavia.

Nigro-Hill taught ceramics in the 1970s before establishing a reputation in dolls, but when her daughter moved back here from Florida and couldn't find what she needed to continue her ceramics crafting, they decided to open up the shop in a building she owns on Ellicott.

They already had the kilns and slips, which puts them in a unique position for most ceramic shops these days -- they pour and fire most of what they sell.

"I guess that's unusual for the day, but I'm back from the old school," Nigro-Hill said.

The type of ceramics is called "Bisque wear."  

The shop, Fired Up - Ready to Paint Ceramics, opened last week.

Customers can purchase a figurine and paint it in the shop with acrylic paint and it will be dry and ready to take home by that evening, or they can take it home and paint it at home.

Nigro-Hill said the shop also offers classes for both adults and children and also offers group events.

Fired Up, at 216 Ellicott St., is open noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 6 p.m. on Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

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April 29, 2016 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Vinyl Record Revival, business, batavia, downtown, news.

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The sale of vinyl records has reached its highest level in 28 years and Batavia resident Richard Mistretta is betting that trend continues.

His own research and experience tells him vinyl, once considered a relic of history, has achieved its own kind of staying power.

"Last year, I first had a thought of opening a brick and mortar store," Mistretta said. "I wasn't sure what I'd be selling, but I started selling online and I noticed albums were selling well. I was selling a lot of vinyl, so with my online business, I switched over to exclusively selling vinyl and the sales numbers continued to go up."

Tomorrow he opens Vinyl Record Revival at 220 E. Main St., Batavia.

He's spent the past couple of weeks building bins for records, CDs, reel-to-reel, and he even has a couple of boxes of 8-track tapes, but vinyl is clearly where the action is. It attracts collectors of all ages these days.

"The big age group right now is young people, teenagers are getting into it," Mistretta said. "I've been hearing about it from a lot of people. They find it fascinating. They find it is something interesting to collect, and, also, the sound is different. That's the big thing, but, also, it's tangible. You can hold it, you can look at it, the artwork; it's easy to read. When something is digital, you don't get all that."

Clearly, vinyl records can't beat digital, especially in the age of cloud storage and streaming services, for convenience, but beside of the tactile and aesthetic appeal, most connoisseurs tip in favor of vinyl for the superior audio performance of analog, which doesn't suffer from the loss of dynamic range found in compressed sound files.

It might be surprising, but as Mistretta noted, when teenagers take an interest in The Beatles, they seek out vinyl, some becoming die-hard collectors.

That works out well for Mistretta, who is a lifelong fan of The Beatles and is stocking a full range of Beatles records, books and memorabilia. 

But the Beatles aren't the only hot seller from previous generations. There's also The Who, Queen, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, and, Mistretta noted, even before he died, he couldn't keep Prince in stock. When he put Prince records up for sale online, they would often be gone within hours.

Record stores in WNY are now few and far between, so he's hoping to draw clientele from throughout the GLOW region as well as Rochester and Buffalo. One of his goals is to get to know his customers, know what they're looking for and work with his wholesalers to find it for them.

Mistretta is 60 and recently retired after 20 years at the University of Rochester. He lived in Rochester when he met his wife, Michelle, and fell in love with her and fell in love with her hometown, Batavia. He's lived here for three years.

When he decided vinyl would be the speciality of his retail store, he started buying boxes and boxes of records, including one large collection from a seller in Pennsylvania. He said he's found some real gems among these big collections.

"The poor UPS drivers," he said. "Those poor delivery people probably have sore backs from carrying in boxes."

He's found the type of customers range from young to old, from those looking for just specific artists, to those who buy everything in a genre and those who are more interested in album covers or just exploring.

He has set up several listening stations in the store so customers can sample before they buy.

Right now, the store is strictly used records, tapes and CDs, but with most top current recording artists releasing their albums on vinyl again, he is hoping to find the right distributor so he can carry new inventory as well.

He also sees a need to supply area audiophiles with turntables, receivers and speakers.

"Manufacturers are starting to get back into making a nice receiver, making a nice phonograph and the big speakers, because everything did switch over to something that was more portable," Mistretta said.

Store hours will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. He's not settled yet on what his Saturday hours will be, but he will be closed Sundays and Mondays.

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