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March 20, 2017 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Empire Access, batavia, business, news.

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Brian Fiorella became the first Batavia resident with TV service from Empire Access today when a work crew completed the addition of the service to his home network.

It's been a long process for Empire to get the agreements and approvals in place with the city and state to start providing TV service to Batavia residents, so Empire executive Bob R. VanDelinder was on hand for the installation.

"It's exciting for us," VanDeinder said.

Dozens of people have already signed up to start getting TV service from Empire, even though the company just started advertising its availability.

The service is entirely digital and combined with broadband service gives customers the opportunity to access the full array of home entertainment services available online and from TV networks.

"Given that it's all digital, you have great quality," VanDeinder said. "There are still systems out there that are analog, cable-type systems, so you don't have the same quality.

"Being on fiber optics allows us to provide better service uptime," VanDeinder added. "With this service we're able to provide amazing digital TV service, HD service, DVR -- whole-home DVR, and we have a watch-TV-anywhere feature, which allows you to watch TV from anywhere in the world with an internet connection."

Empire is also the only community-based cable or broadband provider in the area, which VanDeinder said helps the company provide better service. You always reach a live operator when you call customer service.

For more on local service, visit the website for Empire Access.

 

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Erik Rindell, a technician with Empire, making the final connection for the TV service at the home of Brian Fiorella.

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Justin Wing, an employee of Brian Fiorella, Steven DeWitt, Empire Access, Brian Fiorella, Bob VanDeinder, and Tom Hare, Empire access.

Fiorella owns Fiorella's Technical Services, based in Batavia. The company provides service and installation for home entertainment systems.

March 20, 2017 - 1:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC, Alabama, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today announced that bids for infrastructure work at STAMP have been released. A legal notice announcing the bids will be published March 20.

The GCEDC also will host a pre-bid conference on March 29 at 10 a.m. at the MedTech Centre’s Innovation Zone so that interested parties can ask questions about specifications for the bids and other relevant information, including MWBE requirements and the Project Labor Agreement (PLA).

“We are extremely aware of the fact that the funding for the infrastructure work involves taxpayer money and as such this is going to be an extremely transparent process,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “We fully anticipate having shovels in the ground in a couple of months.”

Clark Patterson Lee is issuing the bids and will manage construction inspection for Phase I work for water infrastructure, including enhancements to the Town of Alabama water system. The engineering firm will also be issuing bids in the near future and managing construction inspection on roadways within the STAMP site and the main entrance off of routes 63 and 77. 

The firm will review the bids for the road and water infrastructure work and make recommendations to the GCEDC Board for approval.

March 13, 2017 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rashaad Santiago, arts, entertainment, batavia, business.

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Special effects artist Rashaad Santiago has set up a studio on the third floor of the Harvester Center where he can do work for his clients from all over the world as well as teach aspiring artists.

Santiago won the reality TV series "Face-Off" in 2014 for his monster-making prowess.

The studio gives Santiago a place where he can make costumes, masks, and props for clients, whether molded, sculpted or welded.

He said he's been getting work for movies, television and commercials.

He's also traveled on personal appearances to conventions and special events. He returned recently from Nashville where he was invited to provide a demo in monster-making.

He said he enjoys teaching.

"I love talking about this stuff," Santiago said. "I love being part of the process of watching somebody learn something new and then watch them work at it until they get it."

Currently, Santiago is running a four-week Wednesday night course. He will start a new course when he returns from his business trip. For more information or to sign up, visit his Facebook page or email him at rashaadsantiago1@gmail.com

March 11, 2017 - 8:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Bank of Castile, business.

Press release:

Tompkins Insurance has expanded staff on duty today  from 8 a.m. to noon to assist our customers with claims due to the storm.  In addition we are available 24 hours per day 365 days a year. Thank you for allowing us to be your trusted insurance advisor.

Tompkins can be reached at (888) 261-2688.

March 10, 2017 - 11:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in The Yngodess Shop, batavia, business.

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It helps that 73 Main St. in Batavia has been a liquor store since the first day after the end of Prohibition, but Chris Crocker thinks she's found a special niche in Batavia that's helped her business survive and grow in its first five years.

"People in Batavia were asking for higher-end products and a whole different mindset on different wines," Crocker said. "And we have fun here."

As soon as Crocker took over the location and renamed it YNGodess in 2012, she started bringing in a broader selection of fine wines and over the five years she's become known among her customers not only as a place for great wine, but also for having one of the finest selections around of whisky, bourbon and scotch, as well as other top-shelf liquors.

"It comes from a passion for the business," she said, "but I'm doing it all for my 13-year-old son."

March 9, 2017 - 4:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in JCPenney Co., batavia, business, news.

If you're trying to read the tea leaves on whether JCPenney's in Batavia will be among the 130 to 140 stores the company will close this year, this list of underperforming locations might be of interest.

Batavia is not on it.

But that means nothing. There are only 39 stores listed.

The list was created and released by Morningstar Credit Ratings.

March 7, 2017 - 10:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, darien lake, jobs, business, Darien.

Press release:

The region’s largest seasonal employer is looking to fill 1,800 open positions across its multiple departments, including amusement park, water park, lodging, entertainment, retail and food service.

Darien Lake has already begun accepting applications for the upcoming season with some positions starting as early as April. The park will open for the 2017 season on May 6 with full, daily operations beginning June 15.

Darien Lake will be hosting an open job fair at the Park’s Lodge on the Lake Hotel on Saturday, March 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information about the job fair and the types of positions available, visit www.darienlake.com/jobs.  

Interviews for the following positions will be held during the job fair: food service, park services, games, admissions, ride operations, lifeguards, rentals, warehouse, retail, hotel/campground, attractions, and security officers. Representatives from the Darien Lake Amphitheater, run by Live Nation, will also be at the fair to discuss seasonal opportunities.

“We’re seeking friendly, ambitious applicants of all backgrounds who are interested in helping us create memorable experiences for our guests,” said Darien Lake General Manager Chris Thorpe. “While we look forward to meeting our new team members, we are also thrilled to welcome back more than 800 rehires every year, filling a total of more than 2,000 positions.”

Special Perks and Benefits

·       Free Admission to the Park – An employee ID is equal to a 2017 Darien Lake season pass. Come as often as you like, free of charge!

·       Free Park Tickets for Friends & Family -- Where else can you work and earn free tickets to Darien Lake? Share the fun with your friends and family all season long.

·       Opportunities to Advance -- Our team members are on a fast track to success. With so many great opportunities, both new and returning employees can take on new challenges and develop their leadership skills.

·       Great Resume Building Experience -- Darien Lake offers great experience for future business leaders. Understand your labor force, how to manage inventory and interact with guests, all under the sun and in a place that’s all about fun.

Interested applicants can apply online at www.DarienLake.com/jobs or call the Darien Lake Job Line at 585-599-5108

March 5, 2017 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, Chamber Awards, business.

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At the Quality Inn & Suites last night, the Chamber of Commerce presented its annual local business and leadership awards. Here are photos and links to our stories from the past week about the winners.

Above, Charlie Cook, CEO of Liberty Pumps.

Chamber Awards: Business of the Year -- Liberty Pumps

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Bill and Joy Hume, owners of Foxprowl Collectables.

Chamber Awards: Foxprowl Collectables -- Entrepreneurial Business of the Year

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Owners of Stein Farms. Natasha Sutherland speaking, then on left, Jerrod Stein, Ray Stein, and Nathan Stein (Dale Stein was out of town and unable to attend).

Chamber Awards: Agricultural Business of the Year, Stein Farms

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Steve Foster and Tim Adams, owners of Red Osier Restaurant.

Chamber Awards: Special Service Recognition, Red Osier Restaurant

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Steve and Lisa Grice.

Chamber Awards: Geneseeans of the Year, Batavians Steve and Lisa Grice

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Tom Turnbull, present of the Chamber of Commerce, during his opening remarks.

March 5, 2017 - 9:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, news, Valle Jewelers.

Dom Valle, who with his wife, Mary, owned and operated Valle Jewelers after taking over the 66-year-old business from his father, passed away Friday.

He was 63 years old.

Dom's good nature and ease around people were always apparent to customers of Valle Jewelers and in 2011 when reflecting on the store's 60th anniversary, he said he loved what he did.

"I've always been happy to be in the business," Dom said.

And he was raised in the business, so were his children. Stephen Valle and Carrie Lawrence operate the store now.

For his full obituary, click here.

March 4, 2017 - 3:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in liberty pumps, Chamber Awards, bergen, news, business.

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Quality products, enterprise and innovation, peerless customer service and a commitment to international growth are the hallmarks of Bergen-based Liberty Pumps. Combine these with an exceptionally skilled and dedicated workforce of about 200 employees (counting temps and part-timers), including a 19-member executive team, and you have a winner.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce named Liberty Pumps its 2016 Business of the Year.

The privately held, family-owned company makes sump, effluent and sewage pumps for the professional trade. Last year, sales were well over $95 million.

Firmly at the helm is CEO and President Charles Cook, who everybody calls "Charlie." His uncle, Fred Cook, started the business in 1965. Charlie joined the company as an engineer and bought the business back in the the '70s.

Charlie holds two of the dozen or so patents on Liberty Pump products. These are proof of his and his company's ability to find creative engineering solutions to solve problems, resulting in products that are designed and manufactured with exacting specifications to do tough tasks.

For example, they developed a grinder pump that can handle disposable products like baby wipes and throw-away cleaning products like Swiffer cloths that can jam traditional sewage pumps. They are currently working to develop their biggest pump to date. Their engineers can tweek the flow meters, turn valves and pressure gauges in a tank filled with water 12 feet deep, all while tracking the progress in real time on big computer screens. It's fascinating to watch.

The engineers work behind closed doors, of course, "no cameras" allowed. 

The manufacturing, assembling, painting, and other aspects of the business are spread out in a gargantuan building. The floor of the manufacturing plant itself is more than 200,000 square feet.

In 2015, they undertook a massive, multimillion dollar expansion project, roughly doubling the size of the facility on Apple Tree Avenue. The office building is sleek and spacious, and there's an Internet cafe, fitness center and state-of-the-art teaching/presentation/meeting rooms, too.

The overall impression is that of a clean, efficient, comfortable work environment. It's quite impressive.

"Day to day you don't think about it," Charlie said about the newly renovated premises after giving a tour. "But once in a while you have to stop and pinch yourself and say 'How did I get here?' We're proud of it and we like to show it off."

More important than the space is the culture of the workplace, which Charlie says is a top priority. 

"Taking personal responsibility is important," he said. "We give people freedom to present ideas and implement them. We have an active suggestion program."

The ideas of employees can boost productivity and increase safety, and recognizing their contributions benefits the work environment and helps the company succeed, Charlie said.

So does an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, which was implemented in 2014. It provides the majority of employees with shares of stock as part of their retirement package. To be fully vested and receive shares, an employee must work for the company for five years. Every year, employees get a statement with their share information and they can sell their shares back to the company when they retire. The company averages an annual growth rate of about 13 percent and the quantity of shares each vested employeed receives increases with growth.

Although Liberty Pumps has been asked about relocating elsewhere, Charlie says he's not budging.

"We're very proud to be a local U.S. business," Charlie said. "It can be a tough environment in New York from time to time, but our people are connected here. Our executives are all homegrown. We aren't going anywhere."

But their products are going more places than ever. The sales growth potential is high, not only nationwide and in Canada, where they've sold goods since the mid-'90s, but also internationally. Since expanding its global presence in 2010, Liberty Pumps now ships to more than 30 countries.

And along the way, the company has garnered impressive awards from Greater Rochester Enterprise's International Business Council, for example, and it's landed on the Rochester Top 100 list of businesses for 16 of the last 19 years. In May, Liberty Pumps was one of only 123 companies nationwide to receive the President's "E" Award for exporting excellence at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

But nothing beats the recognition of your peers, friends and colleagues in your own backyard, says Charlie.

The award from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce "is far more meaningful," he said. It will be presented tonight at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.chamawardlibertypumps2017-2.jpg

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March 3, 2017 - 8:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in Chamber Awards, batavia, business, news, Foxprowl.

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You know you’ve wandered into a unique store when you see the nearly life-size Freddy Krueger standing, how else but menacingly, just inside the side entrance of the store at 97 Main St. in Batavia. On top of a nearby display case is another clue, the rubbery head of a one-of-a-kind beast with a gaping maw and toothy jowls. 

This is Foxprowl Collectables, of course, a place for sci-fi and pop culture collectors and the young at heart in the heart of the city, and Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Entrepreneurial Business of the Year. Owners Bill and Joy Hume will join other honorees Saturday night at the annual awards ceremony at the Quality Inn & Suites on Park Road.

Deborah Green, a friend of theirs who lives in East Pembroke, nominated the business. She says the Humes are community-oriented and their business brings in people from throughout Western New York to Batavia.

The Humes' enterprise is chock full of action figures, comic books -- 40,000 of them (wrapped in plastic, priced, alphabetized and in chronological order), toy collectibles and more, a place for tots and Boomers alike to look for many of their favorite characters and remember back in the day...

As a young man, Bill, a Batavia native, played in bands, did construction work and delivered furniture and appliances. Although he had collected toys all his life, he had no particular interest in business before starting Foxprowl as an ebay enterprise back in 1999. He had a lightbulb moment about the potential for making a living around his hobby and started buying toys in "lots" or quantities, then selling off excess while building his reserves. 

"Most people know more about their hobbies than they know about their jobs," Bill said. "So if your hobby is your job, you have more of a passion, more of a drive, and you're going to work 12-, 13-hour days because you enjoy it."

The first storefront opened in 2010 on Ellicott Street and then they relocated and opened Sept. 1 last year in the building at Jackson and Main streets.

"It's a new ballgame," Bill said of the new space. "It's a different demographic. (On Ellicott) it was more of a destination. Here there's more foot traffic, quadruple what it was. I'm looking forward to our first summer here, that's for sure."

Bill and Joy both say they are honored to be part of Batavia's business community and thankful for the recognition by the chamber for their hard work.

Joy said "drive, desire, diligence, setting goals, growth, planning the work and working the plan" are the keys to their success to date. And she gives a lot of credit to their employees and supporters.

"We have a great team that has grown with us and works right along with us and we are blessed with an abundance of family and friends who support us in so many ways," Joy said.

These include Tim Schiefer, Wayne Stahler, Marc Tillery and Bill Doetterl.

Stahler for the past two and a half years has run the online side of the business, handling Internet orders, shipping, tracking sales, complying with merchant rules for Amazon, eBay and their own e-commerce site on Big Commerce. His duties include working with a variety of distributors worldwide to get proper authorization to ship certain licensed goods. They only starting selling on Amazon last year and already Stahler said it is quickly reaching par with in-store sales.

Keeping the store itself organized and neat for finicky collectors and grandmothers seeking a special birthday gift for little Tommy is no small feat either.

"I try to keep it pretty shoppable," Bill said.

Glass cases house mint-condition items; on the walls and on countertops Star Wars is kept with Star Wars, likewise for G.I. Joe, KISS, Transformers, etc. There is a big bin for action figures.

"Kids love digging through there, rummaging, digging for the buried treasure buried at the bottom," Bill said.

He has some backstock, too.

In a small closet about 25 Millenium Falcon spaceships from Star Wars are stacked, variously equipped with their dozens of parts. Of those, he said he could maybe put together two whole spaceships with all the parts, in which case one would sell for $150-$160. The rarest bit is the Jedi Training Ball, which hangs down like a boxing bag. That alone sells for more than $20.

"Every mom vacuumed that up and so it's the part that's most often missing," Bill said.

Care to look through an old Atari magazine from the '70s? Ever seen uncut sheets of Three Stooges trading cards? Remember the Snoopy Sno-Cone machine? They are all there! Some people drive four hours just to get the special Japanese-made Godzilla figurines sold there, each exquisitely detailed and not cheap either.

But buying inventory and deciding well in advance of, say, a movie's release, how much of its corresponding merchandise to stock, can be tricky. Consumers are fickle and their memories are short. Despite all his acumen, Bill said it's still "a crapshoot."

A proven adjunct to the business is Foxprowl-Con, which brings together stars, a variety of clubs, artists, fandom and vendors on the weekend before Thanskgiving. It debuted at a local hotel in 2015 after 11 months of painstaking planning.

The first year there were 18 celebrities, dozens of vendors, dealers, crafters, artists, book sellers, and clubs like the Ghostbusters Club with its 20-foot inflatible marshmallow, plus interactive games, contests, experts panels -- like makeup artists and costumers, plenty of family fun all day long.

Putting the convention together was challenging but people loved it. Bill learned on the fly about third-party ticket sales, per diem payments, security, travel planning, promotions, advertising, and on and on. And he said he learned that it was important to treat every customer as royally as each star.

"Everybody is important," he said.

Joy said she thinks Foxprowl is one of Genesee County's coolest places; Foxprowl-Con is a labor of love. Both are places where families and fans can "geek out" and enjoy their favorite characters and artists and have a good time.

The Humes plan to keep having fun doing what they love.

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March 3, 2017 - 10:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC, ARC Genesee Orleans, news, business.

arc_geneseeorleansny_color_pos_jpg.jpgPress release:

The Arc of Genesee Orleans has chosen the March observance of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to share some exciting news. In celebration of The Arc’s rich history of programs and services supporting people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families, the agency has unveiled its new mission, vision, and values statements and logo. 

MISSION

Be a partner for people with disabilities, and a gateway to opportunities for each person to experience their desired potential.

VISION

Lifelong relationships, enriched by inclusion.

VALUES

Diversity, Respect, Integrity, Visionary, Equality, Empowerment, Excellence (DRIVE³)

“Along with our new mission, vision and values, we are excited about our new logo,” Executive Director Donna Saskowski said. “It’s part of the national brand, uniting affiliated Arc chapters across the country. Look for the logo to be appearing on signs, buses, publications, our website, and at community events!” 

The unification of the former Genesee ARC and Arc of Orleans County was a two-and-a-half-year process that was realized last fall.

“It has been a fairly smooth transition for families and individuals,” Saskowski said. “Administratively, some department locations had to choose a new home base, and our official, legal address is 64 Walnut Street, Batavia.”

The Finance Department and Quality Assurance Staff are among departments located at the former Orleans business office at 122 Caroline St. in Albion.

The Arc of Genesee Orleans serves more than 1,200 individuals with developmental or other intellectual disabilities and their families. The agency will provide a variety of programs and services with renewed strength and commitment. Looking forward, The Arc of Genesee Orleans will be a partner for people with disabilities, and a gateway to opportunities for each person to experience their desired potential.

March 3, 2017 - 9:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, STAMP, business, news.

Staff at Genesee County Economic Development Center responded to 120 leads of businesses looking for locations to set up new facilities, CEO Steve Hyde told members of the County Legislature during his annual review of the agency's progress before the Ways and Means Committee.

The pipeline of high-tech businesses that are looking for the kind of location the STAMP project in Alabama provides includes at least two "whales," Hyde said.

That has kept staff busy, especially in a year when work continues to prepare STAMP for ground breaking this spring.

"We're one of the few counties in the state with lots of sites to choose from," Hyde said.

Those include not only STAMP but the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, Apple Tree Acres, Buffalo East, Gateway II, Upstate Med-Tech, Oatka Hills and now the Le Roy Food and Tech Park.

"Our body of work is as big as it's ever been at the agency," Hyde said.

It was a tepid year for job growth, Hyde said, and uncertainty around the Federal election in 2016 had many businesses sitting on their hands waiting to see what happened, but he thinks Genesee County is well positioned to move forward in the new era of technology-led growth.

While technology jobs tend to optimize for efficient production, there will be opportunities for people who want to live and work in Genesee County.

"You've got to go after these high-tech jobs because they're good paying, well-paying jobs for kids from high school degrees and technical training all the way up to PhDs," Hyde said. "They don't create as many jobs per square foot, but they create a lot of jobs for what we're used to in Genesee County."

This year will be a big year for implementation, Hyde said, especially on STAMP, with the beginning of a phased approach to a $40 million investment in roads, water, sewer, gas and electric at the site.

The agency is awaiting federal approval of a natural gas pipeline project that has apparently been delayed by the transition of White House administrations.

"There are not enough sitting commissioners Federal Energy Regulatory Committee to approve our little pipeline with natural gas," Hyde said. "Of course, they can approve the Dakota Pipeline but not that little stuff. That didn't get done."

There's also a delay in Department of Energy funding assistance for 1366 Technologies and without securing that funding, 1366 has delayed its own announcement of when it will be breaking ground on its solar wafer manufacturing facility in Alabama.

Meanwhile, to help support STAMP with a qualified labor force, GCEDC is working with area colleges and universities on a program called STEM to STAMP, which will provide course work suitable for the kind of jobs expected to be created at STAMP.

There's also a lot of interest at area high schools in filtering that coursework down to that level of education, including at Pembroke, Oakfield-Alabama, Batavia, and Byron-Bergen.

"We're all talking about, 'How can we take this model where we can take this curriculum that's developed by universities and colleges and bring pieces of that course work down into our secondary schools?' " Hyde said.

Given the potential of STAMP to create 11,500 good-paying jobs in high tech, Hyde said the agency continues to push state and federal officials for support.

"We're not getting there unless we continue to find ways to secure infrastructure funding, to expand the capacity, so I can go out and sell them and try to bag the big whale," Hyde said.

The GCEDC will host its annual meeting at noon today at Batavia Downs.

March 3, 2017 - 8:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Valley Transportation, GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) voted to accept an application for assistance from Genesee Valley Transportation at the board’s meeting on March 2. GVT is looking to add approximately 12,000 square feet to its cross-dock facility in the City of Batavia because of increased customer demand.

In 2010, the GCEDC provided assistance to GVT for the construction of a 25,000-square-foot dock facility where rail cars are loaded and unloaded and then product is transferred to tractor-trailers.  The warehouse features a 280-square-foot indoor rail siding, 27-foot-high ceilings and 22,000 square feet of floor space. GVT is investing $1.011 million to expand the facility and will retain 10 jobs in the process.

“One of the attractions of doing business in Genesee County and Batavia is easy access to transportation routes and GVT provides just that to customers that rely on rail to ship their products,” said Paull Battaglia, chairman, GCEDC.

For every one dollar of investment through the expansion project, it is estimated that there will be a four dollar return. Since the incentives total more than $100,000 a public hearing must be conducted.

March 1, 2017 - 4:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GAMS, batavia, city centre, business.

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Opening a bakery is something Batavia resident Vangre Canty has always wanted to do, so after a few decades working in the corporate world, she said she decided to do it.

Canty has opened GAMS in the City Centre, right by the entrance to City Hall.

"It's just a passion of mine," she said. "A passion to bake and cook. It puts smiles on people's faces."

All of the baked goods -- cookies, cream puffs, brownies, cheesecakes and more -- are prepared fresh every morning.

She also prepares a lunch special daily of sandwiches, soups or salads, with Friday's special usually being something meatless.

GAMS opens at 8 and closes around 3, unless a customer calls in with a special request.

March 1, 2017 - 4:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Milestones, batavia.

Trevor J. Day has accepted an accounting position with The Bonadio Group in Amherst. Trevor is a 2016 graduate of Geneseo State College and a son of Sharon and Jeffrey Day, of Batavia.

March 1, 2017 - 2:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Tompkins Insurance, batavia.

(Submitted photo)

Press release:

Tompkins Insurance Agencies Inc. has added a second full-time staff member to its newly opened office in Brockport. 

Kyle Kurkowski, assistant vice president/account executive previously based in the company’s Batavia office, has joined the new office located at 4675 Lake Road.

Kurkowski has been with Tompkins Insurance Agencies since 2010, and has extensive experience supporting the company’s offices across Western New York. Licensed in New York for both personal and commercial lines of insurance, he is responsible for focusing on those particular insurance needs, as well as for new business development.

Active in the community, Kurkowski is on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity in Genesee County, and is a Lions Club member. He is a graduate of SUNY Brockport, with a bachelor’s degree in business management.  

The Tompkins Insurance Agencies Brockport office provides service to more than 500 customers in the area. The new office was established in a convenient, central location in order to support its customers in the area and the entire community.  

In addition to the Brockport location, Tompkins Insurance Agencies has offices throughout Western New York, including Alden, Arcade, Attica, Batavia, Caledonia, Chili, Dansville, Geneseo, Greece, Leroy, Nunda, Perry, and Pittsford. More information about Tompkins Insurance Agencies is available at www.tompkinsins.com.

February 28, 2017 - 6:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, GCC, health care industry.

Press release:

Genesee Community College will host a Job and Transfer Fair dedicated to careers in the health care industry from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 9 at the College's centrally located William Stuart Forum.

The event is designed to introduce potential new employees to employers, and also provides health care businesses an opportunity to present their trade and services to the local community. Local and regional health care companies will be available to answer questions, accept resumes and distribute material relating to their company. Area colleges will also be present to discuss transfer opportunities within their programs.

The following employers and colleges will be available to distribute career information and other printed materials, answer questions and receive resumes (this list is subject to change):

Employers:

ACM Global Laboratories

Ardda Animal Hospital

Crossroads House

Erie Canal Animal Hospital

Fidelis Care

Finger Lakes DDSO

Heritage Christian Services

Highland Hospital

HomeCare & Hospice

Livingston County Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation

Maple City Physical Therapy

Maxim Healthcare Services

Rehab Resources

Rochester Psychiatric Center

Tender Loving Family Care

Thompson Health

Army National Guard

Marine Corps

Navy

Colleges:

SUNY Alfred State

Chamberlain College of Nursing

The College at Brockport (SUNY) Army ROTC

The College at Brockport (SUNY) – Department of Nursing

Daemen College

Roberts Wesleyan College

SUNY Empire State College

St. John Fisher College – Wegmans School of Nursing

Positions being recruited include: Veterinary Technology, Medical Administrative Assistant, Registered Nurse, Physical Therapist Assistant, Respiratory Care and Polysomnographic Technology.

The job fair is FREE and open to the general public. For the most current listing of registered employers, please visit the Career Services Web page at www.genesee.edu.career/events. Employers interested in attending the fair should contact the Career Services office at 585-345-6888 to register for this event.

February 28, 2017 - 1:44pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, red osier, chamber of commerce, Chamber Awards, Stafford, business.

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Give and it will be given unto you.

“When we took over operations in Thanksgiving of 2015, we had one goal – to give back to the local community,” said Steve Foster who, along with business partner Tim Adams, has successfully tied charitable giving with quality food and service to make the Red Osier® Restaurant in Stafford a premier dining destination of Western New York.

“Genesee County has been forgotten over the years here,” Adams said. “We believe that the more we support local organizations, the more success we will have.”

Foster, an Alexander native, and Adams, who grew up in East Bethany, officially took ownership of the restaurant – known throughout WNY for its prime rib – on April 20 of last year, and have displayed a large measure of generosity to the people of Genesee County through event sponsorships, donations and employee-supported fundraising.

As a result, the Red Osier® Restaurant has been selected as the Special Service Recognition of the Year award from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Foster and Adams, who also own Adams’ Welding & Fabrication in Stafford, will be honored at the 45th annual Awards Ceremony on March 4 at Quality Inn & Suites on Park Road.

In her nomination letter, Lynette Skelton of Starowitz Farms in Byron praised Foster and Adams for purchasing the restaurant – possibly saving it from closing for good and saving the jobs of around 60 employees.

“The two men decided to take the chance, and the opportunity to save the local landmark and the local jobs in their community,” Skelton wrote.

Foster, a Red Osier® employee since 1998, said he was hesitant about buying the business – “it needed a lot of help,” he said – but finally agreed. Since then, and he and Adams have moved full speed ahead.

The list of the duo’s Genesee County civic contributions over the past 18 months is impressive, to say the least:

-- The Genesee County 4H program. Tim is a former Geneseean of the Year for his service to 4H and Cornell Cooperative Extension, and he is continuing his support by purchasing two pigs (which have been processed for special dishes at the restaurant).

-- GO ART!’s Picnic in the Park. The restaurant was the major sponsor for the July 4th event last year, coming to the forefront at the last minute to prevent the event from being canceled.

-- Genesee Cancer Assistance. A joint venture between the restaurant and welding shop last Thanksgiving resulted in the presentation of $10,000 to GCA – money derived from proceeds of diners that day and a contribution from the welding shop.

-- Le Roy Food Pantry, Genesee County Animal Shelter, Crossroads House, Michael Napoleone Foundation. The two men contributed to fundraisers supporting these causes.

-- Oatka Festival, American Warrior Event at Frost Ridge, Le Roy Youth Football.  The restaurant signed on as major sponsors for these events, and also has sponsored individuals participating in horse shows, cheerleading contests, and other endeavors.

-- Spirits & Skivvies. An employee-led initiative, more than 600 pairs of socks and underwear were donated to the homeless.

“Our staff is right with us every step of the way,” Foster said. “They are on board with our donation program.”

On the business side, the owners said they have “broken every record” for sales – seeing repeat and new customer and raising the average per capita bill from about $25 to around $45.

“Everything here is made from scratch – the meals, desserts, salad, bread; it’s all fresh,” Foster said.

While prime rib is the main attraction, the menu includes a variety of dishes, and much of the food and some of the spirits and liquors are purchased from local vendors.

The owners also reported that, upon their return from a recent trip to Nashville, they have purchased a custom-built, 24-foot food trailer with a full kitchen “to take our chefs out on the road.”

They said they will be able to cater weddings, parties, graduations and other gatherings, and hope to get that started in May.

“It’s a replica of our kitchen,” Foster said.

The Red Osier® opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and at 1 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, check out its website – www.redosier.com.

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February 28, 2017 - 1:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, byron-bergen, schools, education, news, business, GCEDC.

Press release:

When members of the Class of 2018 graduate from Byron-Bergen and Le Roy Central school districts next June, their high school transcripts will include a certificate, endorsed by the Genesee County Economic Development Center, indicating completion of a training program in professional skills.

With support from the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation and the America’s Best Communities grant, a timely program is being developed in the two districts to provide graduating seniors with a repertoire of skills that employers perceive as lacking in the majority of first-time job applicants.

“We are constantly looking for strategies to develop our local workforce in preparation for emerging career opportunities,” said John Jakubowski, GCEDC Workforce Development consultant. “Honing professional skills gives our students the edge in a competitive market.”

Professional skills, sometimes referred to as “soft” skills, include effective communication, teamwork and collaboration, problem solving, critical observation, and conflict resolution. While they may be difficult to quantify, their absence is obvious and problematic for conducting business efficiently and professionally.

“Our students are developing a growth mindset as early as elementary school,” said Byron-Bergen Superintendent Mickey Edwards. “We reinforce the belief throughout all grades that intelligence and character can be developed and that human potential really is without limits.

"With this new program for seniors on their way out our doors to higher education, the service or employment, we are equipping them with a refinement of skills to position them for success in whatever route they take.”

The professional skills training will rely on the expertise of school counseling staff, the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership Business Education coordinator, and local employers as guest presenters. 

“When our students can interact with a company president or a human resources manager from our geographical area, they not only learn the importance of professional skills, they also get a feel for the wide variety of opportunities that exist close to home," said incoming Le Roy Superintendent Merritt Holly.

"With the exciting initiatives transpiring in projects like the Le Roy Food & Tech Park, we want our graduates to be ready to take advantage of any career path that presents itself. But professional skills are universally in demand and will serve our children well for a lifetime.” 

While the professional skills training program is being designed specifically for Byron-Bergen and Le Roy high school seniors, the model is highly replicable and can be adapted easily in other districts.

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