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June 5, 2015 - 2:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced that it will host a “Taking Your Small Business Global” Export Workshop on Thursday, June 11, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Innovation Zone at MedTech Centre in Batavia.

The workshop, presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce, will provide participants with critical information about export financing and creating an export plan.

“We believe it’s important to provide our stakeholders with key resources and access to individuals who can help them grow and expand their small businesses on a larger scale,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO, GCEDC. “We are pleased to host this event which we hope will give small business owners in our region the valuable tools and knowledge they need to take their business global.”

 To register, please visit or contact Greg Lindberg at (716) 551-5670. The workshop is free.

June 5, 2015 - 8:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) accepted applications for assistance from Manning Squires Henning Co., Inc., and ADK Hospitality, LLC, at its June 4, 2015 board of directors meeting.

Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., is proposing to expand its corporate offices and maintenance facilities in the Town of Batavia by up to 5,000 square feet. The project also would include renovations of the company’s existing shop and office space.

Founded in 1958, Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., is a general contractor that has worked on various high profile projects over the years including work at the Rochester School of the Arts, Kodak Park, Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse, Monroe Community College, and Bausch & Lomb Rundell Library among many others.

Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., is seeking sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax exemptions totaling approximately $170,556 in estimated incentives. The capital investment would be approximately $1.3 million and would retain 88 jobs and create five new jobs.

ADK Hospitality, LLC, is proposing to build an 82-room hotel connected to Batavia Down’s gaming facility. ADK Hospitality, LLC, is seeking an estimated $638,193 in sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax exemptions. The planned capital investment is approximately $5.49 million.

June 5, 2015 - 8:41am
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, BID, business.


(Laurie Oltramari)

Laurie Oltramari, new Batavia Business Improvement District director, has a passion for urban design and architecture.

Oltramari is currently the assistant BID director and has worked with the organization for three and a half years. She will replace Don Burkel, director of the BID, who is retiring, and take over as the new director at the end of July. 

She was offered the director position after submitting her application and being reviewed by the BID hiring committee. The committee was formed to give more than 50 applicants a fair shot at the job. The committee included members of the BID board and community members.

As the new director, one task she would like to accomplish is to reach out to the public for their input and let Burkel's contacts know her door is always open. According to Oltramari, you need community involvement for a city to be successful. 

"I want to continue on the legacy that Don has left and what's been done and what has worked," Oltramari said. "Just like when you do a business you need to reevaluate every year so that's what I plan to do."

Another component she thinks is important for Batavia is the BID's ability to manage and balance event planning, help business development, and foster "placemaking," which is a quiet movement that is inspiring people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Placemaking is a multifaceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces that capitalizes on a local community's assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people's health, happiness, and well being.

"You have to create a place where people want to be and you can't just flap down some papers and put on your facade and your good to go," OItramari said. "It comes down to details and that is where her urban design background comes into play."

Oltramari was born in Hornell and grew up in Belmont. Her father owned an excavating and construction company, which is the reason she has always loved architecture and design. She received her undergraduate degree from SUNY Geneseo in 1999 and master's degree in Architecture and Urban Design in 2003. 

Oltramari has lived in Batavia for nine years with her husband, Felipe Oltramari, director of the Genesee County Planning Department, and their two daughters. Batavia is very different from the small town that she grew up in.

"I like Batavia because it's very family friendly and safe," Oltramari said. "It has all the amenities of a big city without being a big city. There is a real level of comfort here and it's big enough that you don't run into everybody you know but when you do it's really special."

For the future of small business in Batavia, she thinks businesses have to bring out the community in people like they used to. Face-to-face interactions and personal customer service gives small businesses an advantage against Internet businesses.

"I think the biggest competition is the Internet and it's back to TV again," Oltramari said. "People are doing the binge watching of Netflix so they will stay in and have food at home instead of going to a restaurant like people usually do for entertainment."

Upcoming BID events include the Jackson Square Concert Series, Downtown Batavia Public Market and the Centennial Arts Fest.

June 4, 2015 - 5:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Smokin' Eagle BBQ and Brew, Le Roy, business, entertainment, music.


The Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew in Le Roy kicked off a summer series Battle of the Bands on Wednesday night.

For each of the next 10 weeks, 10 bands will compete to move on to the next round. One band each Wednesday is playing from at least 8 to 9 p.m. (the period of judging, the bands may play longer).

The series kicked off with a performance by JP Shaggy, from Syracuse.

There will also be bands in the competition from the local area as well as Buffalo and Rochester, said Jimmy B, from Jimmy B entertainment, who is organizing the event with Smokin' Eagle co-owner Jon Marcello.

There is a panel of five judges. They will judge the bands on stage presentation, time management, sound quality, band synchronization, band enthusiasm, and attitude and audience response.

The top six bands move onto the semi-finals. Round 2 will be three weeks of two bands each week, top seed vs. bottom seed. 

The finalists will compete Sept. 19, which is a Saturday, from 2 to 10 p.m. That event will be a fundraiser for a charity yet to be selected. There will be other entertainment along with raffles and drawings.

JP Shaggy is Jason Krueger.  To find out more about him, visit his Facebook page.








June 3, 2015 - 2:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dairy princess, agriculture, UMMC, business.


Press release:

The Genesee County Dairy Princess honored the first baby born in Genesee County during the month of June 2015 as the Dairy Baby. Marleigh Grace Wright, a baby girl, was born to Tammy and Jeffery Wright, of Warsaw, on Monday, June 1st at 3:51 a.m. at United Memorial Medical Center. She weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces and measured 19 inches long. She was delivered by Dr. Richard Edwards. Marleigh joins an older brother, Mason, 14, at home.

June is National Dairy Month which honors traditions and celebrates the contributions of the dairy industry by promoting nutrient-rich dairy foods.

The Genesee County Dairy Princess, Pavilion sophomore,Emily Mikel, and her mother, Sue Mikel, presented the Wright family with a basket of dairy products including yogurts, product coupons, cheeses, and a number of other infant items.

June 2, 2015 - 4:51pm

Press release:

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge will offer for bid 139 acres of grassland hay in five different fields ranging in size from 58 to 81 acres. The refuge annually provides a total of 1,400 acres of grassland habitat for migratory birds and resident wildlife. Active management of these grasslands is necessary to provide the highest quality nesting and migration habitat. The refuge haying program helps in this management process by reducing encroachment of broad leaf weeds and shrubs.

Hay will be allocated on a highest bid per field basis for each field. Sealed bids will be accepted until 12 p.m., July 2. An official Bid Sheet, available from the refuge headquarters, is required to make a bid. Completed Bid Sheets can be mailed to, or dropped off at the refuge headquarters at 1101 Casey Road, Basom, NY 14013 and must contain all the information requested.

If you have any questions about the haying program or would like to see the fields, please call Madeline Prush at 585-948-5445, ext. 7036.

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is located midway between Rochester and Buffalo, and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

June 2, 2015 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in graham corporation, business, batavia.

Lower oil prices could hurt Batavia-based Graham Corp. in the coming fiscal year, company officials say, so they're looking to trim the company workforce by 10 percent through a retirement incentive program.

The workforce reduction announcement was coupled with news that the publicly traded company posted $4.2 million in profits, up 80 percent from a year ago.

For the fiscal year, company revenue was up 45 percent to $14.7 million.

For more on this story, visit the Buffalo News.

June 2, 2015 - 1:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider three projects at its June 4, 2015 board meeting.

ADK Hospitality plans to build an 82-room hotel connected to Batavia Down’s Gaming facility which will serve as an important amenity to the gaming, restaurant, banquet and racing activities at Batavia Downs. The capital investment is approximately $5.49 million.

Manning, Squires Hennig Co., Inc., plans to expand its corporate office and maintenance facilities in the Town of Batavia to include a 5,000-square-foot shop and additions to its main office space. The capital investment is approximately $1.3 million. The project is expected to result in 88 retained jobs and the creation of five new jobs. 

O-AT-KA Milk Products plans to add 205,000 square feet of warehousing space to its manufacturing facility on the corner of Ellicott Street and Cedar Street in Batavia. The project will retain 334 jobs and create 21 new jobs. The capital investment is approximately $10.25 million.

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 28, 2015 - 12:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Baskin Livestock, business, Bethany.
File photo of Douglas Mess by Howard Owens.

There's nothing Bill Baskin wants more right now than justice served in the murder of his friend and key employee Douglas Mess.

The body of the 52-year-old Attica man was found buried under a manure pile on his farm at 1229 Exchange Street Road on April 20.

Baskin, owner of Baskin Livestock on Creek Road in Bethany, seems to know a lot about the case, but he's not sharing any of it for publication for fear divulging more than Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O'Geen is willing to disclose himself and jeopardize the prosecution of Charlene Mess, Douglas's wife, who has been held without bail since her arrest April 20.

A grand jury is hearing the evidence against her today and we should know within days whether she will face a trial as the alleged murderer. It may take a trial to publicly unravel the mystery of how Douglas Mess died and why. Some news reports say his death was a culmination of an argument that got out of hand. Some people who know Charlene Mess say she was domineering within her family. Friends of Douglas Mess, including Baskin, use words like "Teddy Bear," and say he was a man who just loved to farm and work on machinery and rarely had a cross word with anybody.

Farming and fixing things were pretty much how Mess spent all of his time, said friends and family. When he wasn't in a shop shoulder deep in steel and grease, he loved to be alone on a field driving a tractor, and about his only hobby was collecting models of the tractors he owned or repaired.

Mess was born in Rochester and spent the first 10 years of his life in the Town of Victor before his father bought a dairy farm in Castile. That's where Mess fell in love with farming, working with animals, driving tractors, but most importantly, learning how to fix farm machinery.

Like a lot of farmers, the Mess family liked to save a buck by repairing their own equipment and keeping it operational longer than perhaps normal wear and tear would dictate. 

By the time he was a teenager, by all accounts, Mess was a natural at the kind of tinkering that kept heavy equipment in tip-top shape.

After his father sold the farm, Mess took jobs at other farms before landing at a dealership in Alexander. He worked there 18 years, establishing himself as the go-to-guy on all kinds of repairs.

The job afforded him the chance to get manufacturer training, particularly on skid loaders, and further hone his own skills.

He may have had a photographic memory, according to Susan Blackburn, Baskin's wife and business partner. She said Mess could look at a part and tell you on what page it could be found on in a particular parts catalog.

"I've spent a lot of time at a lot of universities," Blackburn said. "He had a high school education and he was the most intelligent men I've ever known. The guy was very, very intelligent and just as humble as anybody you've ever known."

Baskin first met Mess while he worked at the Alexander dealership. At the time, Baskin Livestock was still a young company with just a couple of employees, but already, Baskin knew he needed somebody full-time to work on his farm equipment.

When Mess let Baskin know he was ready for a change of scenery, Baskin hired him on the spot.

At the time, the repair shop was Mess and one other guy who worked on the delivery trucks used in the feed side of the business.

"At one point in time he thought we did not have enough work to keep him busy," Baskin said.

By the time of his death, Mess supervised a shop of six people repairing farm equipment, trucks and all the machinery used in the feed operation. He was Baskin's go-to-guy on nearly all aspects of the business.

"About every decision I had to make, in some way shape or form, I had some input from him," Baskin said. "Not every decision, but a huge percentage of the decisions I had to make, I relied on him for some percentage of the input to make that decision. He had a good feel for the big picture and the details."

There was little Mess couldn't do with machinery, from design of equipment used throughout the operation, to the creation of parts and tools, to taking something that was out of service and getting it to run again.

"He was a MacGyver type," Baskin said. "If there was something he couldn't fix, we had a problem, a real problem."

Mess had four sons, all of whom in one form or another have followed in his footsteps. Three of them work for Bill Baskin. Douglas G., the oldest son at 29, said he admired his father's love for what he did and how well he did it.

"He loved taking something that was broken, not even running, taking it apart and putting it back together like it was new, even better than new," Douglas said. "He was proud of that. 'I fixed it. It's usable again.' "

The oldest son said he'll never forget his father's mischievous smile. He loved a good practical joke and he enjoyed watching trainees trying to figure out how to fix something Mess could easily piece together himself. 

"He'd let you work on it a little while and then come over and show you," Douglas said. "'Hey, this way's a little quicker and a little easier,' and he was always right."

A frequent target of Mess's joking around was Jackie Murphy.

Murphy and Mess worked together daily over the past four years, starting with Murphy's transfer from the front office to an office in the repair shop, at about the time Mess's supervisory duties had him sitting at a tan metal desk a little more and spending a little less time loosening or tightening bolts or welding this part to that.

Mess teased Murphy about her boyfriend's loyalty to International Harvester (Mess was a John Deere man) and one of his favorite jokes to play on her was to make up names for new truck drivers, letting her use the made-up name for weeks until she figured it out herself, such as the Marty she called Theodore until she finally met him in person.

That joke would be worth at least two days of laughter.

"He was a funny, amazing guy," Murphy said.

And helpful. Clearly, nobody knew more about what parts were in the shop than Mess. At inventory time, he helped Murphy with the task. He would teach her anything she needed to know to do her job better.

He was always big-hearted with everybody around, she said.

That's how Douglas remembers him, too, and how he was recalled at his funeral service, Douglas said, which was attended by more than 350 people.

"You know the saying, give somebody the shirt off your back, he was the guy who did that," Douglas said. "He met other people's needs before he met his own."

How do you replace somebody like that, Baskin wondered.

Right now, the duties of Mess have been divided among four different workers. 

"Will we have at some point in time somebody with that ability?" Baskin said. "Sure, maybe. Everybody's replaceable, including me, but he ain't walking in the door tomorrow. (Mess) brought a big skill set with him and he learned and grew a lot. He learned as the business grew. His knowledge grew and his ability grew. That's hard to just drop somebody in that spot."

Baskin said Mess was like a member of the family, and he was bigger than Baskin, but younger.

"He was the big little brother I never had," Baskin said.

The loss of Mess is being felt throughout the company by all of the employees, Baskin said. 

"We've got guys who are really, really good and really, really competent," Baskin said, "and the comment's been made by more than one of them, 'I'm comfortable with what I'm doing and I like what I'm doing, but there are a lot of times where I got to the point where I had to ask him, 'what do you think about this or what do you think about that?' and who are you asking now?' "

As fast as the business has grown, it hasn't always been gold-dappled mornings over green, rolling hills around Baskin Livestock. There have been some tough times, but nothing compares to the murder of Douglas Mess.

"We've had two fires, got a guy, 52 or 53, who worked for us, who died in his sleep, and another guy we were quite close to who committed suicide, and this was the worst," Baskin said. "There are 85 and 95 guys who die all the time, they had a good long life and it's not unexpected and unnatural, but this was a complete shock, nonsense."

Which is why Bill Baskin doesn't particularly want to discuss the details of the legal case against Charlene Mess. There's stuff he may know because he's close to the situation, but he will leave that to the professionals in law enforcement to handle.

Douglas Mess can't be replaced, at least not easily, but justice can be served.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: There will be a benefit for Doug Mess's boys starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, at the Alexander Firemen's Recreation Hall, located at 10708 Alexander Road in Alexander. Enjoy a delicious spaghetti dinner for $10, eat in or carry out. Tickets are presale and also available at the door. There will be 50/50 raffles, basket raffles, and a baked goods table. Enter for a chance to win a trip to JAMAICA! (7 night, all-inclusive for two, including airfare) For more information or to buy tickets, call Jackie Murphy at (716) 481-6662.

May 27, 2015 - 2:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, business.

Genesee County's unemployment rate dropped in April to 5.1 percent, according to Labor Department statistics released today.

That's down from 5.5 percent a year ago.

The last time April unemployment was lower was in 2007, when the local rate was 4.4 percent, though the rate has been lower in the past 12 months, when it was 4.8 in October.

The Department of Labor says that there are 28,400 residents of Genesee County with jobs, up 100 from the prior year. There are 1,500 people counted as unemployed, down 100 from a year ago.

The jobs data comes out a week after Scott Gage, director of the local job bureau said that his department currently lists 400 job openings and the number of employment seekers coming into his office is dwindling.

The unemployment rate in Wyoming County dropped from 6.6 percent to 5.8 percent, in Orleans from 7. 7 to 6.4, and in Livingston, from 5.6 to 5.2.

New York's rate is 5.5 and the national rate is 5.5.

May 26, 2015 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, Announcements, dairy.

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s NWNY Team is planning a pasture walk at the farm of John and Sue Mikel Friday, June 26 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 6321 East Bethany-Le Roy Road, Stafford. John and Sue own and operate Mikelholm Holsteins, a small grazing dairy they started on a 30-acre field they purchased seven years ago. They built a house and barn with a parlor. They graze their 35 cows plus youngstock on the remaining land and supplement with purchased feed. They also knew grazing would provide health benefits to the cows and reduce demands on labor. An added benefit was the reduced bedding costs while the cows are out on pasture.

Discussion will include how John and Sue got started, and fence and laneway layout. Come and hear how their nutritionist balances the summer ration, and how to control parasites on pasture, plus more. There will be ample time for open discussion during the walk.

Lunch will be provided and is sponsored by Select Sires and milk will be donated by Upstate Farms.

Registration is required by June 19 to get an accurate count for lunch. The cost of the pasture walk is $10 per person or $20 per farm/family.
To register contact Cathy Wallace at 585.343.3040, ext. 138 or [email protected].
For questions contact Nancy Glazier at 585.315.7746 or [email protected].
A check made out to CCE may be mailed to CCE, Attn: Cathy Wallace, 420 E. Main St., Batavia, NY  14020.

May 22, 2015 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

As part of the 2015 agency performance goals, the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced the first of a series of outreach meetings to engage local taxing jurisdictions throughout the County about the various activities and programs and incentives offered by the GCEDC. 

On Tuesday, May 26, GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde will make a presentation at a joint meeting of the Town and Village of Bergen at the Bergen Town Hall on 10 Hunter St. in Bergen at 6:30 p.m. 

Among the topics for discussion will include development and business recruitment and expansion activities at the Apple Tree Acres. Among the businesses that currently operate out of Apple Tree Acres include Liberty Pumps, Leonard Bus Co. and Ad Tech. Hyde also will provide information about how payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) impact the tax base among other topics.

“As part of the 2015 goals the GCEDC Board of Directors identified at the beginning of this year, we will enhance our outreach efforts to taxing jurisdictions and stakeholders throughout Genesee County about our economic development activities,” Hyde said. “We are always striving to increase outreach to the stakeholders we serve and identity new ways in which we can expand the quality of our economic development programs and incentives.”

May 21, 2015 - 10:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in career center, jobs bureau, jobs, economy, business.

Scott Gage, director of the Genesee County Job Development Center, has a simple message for anybody looking for a job or a better job: come on down.

There are currently 400 job openings listed with the career center and not nearly enough applicants to fill them, Gage said.

"If anybody is interested in work, definitely come down and see us at the career center, because there are a lot of openings," Gage said.

Yes, many of the jobs are entry-level production jobs, but they're good paying jobs, Gage said. There's also a number of professional-level jobs available.

The recession-era fear people had about taking a stab at a new job at a chance for career advancement or higher pay has disappeared, Gage said. More people are looking to move up, which helps create openings for other workers and it's also the sign of a strong local job market.

"There are not a lot of job seekers coming through our doors," Gage said.

May 20, 2015 - 3:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, visitors booth, chamber of commerce, tourism, business.


Press release:

Here is a fun and interesting way that you can assist your community -- by volunteering a few hours at the Genesee County Visitor Information Center. If you love our surrounding communities, enjoy helping people, and feel that you could be great ambassador for Genesee County, the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is looking you.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce will reopen the seasonal Visitor Information Center on Friday, June 5th. The center is located at 131 W. Main St. in Batavia and operates in the summer months to assist summer visitors.

The Chamber is currently looking for a few helpful residents to greet visitors and provide directions and area information to travelers at our visitor “booth,” which is located in the parking lot of the Holland Land Office Museum.  Our volunteers greet visitors, hand out maps, dining guides, provide directions, recommendations and more. 

Available shifts are:

  • Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Sundays: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., as well as every other Sunday 3 to 5 p.m.

If you are interested in a two- or three-hour shift, weekly or biweekly, please call Kelly Rapone (585) 343-7440, ext. 23, at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Photo by Howard Owens.

May 19, 2015 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, Falcone Electric.


Press release:

Genesee County Economic Development Center officials announced today that the new owners of Falcone Electric, an electrical supply provider in Batavia, have completed repayment of a $100,000 revolving business loan issued by the GCEDC in 2010.

On January 1, 2010, Dan and Amy Vanderhoof purchased the assets of Falcone Electric from Michael Falcone with the assistance of GCEDC’s Revolving Loan Fund Program. The loan was issued to assist in the new owners’ purchase of the company and ensure that Falcone’s would continue to operate and provide jobs for the existing employees under the new ownership. Through the process, Michael Falcone was able to transition to retirement knowing that his three wishes for the business would be carried out – that Falcone Electric would remain a family owned and operated small business; it would maintain close ties to the local community; and it would support the employees and customer base that have been loyal to Falcone’s for many years.

The Revolving Business Loan also helped fund operating capital and the purchase of a computer warehouse management system. GCEDC provides this type of loan to fund investments that support enterprise sustainability, growth and job retention or creation.

“The GCEDC educated and guided us throughout the process in finding the loan program that was the perfect fit for our needs,” said Dan Vanderhoof, co-owner of Falcone Electric. “It is comforting to know that there are financing opportunities for small businesses through local resources provided by entities such as the GCEDC.”

“Purchasing a business, especially a business with such a strong tradition, can be a daunting task especially in finding the capital to make such a transaction feasible, said Dan Vanderhoof, co-owner of Falcone Electric. “Were it not for the Revolving Loan Fund program, we may not have been able to fulfill our dream in buying Falcone Electric from Mike.”

Upon the company’s purchase in 2010, the Vanderhoofs kept the company under the “Falcone” name and have made upgrades to modernize the store.

“We wanted to recognize Dan and Amy to simply remind small businesses that they have low-cost options when it comes to financing their business,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president of operations at the GCEDC. “What better testament to the revolving fund program than through business owners who were able to directly benefit from it.”

GCEDC offers revolving businesses loans at a minimum of $25,000 and maximum of $200,000. The utilization of the loan funds must be consistent with GCEDC’s mission to support enterprise sustainability and job retention and/or enterprise growth and job creation. For more information about GCEDC’s loan programs and incentive offerings, please visit

Photo by Howard Owens.

May 19, 2015 - 1:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, No Finer Diner.


A fun, friendly atmosphere where people can enjoy a good, homestyle meal -- that's the goal for Lori Trader and Cindy Eggelston, proprietors of Le Roy's newest eatery, the No Finer Diner, right on Main Street, Downtown.

Longtime residents will remember the location as the former Tyler's Restaurant.

Eggleston said is their very basic goal is "We want happy customers."

In the tradition of great American diners, No Finer offers a big breakfast spread and the usual fare for lunch and dinner of burgers and hot dogs, sandwiches, melts and salads, along with entre staples such as ham steak, liver and onions and a seafood basket. There's also a veggie lasagna for those who go meatless and a lasagna in the opposite direction that substitutes veggies for pasta and is filled with turkey for those looking for lean protein with fewer carbs. There's also a kids' menu.

Opening a restaurant of her own had long been a dream, said Trader, who worked for years as a waitress at various local establishments.

"I would walk my dogs by this restaurant almost every day and just imagine what it could be, see the people in there, and I was excited about it," Trader said.

Eggleston had a background in catering and was thinking about finding a commercial kitchen so she could expand her business.

"On April 6, Lori said, 'I really want to open the old Tyler's and I said, 'Ok, let's do it,' Eggleston said. "By the end of that week, we were at the attorneys signing all of our corporate paperwork."

It all came together that quickly, and soon the buzz started spreading around Le Roy that the diner would reopen, run by a couple of local women.

"One of my customers came to my house two days ago and said he's never seen a community so supportive and so excited about somebody opening a diner," Trader said.



May 15, 2015 - 9:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Business Education Alliance, BEA, business, batavia, byron-bergen.


The Genesee County Business/Education Alliance held its annual meeting this morning at Terry Hills. The event featured presentations by students who have been through BEA programs, awards and election of officers.

Jay Wolcott, a teacher with Byron-Bergen High School, received an APPLE Award, as did Ed Shaver (second picture), a teacher with Elba High School.

Other awards: Business Partner of the Year, Dan Harvey, formerly of Graham Manufacturing; and partner in education awards to Graham Manufacturing and Amada Tool America.

Wolcott and Shaver are pictured with Eve Hens, director of BEA.



Nick Corsivo


 Students from Alexander Central School who attended BEA Camps last summer. Lauren Young, Nick Allen, Andrew Young.


Heather Dries and Chrstine Stevens, students at Byron-Bergen, in Wolcott's manufacturing systems classes.

May 15, 2015 - 12:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.


A plan to relocate Arby's further west on Main Street is meeting some stiff opposition, both from residents of Vernon Avenue and planners.

County Planning staff recommended to the County Planning Board that members reject a series of zoning variance requests, and after hearing from several Vernon Avenue residents and receiving a petition signed by 95 percent of the residents in opposition to the fast-food restaurant proposal, the board members followed staff recommendation.

The board's vote doesn't kill the project, but it means the City of Batavia Planning Board needs a majority plus one vote to approve the plan.

Kyle Hessler was among the Vernon Avenue residents who spoke and he acknowledged that he lives next to property that is zoned for commercial development -- though it's currently residential -- and he isn't opposed to commercial development in the city, or even on the property. He just thinks the proposal as presented is bad for Vernon Avenue residents.

It would unduly impact traffic on the street and the ability for traffic to easily pull onto Main Street. He doesn't think the barrier for sight, vision and sound between the restaurant and the neighborhood is adequate. And he thinks the parking will prove inadequate. 

Some residents complained that they felt like the developers were trying to sneak the project through, but Robert Kiesler, an architect from Rochester representing the developer, said there is nothing secret about the process. It is going through the public approval process completely in the open, as required by law.

Out of that process, the developer gets a chance to learn what modifications to the plan need to be made to ensure it doesn't negatively impact residents, or if the development is even viable.

The process is designed to give residents a chance to have their say, as Thursday's meeting demonstrated, he said.

The developer is proposing a 2,100-square-foot restaurant that would replace three residential units. It would have a drive-thru with a driveway on Vernon Avenue. 

Among the variances requested is reducing the buffer between the commercial property and residential property from 10 feet to two feet, constructing a building one foot higher than allowed, constructing a smaller driveway than normally permitted and reducing the number of required parking spaces from 84 to 24.

May 15, 2015 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, business, batavia, Western OTB.


Officials at Western OTB think the odds of hitting a jackpot are better if their proposed hotel overlooks the Batavia Downs racetrack.

It is, after all, the oldest lighted harness racing track in America and the reason Batavia Downs exists in the first place.

Shoehorning it into the constrained space around the track, however, will require some bending of the rules.

There are zoning variances needed to lot size, lot frontage, front, side and rear setbacks and building height.

The scope of the variances prompted county planning staff to recommend disapproval of the project.

After Western OTB VP Mike Nolan pleaded with the board to support the project, saying it's the only viable option to ensure Batavia Downs continues to thrive and generate millions of dollars for the local economy, planning board members were unwilling to say no to the plan. They also didn't say yes.

The board took no action and the plan is now kicked back with no recommendation to Town of Batavia planners. It will be up to the town's Planning Board to decide whether to grant the variances.

Yes, Town of Batavia, not City of Batavia.

When the hotel plans were first announced, for the 80- to 100-room hotel, officials were talking about a location on the south end of the track, near Tops Plaza, but Nolan said further study on that location indicated it just wasn't viable. It's simply not big enough.

The current proposed location is on the north end of the track and would require the removal of some of the current paddock area.

It's critical, Nolan said, that the hotel be attached to the gaming facility and that it have suites with balconies overlooking the track.

A board member asked, why not in the parking lot on the west side of Park Road?

"It's important that horse racing stays strong and vibrant," Nolan said. "Over in the parking lot, it wouldn't have the same appeal as overlooking the oldest lighted harness racing track in America."

The target audience for the hotel aren't travelers passing through the area, but people willing to travel to Batavia specifically to place bets on races and drop coins in slots.

The desk for the hotel would, in fact, be in the gaming facility itself. (Some of us might call it a casino, but the state's compact with the Senecas prohibits Batavia Downs officials from calling it a casino).

The gaming environment in WNY is getting more competitive, Nolan said, and with the Senecas planning a new $400-million casino a short drive away, it's critical Batavia Downs up its wager on local gaming. Western OTB recently completed a $28-million upgrade to Batavia Downs and the hotel represents the next phase in making Batavia Downs more attractive to gambling dollars.

The land for the hotel would be sold to private investors who would own the hotel and operate it as a franchise of a national hotel company.

Nolan noted that when Western OTB took over Batavia Downs, since Western OTB is a public benefit corporation, it took $3 million in assessed value off the tax roles. The new hotel would be assessed at something in the neighborhood of $7 million, and while tax abatements used to help fund development would delay the full value of that tax levy being realized by some local governments, eventually it would generate substantial tax revenue for the county and school district.

Even if the private developers decided to eventually sell the property and Western OTB became the owner, the property would stay on the tax roll, Nolan said.





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