Online News. Community Views.

>> Download <<
New iOS App
Android version
not yet available

VOTE for Andrew's Invention

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

business

May 25, 2017 - 12:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, unemployment, business, news.

At least 400 people entered the labor force in Genesee County from March to April, according to the latest data released by the New York State Department of Labor.

That puts the total size of the labor force at 29,400, with 1,300 people classified as unemployment, which puts the unemployment rate at 4.6 percent.

A year ago in April, the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in the county.

Over the past year, the county's labor force has declined by approximately 500 people. It's difficult to pinpoint the reason for the decline, but Baby Boomers reaching retirement age could be a factor.

The total number of employed residents 28,100. A year ago in April, it was 28,600 and in March it was 27,500.

The unemployment rate in the GLOW region is 5.0, the same as a year ago. 

In Rochester, it's 4.6 percent. In Buffalo, it's 5.0. For the state, it's 4.2. For the nation, it's 4.1 percent.

May 25, 2017 - 12:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, batavia, business, news, Dellapenna Building.

dellapennastartmay252017.jpg

The first work toward revitalizing the Della Penna buildings into Ellicott Station -- apartments, office space, a restaurant, and brewery -- began today with a contractor digging test pits and checking soil samples.

The tests are the first step in any contamination remediation process. The tests will provide officials with information on the scope of any remediation that is needed.

The old industrial parcel on Ellicott Street will undergo a $17 million transformation that will eventually bring in Buffalo's Resurgence Brewing Company as the anchor tenant.

For previous coverage, click here.

dellapennastartmay252017-2.jpg

May 24, 2017 - 4:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, schools, education, business, GCC, news, byron, elba, Pavilion, corfu.

agribusiness_academy2017_1.jpg

Press release:

"What is the biggest challenge you face in your business?" is a question often asked by the Agri-Business Academy students during tours of local agriculture businesses. The answer is almost always the same. "Labor."

The challenge of finding dependable, hardworking individuals for stable, well-paying careers in agriculture has been a constant battle for agriculturalists for years. As the instructor of the Agri-Business Academy, I've spoken with local agribusiness people from more than 100 local agribusinesses and the need for good employees is a common thread.

The common misconception is that these are not careers, but physically demanding jobs that do not require a college degree and involve a way of life that many would not willingly choose. Today, agribusinesses are usually seeking applicants with college degrees, technology and management experience, and business and communication skills. What is most important is that the compensation aligns with these requirements. In addition, the benefits and satisfaction that comes from working in the agriculture industry is unlike any other.

Agriculture continues to be the number one industry in Genesee County and the driving force of the local economy. When students of the Agri-Business Academy toured Torrey Farms, among the largest agribusinesses in New York state, they heard Maureen Torrey Marshall explain that Torrey Farms does not simply employ a few people in the surrounding community.

She described the multiplier effect, which means that other businesses, such as trucking companies, mechanic shops, equipment dealerships, transportation hubs, technology, fuel and fertilizer suppliers, and many others are all part of the agribusiness economy. Most people do not recognize the many different aspects of agriculture and the need for individuals with a broad array of interests and expertise. Animal and plant systems, food products and processing, agricultural mechanics, precision agriculture, agribusiness networks, international trade, environmental and conservation systems, and energy use are just a few of the trades under umbrella of agriculture.

To ensure that the agriculture community has the employees they need to thrive, and to continue to be the bedrock of our community the Agri-Business Academy is again seeking high school seniors to learn about careers in all aspects of agriculture. The Agri-Business Academy is a one-year partnership program between the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and Genesee Community College.

Through this program, the students earn 15 college credits through the ACE program at Genesee Community College. They spend half the school day in the Agri-Business Academy enrolled in the following five college courses: Western New York Agriculture, Career and Educational Planning, Principles of Business, Principles of Biology and Public Speaking.

Throughout the year students tour area agribusinesses to learn and experience these businesses, job shadow professional producers and at the end of the year each student participates in a two-week internship. This year's Agri-business Academy students are working at their internships experiencing many different aspects of agribusiness -- from robotic and organic dairies to maple syrup and crop management and much more.

The following locations throughout Western New York are currently sponsoring student internships: DeLaval Dairy Services in Corfu, WBB Farm in Alden, Beaver Meadows Audubon Center in North Java, Merle Maple Farm in Attica, Cottonwood Farms in Pavilion, Cornell Cooperative Extension in Wyoming County, Schierberdale Holsteins, Perry and WNY Crop Management in Warsaw.

If you know of a current junior or underclassman who is interested in business or agriculture, or is unsure of a career path, please encourage them to apply for the Agri-Business Academy at the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. Through the Agri-Business Academy, students explore the plethora of wonderful careers available to them -- locally, internationally or often it is a dynamic blend of both.

Whether they like working inside or outside, with their hands or crunching numbers, handling heavy equipment or studying the nuances of soil (agronomy), tending to livestock or discovering how technology can help feed the world-the "Ag Academy" is a career starter.

Jack Klapper, an Agri-Business Academy graduate and Cornell University assistant men's basketball coach, said, "I would recommend this academy to anyone, whether they are pursuing a career in agriculture or not. The life skills I developed in this program are some of the best skills I have ever learned."

Applications are available at http://www.genesee.edu/home/ace/career-pathways/agri-business-academy/.

The first 20 students to submit their application will receive a free Genesee Community College flash drive wristband.

Questions? Please do not hesitate to contact me at 585-344-7783 or [email protected]. Check out the Agri-Business Academy on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Agri-Business-Academy-680673051998953/

Top photo: Agri-business Academy student Cherie Glosser of Warsaw High School with calf at Post Dairy Farms.

agribusiness_academy2017_2.jpg

Agri-Business Academy students at Torrey Farms, in Elba.

agribusiness_academy2017_3.jpg

Agri-Business Academy students at Porter Farms in Elba.

agribusiness_academy2017_4.jpg

Agri-Business Academy students at SJ Starowitz Farm, in Byron.

May 20, 2017 - 11:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in RTS, transportation, batavia, Le Roy, news, business.

rtsnewroutes2017.jpg

Customers of RTS will find it easier to get from Le Roy to shopping in Batavia, or from Batavia to neighboring counties, or from Batavia to Genesee Community College now that the transportation company has devised a new plan to help people get around better; it's based on an efficiency study RTS conducted.

  • There are new connections between Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming counties on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays;
  • There are now 10 trips a day to and from Big Tree Glen, the new apartment development on West Main Street;
  • Trips to and from GCC have been bumped up from five to six;
  • There is one new trip to and from Le Roy, which is an afternoon route, and times have been changed for two other Le Roy trips (to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.).

The routes are also linked together more smoothly, so it's easier to change buses in a timely manner.

“Somebody coming in from Le Roy can go all the way to Tops, all the way to Walmart, all the way to Kmart," said Jamie Mott, regional manager for RTS for Genesee and Orleans. "With the current system, if you come in from Le Roy, you’re done at the City Centre and then you have to wait. Now it’s a little bit different. You can actually continue on."

The former dial-a-ride service in the city and the current countywide service have been combined to add flexibility to the program. Riders more than a quarter mile off the regular routes can make appointments for pick up and drop off at least 24-hours in advance of their planned trips.

All these changes came with the requirement from RTS management that service be expanded without increasing expense.

"We had to do redesigns based on what we were already budgeted for, so that was a big challenge -- to figure out how we could expand our services, especially when you have on-time performance that you have to maintain," Mott said.

May 19, 2017 - 1:00pm

There should be no lack of motivation for Dairy Farmers of America to start production back up at the former Muller Quaker Dairy plant in Batavia it acquired in January 2016 for $60 million.

That was a big outlay on a plant that is considered state-of-the-art, is USDA certified, close to milk supplies, in the midst of a transportation hub, and cost PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group more than $200 million to construct.

There is also more milk being produced than there are places to process it in the Northeast and that has led to some milk dumping so it doesn't get added to the market supply.

Finally, there is the whopping $655,155 tax bill DFA paid in 2017 over and above what their obligation could have been with a new PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) agreement, which is wholly contingent on Kansas City, Kansas-based DFA putting the plant to productive use.

Genesee County Economic Development Center CEO Steve Hyde notified officials with City Schools, Genesee County and the Town of Batavia in January that those jurisdictions could expect suspension of the PILOT agreement Muller Quaker received to build the plant because there was no clear indication what DFA planned to do to live up the basic premise of the PILOT, which is that there would be people working at the plant.

"They will pay full taxes until it's back in productive use and people are back to work," Hyde told The Batavian. "DFA has been good with us and good to work with, but we want to see the plant back in productive use, and they want their members to be able to ship milk to that plant."

The Batavian obtained copies of the letters sent to local officials through a FOIL (Freedom of Infomation Act letter) request. The letters show that City Schools received an extra $427,397, the county received $180,476, and the Town received $47,282.

Hyde said the payment requirement was consistent with the original terms of the PILOT and would not have come as a surprise to DFA.

As for DFA's plans, spokeswoman Kim O'Brien said the plans are taking shape. It's a lot of work to bring a number of big players together to get a plant like this back into production, but she said DFA would announce its plans within weeks.

It's unclear if DFA will operate the plant itself, partner with other companies, lease it or sell it, and O'Brien said she couldn't comment beyond acknowledging that DFA would make an announcement soon.

There are reportedly other major players in the dairy industry interested in the plant and Shelly Stein, a co-owner of Stein Farms in Le Roy, a DFA member, said it's common knowledge that DFA has had the plant on the market, but she also doesn't know what DFA's plans are. She said she's just eager to see it processing milk again to help alleviate the oversupply problem for dairy farmers.

"In the dairy business, there are a lot of partnerships and relationships that go into running plants like this, and that's the model DFA uses," Stein said. "I believe that is still the thought process and as a member of the cooperative, I look forward to that plant being up and running, but at this point, all of the stars have to line up. The size of that plant means it's not going to be an overnight fix."

Sarah Noble Moag, of Noblehurst Farms in Linwood, and also a DFA member, said they are eager to see the plant reopen, but they also understand why it's taking so long to get something going.

"After having seen Muller Quaker come in with its business plan and fail, we want to see something for our local economy and our local jobs that is more stable, and if that takes a little more time to plan, then so be it," Noble Moag said. "We all know in this business how long those negotiations can take, especially for an asset that size."

According to documents obtained by The Batavian as part of a FOIL request, there was active communication between GCEDC and DFA, but in July, the communication, at least the written communication, abruptly stopped. We are told that's an accurate reflection of the state of things from that point forward, that there isn't any communication not part of the response to the FOIL request.

In February of 2016, DFA officials were diligent about making sure its logo was added to the business part sign along Route 5. In March, Chris Suozzi, VP of business development, started trying to find out from DFA officials what their plans were so he could put together a new incentive package that recognized the expense of the retooling of the plant.

Jackie Klippenstein, with DFA, asked for clarification on possible incentives on April 28, telling Suozzi, "it appears discussions at the end of the hall are intensifying."

In response, Suozzi wanted to know how much DFA was planning to invest in the plant. 

The number he got back was $250,000 for equipment and $100,000, rough estimate, for labor.

On April 29, 2016, he emailed Jackie Klippenstein to try and clarify DFA's plans.

"Based on other food processing facilities in our county, that number appears low, unless you're making yogurt," Suozzi wrote. "Can you share what products will be produced? Maybe I can understand better. Will you be using existing equipment from Muller Quaker Dairy? Do you already own equipment that you're bringing in? If so we will need to understand the capital expense."

He also asked, "is the 150 jobs to start or is a ramp-up schedule over the course of time (i.e. 2-year ramp up)?"

Suozzi apparently didn't get a response and followed up on May 3 and suggested a phone call.

Klippenstein responded May 10 and said, "We aren't quite ready -- but I expect information in the next 2-3 weeks. Stop and go, stop and go ... sorry but feeling optimistic."

Suozzi again followed up on June 1, 2016, and Klippenstein responded, "Thanks for checking in. I've been told July is the golden month when things will start to come together -- decisions made."

On July 6, 2016, Suozzi again requested a project update and the documents obtained by The Batavian, which we are told are complete, contains no response from Klippenstein or anybody else from DFA.

As part of the documents obtained by The Batavian, there is a state form DFA was required to fill out which lists employees and wages paid for 2016. The NYS-45-ATT shows DFA had seven employees at the plant with a total payroll of $408,006. The names of the employees are redacted, but the top gross pay was $72,195, with one other employee earning more than $70,000, two making more than $50,000, one making $41,883, and three earning at least $35,000. Their job duties are not listed as part of the form.

Hyde, like other officials we've talked to around the county, remains optimistic that the plant, so big, so well situated and well suited to dairy processing, will eventually be put to productive use. It's just a matter of time.

"It's not perfect what happened, but we have a couple hundred million dollar processing plant that is essentially new and largely funded on the backs of PepsiCo and Theo Muller," Hyde said. "We'll eventually have a production facility in there. It's a great asset to have in our community."

Stein, who is also a county legislator, agreed.

"It’s an asset that continues that get a lot of traction," Stein said. "I’m glad it’s in DFA’s hands. It’s the largest dairy cooperative in the nation. As a member, when a deal is worked out, whomever or whatever it’s going to be, it's going to be good for all milk producers in the area one way or another because it’s still milk."

May 19, 2017 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sallome Heating and Cooling, batavia, business, news.

sallomevacson2017.jpg

For more than 70 years, there's been a Sallome in the heating and cooling business in Batavia, and with John Sallome Jr. joining his father's business, the tradition looks to continue for decades more, at least.

"I went to school and all my friends were like, ‘it’s pretty cool that you get to work for your own family business instead of going to work for somebody else,' ” John Jr., said.

The 21-year-old Sallome, the son of John and Marianne, graduated from the heating and air technology program at Alfred State, where he was a top student and received the New York Propane Gas Association Ganey Memorial Scholarship Award and Air-Conditioning and Heating Outstanding Student Award.

After graduating from Batavia High School, John Jr. thought he might like to work in computers, but after starting down that path, he found it didn't really interest him, so he went to his dad and said, "I want to work with my hands like you."

John Sr., who joined the business in 1977 while still in high school, working for his grandfather, decided to put him to the test.

"I took him on some of the worst, dirtiest jobs we ever had and he loved it, absolutely loved," John Sr. said.

John Sr., who has no plans to retire anytime soon, said his son joining the business is "a dream come true."

"It’s great that my son has come into the business and I'm looking forward to the future with him," John Sr. said.

May 19, 2017 - 10:05am

Press release:

Since 1993, Darien Lake Amphitheater has been bringing the biggest stars to Western New York. Over its history, well over 400 concerts have played its stage and in its 25th season, the lineup is proving to be one of its best yet.  The ceremonial season kicks off next Wednesday, May 24th, with Future and special guests Migos, Torey Lanez,  ASAP Ferg and Zoey Dollaz.

Not only does the venue have a great lineup to celebrate its 25th season but LiveNation is also rolling out some upgrades and special offers to make this concert season one to remember.

Great new things to enhance the concert experience at Darien Lake Amphitheater for its 25th season include:

Updated Aesthetics: Darien Lake Amphitheater’s concession stands and plazas are getting a new, updated look in 2017!  The updates include displays for photo opportunities & selfies, plus additional seating within the main plazas. Our concession buildings will receive a façade renovation and new TV displays.

Fans will even be treated to a beautiful starlight display projected under our amphitheater tent.

Free Theme Park Access: As previously announced, in celebration of Darien Lake Amphitheater’s 25th concert season, Live Nation is partnering with Darien Lake Theme Park to offer an amazing deal to concert ticket buyers for this season. Each ticket purchased for a concert at the amphitheater will include complementary same day admission into Darien Lake Theme Park!  The offer will be valid for all tickets purchased for any concert at the amphitheater that occurs during the theme park’s operating schedule.

The offer is not valid in conjunction with any other Darien Lake Theme Park offer and is non-transferrable. Free Theme Park access is only valid the same day as the concert ticket and is only valid on purchased tickets and not valid on complimentary concert tickets. Go to darienlake.com/concerts for full details.

More Concession Locations: Darien Lake Amphitheater will have a wide range of new food and beverage offerings this year. New selections include humanely raised food offerings and handcrafted show specialty cocktails, plus a savory selection of local food trucks including House of Munch, Center Street Smoke House and Buffalo’s Best. We will also feature craft beers on tap! Additionally, we will have more points of sale in our concession plazas and at our lawn points of sale to better serve our guests.

Public WiFi: New during the 2017 season, public WiFi will be available for guests within the venue grounds. WiFi accessibility at the Darien lake Amphitheater has never been available to concertgoers before now. During the 2017 season, guests will be able surf the Internet, access their mobile concert tickets and enjoy their favorite apps like theLive Nation app, all from the comfort of their seat or while exploring the venue grounds. This will become available later this summer.

Preferred Lawn: The Preferred Lawn is back for 2017! Each preferred lawn ticket includes a complimentary lawn chair rental, beverage cart access, as well as Early Entry with a hassle-free quick access into a separate, secured area. 

This summer’s spectacular 25th Season at Darien Lake Amphitheater lineup includes:

  • Future – Wednesday, May 24th
  • Chance The Rapper – Wednesday, May 31st 
  • Jason Aldean -  Saturday, June 3rd 
  • Florida Georgia Line  – Friday, June 16th
  • Train with O.A.R. – Tuesday, June 20th
  • Zac Brown Band  – Sunday, June 25th
  • Third Eye Blind  – Thursday, June 29th
  • Nickelback with Daughtry – Wednesday, July 12th
  • Vans Warped Tour – Thursday, July 13th
  • Chris Stapleton  – Sunday, July 16th
  • Chicago & The Doobie Brothers – Tuesday, July 18th
  • Foreigner with Cheap Trick  – Friday, July 21st
  • Kidz Bop Kids – Saturday, July 22nd
  • OneRepublic – Tuesday, July 25th
  • Brantley Gilbert  – Sunday, July 30th
  • Kings of Leon  – Wednesday, Aug. 2nd
  • Dierks Bentley with Cole Swindell  -- Friday, Aug. 4th
  • Goo Goo Dolls with Phillip Phillips – Saturday, Aug. 12th
  • Luke Bryan with Brett Eldredge – Friday, Aug. 25th
  • Green Day – Saturday, Aug. 26th
  • John Mayer – Sunday, Aug. 27th
  • Matchbox Twenty / Counting Crows – Monday, Sept. 11th
May 18, 2017 - 10:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Taco Bell, KBP Foods, batavia, business.

The Taco Bell in Batavia is one of 85 KFC and Taco Bell locations acquired by KBP Foods.

Here's the press release:

KBP Foods, one of the largest YUM! Brands franchisees in the country, announced last week that it has acquired 85 KFC and Taco Bell restaurants, including 18 in New York. 

This acquisition comes as part of the company’s continued expansion. Since 2011, KBP Foods has grown from 64 restaurants to 449 KFC and Taco Bell restaurants across 20 states.

“This acquisition represents another significant milestone for our business, and we are proud to strengthen our footprint in New York,” said Mike Kulp, President & CEO, KBP Foods. “We remain focused on strategic growth that creates value for our business and career advancement opportunities for our employees. This acquisition achieves both of those goals – strengthening KBP Foods’ presence in several key markets, while accelerating professional growth for employees across our organization.”

“KBP Foods continues to pursue growth opportunities that make sense for our business, and this acquisition was a perfect fit,” said Barry Dubin, Chief Development Officer, KBP Foods. “The newly acquired restaurants complement KBP Foods’ geographic footprint, adding density to many of our existing markets while creating expansion into several adjacent areas.”

KBP Foods has been named a 2017 “Champion of Business” by the Kansas City Business Journal, which evaluates companies based on three key areas – financial performance and growth, innovation and charitable giving. In 2017, KBP Foods will raise and donate $1.3 million and 30,000 volunteer hours to new and existing charity partners (KBP Foods partners with local nonprofit organizations in every market it serves).

KBP Foods has also been named one of the 10 Fastest-Growing Restaurant Chains and one of the Top 100 Fastest-Growing Businesses in North America.

May 17, 2017 - 2:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, news, business.

bataviadownsresurface2017.jpg

Work crews were at Batavia Downs this morning resurfacing the parking lot.

bataviadownsresurface2017-2.jpg

May 17, 2017 - 1:02pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in batavia, news, business, Neighborhood Legal Services.

220neighborhood_legal_services.jpg

Neighborhood Legal Services Inc. (NLS), a nonprofit organization previously located on Clinton Street, recently moved office locations to 45 Main St. in Batavia.

NLS provides free legal services to low-income people and the disabled. They also provide a wide range of technical assistance and support services.

John Zonitch, the managing attorney at NLS, said the services remain the same, but they were looking to expand personnel.

“We have added an attorney that specializes in Social Security work, so we are able to handle more cases than we used to,” Zonitch said.

Zonitch said they enjoy their more centralized location.  

“We’re definitely closer to the courts,” Zonitch said. “It’s convenient for the courts as well as for those with transportation difficulties. I think it’s a lot easier for them.”

Zonitch said the Community Action Center was also hoping to expand their Head Start preschool program.

NLS offers services in family law, disability law, housing, public benefits, consumer issues and New York State of Health Marketplace. They do not handle criminal cases, traffic tickets, money damage actions, estate work and real estate closings, torts, small claims court cases, workers’ compensation, unemployment and cases where fees are available for other counsel.

There are three offices throughout Western New York. One located in Buffalo, serving Erie County, one located in Niagara Falls, serving Niagara County, and the branch located in Batavia, serving Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties.

Residents can call or walk in to fill out an application. Some of the services are funded by grants, which have qualification requirements.

“Assuming their income and their assets meet our maximums, then they would be financially eligible,” Zonitch said. “Then as long as it’s a problem type that we handle, then we would certainly be very open to providing them with some service.”

Zonitch said their services concentrate primarily on divorces, evictions from the tenant’s standpoint and Social Security work. He said they also have healthcare navigators to assist people looking to get health insurance to navigate the online system.

“Our mission is to help low-income families have access to the court system that they might not otherwise be able to have,” Zonitch said.

May 15, 2017 - 3:59pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Business Education Alliance (BEA) is hosting seven Career Exploration Camps this summer for students entering grades 6-9 in the 2017-18 school year.

Up to 220 campers will experience careers from culinary arts and animal science, to construction and medical careers. Each camp provides hands-on training and amazing experiences for students in their selected career, and exposes them to the array of careers available in their own community.

The following camps are being offered to students:

  • All About Dogs (July 10-14)
  • Culinary Camp 1 (July 10-14)
  • Culinary Camp 2 (July 17-21)
  • Animal Science/Vet Camp (July 17-21)
  • MST Camp (Math Science Technology) (July 17-21)
  • Medical Camp (July 24-28)
  • Camp Hard Hat (July 31-Aug. 4; for students entering grades 8-10).

Parents can go to www.beagenesee.com to learn more about the Summer Career Camps and to register.

These camps are subsidized through donations, sponsorships and volunteerism to keep them affordable for students and their families.

The Genesee County BEA is an organization whose mission is to foster a partnership between business and education, and to assist students in preparing for the world of work. Housed at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce in Batavia, the BEA creates and implements programs that are designed to develop a stronger workforce for businesses in Genesee County.

May 14, 2017 - 5:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, genesee county chamber of commerce.

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce once again is offering the community the unique opportunity to travel to China for a nine-day tour of China. This will be the 11th trip that chamber has offered.

The trip is from Oct. 7 to 15 for the low price of $2,199. Price includes air fare (from JFK), bus to/from JFK, hotel stays, three meals a day, bus tours (with guides), admission to tourist spots, and airport taxes throughout the trip.

Some of the highlights on the trip are Tian An Men Square, Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall just to name a few. For an additional $200, you will have the opportunity to explore the Terra-Cotta Warriors at the Tomb of the First Emperor.

The trip is filling up quickly! Final payments are due by July 15th. The Chamber believes this trip to be an exceptional value. For more details call Tom or Melissa at the Chamber at (585) 343-7440.

Details on the trip can also be found at http://geneseeny.com/Trips/CHINA2017.aspx

May 10, 2017 - 4:12pm

farmerscreeksidemediameal2017.jpg

A group of writers and photographers, mostly food and wine critics from Monroe County, were in Le Roy last night to be the first to experience Farmer's Creekside Inn.

Ten years have passed since Bill Farmer, chairman of Catenary Construction in Rochester and a specialist in historical preservation of concrete and masonry buildings, saw the Creekside Inn for the first time.

It wasn't a pretty sight. Three years earlier the Creekside had been destroyed by a fire people in Le Roy still talk about.

"Part of it is the environment," Farmer said about what attracted him to buying and restoring the 200-year-old building. "It was a vision when I first looked at the building, and it was in dire shape.

"It was collapsing. It was ravaged by fire. But I took a look at the environment, the setting, the historic structures that are across the creek, the composite of the village itself, the post office across the street, and I thought this was just an unbelievable setting that was unrecognized."

He decided to set out and create a dining and hospitality destination that was second to none in Western New York.

The preview dinner last night was the first time Farmer could see that vision start to come into focus in a meaningful way. There's still a lot of work to do on the interior of the building before Farmer's Creekside Tavern & Inn opens to the public on June 5, but Farmer said he has the right people in place to make it happen.

"It’s really overwhelming-- this event, this private little dinner we hosted tonight was a culmination of a fast track of putting the kitchen together, hanging the final fixtures," Farmer said. "The floors are only three days old. It’s really a tad overwhelming to see it come so beautifully, full of life, and so many people here enjoying the experience and seeing the staff perform. I just feel so flattered and honored to have the staff we have."

It's been eight years since The Batavian first paid a visit to the Creekside and met Farmer. We've dropped in several times over the years since and been impressed each time with the attention to detail; the quality Farmer is investing in the building. The new floors are real hardwood; the interior railings are oak, the fixtures are the highest quality and the amenities -- exterior patio and bar with a gas fireplace, a tavern, a fine dining room, guest rooms on the top floor -- are well thought out and designed.

As the opening day approaches, it's clear Farmer has given the same attention to detail in hiring his staff, with Chris Grocki as general manager and Sean Wolf as executive chef.

"I’ve always felt blessed by the people that I employ," Farmer said. "I've had people working for me now for well into a 30-year span. I value my employees. I recognize their efforts. It’s just so rewarding when you put together a good team, and they go out and execute the plan. That holds true with everything we do whether it’s real estate development or masonry and concrete services, masonry restoration services, and now it's going into our food and hospitality services."

Farmer said he decided on Grocki and Wolf as his top leadership in the restaurant several months ago and said throughout the process he's convinced he made the right choices.

During his opening remarks before the dinner, Grocki was equally effusive about his new boss.

"Opening a restaurant is a labor of love, and we’ve got a family here that has no shortage of it," Grocki said, adding, "I’ve never had the pleasure of working for somebody who has gone for it in quite this way. You always say, 'You don’t do anything like anybody else does.' and clearly that’s true."

One of the key people in helping the restaurant, tavern and inn come together so beautifully, Farmer said, was interior designer Jason Longo. Longo said Farmer was a special client.

"Chris and I had worked on a project before, and I called Chris one night," Longo said, "and I was nearly in tears, and I said, 'I can't believe that in my career' -- which has been going on for some time now -- 'that I've ever worked on a project where people gave everything, from the carpenters to the electricians. Every single person who has worked on this project is so invested and so involved.' "

Farmer said he just had a passion for the project since the day he saw the building and has made sure he's had the right people in place to make sure the vision became a reality.

"It seemed pretty clear to me when I came to the building, looked at the site, saw the surroundings, stone building, 200 years old almost, I hate to say it, but for me, it was a no-brainer to get involved in," Farmer said.

"You’ve got to have a passion for it," he added. "I think that’s the driving force. I fell in love with this place. I fell in love with the building. The site. Part of the experience of rehabbing and building it and meeting all the challenges and solving all the issues are a great part of it."

The dinner consisted of multiple courses loosely paired with wines, mostly from the Finger Lakes. It started with a ceviche of Alaskan halibut, bitter spring greens, truffle chicken, followed by a surf and turf and a dessert of foie gras. Wines included a Hermann J. Wiemer Blanc de Noir 2011, Ravines Dry Riesling Argetsinger Vineyard 2012, Palo Cortado 'Peninsula' Sherry' and a Benanti Etna Bianco 2015, among others.

The idea, Grocki said, was to give guests a sample of what will be served in the tavern and in the fine dining room, known as the Cleveland Room, which will serve fine dining, destination, and special occasion meals four days a week. The fine dining room, the tavern, the patios, all told, will seat 400 people.  

Farmer thinks the Creekside Inn will become a destination location, drawing people from throughout the region, especially Buffalo and Rochester.

"I had no idea initially how important of a project this would be, but over the years it’s become apparent," Farmer said. "I’ve realized this is a significant, significant project for Western New York, the Town of Le Roy, the county. It’s a very meaningful project, and I’m flattered and privileged to be that guy doing it."

farmerscreeksidemediameal2017-2.jpg

Truffle chicken

farmerscreeksidemediameal2017-3.jpg

Surf and turf

farmerscreeksidemediameal2017-4.jpg

The tavern, still under construction

farmerscreeksidemediameal2017-5.jpg

One of the inn's guest rooms.

farmerscreeksidemediameal2017-6.jpg

farmerscreeksidemediameal2017-7.jpg

farmerscreeksidemediameal2017-8.jpg

farmerscreeksidemediameal2017-9.jpg

Bill Farmer, Sean Wolf, Chris Grocki

farmerscreeksidemediameal2017-10.jpg

Bill's son, Bill, daughter Hailey, who will run fine dining, her son Ryder, and Bill Farmer.

May 9, 2017 - 12:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in DePaul, batavia, business, news.

Three pieces of property snug in the middle of other housing and commercial parcels should remain, at least for the time being, available for industrial use, the City Council decided Monday night on a 3-6 vote.

The decision ends, perhaps permanently, a bid by DePaul Properties to build an 80-unit apartment complex at 661, 665 and 679 E. Main St., Batavia, that would have provided housing for people with disabilities, elderly residents lacking mobility, and veterans with special needs.

Developer Mark Fuller didn't rule out trying to build the complex sometime in the future -- the property is likely to be rezoned as part of the city's revision of its comprehensive plan -- but he sounded a sour note as he discussed the council's rejection of the rezoning resolution, and hence, his project.

"I really don’t want to go into communities where we’re not well received," Fulle said. "There’s yet to be a community that hasn’t wanted us to come in. If the community is still against it if it’s zoned differently, I just don’t know that I want to put energy into a community that is not behind it."

Fuller is a Genesee County resident and said he was baffled by the community's response to the project proposal, which would have represented a $25 million local investment by DePaul and increased the current tax revenue for the city four times over the current tax revenue, plus generated significant revenue for sewer and water hookups.

The PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreement DePaul Properties was willing to enter into for the project would have actually obligated DePaul to pay more in taxes than otherwise required for a nonprofit under Property & Tax Law section 581(a).

In other communities where Fuller has overseen the development of DePaul projects there has been nothing but positive feedback he said, including West Seneca, which he said saw an increase in property values around the DePaul project there.

"We had a press conference in Rome this morning where 80 people showed up thanking us for coming and every single City Council member came up and thanked me for developing there," Fuller said. "We have a lot of projects across the state. We get calls all the time, so I think I’m going to put my energy into communities that want the redevelopment and investment."

The housing is needed in Batavia, Fuller said, because currently the people who might live in the complex are stuck in substandard housing for their needs or unable to live independently because of the lack of adequate housing for their needs. The market for this housing is very different from standard rentals, he said, and wouldn't be competition for existing landlords.

Fuller's comments came after a lengthy City Council session that included public comments both for and against the project and remarks from council members who both supported and opposed letting DePaul build on the property.

The nay votes came from Bob Bialkowski, Paul Viele, Kathy Briggs, Al McGinnis, John Canale, and Council President Eugene Jankowski.

Many of the DePaul supporters were clients of DePaul or otherwise associated with the organization.

Quentin Call said that DePaul has been an asset to every community where it has built a project and that even though it's a nonprofit, through a special Payment In Lieu of Taxes arrangement, DePaul will increase funding for the city over the property's present commercial use. 

"I’m not sure if any industrial uses have been proposed for the property, however in regards to the PILOT program, any industrial facility that might come in would be seeking that designation as well," Call noted.

Pastor Marty Macdonald, from City Church, and himself a local landlord, said he believes, based on his experience as a landlord and pastor of a large church, that the community needs the additional handicapped accessible housing from DePaul.

"I’m going at this from a humanitarian position, but business side as well, that there is a need for housing and there is going to be a greater need for housing," Macdonald said. "Batavia will not stay the same as it is. There are too many great things going on. I’m thankful for that and I hope you are, too."

Batavia resident John Roach was among the speakers casting doubts on the need for more apartments in Batavia. He said including DePaul, there are an additional 180 to 190 apartment units currently on the drawing board for Batavia.

"You’re already going to have one 100 new apartments in areas that are already zoned for it," Roach said. "We don’t need these 80 rooms."

George Gallegher said something industrial or commercial should go on the property, not apartments run by a nonprofit.

"This isn’t the best use of our land resources that are capable of generating tax income," Gallegher said. "Now they want to add two more tax exempt PILOT programs again right on Main Street. The people that I talk to who are well versed in where properties should be and how they should be used, they said that’s not very smart."

John Gerace argued the property should remain zoned industrial.

"The City Manager apparently must be clairvoyant to say that there will never be any development on that property that is industrial," Gerace said. "Who knew what happened in the city years and years ago --- what’s going to happen down the road a year from now, two years from now, and what that property could be used for and on the tax record."

DePaul, he said, like anybody else, was just looking to make money.

"DePaul is going to receive dollar for dollar tax credits," Gerace said. "That’s $25 million in tax credits. Why do they want to build this? Because there’s money in it. And yes, will it serve a purpose for our community, absolutely, and I’m all for helping our seniors, our veterans, our needy folks. This is not the project for it, unfortunately, and it should not be here in Batavia. I don’t know why it’s not in Le Roy."

It's not clear where Gerace is getting the $25 million tax credit figure. There's no public document available to support the assertion. Also, there already is a DePaul project being considered for Le Roy.

When it came time for council members to address the issue, Councilwoman Patti Pacino spoke up first and said as somebody about to turn 70, her need for a place to live such as DePaul is only about a decade away. She said her and her husband, a disabled veteran, will want a place with the ease-of-access the DePaul project was offering and that currently there isn't an adequate supply of such housing in Batavia.

"You know what, I don’t want to live in Le Roy," Pacino said. "I don’t want to live in Stafford. I don’t want to live in the Town of Batavia. I want to live in the city I grew up in and I helped make better in any number of ways, working with children, church organizations, City Council.

"There are lovely apartments here if you happen to be a young person," she added, "but guess what guys, all the sudden you look in the mirror and you’re looking at your mother’s face and her hand is coming out your sleeve."

She said she favored tabling the resolution until the city completes its comprehensive plan and the county completes its housing study so the council could make a decision with more information available. The motion to table failed on a 4-5 vote.

Councilman John Canale also supported tabling the resolution, but ultimately voted against the rezone, saying it was one of the hardest decisions he's wrestled with in four-and-a-half years on council, but it was what his constituents wanted.

"I feel that at this point I just can’t support this because I know we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about rezoning if DePaul hadn’t come froward with this project," Canale said.

Councilman Adam Tabelski spoke at length about the rezoning issue, arguing that dropping the industrial zone designation was the only reasonable approach the council could take.

"That (industrial zoning) is very difficult to justify in my opinion when nobody is out marketing it as such," Tabelski said. "The fact is, industrial development has not had a history at all at that site. In fact, as Councilman (Bob) Bialkowski mentioned, its history has been residential and commercial. If we are waiting for some factory to be built on this location, we’re waiting for a ship that is never going to come in."

Tabeliski noted that nearly every property to the east of the three parcels is currently residential and all the properties to the west are commercial.

"Across the street, you have an ice cream shop, a gas station, a car wash and an auto parts store," Tabelski said. "It makes no sense to me how a C2 designation is somehow out of character with that immediate neighborhood."

He said keeping the property zoned industrial is just inviting something out of character, that will upset area residents, to be built on the property. The council should listen to the city's own planning board, which recommended rezoning, and the County Planning Board, which also supported the rezoning.

"These are the experts who are supposed to guide us on land use, both in the short term and the long term, and to ignore their expertise and experience does them and us a big disservice," Tabelski said. "We have a reputable developer knocking on our door willing to invest $25 million in our community and our goal is to create opportunities for our residents. I think we need to welcome it."

May 8, 2017 - 6:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, business, start-up genes.

Start-Up Genesee will hold a “Think & Drink” event focused on starting a business in the Village of Bergen from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 22.

Learn about doing business on Main Street; look at successful downtown business operations; tour existing spaces for sale and lease; take a recreational trail tour and make a stop at the Bergen farmers’ market.

It starts at 4 p.m. at the Village of Bergen Office, 11 N. Lake Ave. in Bergen. Meet the Mayor, Anna Marie Barclay, who has made downtown business development and recreation a priority.

At 4:30 p.m., the tour begins. Stop at local businesses, including Pivot Acupuncture and Physical Therapy, Greg’ry’s Bakery, Ralph & Rosie’s, Craft Supplies Unlimited, Luke’s Hair Salon, and the Bergen School of the Arts.

Vacant buildings will be open to visit and see plans for renovations. This will be a good opportunity for businesses looking for space and developers looking for  investiment property to explore options in Bergen.

Then at 5:30 p.m, meet at Hickory Park and check out the interactive exercise trails and disk golf within the village and visit the new downtown farmers’ market.

RSVP by calling Rachael Tabelski at (585) 343-4866 or email her at [email protected]

May 5, 2017 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors approved incentives to Genesee Valley Transportation for the proposed expansion of the company’s cross dock facility. Meanwhile, the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) Board of Directors approved revolving loan funds for capital projects at the Batavia Brewing Company and Liberti, Valvo & Associates LLC.

Genesee Valley Transportation will invest approximately $1 million to expand its dry dock facility from 25,000 square feet to 37,160 square feet in order to meet increased customer demand. The estimated amount of incentives is $142,138 and for every $1 of public benefit the company is investing $4 into the local and regional economy. The expansion project will help retain 10 jobs.

“GVT is a critical component of the region’s transportation infrastructure,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “This infrastructure is another asset that our sales and marketing team can utilize to sell and promote the region for economic development opportunities.”

The GGLDC Board approved requests for two loans from its revolving loan program.

The Batavia Brewing Company requested a $150,000 loan from the Batavia Micropolitan Area Community Redevelopment Loan Fund (Redevelopment Loan Fund) to assist with its $3.6 million rehabilitation project at the historic Newbury building in Downtown Batavia. The company will convert the upper floors to apartments, create a brewing area in the basement, and build a taproom and restaurant as well as incubator space for FreshLAB on the first floor.

Liberti, Valvo & Associates LLC received approval for a $50,000 loan as part of a $275,000 business project. It is a manufacturers' sales representative agency that specializes in quality safety and utility products in markets in New York, New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Ontario, Canada.

“The revolving loan program continues to provide our small businesses opportunities to expand and grow,” said Thomas H. Felton, GGLDC chairman. “It is an important resource our agency can provide to our small business sector, which is the backbone of our regional economy.”

The GCEDC and GGLDC board meetings were conducted on May 4 in the Innovation Zone at 99 MedTech Drive in Batavia.

May 3, 2017 - 6:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BOCES, careers, jobs, batavia, schools, education, news, business.

fordfuturetechboces2017.jpg

Automotive techs are in demand and the demand is growing, according to Peter DeLacy, owner of DeLacy Ford in East Aurora, which is why the WNY Ford Dealers started a program three years ago to donate cars with "real world" experience to local high schools.

The goal is to help and encourage high school students with an interest in auto repair to stick with it as a career choice and gain valuable experience working on cars with some of the last technological advancements.

"They're often working on 15-year-old cars and there isn't much interest in working on cars that don't have the latest technology," DeLacy said.

Yesterday, the dealers donated at 2014 Ford Fusion to the automotive shop at BOCES.

"We rely on donations like this in order for our kids to get the best training possible so that when they leave school, they can go right out to the workforce and do the best they can," said BOCES in Batavia Principal Jon Sanfratello (speaking at the podium in the photo above).

The dealers pool their resources to acquire cars from Ford Credit that have come out of the lease program. Delacy said auto teachers want cars with some mileage on them and in need of some maintenance, not brand-new cars, for their students to work on. Once the dealers have ensured all auto shop programs in the region have cars, they will start a three- or four-year rotation process of providing newer slightly used vehicles to the schools so students always have close to the latest technology at their fingertips.

There isn't much about a Ford or a GM or a Toyota that is so proprietary that a student can't learn a broad range of applicable skills, regardless of which car it is, Delacy said. Many car components, and the technology today that enables and manages them, are built to government-mandated specifications, so when a tech hooks up a diagnostic computer to a car, the readout is the same regardless of the make or model.

"The diagnostic codes, how you access the primary powertrain control module, how you do all of these things is pretty much the same for all manufacturers," Delacy said.

The goal for the Ford dealers, of course, is to ensure as many young techs come out of high school and two years of college with an interest in working at Ford dealerships, but as long as there are more techs in the market, it's better for everybody.

"The technicians we have now, they’ve put their time in and they want to retire," Delacy said. "There’s not a big pool of talent to choose from, so knowing that the Ford dealers of Western New York, including myself, decided to ask, ‘where do we get technicians? How do we get them interested?’ Because a lot of people don’t want to get into that. They want to be other things and this is a very good pay program when you get into the dealership level."

It's a good career choice, Delacy said, because it's stable, it pays well and dealership jobs are good jobs, and since the only college required is couple of years at a community college, so the career makes sense financially.

"The great part is it's not a huge investment," Delacy said. "They don't have student loans to pay for five or 10 years. They’re out in the real world, earning real money, keeping their money and investing it, so we’re on the ground floor of great opportunity, allowing students to get a good education and they’re ready to go when they get out of college and they don’t have a huge debt load, so it’s a win-win-win for everybody."

May 3, 2017 - 2:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, business, Tompkins Bank of Castile.

Tompkins Bank of Castile has promoted Mark Brooks to small business lending manager, following the retirement of Mark Barber.

Brooks has been with Tompkins Bank of Castile for more than nine years, most recently serving as commercial banking officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics/finance from Niagara University and an MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“Mark has been an integral part of our small business lending program for several years,” said John McKenna, president and CEO. “He is committed to helping small businesses prosper and grow, and we’re looking forward to seeing all that he will accomplish.”

Brooks’ promotion coincides with the introduction of the new small business loans program, Lightning Loans. A fast turnaround business loan program, Lightning Loans features a streamlined online application process that allows customers to quickly apply for an affordable business loan and receive a decision in days or sooner.

“Lightning Loans will make it easy to apply for a loan from the comfort of home, but if you would like personal help, our employees and I are available to help you through the process,” said Brooks.

A native of Pavilion, he and his wife, Cherie, reside in Le Roy.

May 3, 2017 - 11:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and the Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) Board of Directors will consider taking action on three projects at its meeting on May 4 in the Innovation Zone board room on 99 Medtech Drive, Batavia, starting at 4 p.m.

The Board will vote on whether to approve incentives to Genesee Valley Transportation for the proposed expansion of the company’s cross dock facility. The $1 million capital investment will expand the facility from 25,000 square feet to 37,160 square feet in order to meet increased customer demand. The estimated amount of incentives is $142,138 and for every $1 of public benefit the company is investing $4 into the local and regional economy.

Two companies are seeking to tap into the GGLDC’s revolving loan program. Batavia Brewing Company, located in the renovated Newberry building in Downtown Batavia, is requesting a $150,000 loan to rehabilitate the second and third floors for high-end apartments as part of a $2.6 million project. The basement will be converted into a brewing room and a bar and restaurant and space for FreshLAB tenants are planned for the first floor.

Liberti, Valvo & Associate LLC, a manufacturers' sales representative agency that specializes in quality safety and utility products in markets in New York, New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Ontario, Canada, is seeking a $50,000 loan for a $275,000 business project.

The GCEDC Board meeting is open to the public.

May 1, 2017 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, environment, schools, education, business, news.

Press release:

International recording artist, environmentalist, and educator, Mr. Eco, will be visiting John Kennedy Primary School on Tuesday, May 9th at 9:30 a.m. for a special performance. Mr. Eco combines hip hop music with lyrics that inspire children to be environmentally conscientious.

The event is being sponsored by the Building Technologies Division at Siemens and hosted in conjunction with the fourth-grade innovators STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) programing at John Kennedy School and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC).

Mr. Eco’s songs emphasize the active role we all have in creating a sustainable culture, decreasing energy usage, increasing recycling, and working to keep communities free of litter. He has performed for more than 135,000 children across the United States, Canada, Turkey, South Africa, Colombia, St. Lucia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

“Conveying how important it is to take care of our environment to children at a young age is critically important,” said Christopher Dailey, superintendent of Batavia City School District.

“We want to ensure that our students develop environmentally friendly habits early on and we are really looking forward to having Mr. Eco teach them this in such a fun way. We are also very proud of our fourth-grade innovators program and the STEAM course work they have completed this year, so this will be a natural extension of what these students have been learning.”

Siemens’ sponsorship of the concert is in keeping with its support of student achievement, STEAM and sustainability.

“We are excited to honor the students at John Kennedy and the leadership at Batavia City School District for their outstanding accomplishments this year,” said Joseph Peters, Northeast zone manager, Siemens’ Building Technologies Division.     

“An important component of economic development is mitigating the impact of construction projects and other infrastructure work on the surrounding environment,” said Chris Suozzi, vice president of Business Development at GCEDC.

“We need to prepare the future workforce of our county and region to understand this delicate balance so that we can continue growing the economy while protecting the environment.”

For more information about Mr. Eco please visit www.mreco.org.

Pages

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
 
 

Upcoming

Copyright © 2008-2017 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

blue button