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

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

Above, Charlie Cook, CEO of Liberty Pumps.

Chamber Awards: Business of the Year -- Liberty Pumps

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Bill and Joy Hume, owners of Foxprowl Collectables.

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

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

Chamber Awards: Agricultural Business of the Year, Stein Farms

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

Chamber Awards: Special Service Recognition, Red Osier Restaurant

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Steve and Lisa Grice.

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

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

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

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Give and it will be given unto you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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February 24, 2017 - 9:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, chamber of commerce, batavia, business.

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The Business After Hours gathering for the Chamber of Commerce yesterday was also a celebration of the arrival of a news director for Business Improvement District.

Beth Kemp moved into the BID office more than a month ago and she and her husband, Brian, co-owners of T-Shirts Etc. and both artists, went right to work redecorating the space, so for many of the people attending the event were seeing the bright and attractive revamped space for the first time.

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January 24, 2017 - 1:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in tourism, chamber of commerce, news.

Genesee County should get a chance to compete for the governor's proposed increase in tourism spending, according to Kelly Rapone, tourism marketing director for the Chamber of Commerce.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning on adding $5 million to the tourism budget, making the total statewide spend $55 million.

Rapone said she anticipates seeing the amount available for competitive grants increase, and while she didn't have specific projects to pitch right now, she said for the county to get a portion of the money, it would need to submit a project to the state for consideration.

That's how the chamber won a $90,000 grant to promote the state's Haunted History Trail. The trail points tourists to dozen of potentially haunted, historical locations from Warick to Dunkirk and is promoted statewide with the grant money.

Rapone said she's been around long enough to remember when the state government didn't take tourism seriously and allocated few resources to the industry, which she said does provide a significant boost the economy.

"I have to say, anytime there is money dedicated to tourism, that is a good thing," Rapone said.

Gov. Cuomo has shown a lot of interest in tourism, especially in boosting tourism around ag products such as wine and craft beer.

The local tourism bureau also receives state money through a complicated formula for matching funds. The formula is based on regional and local considerations and the amount of the request. Last year, Genesee County received $66,000, or about one third of the tourism agency's operating budget.

January 19, 2017 - 6:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, batavia, news, business.

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The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce celebrated its arrival in a new home, with a new tourism center, on Park Road, Town of Batavia, today, with a ribbon cutting.

While the upstairs offices are a modern and comfortable place for chamber employees to work, it's the downstairs visitors center that is the star of the renovated building.

Chamber President Tom Turnbull noted its close proximity to the Thruway and the nearby hotels, which by the end of the year will have a total of 1,000 guest rooms between them.

"It will now be our job to encourage these visitors to our county to explore deeper into the county to shop, eat and enjoy many of the fine services available," Turnbull said.

The move was appropriate, said Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature, because tourism dollars are important to the health of our local economy.

"Many people either forget, or they may not be aware, what a significant impact tourism has on our local economy," Cianfrini said. "Aside from the money people spend on their food and their fuel and their lodging, they also contribute significantly to our sales tax and our bed tax revenues. The Chamber has done a fantastic job of promoting tourism in Genesee County."

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Tom Turnbull

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Ray Cianfrini

January 17, 2017 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, business, news.

The Business of the Year for Genesee County is Liberty Pumps, the Chamber of Commerce has announced.

Other award winners in the 45th annual slate of top local businesses and community members are:

  • Foxprowl Collectables, Entrepreneurial Business of the Year
  • Stein Farms, Agricultural Business of the Year
  • Red Osier Restaurant, Special Service Recognition
  • Steve and Lisa Grice, Geneseeans of the Year

The awards will be presented March 4 at a dinner and ceremony at Quality Inn & Suites on Park Road, Batavia. The evening begins at 4:30 with hors d'oeuvres, entree tables and a cash bar. The awards program starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person or $450 for a table of 10.

October 26, 2016 - 4:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, business, news.

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During today's annual meeting of the Chamber of Commerce at Rochester Club West @ Bohn's, Chamber President Tom Turnbull recapped what has been a successful and active year for the local business group.

Turnbull ran through a long list of the Chamber's activities and accomplishments.

The chamber hosted its annual awards, a home show and several business workshops, including ones on public speaking, drugs in the workplace and tax tips. The chamber, of course, attended many ribbon cuttings for new and expanding businesses. The chamber was active in pursuing public policy issues at the local and state level. It administered a small business loan program, hosted business after-hours events, and a trip to China. 

The hot and dry summer was good for tourism, but with the monetary exchange rate weakening with Canada, there were fewer Canadian visitors to the region this year, which looks like it will translate into a 4-percent decline in tourism revenue.

Still, hotels took in about $14.5 million, which translates into about $150 million in local economic impact.

The tourism agency fostered several group visits, including youth baseball tournaments, soccer events, car clubs and even a Winnebago rally at a local RV park.

There were 15,000 visitors to the county, and 1,500 room nights booked.

Turnbull said the chamber is excited to see the new hotel at Batavia Downs open, with a ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m., Nov. 2.

The chamber will have its own grand opening to look forward to in January at its new office building on Park Road, but staff will start moving into the new facility this week.

"We'll have a have a ribbon cutting, of course," Turnbull quipped. "We're a chamber."

The new board of directors was also introduced:

Chris Suozzi, chairman, from the Genesee County Economic Development Center
Immediate Past Chair: Hiedi Librock, Town of Batavia


The directors are:
Steven Beardsley – Tompkins Bank Of Castile 
Mary Blevins – ESL Federal Credit Union
Tim Call – Empire Tractor
Jeff Cook – Liberty Pumps
Keith Conway – Z&M, Ag and Turf
Jonathan Mager – Arctic Refrigeration Co. of Batavia
Michael Nolan – Batavia Downs Gaming
Chan Patel – Quality Inn & Suites 
Michael R Rivers – Rybak, Metzler & Grasso PLLC
Danielle Rontondo – Terry Hills Golf Course & Banquet Facility
Joseph Teresi – Tompkins Insurance Agencies Inc.
Chris Thorpe – Darien Lake Theme Park
Eric Wies – Clark Patterson Lee
Jennifer Zambito – Genesee Community College Foundation
Robert Bausch – Genesee County Legislative Liaison

August 5, 2016 - 5:22pm

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The tourism division of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce wants to help local poke hunting to go well, so to assist trainers, the Chamber has established a special group on Facebook: Pokémon Go in Genesee County, NY.

Anybody can join and post their local pokemon hunting tips and suggestions, including any pokestops or gyms they think people should know about.

April 2, 2016 - 5:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, batavia, business, Home Show, news.

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Exhibitors said there was a steady stream of people coming through the Chamber of Commerce's Home Show today at Falleti Ice Arena in Batavia, and that had them in pretty good spirits.

Here's a quick photo tour of some of the activity today.

Doors are open tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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More pictures after the jump:

April 1, 2016 - 4:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Home Show, chamber of commerce, business, batavia, news.

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Late this afternoon, vendors were busy putting together the final touches on their booths for the annual home show at Falleti Ice Arena.

The home show, brought to you by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, opens at 5 p.m. today and continues tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday.

There are about 70 exhibitors with goods and services designed to help you make home life better, beautiful or more efficient. For more information, visit the Chamber's Web site.

March 8, 2016 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chamber Awards, chamber of commerce, business.

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Saturday, the Genesee County Chamber of Comemrce held its annual awards banquet at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia.

Pictured are award recipients, back row: Jay Gsell, Tracy Miller, Pete Zeliff, Matt Ryan, Jeff Post, John Post and Rob Walker; front row: Pamela McCarthy, Loretta Miller, Susie Boyce, Meg Ryan and Shelley Falitico.

Photo courtesy the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.
Photo by Mark Gutman/
Daily News.

For coverage of the award winners:

February 4, 2016 - 11:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, business, batavia.

Renovation work on the future home of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau could begin in early spring, said Chamber President Tom Turnbull.

The chamber completed the purchase of the property at 8276 Park Road, Batavia, on Friday.

A request for construction bids on the project should go out in the next couple of weeks.

The chamber anticipates spending $900,000 on the project, which involves totally renovating and reconfiguring the building into office and meeting space suitable to the needs of the chamber and tourism bureau.

The location was selected in a large part because of its proximity to the Batavia exit for the Thruway and the concentration of hotels in the area.

The chamber purchased the building for $275,000.

The cost will be reduced a bit because of significant donation to the project by U.S. Gypsum.

Ray Dunlevy, a Gypsum executive in Oakfield and a member of the Chamber's board, came forward and said Gypsum would donate all of the drywall for renovation.

Nearly every current wall will come down inside the building, and new walls will go up, so it's a significant contribution to the project.

Turnbull really doesn't know the exact value of the donation. He said maybe $4,000 to $6,000.

"Everyone I talk to, and I'm not a contractor, says, 'that's worth thousands of dollars,' " Turnbull said.

The project's architect, Ed Smart, has been in touch with the general manager for Gypsum in Oakfield, Jim Perry, and Turnbull said Perry's message to Smart was, "Just tell us what you need."

The drywall is manufactured in Aliquippa, Pa.

Turnbull said nobody asked Gypsum for a donation. Dunlevy spoke up at a meeting and made the offer.

"It shows what a good community partner they are, just stepping up," Turnbull said. "They volunteered it and it's wonderful. It's going to help the project quite a bit."

File photo.

December 17, 2015 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, Chamber Awards.

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce will celebrate its 44th Annual Awards Ceremony on Saturday, March 5, at the Clarion Hotel, Park Road, Batavia. This is the County’s premier event that honors businesses and individuals for their achievements in business, community service and volunteerism. Tickets are $50 per person or a table of 10 for $450.

The evening begins at 5:30 with hors d’oeuvres, entrée tables & cash bar (no formal sit-down dinner is to be served). The Award Program starts at 7 o'clock when dessert and coffee will be served.

This year’s honorees are:

-- Business of the Year: The New p.w. minor   
-- Small Business of the Year: Guthrie-Heli Arc, Inc.  
-- Agricultural Business of the Year: Post Dairy Farms, LLC   
-- Special Community Service Recognition of the Year: GLOW YMCA Challenger Program  
-- Geneseeans of the Year: Susie Boyce and Barry Miller (posthumously)
-- The Wolcott “Jay” Humphrey III Community Leadership Award: Jay Gsell 

October 2, 2015 - 10:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, chamber of commerce, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved final resolutions for applications for assistance from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and Reinhart Enterprises, Inc., at its Oct. 1 board meeting.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is planning to purchase and renovate an existing building at 8276 Park Road in the Town of Batavia for its new offices, as well as to house Genesee County’s tourism office. The project will involve the construction of a two-story glass structure for a visitors' center, which will be located off the Batavia 48a exit of the New York State Thruway. The Chamber was approved for $71,535 in sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax exemptions. The planned capital investment will total $930,000.

“Tourism is an important revenue generator for our community and having a visitor’s center strategically located at the Thruway exit will only enhance the Chamber’s efforts to continue to grow this industry,” said GCEDC Chairman Paul Battaglia.

“The Park Road location will allow us to take tourism marketing to the next level in Genesee County,” said Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. “With 800 hotel rooms, Batavia Downs, shopping plazas and popular restaurants all within a one-half mile of this location, we believe an attractive, welcoming visitors' center will allow the Chamber to market our many assets and attractions, and stimulate tourism spending throughout Genesee County.”

Reinhart Enterprises, Inc., a property holding company, will expand its facility located 36 Swan St. in the City of Batavia by adding 16,000 square feet of additional warehousing space to accommodate a tenant’s growing distribution center. The company was approved for sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax exemptions totaling approximately $182,460 in estimated incentives. The project’s capital investment will total approximately $600,000.

“It’s good to see continued investment being made in the City of Batavia by existing companies like Reinhart Enterprises,” said Battaglia. "Our agency will continue to work hand-in-hand with all businesses in our community that are expanding and adding employment.”

August 6, 2015 - 4:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, chamber of commerce.

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The smoke-gray, vinyl-sided building may not look like much now, but when Genesee County Chamber of Commerce officials gaze upon the vacant house converted into office space on Park Road, they see a spruced-up facade and a big sign that says "Visitors Center."

It's been a decades-long dream for the Chamber to relocate its headquarters and visitors bureau to space closer to the Thruway exit in the Park Road/Oak Street area.

Now plans are coming together to purchase this building on Park Road across from the Sheriff's Office and just south of the Clarion Hotel.

The building isn't as visible as something right at Park and Oak, but it will still be plenty visible to visitors passing through Genesee County, said Chamber President Tom Turnbull.

"The location is right in the middle of everything," Turnbull said. "There are 800 hotel rooms right in the area. There's the Clarion, Batavia Downs, Alex's, Applebee's. It's where we want to be. It's someplace where we can capture people as they come into the area and bring them into the county. That's what we've always wanted to do. That's been the dream to get there."

There's a sign outside the current chamber offices in the City Church building on East Main Street that says, "Visitors Center," but tourists rarely stop there. There's also the visitors hut in the parking lot of the Holland Land Office Museum, but with the median on Route 5 restricting traffic flow, it's hard to access and is seldom visited.

Turnbull thinks the proposed location on Park Road will get more tourist activity and help the tourism staff and volunteers do a better job of guiding people to the abundance of sightseeing opportunities locally, from HLOM, to Darien Lake, to the Jell-O Museum to Genesee County Park & Forest and the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

"We want to get people out into the county," Turnbull said.

Turnbull has heard from the critics, the people who are skeptical or concerned about chamber leaving Downtown.

We can do more for Main Street out there than we can down here," Turnbull said, adding, "The chamber itself might be better off here, but tourism isn't. While the chamber can be good out there, tourism can be great out there."

The location, at 8276 Park Road, was first spotted on Google Maps when a committee of chamber members were scouring the area for a potential location.

Turnbull admits that at first he didn't see the potential for the building.

"My vision isn't very good," Turnbull said. "I looked at it and said it's an ugly old house, but start talking to people and they say you can dress it up and put a nice facade on it."

Ed Smart has been hired to do a feasibility study and initial architectural drawings so officials can see just what can be done with the building.

Turnbull remembers the chamber talking about a project like this in 2000, when he was president of the Board of Directors, and in 2001, the chamber was about to purchase the former armory at Oak and Park, but then the 9/11 tragedy happened and the federal government decided it wanted to hold onto its buildings. The INS now occupies that space.

Then in 2007, the chamber and Town of Batavia started talking about a joint facility a little further west on Park Road, where Park turns south and Veterans Memorial Drive splits off to the west.

The plan was to open a joint court facility shared with Elba and Oakfield. But Elba and Oakfield backed out of the project as it neared the approval stage, so its languished since, which is what sent the chamber on a quest to find another potential location to fulfill its dreams.

The chamber has made a purchase offer that is contingent on the outcome of the study.

The plan is to tap into the $500,000-bed-tax reserve to pay for the tourism bureau's portion of the project. This is the kind of project the bed tax is meant to help fund, Turnbull said -- and County Manager Jay Gsell agrees -- and so the chamber will seek County Legislature approval for the expenditure of nearly all of the reserve.

The bed-tax money can only be used for the facade to promote tourism and the downstairs portion of the building that will be used as a visitors center. That is the bulk of the cost of the project.

But since this project is primarily about promoting tourism, Turnbull said he expects tourism revenue to fund some 70 to 80 percent of the total project. The chamber itself will pay for the balance and he said that balance is within the chamber's financial reach.

If the project goes through, the new visitor center could open in about a year.

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

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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.

March 26, 2015 - 7:44pm
posted by Steve Ognibene in business, chamber of commerce, Home Show.

Pictured above are Batavia Chamber of Commerce members Kelly Bermingham, director of membership and special events, and Tom Turnbull, president of the Chamber, sitting in a garden landscaped by Ehrmentraut Landscape, Le Roy, who partnered with Cedar Street Rentals in their booth.

Think Spring is the theme for the second annual Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Home Show. The event kicks off from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Falleti Ice Arena. Discount tickets can be purchased from local businesses or at the Chamber of Commerce before Friday evening. Tickets at the door are $3 each and children 12 years and younger are free. More than 2,000 people attended last year.

More than 60 vendors and 80 booths will be on display. Get a jump on spring projects during the weekend event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

March 25, 2015 - 10:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce, Home Show.

Press release:

The second annual Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Home show takes place this weekend March 27-29 at the Falleti Ice Arena.

Sixty-three area businesses will be displaying their products and services at the Home Show and offering home improvement tips and suggestions on a face-to-face basis to the general public that attends.

“Our first Home Show last year was a tremendous success and we have just continued to build on that success this year,” said Chamber President Tom Turnbull. “We have sold out all of the 88 booths that were available.”   

The Home Show will be open Friday, March 27 from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, March 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admission to the event to $3 with children 12 and under admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Discount $1-off-admission coupons are available at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce office, 210 E. Main St., Batavia, or at any of the participating businesses.

There will also be a drawing for a $500 gift certificate that can be used at any of the participating Home Show businesses. The drawing will take place on Sunday at 3 p.m. The winner need not be present.

Food concessions will be provided by the award-winning restaurant Alex’s Place.
A complete list of participating businesses and a map of the booth layout is available at:  www.geneseeny.com/homeshow

For more information call the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce at 585-343-7440.

March 1, 2015 - 2:10pm

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce held a gala at the Clarion Hotel last evening to honor its 2014 award winners.

(Pictured above L to R) 2nd row -- "Business of the Year" Applied Business Systems, Lisa Ormsbee, Connie DiSalvo, Jim DiSalvo, Jason DiSalvo, Steve Samis;  "Geneseean of the Year" Margaret "Peggy" Lamb; "Industry of the Year" Muller Quaker Dairy, Karen Banker, Kevin Williams. "Geneseean of the Year" William "Bill" Schutt.

(Pictured above L to R) 1st row -- "Innovative Community Contribution of the Year" Merrill Lynch, Steve Tufts, Joshua Dent, John Riter; "Agricultural Business of the Year" Corcoran Custom Services, Stacy Corcoran, Bill Corcoran. "Special Service Recognition of the Year" Genesee Cancer Assistance, Inc., Dr. Kevin Mudd.

To purchase and view pictures contact: https://www.facebook.com/SteveOgnibenePhotography

Steve Samis - Applied Busniess Systems

Kevin Williams - Muller Quaker Dairy

Bill & Stacy Corcoran - Corcoran Custom Services

Steve Tufts, John Riter, Joshua Dent - Merrill Lynch

Joe Gerace, Carol Grasso, Toni Funke, Paul Figlow, Dr. Kevin Mudd, Ellen Bachorski together pictured for Genesee Cancer Assistance

Jay Gsell with Margaret "Peggy" Lamb - Geneseean of the Year

William "Bill" Schutt - Geneseean of the Year

More pictures on Steve Ognibene Photography's Facebook page.

February 28, 2015 - 3:31pm

This is the seventh and last profile of the 2014 Chamber of Commerce Award winners. The awards will be presented at a dinner at the Clarion Hotel tonight.

Thousands of senior citizens in Genesee County have gratefully enjoyed nutritious food prepared and delivered to their door because Margaret "Peggy" Lamb was key in launching Meals on Wheels here in 1974. Showcasing local farms beginning in 1989 with the annual Decision Makers' Agricultural Tour, underscoring the sector's economic impact, was her brainchild.

Although these two accomplishments are among her proudest achievements, she has helped out on many fronts.

Named one of two Geneseeans of the Year for 2014 by the Chamber of Commerce, she is all about serving the community. (The other Geneseean of the Year 2014 is William "Bill" Schutt.)

Her record of volunteerism spans 46 years, and the beneficiaries include: the United Memorial Medical Center Foundation; the YWCA Board of Directors; Oakfield Methodist Church, where she is trustee and has served in several leadership roles over the years; CASA for Children (Court Appointed Special Advocates); the Genesee Symphony Orchestra Board; the Muriel H. Marshall Fund Planning and Advisory Team; the Chamber of Commerce; Oakfield Betterment Committee; and the recently formed Richmond Memorial Library Foundation.

As the saying goes, "If want something done, ask a busy person." She stays active and gets things done.

And those who know her well, like Elba resident Lucine Kauffman, who nominated her, not only vouch for that, they also appreciate her honesty, wit, generosity, intellectual curiosity and just plain hard work.

Peggy and her husband, Gordon, live in Oakfield and have three grown sons, Craig, a veterinarian, and Jonathan and Matthew, who work in the family business -- Lamb Farms. It operates in three locations, mostly as a dairy farm, but they grow some vegetables, too. They have more than 100 employees.

She knew nothing about farming when she married in 1968, two years after earning a degree in Christian education at Keuka College. She grew up in Hamburg and her dad worked for a state utility company -- 8 to 5 -- and was "always home on weekends."

Not so with farming. The long hours were "a shock" she says, requiring a great adjustment. She, obviously, managed to balance things -- her duties on the farm, including being the bookkeeper, raising the boys, and giving her time and talent to worthy causes.

She keeps on giving.

As a court advocate for children with CASA, for example, she's had to learn the intricacies of the legal system and the mix of resources that are available or required to handle the caseload and assist families.

"It was a real eye-opener," Peggy said. "It's not for the weak of heart. I don't think the average person in Genesee County realizes all what happens. There's a whole group of people with needs -- that we had no idea there were so many of them or how extensive their needs were."

But helping them has been rewarding, she said.

"I'm working very one-on-one with the children and learning all about their backgrounds so I can give my best advice to the judge on what I think should happen to these children."

With age has come the realization that she can't volunteer to the degree that she once did.

"I feel I'm glad to help when I can," she said. "I'm glad to be doing what I'm doing now."

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