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August 13, 2014 - 8:46am
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, business, The Vac Shop.

Bob Youll's business sucks -- in a good way.

A lifelong Batavia resident, Youll has been running "The Vac Shop," at 329 Ellicott St. in the city, since 1991. He attributes the longevity of his business to perseverance, word of mouth and steady business.

"Off the top of my head, I'd say I get between 30 and 50 regular customers," Youll said. "Though it does fluctuate from year to year due to people moving, changing jobs, etc."

Youll will take care of anything from major motor repairs to changing belts and cleaning out clogging.

From time to time, he will repair other household items -- such as blenders, lamps and heaters -- as well. He also sells used and rebuilt vacuums, as well as the occasional new vacuum.

Formerly employed by a Batavia catalog store (now closed), Youll got his vacuum repair training from The Vac Shop's former owner, Joe DeFazio.

"Joe taught me about basic vacuums," he said. "At that time, most of it was self-taught. You would get a machine, take it apart, and see where everything was. Now the Internet also helps in locating parts and the like."

Basically, Youll approaches his work not only with a view to the customer's immediate need, but also with the average consumer's perspective on vacuuming in mind.

"Vacuuming is usually an afterthought," he said. "People want to get it done, and quickly. (When working on repairs) I try to set the machine up for that use."

He also knows the extra details that are better to take care of right away -- such as putting a new belt on the machine -- so that the equipment will not need to be sent back at a later date.

Store hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, call 343-7754.

Photos by Howard Owens.

August 10, 2014 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Jam at the Ridge, Frost Ridge.

To say Blackberry Smoke rocked the house Saturday night at Frost Ridge might be misconstrued.

There are no reports of windows rattling in the homes of Frost Ridge neighbors.

In fact, a deputy assigned to monitor the decibel levels at Conlon Road and Oatka Trail Road said the noise level never went much above 60 decibels, well below the threshold of 100 set by Judge Robert C. Noonan when he issued an order a few days ago allowing the concert to take place.

The fact is, at the corner of Conlon and Oatka Trail, through most of Blackberry Smoke's set, the crickets were louder than the music.

Blackberry Smoke is billed as an up-and-coming, soon-to-be-big-stars Southern rock/outlaw country band, and if fame is measured by only a few hundred die-hard, rambunctious fans, Blackberry Smoke has already hit the big time.

They did rock the house and the fans raised the roof.

The band is Charlie Starr (lead vocals, guitar), Richard Turner (bass, vocals), Brit Turner (drums), Paul Jackson (guitar, vocals), and Brandon Still (keyboards).

A five-piece combo can make a lot of noise, and inside the Frost Ridge amphitheater at stage level, the band seemed no less loud than their show in the same venue a year ago.

A sound engineer familiar with the venue predicted before the show that the hill between Frost Ridge and the homes of Cleere and Collins (the two plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits against Frost Ridge) would absorb all of the treble and mid-range of the music, while bass tones would bend some and carry over the hill.

The crickets, he said, would be louder.

That certainly seemed to be the case.

In their lawsuit against Frost Ridge, the Cleeres have claimed that they can't sit outside their home on concert nights, the noise is so loud, and that when they try to go inside and close the windows, the walls shake because of the noise.

The Town of Le Roy is pursuing a parallel suit against Frost Ridge.

Both suits allege that live music at Frost Ridge violates local zoning laws, even though the campgrounds owners, Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell, received a previous ruling from the Zoning Board of Appeals that the use is an allowable, prior nonconforming use (grandfathered in).

While the Town of Le Roy is not suing the ZBA, the town board does not agree with that ruling, or does not find it valid. The Cleeres and Collins suit names the ZBA as a co-defendant. 

Delays in the process have prevented a hearing on whether the ZBA decision was filed with the town clerk prior to April 6. That hearing will be held Aug. 21. If it's determined that ZBA decision was filed prior to April 6, it could invalidate the the lawsuits against Frost Ridge on statute of limitations grounds.

Because of the delay of the hearing and the financial toll to Frost Ridge with five previous shows cancelled by court order, Noonan lifted the restraining order for the Blackberry Smoke concert, but barred alcohol sales.

The next scheduled show is at The Ridge NY is Phil Vassar and the Morgan Twins, Aug. 23.

The slide show below also includes photos of Chris Weaver Band, one of Saturday's opening acts.

AUDIO: A recording taken during the concert last night at the corner of Conlon and Oatka Trail (mp3).

A seat front-and-center for the Blackberry Smoke set was auctioned off and $375 was raised for the Le Roy Fire Department. 

The decibel reader employed by a deputy to monitor noise levels at Conlon and Oatka Trail roads.

August 9, 2014 - 1:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, business, sports.

Press release:

Sports Plus Physical Therapy, a new member of Batavia's Business Improvement District, is proud to announce its Grand Opening Celebration of its new building at 5 Alva Place, Batavia.

Formerly the Genesee County ARC administrative office building, we're situated at the corner of Alva Place and State Street, right in between the entrance to the movie theatre and Dr. Canzoneri's podiatry office.

The public is invited to attend our open house and ribbon cutting on Thursday Aug. 28, 3-7 p.m. Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Senator Michael Ranzenhofer will be on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony around 4 p.m.

Refreshments will be served. The building has undergone extensive renovation, and we're excited for you all to meet our staff!

Sports Plus Physical Therapy is open daily, including Monday and Wednesday evenings, under the direction of Keith Bailey, PT. We pride ourselves in friendly and expert care of orthopedic and neurologic conditions.

Common conditions we encounter in our office include lower back and neck pain, shoulder and rotator cuff problems, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist/hand tendinitis, sciatica, hip and knee pain, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, post-operative rehabilitation, and much more.

We accept most insurance plans, and treatment can often be started without a physician's prescription. Please contact our office at (585) 343-9496 with any questions or to schedule an appointment.

August 8, 2014 - 3:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider three projects at its August 12, 2014, board meeting.

Muller Quaker Dairy is planning to improve its data infrastructure with a new enterprise backup and test environment solution, a project which would retain 143 jobs. The benefitted amount of project the GCEDC board can assist with is $185,000 and the total project incentive request is $14,800 for sales tax exemptions only. The board will consider a final resolution for the project.

Batavia Shoes LLC is planning to purchase the assets, manufacturing facility and client lists of PW Minor, a manufacturer and distributor of leather footwear and orthopedic products located in the City of Batavia. The board will accept the application for the project and consider an initial resolution.

Calamar is planning to build a 117,000-square-foot, three-story building that will house 110 senior apartment units, a lobby and common rooms in the Town of Batavia. The company is investing $11 million which will create up to 200 temporary construction jobs. The board will consider an initial resolution that will set a public hearing for the project.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at noon and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate Med & Tech Park -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, NY, on the 2nd floor, across from Genesee Community College.

August 8, 2014 - 2:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, p.w. minor.

We all expected P.W. Minor, one of Genesee County's oldest businesses, to close July 31.

That didn't happen.

Now it looks like the nearly 150-year-old shoemaker will be around for awhile longer yet.

Pete Zeliff and Andrew Young have purchased the assets of P.W. Minor and Sons and hope to soon to acquire rights to the P.W. Minor name so the company can continue selling shoes under that brand.

The new company will operate as Batavia Shoes, LLC, in the interim. 

There will be an official announcement of the deal Thursday, according to an invitation sent to local officials this morning by Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Zeliff is a local businessman known for his love of aviation. He is senior executive vice president and COO of EIF Renewable Energy Holdings, LLC, in Oakfield. He also branched into residential home development this year, building a housing community off Route 5 and Seven Springs Road in Batavia (the first house is nearly finished). Zeliff is a recent appointee to the GCEDC board.

Young is a local real estate broker and investor and was elected last year to the Genesee County Legislature. He is a member of the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp., a nonprofit agency of GCEDC.

The details of the purchase have not been released yet, but Zeliff and Young confirmed the purchase is taking place. They said they couldn't say more at this time.

"We're going to run this company going forward and we're going to grow it and expand it," Zeliff said. "Our goal is to bring manufacturing back to Batavia and expand it."

August 8, 2014 - 2:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, WNY Aviation Adventure Camp, BEA.

A week of intense study and fun came to an end today for students of the Aviation Adventure Camp.

The annual week-long camp exposes students going into ninth through 11th grade to potential career options in aviation and is held at the Genesee County Airport.

It's sponsored by the Business Education Alliance of Genesee County.

Today's class ended with a short graduation ceremony after participants competed in a final model helicopter flying contest.

This is the fourth year for the camp.

August 8, 2014 - 1:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Batavia Towne Center, Marshalls.

Press release:

Marshalls, one of the nation’s largest off-price retailers with more than 900 stores currently operating in 43 states and Puerto Rico, will open a new store in Batavia on August 21, 2014. Marshalls shoppers in Batavia will find top-quality, on-trend fashions and the most sought-after designer brand names at unbelievable prices in ladies fashion, shoes, accessories, men’s apparel, home, juniors, kids apparel and accessories, luggage, beauty and more!

“The new Batavia store will be stocked with a new, fresh assortment of the designer and brand-name merchandise that shoppers love, every single week,” said Richard Sherr, president of Marshalls. “Our buyers are fashion experts with a keen sense of style and are passionate about finding the most coveted merchandise for our shoppers for so much less!”

GRAND OPENING

Join us on August 21st from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. to be part of the grand opening excitement and find the amazing deals for the whole family. Enjoy the festivities including giveaways, gift card prizes, and more. 

STORE FACTS & FEATURES

·      Location: Towne Center at Batavia

·      24,479 square feet

·      Regular store hours:

o   9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday

o   11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays

·      Designer fashion at unbelievable prices

·      THE CUBE: A hip, in-store boutique of contemporary fashions

·      Shoe Mega Shop: Featuring designer and brand-name shoes for the whole family

·      Bright and fresh in-store experience every time you shop

·      Single queue checkout for faster shopping

With over 10,000 new items arriving to the Batavia store every week, it’s like entering a whole new store with every visit. Unlike department store buyers who shop seasonally, our buyers are in the market weekly looking for merchandise opportunities. They work with more than 16,000 brands and designers annually in over 60 countries to offer a mix of top-quality, fashionable pieces from the most sought-after designer brands as well as unexpected treasures from around the world.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

In addition to providing a new shopping option for local residents, the new store will add approximately 60 full- and part-time jobs to the area.

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

In celebration of its new Batavia location, Marshalls will contribute to the local community by presenting a $5,000 donation to Catholic Charities at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 21st 7:30 a.m. Marshalls also has national and local partnerships with charitable organizations around the country including JDRF and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

August 7, 2014 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Koolatron Corp..

Press release:

Koolatron Corporation is increasing its footprint in Batavia with a major expansion this fall. The consumer goods manufacturer is nearly doubling its warehouse and shipping capacity in Genesee County with a planned expansion of its facilities from 25,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet.

Koolatron is a leading manufacturer and distributor of 12 volt coolers and accessories, wine cellars, Pants Saver brand car mats, Michelin auto care products, Coca-Cola personal fridges, Biteshield mosquito and pest repellant lines, along with rain barrels and garden décor products.

The decision to expand in Batavia, NY, is fueled by major growth in the company’s e-commerce business. In addition to its growing list of traditional retail customers, major e-retailers such as Amazon, Overstock, Costco, Home Depot, Walmart, and Sam's Club all carry Koolatron products, along with dozens of other online sites.

“Our business keeps growing and we can barely keep up with the warehouse space we have right now,” says Koolatron President Arun Kulkarni. He adds that keeping pace with the boom in online shopping is priority for the company.

“We have seen a 30 percent compounded growth in our e-commerce business in the past five years and for us Batavia, New York is the perfect gateway in which to build up our U.S. shipping hub,” Kulkarni said.

The expansion of Koolatron’s property on 4330 Commerce Drive is under way with construction set to be completed by December 2014. Koolatron will also be looking to boost staffing as it fully rolls out its warehouse expansion plan by the end of this year. Hundreds of parcels of Koolatron products are shipped daily from the warehouse to homes across the United States. The expansion will help ensure rapid delivery and prompt service for Koolatron’s growing U.S. customer base.

Previously: GCEDC board approves Koolatron and Premiere Credit projects

August 5, 2014 - 4:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Daphne's Restaurant & Lounge.

Daphne's Restaurant & Lounge, at 341 S. Swan St., Batavia, has closed.

The restaurant opened in September 2010 at the former location of St. Nick's Social Club.

August 1, 2014 - 4:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Reed Eye Associates.

Reed Eye Associates held an open house and their official ribbon cutting today at their new location in Batavia on Washington Avenue (the former school administration building).

From left, Dr. Ronald Reed, Chamber President Tom Turnbull, Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Dr. Alan Bloom.

Previously: New home of Reed Eye built with historic preservation and customer care in mind

August 1, 2014 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Frost Ridge.

Frost Ridge Campground is on the brink of insolvency, the attorney for Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell told Judge Robert C. Noonan during a court hearing today.

He's seeking at least temporary relief from the ban on live shows at the campground in Le Roy.

Today's hearing was held so attorney Mindy Zoghlin, representing the people suing Frost Ridge over live music shows at the campground, could make a motion to re-argue one of the issues under consideration by Noonan.

Attorney David Roach, representing Frost Ridge, would have liked today's appearance to have been a hearing on his motion to dismiss the lawsuits against his clients.

Roach was hoping there would be testimony today on when the Zoning Board of Appeals filed minutes from its September 2013 meeting where it determined Frost Ridge was in compliance with Town of Le Roy zoning law.

Roach tried to make the case during the hearing that Noonan needs to revisit sooner rather than later his temporary order barring live music and alcohol service at Frost Ridge.

Noonan wanted the attorneys to focus on coming up with a time for a hearing on the ZBA filing.

After attorneys met privately and then met with Noonan in his chambers, it was determined that the hearing will be at 9 a.m., Aug. 21.

In the meantime, Noonan agreed to let Roach draft an order that would temporarily lift the temporary restraining order and allow Frost Ridge to hold a live music concert Aug. 9.

That's the date Blackberry Smoke, one of the more popular acts to perform at Frost Ridge each year, is scheduled to return.

In open court, Zoghlin tried to suggest to Noonan that allowing any shows prior to resolution of the ZBA filing status isn't necessary because Noonan has already ordered that if Frost Ridge prevails in the lawsuit, they are entitled to nearly a quarter of a million dollars in restitution.

Of course, even a quarter of a million dollars somewhere down the road won't necessarily help a shuttered business reopen, which is why Roach is pushing for some mechanism to allow the bands to play on.

"The reality they are not facing is where the preliminary injunction effectuates the relief the town is seeking and (in previous cases) courts are loathe to allow preliminary injunctions to provide ultimate relief," Roach said during the hearing.

The big hold up in the case is getting either the ZBA's clerk or the town's code enforcement officer, or both, to testify as to a general time frame of when minutes from the ZBA's meeting in September 2013 were filed.

The town clerk has provided an affidavit attesting to the fact that the minutes were filed, she just couldn't remember when.

If the filing date is proven to be any time before April 8 (even if the exact date is not established), then Roach's motion to dismiss the lawsuits filed by the Town of Le Roy and the Cleere and Collins families could potentially be granted by Noonan.

Under New York law, people who wish to challenge a board's decision have 30 days to file such a challenge. The clock starts ticking when a written, public document memorializing the decision is filed with the jurisdiction's clerk.

Noonan ordered more than two weeks ago that a hearing on the ZBA minutes should be held immediately.

The hearing still hasn't taken place, in part because Noonan's court has been busy, which Noonan admitted, but Noonan also laid much of the blame on the shoulders of the attorneys for not agreeing on a time.

Roach expressed a great deal of confidence that either the town clerk, the ZBA clerk or the code enforcement officer for the Town of Le Roy, should be able to testify that the minutes were filed well before April 8, and probably in 2013.

The threat of losing that motion is apparently what prompted Zoghlin's motion today to invalidate the ZBA's determination favoring Frost Ridge all together.

Zoghlin's motion is for a "jurisdictional defect." In essence, she's arguing that because there is no formal document memorializing the ZBA's decision, and no formal process that Frost Ridge followed requesting a ZBA ruling, the ZBA had no authority to make its determination.

Roach said there's no written law and no case law that support's Zoghlin's position, also for a motion to re-argue a point from a previous hearing to be successful, the point must have been argued in the first place. Roach said that since Zoghlin (and she disagrees with Roach on this) didn't raise the "jurisdictional defect" argument the first time around, she doesn't get to re-argue it now.

"If the court did not have that jurisdictional defect argument advanced before it in response to my motion to dismiss, there's nothing for the court to have overlooked or misapprehended," Roach said. "The court of appeals has ruled that you cannot bring a new argument to a motion to re-argue."

If Noonan grants the order being drafted by Roach to allow live music at Frost Ridge between now and the hearing on the motion to dismiss the lawsuits, Roach said there will be reasonable restrictions attached. For example, there would be a limit on the decibel levels of the show.

"Frost Ridge, and I want to make this perfectly clear, Frost Ridge did not and does not presently have any intent of causing an unreasonable noise disturbance to its neighbors," Roach said.

July 31, 2014 - 3:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

The Raceway Mini-Mart at 629 E. Main St., Batavia, has closed.

A customer contacted us last week about the impending closure and said the store shelves were nearly bare as the owners wound down their operation of the location. She said the owners told her annual rent increases were making it harder to keep the business going. 

She said she was sad to see them close.

"They are the nicest store owners I have encountered," she said. "Every time I’ve gone in there I have just felt that they were so appreciative of my business, and their friendly nature is just so welcoming."

The property is owned by Kevin Brady, president of Townsend Energy in Le Roy.

Brady wasn't available for comment, but a Townsend employee said the building has been leased to another operator and will reopen, but no name or opening date is available at this time.

Photo and some reporting by Alecia Kaus / Video News Service.

July 31, 2014 - 10:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in bank of castile, business, Tompkins Financial.
Jim Fulmer John McKenna

Press release:

After 26 years as president and CEO of Tompkins Bank of Castile, James W. Fulmer is retiring from those roles at the end of this year, but will remain as chairman of the bank’s Board of Directors, said Stephen S. Romaine, president and CEO of Tompkins Financial Corporation, the bank’s parent company.

“Jim has been instrumental in Tompkins Bank of Castile’s growth and success for the last quarter century, growing the bank from five locations with assets of $85 million in two counties, to an influential financial services organization with 17 offices in five counties and $1.2 billion in assets,” Romaine said. 

In addition to remaining as chairman of Tompkins Bank of Castile’s Board of Directors, Fulmer will retain several other corporate roles, including vice chairman of the Tompkins Financial Board of Directors, chairman of the board of Tompkins Insurance Agencies, and member of the boards of Tompkins Financial Advisors, Tompkins Mahopac Bank and Tompkins VIST Bank, all affiliates of Tompkins Financial Corp. 

“My position with Tompkins Bank of Castile has been extremely fulfilling because of the team of employees who are dedicated to providing top quality financial services and serving our Western New York communities,” Fulmer said. “Any success we have accomplished is the result of their combined efforts and the expertise of so many talented coworkers.

“My continued involvement at a strategic level will allow me to assist further growth of our affiliates, but also to enjoy some of the benefits of retirement,” he added. 

Fulmer is active in a variety of professional organizations, including the board of directors of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and was recently appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Community Depository Advisory Council. He actively serves as a member of the board of directors of Erie and Niagara Insurance Association of Williamsville, Cherry Valley Insurance Agencies of Williamsville, the United Memorial Medical Center of Batavia, and is vice chairman of WXXI Public Broadcasting Council of Rochester. 

He and his wife, Marjorie, live in Le Roy. They have three grown children. 

John McKenna Named New President & CEO

The company Board of Directors has named John M. McKenna president and CEO to succeed Fulmer. McKenna has been a senior vice president at Tompkins Bank of Castile for five years, concentrating in commercial lending.

“John has the depth of knowledge of banking, our company’s culture and the Western New York community to continue the bank’s success,” Fulmer said. 

McKenna brought more than 20 years of banking experience to Tompkins Bank of Castile when he joined the organization in 2009. 

A Rochester native, McKenna earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Rochester in 1988 and his M.B.A. in finance and marketing from the William E. Simon School of Business Administration in 1992. 

He resides in Brighton with his wife, Martha, and their four children. Active in the community, he is a board member of the Bishop's Stewardship Council for the Diocese of Rochester, Medical Motor Service of Rochester and Monroe Community Hospital Foundation, and treasurer of Al Sigl Community of Agencies.

Tompkins Bank of Castile is headquartered in Batavia, where McKenna will have his office.

July 30, 2014 - 6:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Reed Eye Associations.

In the past, when Dr. Ronald Reed has expanded his practice, he's erected gleaming new buildings from the ground up.

But not in Batavia.

Reed Eye Associates has opened its sixth location and Reed selected a location with character and ambiance and a bit of history.

The brick building at 39 Washington Ave., across from Austin Park, was most recently the City Schools administration building, but when originally built in 1903 by Edward Dellinger, it was an elementary school.

Batavia's most prominent architectural firm of the time, Henry Homelius and Son, designed the building.

In remodeling the interior, Reed has kept to an art deco theme with a touch of modernism in keeping with the character of the building.

"I saw the building listed online and went to the site and looked at the building and liked it," Reed said. "I called Tony Mancuso, who had the listing, and he gave me a tour. I thought, 'this building needs a lot of work, but it has some great bones.' "

Refurbishing the building also uncovered a little history. One brickmason left behind a note found in the stairwell that said the best men laid the bricks. Another worker in 1939 put a note in a bottle, which was found in a wall, that said "if you're reading this note, it means by now we're all in hell."  

Then there was letter on YMCA letterhead and postmarked 1913, address to a young Myron Fincher. The apparently mimeographed letter speaks of a young man worthy of attention who exchanged a correspondence with Frank Crane, a Presbyterian minister and newspaper columnist. The letter references the enclosed newspaper column, but the column was not in the envelop.

Fincher was born in 1898 in Corfu and worked on the family farm. His fondness for animals brought him to Cornell University. He became an internationally prominent veterinarian. Early in his career he received the Borden Award from the American Veterinary Medical Association. By the 1960s, he was working overseas in places such as Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, Greece, Nigeria and Italy.

Reed said it was thrilling for these little bits of history to be found in his old building.

Reed's company purchased the property from the school district in 2012 for $500,000 and its 13,452-square-foot building. The renovations cost more than $1.5 million and helped put the property back on the tax roles. Reed Eye received $140,861 in tax incentives through Genesee County Economic Development Center for the project.

The expansion of the practice, which was founded in Bushnell's Basin (Pittsford) in 1978 has come, Reed said, as the practice attracted more and more patients. Each time an office would grow beyond its capacity, rather than expand that location, Reed looked at his patient list and figured out where he had a concentration of patients who were driving some distance to get to his office.

First, Reed Eye expanded to Greece, then Irondequoit, then Newark followed by Sodus.

Expansion has been driven, Reed said, by his belief that doctors should focus on their patients.

No long ago, he said he was asked to speak to a group about the secret of his success. He declined, he said, because "there is no secret."

"My word of advise is 'take good care of your patients and your patients will take care of you,' " Reed said. "If that's the focus of your practice, the patients will build your practice. If you don't, you won't have a practice."

With more and more patients from Genesee County, particularly because of a partnership with Dr. Bill Lapple in Le Roy, Batavia seemed to be the natural choice for a sixth office complex.

Reed said there were simply no suitable sites for the office, which was one reason he considered the old school administration building.

The fact that it's large, with plenty of parking (and room for more), centrally located in the city and across the street from a park, where all advantages.

"The park helps give it a nice bucolic feel," Reed said.

In the redesign, as much of the old building was preserved as possible -- the arches, the worn stairway trampled by thousands of students over the years, and the old woodwork. There's even an old desk from the library that is being restored and will be a centerpiece of the entry hallway.

"I've had an interest for some time in historic preservation," Reed said. "We have a 100 year old house in East Rochester that we've been restoring. This seemed like the right thing to do."

The focus on historic preservation shouldn't imply that the practice isn't state of the art. Reed's optometrists, opthamologists and opticians (and even a facial plastic surgeon) have all new equipment to work with.

Read also believes in supporting the communities he does business in. He hires locally as much as possible, he said. Four key employees already with the Batavia office are longtime Batavia or Le Roy residents.

"When a patient walks in the door, they should recognize the people who work there as members of their community," Reed said. "I want to support the town because if the town supports me, it has to be mutual. We want to keep the dollars local."

There will be a ribbon-cutting and open house for Reed Eye Associations at 2 p.m., Friday.

Optomistrist Kimberly Rosati with patient Tanner Richardson, who was in the clinic Wednesday learning how to put in his new contact lenses (picture below).

 
July 25, 2014 - 5:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Old World Collision.

Dick McClurg says "they don't call me the dreamer for nothing."

"The Dreamer." That's what's stenciled on his 1932 Ford hot rod roadster. His dream car.

"I wanted one all my life. I waited 50 years for that one."

McClurg has about a dozen classic cars scattered around his shop location, Old World Collision on West Main Street Road, Batavia, that many of us would consider dream cars -- a Mustang, Corvette, BelAir, Thunderbird, Charger,  '41 Mercury, Cadillac El Dorado, and old coupes buried under a a couple of dozen rusted bicycles.

Many in some state of restoration; some in permanent disrepair and destined for Ed Arnold's.

"Rust is my life," he said.

Now that McClurg is retired, he has more time to work on his own projects (he emphasized, he's not looking for new business), hence the completion of the roadster.

He's just about finished the restoration on his shop car, a 1949 Chevy panel truck. It hasn't been on the road for 31 of the 36 years he's owned it.

What was wrong with it?

"Everything," he answered. "Body off the frame, every nut and bolt. It's probably one of the most rotten pieces I've never tackled."

The old delivery wagon sat out front of his shop for awhile this morning, gleaming in the July sun.

"I've probably had plenty of opportunities to sell it, but if the day ever came where I could handle getting it on the road, then I'd have to go buy another one, so I'm glad I didn't."

My stop in McClurg's shop this morning -- a stop I've intended for a long time -- was prompted by a 1957 Caddy. 

At the accident near Wortyndyke today, I was reminded of a classic Caddy I'd seen -- and a firefighter had seen -- parked over on Pearl Street, at LaWall's Collision.

The shop owner there told me, yeah, it had been parked out front, a real traffic stopper while it was there, but after some rear end repairs, it had gone back to Old World.

McClurg said the baby blue Caddy is a project for one of his few remaining customers.

Another dream car about to become reality.

July 25, 2014 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, immigration.

Via Orleans Hub, a documentary on the difficulty WNY dairy farmers face because of current immigration policy.

Fruit and vegetable farms have access to legal foreign workers through the H2A program, but the federal government hasn’t made that possible for dairies because the work isn’t considered seasonal. Dairies haven’t had much success finding local Americans to work the night shifts.

Many dairies say they have been forced to hire Mexicans who don’t have proper documents. They are hard-working and dedicated, but they are also vulnerable to sudden removal by immigration officers. Germano interviews one dairy farmer who will soon have long-term milking employees deported.

“I am tired of the inaction in Washington,” a WNY dairy farmer tells Germano. “We’re trying to run a business. We’re the ones caught in the crosshairs between the government that makes the laws and the other agency that has to enforce the laws.” 

July 25, 2014 - 4:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Watson Guitars.

Guitarists tend to have dream guitars -- a Gibson Les Paul, a Fender Stratocaster, a Guild Starfire, a Martin D-28 ... all expensive guitars.

And these days, often machine made.

What if there was a guitar available locally that was handmade and affordable?

That's the market Dave Watson is going after with Watson Guitars.

Watson has been making custom guitars for more than 20 years and started selling his handcrafted creations in 2009.

This week, he finally was able to open a storefront where he can sell guitars he's finished or take orders for custom guitars (soon, he'll have a new Web site that will allow customers to order custom guitars).

"A lot of your handmade guitars are three, four, five thousand dollar instruments, which, you know, I've made a few that are up in that price range, but for the most part, I try to keep my basic models affordable," Watson said. "My basic models start at $399. If you can find a better guitar for $399, buy it."

Once a professional musician, Watson found that it was hard to find bass guitars really suitable to his size. Bass players tend to be tall and lanky. Watson's under six feet tall, so he wasn't entirely comfortable with an off-the-shelf model.

He decided to build his own bass.

He found he really liked working with wood.

"It's in my blood, just as much as playing," Watson said.

After suffering some hearing loss, Watson had to step off the stage and away from bands, but he couldn't stop making guitars.

He figures he's made and sold hundreds of guitars.

Each one handmade, unique.

"I always put it this way: It's the imperfections that make a guitar perfect," Watson said.

He thinks something has been lost for the discriminating guitar player with the market flooded by cookie-cutter guitars, sliced and sanded to identical specifications by computer-controlled machines.

"There isn't a personal touch," Watson said. "As far as I'm concerned, there isn't a guitar made today that will ever be as valuable as a '59 Les Paul, because someone made that guitar with their own two hands."

The typical Watson guitar has his signature look -- both the headstock and bottom of the guitar are cut out with a kind of W shape.

Watson's target market is the local musician -- the player with an ear tuned enough to recognize a quality sound, fingers sensitive enough to pick up the response of quality material and an eye for beauty, but who can't afford to lay down thousands on a guitar.

"There's a big difference between the sound of a machine-made and a handmade guitar," Watson said.

Watson's shop is at 57 Mill St., Le Roy, and he had to get a zoning code variance to open the front up as a retail shop, but with that done and the space spiffed up, he's ready to meet with players who either want to select something hanging from his walls or sit down and design the guitar of their dreams.

"As long as it's not a copy of something, we try to build their design the way they've always wanted it," Watson said.

Customization can include airbrush designs by a local artist and fiber-lighted top dots on the fretboard.

July 23, 2014 - 2:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, restaurants, business, Pasquale's.

The New York Times writer Eliane Sciolino says, "the perfect bistro is a place where the dishes are traditional, the ingredients seasonal, the service attentive, the price acceptable and my relationship with the chef close enough that I can visit the kitchen when the meal is over."

Welcome to Pasquale's.

Mama Fasano promised us an intimate eatery filled with the treasures of family and the recipes of generations served in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

She's kept her promise.

The restaurant, at 341 Ellicott St., opened two months ago -- lunchtime only -- and is packed every afternoon.

It's the perfect kind of small lunch place for Batavia -- Italian classics such as ravioli, chicken cacciatore, tripe soup, pasta fazool, prepared and served by a longtime, local family, seated among your friends and neighbors (if you know anybody in Batavia at all, you'll run into people you know at Pasquale's).

The menu features a regular rotation of daily specials, plus a select few daily standards (for example, pasta and meatballs, of course, or beans and greens). Everything is fresh and homemade and as delicious as it looks. For your sweet tooth, try the cheesecake, which is thin and scrumptious, and comes with a dollop of real whipped cream on the side.

Batavia is blessed with a bounty of excellent, locally owned restaurants. Pasquale's is another great addition.

July 23, 2014 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, UMMC.

Press release:

Definitive agreements have been finalized by Rochester Regional Health System (RRHS) for previously announced alliances with two hospitals in the greater Rochester and Finger Lakes region. United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) in Batavia, Genesee County, and Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic (CSHC) in Ontario County are both expected to join RRHS by the end of 2014.

The formal binding agreement with each hospital, which lays out the terms and conditions for the hospitals becoming a part of Rochester Regional Health System, was developed by the leadership of Rochester General Health System (RGHS) prior to joining with Unity Health System to form RRHS and the leadership of each hospital. The agreements were unanimously approved by the boards of RGHS, CHSC and UMMC late last month, and then assigned and accepted by the newly formed Rochester Regional Health System at its inaugural board meeting in July.

RRHS was officially formed on July 1 as a union of Rochester General and Unity health systems, with a mission to provide a 14-county region with seamless, highly coordinated care. By joining Rochester Regional Health System, the two hospitals will ensure that the patients in their communities will have the same high quality care they are accustomed to as well as improved access to an integrated network of nationally recognized specialty services when required. 

“As health care reform continues to cause the most sweeping changes to the hospital industry in more than a century, rural hospitals in particular are struggling throughout the U.S.,” said Mark Clement, co-CEO of Rochester Regional Health System, “Through these alliances, the forward-thinking leaders of United Memorial and Clifton Springs will enable the residents of Genesee and Ontario counties to continue to have access to and receive world-class care, right at home in their communities.”

Warren Hern, former CEO of Unity Health System and now co-CEO of the new system agreed, noting that this growing regional footprint was among the many factors that caused the Unity Board to decide nearly 18 months ago to join forces with Rochester General.

For a number of years Rochester General Health System had maintained clinical collaborations in key service lines with United Memorial and CSHC as well as other area hospitals, to help those providers better meet their communities’ needs.

“This is the logical progression of a longstanding relationship between United Memorial and Rochester General, which has enhanced our hospital services and benefited our community,” said Mark Schoell, CEO of United Memorial Medical Center. “With this permanent, comprehensive alliance, United Memorial will become the western hub of an emerging leader in integrated health services.”

“We’re excited to finalize our plans to officially join Rochester Regional Health System,” said Lewis Zulick, MD, acting CEO of Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic. “In order for us to sustain the highest standards of community health, our patients must have access to the complete continuum of high-quality care. Working closely with Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, we look forward to serving the Finger Lakes region as the leading provider of comprehensive care.”

“We’re very pleased to be moving forward with formal plans to join forces with these respected organizations,” said Robert Dobies, board chair of Rochester Regional Health System, “and extend our footprint of extraordinary quality, patient satisfaction and value to the west and east.”

July 21, 2014 - 6:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, McDonald's, Eastown Plaza.

Work has finally begun on the new McDonald's location in Eastown Plaza, Batavia.

First order of business, removing the paving on the parking lot of the site pad.

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