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February 6, 2013 - 4:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy.

Casino's has been a Le Roy staple since 1940.

That is the year the O'Geen brothers opened the restaurant.

Current owner, Mark Schildwester, who acquired the business six years ago, said the establishment will close its doors for the last time Feb. 20.

Schildwester said he's been trying to sell the restaurant, and one deal did fall through, but it's come time for him to let it go.

He'll keep the fixtures and equipment in place for a couple of months in case a buyer comes along, but after that he plans to hold an auction and then convert the space -- on Mill Street -- into office or retail space.




February 6, 2013 - 2:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, BID.

About 50 downtown business owners and managers gathered this morning in the community center of City Church to learn more about the activities of the Business Improvement District.

Part of the goal of the program was to encourage more people to volunteer on BID committees.

Committees are:

  • Business Development Committee, chaired by Anthony Condello (pictured above)
  • Design Committee, chaired by Victor Gautieri, (second picture)
  • Promotion Committee, chaired by Mary Valle
  • Organization/Executive Group, chaired by Paul Marchese (bottom photo)
  • Visioning Commitee, chaired by James Isaac

Marchese unveiled a new mission statement and vision statement for the BID.

Mission Statement:

The Batavia Business Improvement District promotes and enhances the unique experience of shopping, working, and living in downtown Batavia.

Community begins downtown!

Vision Statement:

More Feet Downtown!

February 6, 2013 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

This photo is actually from yesterday afternoon: City workers Kevin Hamilton and Shawn McAlister were working downtown, replacing the banners on light poles.

February 5, 2013 - 10:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Pauly's Pizza.

Pauly's Pizza will reopen in a couple of weeks, according to co-owner Paul Berardini.

The restaurant closed today for two reasons, Berardini said. First, it's time for some remodeling -- and the dead of winter is a good time to do it -- and the doctor ordered some rest for Berardini to take care of a minor medical issue.

In a couple of weeks, customers can expect a "healthy owner," a fresh cleaning, a new fryer hood and some equipment changes, Berardini said.

February 5, 2013 - 8:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Alpina Products.

Press Release

BATAVIA, N.Y. – Artisan dairy manufacturer Alpina Foods’ newest yogurt plant in Upstate, N.Y., has earned OU Kosher certification and has officially begun kosher manufacturing of Alpina Revive Greek yogurts and Alpina Bon Yurt traditional-style yogurts at the facility.

The OU rigorously monitors of all aspects of production. It supervises the process by which the food is prepared, examines the ingredients used to make the food, and regularly inspects the processing facilities to make sure that its standards are met.

“Our goal at Alpina is to produce and share healthy, wholesome foods with the world,” said Juan Pablo Fernandez, Alpina Foods General Manager. “Having kosher certified products enables us to continue in that goal and share our delicious, good-for-you products with even more people throughout the U.S.”

Alpina Revive is an authentically strained, all-natural and non-fat Greek yogurt that packs an impressive 14 grams of protein in every cup. It contains simple, natural ingredients such as milk and active yogurt cultures, is low in sugar, and contains no artificial ingredients, sweeteners or flavors. Each variety of Alpina Revive Greek yogurt is paired with a one-of-a-kind blend of gluten-free artisan granolas, crafted by a health & wellness chef to give consumers essential nutritional value for on-the-go lifestyles.  The four unique granola blends are manufactured by Udi’s, the leading gluten-free baked goods company.  

Alpina Bon Yurt is a creamy, low-fat vanilla yogurt that’s packed with calcium and eight grams of protein. Each variety of Alpina Bon Yurt is topped with timeless cereal favorites such as; frosted flakes, cocoa rice, fruit rings and cookie bits.

Alpina Revive Greek yogurts and are now available in a wide variety of retailers including Delhaize Group stores Hannaford and Sweetbay; Tops Friendly Markets; Gristedes; Morton Williams; Duane Reade; and other national and regional food retailers.

Consumers may also find Alpina Bon Yurt yogurts at the following retailers; Food lion, Hannaford, and Sweetbay.  For a complete list of retailers for all Alpina products, please visit please visit

February 3, 2013 - 4:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

Press release:

Batavia-based Grease Lightning, founded and operated by local residents Ben and Jackie Thompson in 2009 have just launched their most ambitious expansion to date as 11 new locations opened January 15th -- seven in suburban St. Louis, three in Indiana and one in Illinois.

This brings their total number of fast lube and repair shops to 40 in five states. Grease Lightning’s Batavia-based shops are Grease Lightning at 4003 W. Main St. and Castrol Premium Lube Express at 50 Liberty St.

Grease Lightning’s shops have owner/operators at the local level and the company is interested in finding prospective owners to help grow what has been for the last three years the fastest-growing independent chain of fast lube locations in the U.S.A. The company also has car and truck rental, towing and detail operations.

Interested parties who would like to own a location should contact Ben Thompson by calling 716-649-9374. You can find the company on the Web at

February 2, 2013 - 3:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, business.

Press release:

"Sew, what's happening" in the world of fashion?" Genesee Community College Fashion Design, Business and Computer Information Systems Professor Donna Ehrhart is bringing leading voices together to share insights with students and the community at a Fashion Tea on Friday, Feb. 8.

It takes place from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Room T119 at the Batavia campus. Tea and light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public, but advance reservations are required by Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Ehrhart has lined up a panel of diverse experts from around Western New York to talk about fashion trends and careers. The following guest speakers bring a wealth of expertise from a dynamic array different backgrounds and professions:

•    Jill Bates, of Jill Bates Fashion, a formalwear expert and "fashion physician," Rochester

•    Donald M. Brown, vice president of Charles Men's Shop, Batavia

•    Candace Cooper, a GCC student who has started her own clothing line "Can'de Couture"

•    Raul Siro Ferreira, owner of Each 1 Stitch 1 Fabric Store and Design Studio, Rochester

•    Kathy Healey, owner of Healey Wear, a sworn "fabri-holic" and designer of garments and window treatments, Greece

•    Kristine Iannazzi, CEO of Embrasse-Moi, a lingerie designer, Pittsford

•    Karen Schimpf, president of Sew On-Sew Forth, Depew

The event is specifically developed to give all the attendees, from the guest panelists, to students, and community members the chance to network, mingle and share ideas and information about fashion news, trends and opportunities.

Learning about GCC's new Fashion Design concentration and the upcoming annual GCC Fashion Show, entitled "Fashion Forward" is also part of the agenda.

"I want people to realize what a vibrant fashion community there is in Western New York," Ehrhart said. "This event will be an opportunity for students and the community-at-large to learn, share, and connect with the many outstanding resources we have in our region."

Those interested in attending the tea are asked to RSVP to Professor Donna Ehrhart by Tuesday, Feb. 5 at [email protected] or 330-9877.

February 2, 2013 - 1:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, business, agriculture.

Press release:

It’s time to make plans to attend the Step It Up in 2013 Winter Grazing Conference on Feb 27. Keynote Speaker Cliff Hawbaker will make two presentations “Green is Grass, a Journey of Our Farms and Grazing Experience Focusing on Grass” and “Business Planning for Graziers, Focusing on Where You Are and Where You Want to Go."

The conference will be held a BW’s Restaurant, 11070 Perry Road, Pavilion, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hawbaker and his wife, Maggie, own and operate Hamilton Heights Dairy Farm and Emerald Valley Farm in South Central Pennsylvania. The certified organic dairies consist of 689 acres with an additional 140 acres rented land. There are 300 dairy cows and 50 head of replacement heifers. For several years their focus has been on intensive grazing management and other dairy-related issues including once-a-day milking.

Cliff has served on numerous farm related boards and committees. Presently he is the chairman of Pennsylvania Grazing/Forage Lands Conservation Coalition and past chairman of DPAC (Dairy Policy Action Coalition). His activities have included past president of Franklin County Farm Bureau, Franklin County Farmland Preservation and Franklin County Soil Conservation and AgChoice Farm Credit Board. He is also active in his local church, Chambersburg Mennonite, and The Gideons International.

Other topics to be addressed at the conference are:

  • Managing the Soil to Manage the Pasture
  • Planning for Drought: Alternative Water Sources
  • Economics of Grazed vs. Stored Feed, Economic Analysis for Decision Making
  • Pasture Plant Selection
  • Need Updates? Modernizing Grazing Dairies

Presenting these topics will be: Bill Verbeten, forages specialist; Nancy Glazier, small farms specialist; John Hanchar, farm business management specialist from the Cornell Cooperative Extension North West New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team; and Beth Dahl, dairy modernization specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Harvest New York Program.

Registration includes handout materials and lunch. The cost of registration is $40 for the first person and $25 for each additional person from the same farm. A discount of $10 is available to Cornell Cooperative Extension enrollees for the first registrant who registers by Feb. 20.

To register please contact Cathy Wallace at 585-343-3040, ext. 138 or e-mail [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>. A flier and registration form is available at Please register early space is limited.

February 1, 2013 - 3:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, liberty pumps, bergen.

If Charlie Cook can do one thing as chairman of the board of the Genesee County Economic Development Center it is improve the public perception of the agency.

GCEDC claims 3,581 jobs creation commitments since 2003 spread over 349 economic development projects with a total capital investment of $835. In 2012, GCEDC was able to announce at least 300 new jobs at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and WNY STAMP’s regulatory approval promises thousands of more new jobs in the coming years, according to the agency.

Local residents should take pride in hosting an such aggressive, forward-thinking, job-creating industrial development agency, Cook believes.

Turning public opinion from one of skepticism over employee compensation into one of appreciation for its accomplishments won't be a quick or easy process, Cook said.

"Nobody questions the accomplishments of the EDC and how successful we've been over the past 10 years," Cook said. "It's just been huge, but it can be a short-lived success when you shoot yourself in the foot. Certainly this incentive compensation thing was a bad decision and that's been taken away, and that's good.

"I'm determined," he added, "to turn public perception into pride for what this agency does."

Like most entrepreneurs, Cook is an optimist. He's an engineer, so he is hardwired to solve problems. He's also one of Genesee County's most successful business leaders, so he knows what success looks like.

As a Genesee County native, born and raised in Bergen, Cook is a cheerleader for our region and its prosperity.

"The ultimate goal is to keep more of our graduates, our kids, in the area."

But it's not just job creation that motivates Cook to serve as a volunteer on the GCEDC board, it's about boosting the standard of living for us all.

"It's about the well being of our entire area, whether it's job creation or just an improved quality life, that's the real reason I'm on the board. Job creation is just one of the things that leads to that."

Cook has some experience in job growth.

Liberty Pumps was founded in 1965 by his uncle, Fred Cook. Charlie Cook took charge of the company in 1975 when it had only about a dozen employees. Today, Liberty Pumps employs 135 people in its 124,000-square-foot facility in Apple Tree Acres.

Gross annual revenue for Liberty Pumps is about $55 million.

Cook is proud that his company is one where people generally enjoy their work and share in the profits, when there are profits to share.

"We have a hard time here tolerating negative attitudes or an attitude that doesn’t lend itself to performance. It’s not so much me or the managers looking for it. It’s more the peers.

"If there’s somebody who is just not with the program, it’s best for us, obviously, but it’s also best for the employee to move on and go do something else. Fortunately, doesn’t happen too often, but when it does everybody ends up better for it. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck in a job you really don't like."

After high school, Cook moved to Missouri to study at Parks College of Aeronautical Technology of St. Louis University.

He went to work for McDonald Douglas at night.

"I had no money and I didn't want to take out a loan," he said.

After graduation, Cook moved to a day shift at McDonald Douglas, but was drafted into the Army a few months later.

He was trained as a radio teletype operator and of the 96 people in his school, 93 were sent to Vietnam. Cook was transferred to South Korea.

Cook served his 21 months and then returned to McDonald Douglas, but soon realized he preferred the lifestyle of rural Western New York, wanted to be near his family and didn't fit in with the corporate culture of a large company.

His uncle hired him as an engineer.

"The reality was, we only had seven employees in the company," Cook said. "We did everything. We would build pumps in the morning, in the afternoon, if I had a chance, I would do some design work or I'd go out on the road selling. We did whatever it took to get the job done."

New employees are much more specialized and it's easy to get pigeon-holed into a particular job, but it's still part of the company's culture to expose every employee to as many aspects of the business as possible.

It's also part of its culture to communicate what's going on with the company. The most important communication just might be about profits.

Cook has taken only one business course in his life, at Genesee Community College, and one of the memorable lessons the instructor tried to impart to the class was that a business owner takes all the risks, so the owner should reap all the rewards.

It's a philosophy he has never agreed with.

"I feel like the rewards should be shared with the people who got you there. Ever since the beginning, we've had a pretty aggressive and generous bonus program, profit sharing."

Innovation is also important to Liberty's success.

The sales and marketing departments are really good, he said, at listening to customers and coming up with new ideas, but Cook also subscribes to the notion -- shared by great entrepreneurs from Henry Ford through Steve Jobs -- that often customers doesn't know what they want until you show it to them.

"That's one of the secrets of our success -- coming up with products they just can't get from our competitors."

That's why Fred Cook's business caught on from the beginning.

Liberty was originally a spin-off of a Buffalo-based pump company and made only sump pumps.

But sales of sump pumps are vulnerable to weather conditions, so Fred needed to come up with a line of pumps that could be sold any time of year.

He designed a pump that was pre-installed in a basin and contractors liked it because it was easy to install.

Since then, Liberty Pumps has continued to refine products and expand its line of pumps -- sold to distributors who sell them to contractors.

As we toured the Liberty Pumps facility earlier this week, Charlie asked me not to take a picture of a pump casing because it hasn't been released on the market yet. He doesn't want to give competitors a sneak peek.

"Our competitors have always copied us and now it happens more frequently. Our challenge is to have the next generation already under way before that happens."

That innovative spirit is what makes Liberty Pumps a fun place to work, Cook said.

"It’s really dynamic and exciting. For a boring product like a pump, it’s amazing how interesting it can get if you really focus on innovation and things that aren’t out there currently."

In recent years, the growth of Liberty Pumps has been helped by the agency Cook now helps oversee -- GCEDC.

In 2000, the company moved from a 28,000-square-foot facility on Route 19 to a brand new building in a "shovel ready" business park built in Bergen by GCEDC.  Liberty received tax abatements to help with the move.

In 2008, the company expanded its Apple Tree Acres facility to its present 124,000-square-foot building, again receiving assistance from GCEDC.

In a comment on The Batavian last week, a reader questioned Cook's position as chairman of the board and a beneficiary of GCEDC benefits.

"I would like to invite him out here and show him how that money was invested," Cook said. "Is it sort of corporate welfare? It all depends on how a company uses that benefit. We reinvested that money. Would we have had the two build-outs without the investment, sure, but the fact is, we wouldn't have had the funding to put into product development to fill things up and do another one another eight years later."

Cook's term on the board ends in 2016, but before then, he anticipates more expansion for Liberty Pumps, and in that time he expects his company will again seek assistance from GCEDC.

By law, Cook will be unable to participate in any discussion, and he certainly won't be able to vote, on any proposal for GCEDC to help Liberty Pumps.

The same assistance Liberty Pumbs has received, Cook said, has helped dozens of other businesses in Genesee County.

The assistance helps level the playing field for company's like Liberty Pumps that are based in high-tax New York and must compete against companies based overseas or in lower-tax states.

If all GCEDC did was hand out tax breaks to businesses that promise jobs to the count, it might be controversial enough, but in January 2001, the Authorities Budget Office released a scathing report on bonuses paid to GCEDC employees, especially CEO Steve Hyde.

The public outcry has been at a near consistent high pitch since then and late last year, at the same time Cook was announced as the incoming chairman, the agency said the bonus program would be discontinued starting with the 2013 performance year.

Bonuses were still paid for 2012 because, Cook said at the time, the agency was contractually obligated to pay out bonuses earned by employees based on their performance during the year.

In all, for 2012, employees received $120,000 in bonuses.

In December, the board also announced a raise for Hyde from an annual $160,000 to $195,000. Hyde won't earn a bonus in 2012, but he will receive $10,000 in deferred compensation.

The other staff members, the board announced in December, would also receive raises. Those raises range from 8 to 12 percent.

Local residents continue to take issue with the compensation of employees because they question the announced job creation numbers of the EDC, but many people also object to the annual county government share paid to the agency each year.

For 2013, taxpayers will kick in $213,000 to help fund the agency's operations.

While Cook acknowledges the bonuses paid out previously were a mistake, he said the county's should continue partial funding for GCEDC.

"Looking at this last year, sure the EDC did extremely well and they did earn some money, but our commitments for reinvestment far exceed (that revenue)," Cook said. "I think it's appropriate that the county invest incrementally. There are going to be years where we don't have that kind of success and yet you want to maintain the caliber of staff that we have. I think there would be a danger, and it would be unfortunate, if we ask for substantially less from the county."

Cook acknowledged that all of the negative attention Steve Hyde seems to get over his compensation is a concern.  It's not come to the point yet, Cook said, that he feels the need to sit down and talk about it, but he understands that anybody can find their job less enjoyable if they face constant criticism from the public.

"How long can you really enjoy your occupation with the negative scrutiny? Certainly, scrutiny is not inappropriate for what he does. That's to be expected.  We're uncomfortable for the potential that he is uncomfortable to the point of being discouraged enough to the point of leaving."

Cook considers Hyde a bit of a superstar at what he does and wants to see him stick around.

"Without actually seeing all he does and knowing about his capabilities, it's difficult for people to understand that he would be hard to replace. It's not impossible. Anybody is replaceable, but even if you did, you would have to pay at least as much as what we're paying him to get that kind of talent. It's just a fact."

Over the next year or two, Cook hopes he can help refocus the public's attention on the agency's success and have people come to understand that Hyde and the rest of the staff are paid well because they do a really good job at creating employment and improving the quality of life in Genesee County.

"Any agency that can do what his agency has done and generate this many jobs in a rural county, especially in New York State, is pretty amazing," Cook said.

January 31, 2013 - 12:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

The staff of Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas have released the name and logo of their new bar and restaurant to be built inside Batavia Downs Casino. After receiving hundreds of entries via a naming contest, run through Twitter, the name chosen by staff and Mr. Thomas is “34 Rush."

The logo of the new sports bar includes Thurman’s signature and the phrase “34 Rush” with a slightly pitched block font and the words sports bar underneath. Fans who wish to follow “34 Rush” may do so at as well as

“We give thanks to the many fans that submitted names over the course of last week," said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “The name of the bar correlates to Mr. Thomas’ position and his number. The bar name is not one of a typical sports bar. It’s unique, just like Thurman.”

Batavia Downs Casino is in the process of reaching out to the Twitter commenters that helped contribute to the naming of the bar. Those persons will enjoy a dinner with Mr. Thomas as well as prizes from the casino.  The facility’s $28 million dollar expansion begins on Feb. 4 and will conclude some time in the fall.

January 30, 2013 - 11:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC.

Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center will restrict visitor entrance points to the facility during evenings and weekends in an effort to better manage hospital security.

Beginning Feb. 4, the main entrance to the hospital will close at 7 p.m. on weekdays and be closed on weekends. The Summit Street Entrance will close at 9 p.m. each day. Visitors to United Memorial after 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, should use the Summit Street Entrance until 9 p.m. or the Emergency Room Entrance. All visitors on Saturday or Sunday should use the Emergency Room Entrance.

United Memorial recently completed renovations to allow visitor access to the main hospital from the Emergency Department. Signs will be placed in the hallways to assist locating your destination.

“For security and general safety, it is important to monitor building activity,” said Daniel Ireland, COO of United Memorial. “We want to protect the well-being of our patients and understand the importance visitors have in the healing process. Reducing access points to the facility during non-peak hours of operation, allows us to have a manageable span of control and maintains visitor hours for our patients.”

Visiting hours at United Memorial are from 9 a.m. to 9 pm; with the exception of Maternity which is from 1 to 8:30 p.m.

January 29, 2013 - 4:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, economic development, business.

The Batavia Development Corp. helped create 12 new full-time jobs in Batavia in 2012, according to a report given to the city council by Economic Development Coordinator Julie Pacatte.

The BDC invested $146,555 in local businesses to leverage another $131,787 in private investment, for a total investment in business growth of $278,342.

The effort helped fill about 20,000 square feet of retail and office space downtown.

The agency also administered the city's building improvement program, based on a state grant.

The $460,000 grant program is being combined with a projected $1.4 million in investment by property owners. So far, four of six projects have been completed, including brick work on the Masonic Temple and a new facade on the PennySaver building at the corner of Liberty and East Main streets.

Among the priorities for the BDC in 2013:

  • Carr's warehouse redevelopment
  • Advance the Batavia Opportunity Area
  • Co-host creative thinking and entreprenuerial workshops
  • Recapitalize loan funds
  • Help businesses navigate planning and zoning
  • Advance the "Vibrant Batavia" efforts

Among the specific items discussed is an effort to use the Harvester Center to incubate food-processing businesses that might some day move up to the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park or provide support for businesses in the park.

January 28, 2013 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, liberty pumps.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced today that Charlie Cook has been appointed GCEDC’s chairman of the board, while Thomas H. Felton has been appointed chairman of the board of the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC). Cook has served as president and CEO of Bergen-based Liberty Pumps since 1975, while Felton currently serves as a commercial lender for the Bank of Castile located in Batavia.

“I am honored and excited to assume the chairmanship of the GCEDC,” Cook said. “Hopefully my years of experience running and growing a business in Genesee County will help me in working with our very capable and diverse board to understand and provide what business leaders and entrepreneurs throughout the region need to be successful.

"The GCEDC will continue to foster increased economic activity through growth, expansion and retention of our existing business base, while also attracting new business development to help build a sustainable long-term economy.”

Under Cook’s leadership, Liberty Pumps has grown to become a leading domestic manufacturer of sump and wastewater pumps and systems for the professional plumbing trade in North America. Cook earned his bachelor's degree in Aeronautics from Parks College of Aeronautical Technology of St. Louis University and served in the Army.

Cook has also served in numerous community roles, including: chairman of the Genesee County Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee (2002-2006); Genesee Community College Foundation Board; vice chairman of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Board; and vice chair of the Gillam Grant Community Center Board of Directors.

He is a member of the Leadership Genesee Class of 2003, a past member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Small Business Advisory Committee, and currently serves on: the board of directors of the Genesee Patrons Cooperative Insurance Company; the Sump and Sewage Pump Manufacturers Association; and the Bergen Business and Civic Association. He was recently appointed by Governor Cuomo to the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.

Cook will take over for John “Jack” F. Andrews, who was chairman of the GCEDC since 1991.

Thomas Felton currently serves as a commercial lender for the Bank of Castile. He is responsible for servicing agricultural and commercial loans in a multi-county area. Prior to his employment at the Bank of Castile, Felton was an agricultural lender at Pavilion State Bank and the district manager of Monroe Tractor. Felton graduated from Cornell University School of Agriculture and Life Sciences with his bachelor's degree concentrating in Business Management and Marketing.

Felton has served his community in a number of different roles, including president and VP of Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension, serving as supervisor of the Town of Byron as well as councilman and planning board member. He was the treasurer of the Byron-Bergen Education Foundation, an elder with the North Bergen Presbyterian Church, and a member of the Byron Kiwanis Club, and past board member with the Gillam Grant Community Center.

Currently, Felton is a board member with UMMC Foundation, Genesee Valley Rural Preservation Council, and the Cornell Dairy Farm Business Summary. He serves as the president of the Northeast Agriculture Bankers Association Rural Affairs Committee and treasurer of the North Byron Cemetery Association.

January 28, 2013 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has announced its 2012 award recipients.

The honorees are:

  • Business of the Year: Oliver’s Candies, LLC  
  • Agricultural Business of the Year: Empire Tractor, Inc.
  • Innovative Community Contribution of the Year: Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden
  • Special Recognition of the Year: St. Joseph Catholic School
  • Geneseeans of the Year: James Neider & Lois Gerace

The 41st annual awards ceremony will be April 13 at the Clarion Hotel, Batavia. Tickets are $50 per person and a table of 10 is $450.

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

January 25, 2013 - 4:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, business, GCEDC, solar energy.

Arista Power and the Genesee County Economic Development Center will be having FREE educational workshops on solar energy and how the Solarize Genesee program works.

Solar energy, the installation process, financing, and a variety of other topics regarding solar energy will be covered.

The workshops are open to all of the community. Solarize Genesee is a new community solar program that is offering solar buyers a discount by bulk purchasing as a community. The more solar systems that are purchased, the more the cost will go down for everyone!

The education workshop schedule follows:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 5, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at GCEDC, Room 214
  • Thursday, Feb. 7, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at GCEDC, Room 214
  • Monday, Feb. 11, from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. at Batavia Town Hall
  • Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at GCEDC, Room 214
January 25, 2013 - 3:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, business.

Press release:

The BEST Center at Genesee Community College is excited to offer a new online course for Macintosh computer users: Introduction to Microsoft Word 2011 for Mac.

Participants in the course will learn how to use the world's most popular word processor on the Mac, creating documents and formatting text. They'll master tips and techniques for editing and formatting documents, adding images, sharing documents, and much more.

This course is part of The BEST Center's growing catalog of more than 300 instructor-facilitated online courses, offered through a partnership with ed2go. These high quality, noncredit courses feature well-crafted lessons from an expert instructor, as well as interaction with fellow students. The instructor facilitates every course, pacing learners, answering questions, giving feedback, and facilitating discussions.

The courses are entirely Web-based with comprehensive lessons, quizzes, and assignments and new sessions of each course run every month. They last six weeks, with two new lessons being released weekly (for a total of 12).

Participants in these online courses gain valuable knowledge at their convenience with the flexibility to study at their own pace, but with adequate structure and support to complete the course. The classroom is accessible 24/7 from any Internet connection.

For more information, call The BEST Center (Business Employee Skills Training) at GCC at 585-345-6868 or visit

January 25, 2013 - 11:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC.

UMMC and Rochester General Hospital have released a joint press release regarding talks over a closer affiliation:

United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) and Rochester General Health System (RGHS) announced today that they are finalizing details of an expanded affiliation. This more defined affiliation will broaden and strengthen health care service provided to patients in Genesee County, help UMMC address the changes and challenges of healthcare reform, and will maintain all local control of UMMC operations in Batavia.

The two healthcare institutions are no strangers to each other, having partnered in the areas of Pathology, Urology, General Surgery and GI since 2008. Like United Memorial Medical Center, Rochester General has served residents of Genesee County and its surrounding areas for more than a century.

“As a regional health care delivery system, a core element of our mission is to collaborate with smaller area healthcare providers to help them better serve their local communities,” said Mark C. Clement, president and CEO of Rochester General Health System. “We currently participate in a number of collaborative relationships with hospitals, including Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca and Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, an owned affiliate of the system.

“Changes in state and federal reimbursements along with regulations associated with national healthcare reform have shown that a partnership with a larger, regional healthcare center will be imperative to the success of continuing to provide quality care right at home,” said Mark C. Schoell, president and CEO of United Memorial Medical Center. “Rochester General is a high-quality organization with a depth of resources, well established physician organization and similar cultural ideals.”

In making its decision to affiliate with RGHS, the UMMC board cited the system’s national recognition and longstanding focus on high-quality patient care and safety, its expertise in clinical integration, its comprehensive medical specialties that will enhance existing services available in the Batavia community, and its successful track record of collaboration with smaller acute care hospitals like Newark-Wayne. The UMMC board is committed to keeping appropriate health care local and providing the best care possible.

RGHS is the only area health system to be nationally rated by SDI – a premier health care analytics firm – as a TOP 100 Integrated Health Network (2007-2012). Integrated care networks are consistently recognized for delivering higher levels of quality, service, patient safety and efficiency. These are important factors, made even more so, as the government and insurers shift reimbursement to value-based health care.

January 25, 2013 - 9:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC.

The Democrat & Chronicle has a little more on a story we reported yesterday about United Memorial Medical Center moving toward a closer relationship with Rochester General Hospital.

While we the information we were given seemed to indicate no formal agreement between the two hospitals, the D&C reports an affiliation agreement is being negotiated.

Clement called the discussions a “work in progress” and while there is no formal agreement, he said talks are likely to result in one.

At the same time, he said RGHS is working with officials at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia to expand their four-year collaboration into an affiliation agreement.

In an affiliation, the hospitals still govern themselves. This is not a merger. It would provide more specialized services to patients.

“From the patient perspective, they should be very happy with it,” said Mark Schoell, president and chief executive officer of United Memorial. “Whether they recognize it or not explicitly, implicitly they’ve seen the results of some of the collaboration. I think when they see some of the programs that we’ll be able to put together, they will find this a good thing. We’ll have access to a lot of expertise in a smaller community you don’t normally see.”

While the D&C doesn't discuss ACOs under the Affordable Care Act, the article does say the act is accelerating the move toward affiliations, quoting Schoell, “we would have continued down this path without health care reform.”

The article concludes:

Schoell said it should lead to better results. “In the past, the patients we had to transfer out of the area will be able to stay in our hospital. It provides the support we need for the rest of our medical staff.”

January 23, 2013 - 9:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Great Kutz.

Nathan Puls is 3 years old, and local haircutting salon Great Kutz is celebrating its third year in business. As a matter of coincidence, Nathan helped Great Kutz achieve another milestone this week by becoming the 1,000th customer to receive a free haircut. At Great Kutz, every seventh haircut is free. Nathan is pictured with his father, John. Maren Slane cut Nathan's hair.

Photo and information submitted by Great Kutz.

January 22, 2013 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, economy, jobs, employment.

December job numbers are out and Genesee County once again saw an increase in the number of jobs in the county year-over-year, but also an uptick in the unemployment rate.

There were 29,000 jobs in Genesee County for December, according to Labor Department figures released today, which is 400 more than December 2011, but 300 fewer than were counted in November 2012.

The unemployment rate year-over-year went from 8 percent to 8.2 percent, and jumped from November 2012 when it was 7.4 percent.

Orleans County continues to lead the GLOW region in unemployment, with a 10.9 percent jobless figure, compared to 8.0 for Livingston and 9.5 for Wyoming counties.

The U.S. unemployment rate for December was 7.6 percent, up from 7.4 percent in November 2012, but lower than the 8.3 percent of December 2011.

New York's unemployment rate grew two-tenths of a percent, year-over-year, from 8 percent to 8.2 percent and it's up from November 2011 when it was 7.9 percent.





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