Skip to main content

What can't you get in Batavia?

By Tiffany Barber

I think it would be interesting to learn what people feel they need to leave Batavia in order to get. To me this is the best way to figure out what the town/city is missing and perhaps there is someone one there that either knows somewhere we CAN get "it" in Batavia or we'll come up with some new business ventures for people.

Personally I feel like I need to leave Batavia to see a good movie.  I understand we have a 2 screen theater in town but the offerings are very limited - usually just big budget popcorn flicks or kid's movies. This means I have to drive to Buffalo or Rochester to see anything else - and I'm thinking pretty much everyone in Genesee county feels the same way.

The second thing is a good bottle of wine.  We have many liquor stores in Batavia but I have yet to find anything but the standard fare of mass produced wines. And to be clear although I enjoy nice wines this doesn't mean they have to cost a lot - anyone who has been to Marketplace or Premier knows you can get many excellent bottles of wine under $10 - so why can't we get this in Batavia.

So what do you NEED to leave town for?

Howard B. Owens

3D Wine is an advertiser, but Dave does carry a few select good wines. Same with Mr. Wine and Liquor. You can get good wines, but not necessarily the specific wine you might favor.

Mar 14, 2010, 5:43pm Permalink
Tim Howe

I could not agree more with you as far as the theater goes. I am now in my 30's and i used to hate going to either one of the batavia theaters when i was a child, as soon as my teenage years hit i absolutely refused to go anymore and have not been in either one since. I GLADLY travel to buffalo or rochester to see movies, and i know a SLEW of people who feel the same way, imagine the $$ we could bring to batavia if we didnt stand in the way of PROGRESS.

What a run down pathetic excuse for a theater we have here. Its such a grimy, little, old fashioned theater with very poor sound and fournishings. The one that used to be on main street which is now the city church and the one in the "mall" and i use that term loosely :) used to be and are still not even an option to watch a movie in. What we need in this town is PROGRESS.... That means we need a regal cinema's or cinemark tinseltown type mega theater. The current city church previous theater is obviously now gone, which is a very good thing, now we need to get rid of the other eyesore and build something MODERN.

Another thing Batavia needs is an electronics store. I believe a BEST BUY (or best buy "type" place) would flourish like crazy in Batavia.

Mar 14, 2010, 6:14pm Permalink
George Richardson

Batavia needs 5000 various factory type jobs making good stuff. You already have the infastructure and it is a pretty cool place. But, the one thing most Batavians have to leave Batavia for is, and will always be, a job. Well, maybe not always; not in the heyday when people flocked to Batavia, but that was before my time and I'm old already.

Mar 14, 2010, 6:32pm Permalink
Bea McManis

While saying no chain stores is nobel, there is the reality that many people can't afford the big price that locally owned stores have on their products. I realize that they don't have the mass purchasing power to make a profit while selling at a reasonable price, but there are too many who live on incomes that would prevent them from shopping at a small electronics store.
If we all had unlimited funds, shopping locally at small stores that charge higher prices would be wonderful. Sadly, it isn't the case.

Mar 14, 2010, 6:41pm Permalink
Bea McManis

Wine selection, in Batavia, is dismal at best. Ask for N.Y. wine and they have a few, but not as many as the California wines. When asked, we're told that certain wineries don't have salepeople in Batavia or distributors in our area.

Mar 14, 2010, 6:43pm Permalink
Tim Howe

LOL Howard, this is not walnut grove :)

Its no secret that your a guy who loves the small town charm, but think about this...

Batavia is a "halfway point" for alot of small towns, and if we had a decent CHAIN theater, and a decent CHAIN electronics store (best buy, ect ect) then just think of all the $$ we would bring in to Batavia, and all the business we would take from Buffalo and Rochester. There are more people than you would probally want to admit that will not think twice to leave Batavia (or if they live just outside Batavia, then they would not think twice to bypass Batavia) to go to buffalo or rochester to make MAJOR electronics purchases.

Mar 14, 2010, 6:44pm Permalink
George Richardson

If Batavia had a really good Chicken Fried Steak people wouldn't have to be going off to Medina or Pavilion or even Warsaw in a futile search for one. Instead they would come to Batavia and chow down with some fries and gravy. Can you tell I'm hungry?

Mar 14, 2010, 6:46pm Permalink
Tim Howe

Actually Mr. Richardson, the ONLY thing Batavia does not have to worry about improving is finding a place to eat :)

Btw, Chicken fried steak sounds really good....

Mar 14, 2010, 6:52pm Permalink
George Richardson

Bea, I think you and I agree that Batavia needs a Spec's. I never took you for a fellow Wino, but I'm glad you are, you older liberal Soul Sister Dudette. If you've got the wine I've got the cheese, and I'm more than happy to cut it. Howard, I'll say a Hail Mary to make up for this post. Good ol' Batavia.

Mar 14, 2010, 6:54pm Permalink
George Richardson

Batavia is still lacking the University of Batavia, even though I used my doctorate from the University of Batavia to secure my job as the Vice President of Inconsequential Affairs at University of Texas in Austin. Please, don't tell anybody that I know.

Mar 14, 2010, 7:08pm Permalink
Elizabeth Downie

I think we could use a hobby shop. A REAL hobby shop.

I hate having to travel to Cheektowaga/Buffalo or to Rochester for my hobby needs. Model helicopters, model airplaines, ham radio (no choice, but Ihave to buy off the internet for ham radio)... those are my needs. I also hate that if Cheektowaga/Buffalo or Rochester doesn't carry the parts or items I need, I have to buy online. I would MUCH rather support someone who is local, rather than an out-of-town/county vendor or internet vendor.

Mar 14, 2010, 7:10pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Bea, the idea that local stores are overpriced is an absolute myth.

Further, you won't get nearly the service you get at a chain that you get from the local store.

Further, you greatly harm your own economic interest by shopping at chains. For every $100 spent in a chain store, only $17 stays in the local community. For that same $100 spent in a local store (or restaurant), $47 dollars stays in the local community -- that means jobs, that means better opportunities; more money circulating locally means more is collected in taxes to pay for the things Batavia and Genesee County needs from its governments. You want to keep the Nursing Home in public hands? Shop locally, the extra revenue is directly tied to the affordability of keeping such facilities in local hands.

Even when and where the local option might be marginally more expensive, the alternative of saving a few pennies at a chain is so substantially harmful to the local community -- meaning your own pocketbook -- that it's very short sighted to go to the chain to get something you could buy from a local shop owner. The only reason to ever shop at a chain is to get something that can't otherwise be obtained from a local store.

As for opening chains in Batavia and drawing people from Rochester and Buffalo, that makes no sense. Why would a Buffalo resident bypass the Best Buy in Williamsville and drive another 20 or 30 minutes to shop in Batavia, or from Rochester to Batavia rather than Henrietta?

Nobody is going to go out of their way to shop at a chain in Batavia.

But they might go out of their way to shop at a store that was unique and they knew would provide superior product knowledge. Imagine if an entrepreneur would open something of the quality of B&H Photo or Abe's of Maine? That would bring people into the area. Another Best Buy? Not at all. Not one single person extra will come to Batavia for a Best Buy.

Chains are generic and a dime a dozen. Nobody will drive out of their way to shop at one. But they will make a special trip for an experience a chain can't match, and only locally owned businesses can do that.

And Adam Miller is a fine hobby store. And if John doesn't have something, he'll order it for you, as he's done for me in the past.

Mar 14, 2010, 7:30pm Permalink
Tiffany Barber

I'm glad to see the comments that my post generated. Tim I am also in my mid 30's and wouldn't think of going to our current movie theater because of the quality of the theater and the movies they show. Additionally, I work in Fairport and for me to drive home get my boyfriend and go to the movies is a hassle since I'd have to drive to Buffalo or back to Rochester - if there was a movie theater here I'd probably go all the time. Also having two teen-age step sons - 13 and 18 I can tell you they'd be at the theater all the time - since what else is there for teenage kids to do in this town? I'm curious if there has ever been any discussion of getting a big theater chain in Batavia.

I'd also love to see a Marshalls or TJ Maxx in Batavia as Women's fashions are severely limited in this town.

This past week I was in Columbus OH and I stayed in an area called Polaris - it was pretty much a town made up of restaurants (albeit they were mostly chain restaurants), a mall, lots of strip-mall type shopping, hotels and office buildings. It was about 1/2 hour from the city of Columbus - why with us being halfway between two pretty big cities can't we do something similar?

Mar 14, 2010, 7:40pm Permalink
John Roach

You asked what we would like. Some people like Best Buy and the other chains.

I would like a good hobby shop and an EMS (Eastern Mountain Store) for camping gear. I have to go to Amherst or Rochester now.

Still waiting for your pictures of all the closed Fire Halls and your number of Sheriffs needed for Genesee County.

Mar 14, 2010, 7:46pm Permalink
Tiffany Barber

Howard I don't think that anyone was saying someone would drive from Rochester or Buffalo to come shopping in Batavia, but people from Le Roy, Albion, Warsaw, etc. sure would and I wouldn't leave on weekends to go shopping in Buffalo/Rochester if I could stay here and get what I needed.

Mar 14, 2010, 7:49pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

John, I didn't ask that. And yeah, some people like Best Buy, and it's part of my job to educate them on why that is counter to their own best interests.

Tiffany, what would it take make something like that happen -- it would take millions in tax subsidies. What developments like that do is essentially get taxpayers to foot the bill (so there goes the illusion of lower prices, because your taxes are going up), and then the chains get to compete against the locally owned shops on an uneven playing field. The chains get the tax breaks, while the long-time locally owned businesses that have sustained the community for generations get the shaft, not only not getting the tax breaks, they get to pay higher taxes, too, to help subsidize the chains that are there with the goal of putting them out of business.

The chains are very predatory -- going into whole categories as loss leaders so that they can drive the local competition out of business, and then jacking up prices once the local shop has closed, and then recovering the losses on the backs of consumers.

And of course, big developments like that lack the character of a good, healthy downtown filled with thriving local businesses.

There's a reason I don't live in a place like Henrietta.

Mar 14, 2010, 7:57pm Permalink
Tim Howe

Well it looks like Tiffany gets it :)

I appologize Howard (Charles Ingalls) if i didnt explain clearly enough. I was trying to say that MANY batavians and surrounding small townspeople GLADLY pass up thier local shops who cannot compete with thier high prices and poor selections to go to bigger cities for one and only find a big honking chain store to get much better prices and a much better selection. If we had some of those same chains here in batavia then people would not go elsewhere to shop (and believe me MANY of us do.) So whats better? $17.00 staying in the community or $0.00 staying in the community? :)

Mar 14, 2010, 8:11pm Permalink
Tyler Hall

Batavia needs legit entertainment for the 18-25 year old range. Everyone invests into tomorrows leaders everytime they pay their extremely high school tax, but local graduates are continually leaving the area. not to mention the ones who stay, have nothing to do but get into trouble.

Mar 14, 2010, 8:12pm Permalink
Tiffany Barber

So in the meantime Howard we'll all continue to shop in Buffalo and Rochester because Batavia doesn't offer the stores we want. What exactly is drawing people to come live here - and no I'm not saying that chain stores make for wonderful neighborhoods. But Batavia is a bedroom community - most of us leave to go to work someplace else. If we could at least shop and get entertainment here maybe more people wouldn't mind living here. I see an awful lot of house up for sale for months and months with no movement - houses in Rochester fly off the market. I was in Henrietta on Saturday (and I agree not my ideal place to live) but it looked like the Christmas season - the roads, restaurants and stores were PACKED. I had lunch at Chipotle and the line was literally OUT the door. Am I saying we need a Chipotle - no - we have That Taco Place - but how much more business would they get if we had a movie theater up the street - or a decent sporting good store, or who knows what else. And by the way these stores do employ people - which means more people to spend money. I have seriously considered moving to Rochester, what keeps me here is that I love the street I live on, I like my house, I like my low mortgage - but what I don't like is coming home and then having to drive back to Rochester or Buffalo to go shopping, go to the movies, get some good wine/seafood/ethnic food etc. I'd much rather keep my dollars here - but right now I'm not finding many places to spend my dollars.

Mar 14, 2010, 8:12pm Permalink
Nancy Clark

I agree with Elizabeth - we need a DECENT HOBBY SHOP - for RC Heli and Airplane stuff AS well as RC TRAINS - If a guy needs fuel now he has to travel to Field's in Buffalo -
But I must also give credit to the Hobby Horse in Leroy; Anne The Owner Is a great lady trying her best to help the guys/gals in the hobby and she does carry some stuff and is willing to order what one needs but still A Store with a FULL Line is what is really needed.

On a side note: Do any of you realize that Genesee County Lacks a Speech Therapist and when one is needed for a homebound person = The Therapist comes from Erie County; and we Need Support Groups for Parkinson's Disease etc............

Mar 14, 2010, 8:12pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens


First, the chains have got to want to come here, and I've heard a few stories of chains being invited here and saying Batavia doesn't fit their demographics.

Second, the chains do get some what of a tax subsidy if they open in the town, because of the zero tax rate of the town, but some would want more than that. But either way, it's taxpayers subsidizing the businesses that do more harm than good to local economies.

Third, it's an absolute myth, again, that you have to leave Batavia to get price or selection. Go into Adam Miller for all your hobby needs. You get competitive prices and if it isn't in stock, John will order it. But there's also an element of "if you want big city stuff move to a big city." I want Batavia to thrive and prosper, but I want it to remain a small city. That means I take the city as it is. When I needed a new iPhone, I had to drive to the Best Buy in Williamsville. I wish I could have bought it here locally, but that wasn't an option. The drive to make the purchase was the price I pay for choosing to live in a small city. That doesn't bother me in the least. For 99 percent of my needs, Batavia has everything I need.

And sort of to sum it all up -- I'm not arguing against having a big electronics store in town, or this or that kind of store that might fill or that need -- I'm pointing out that chains are very, very bad for small towns, and that the last thing we want to do is provide tax subsidies to these kinds of businesses.

What we need is not a Best Buy or another Wal-Mart in Le Roy. What we need are men and women of courage and vision to start the kinds of stores that local shoppers want -- locally owned and locally supported.

And as consumers, we need to make sure that we are only going to chains or out of the area as a last resort, not as a primary shopping mode. It's about being loyal to our community and doing all we can to build a strong, vibrant and successful community -- because in the long run, it's in our own best interest to do so.

Mar 14, 2010, 8:28pm Permalink
John Roach

Where talking about what you can not get here now, so the chains we thinking of are not going to take business away.

For Hobby Shops, I don't think there are chain stores.

A good theater complex will probably be part of a chain.

Mar 14, 2010, 8:31pm Permalink
Jennifer Keys

I have forgotten by this point who said we don't need places to eat. It made me laugh because my BIGGEST NEEDS are an Indian and a Mediterranean Restuarant, followed by WEGMANS, clothes (for me there's places to go for my kids), shoes (a variety of stylish shoes and Birks), a good electronics store (sorry, Howard, but I've always had great service in Best Buy, but love locally owned, so if we had a decent electronics store that'd be great), someplace to buy everyday green products (yes, there are some at the big boxes and Tops, but it's not an exhaustive list).

I say Wegman's because they have a wide variety of everything and are very customer oriented. I am an organic, fair trade, vegetarian. The Tops in Batavia is okay, but I still find myself going needing to go to Wegman's to get stuff that I consider every day items. In addition, they have a wide variety of innovative foods already prepared. Finally, never once has a Wegman's employee looked at me like I had 5 heads when I asked them to carry "fill in the blank", while generally at Tops they do look at me that way. Oh, and, did I mention my son has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. There's a whole section in the Nature's Market Place at Wegman's of stuff that I don't have to read the label on. :)

I also agree with the Movie theater. The only time I went there I was very glad my in-laws were with me as I, of course, didn't have cash and didn't know I needed it.

Finally, yes, a good Hobby store would be nice too.

Okay, I'm ready to hear your comments.
Thanks for this discussion, Tiffany.

Mar 14, 2010, 8:37pm Permalink
Jennifer Keys

"What we need is not a Best Buy or another Wal-Mart in Le Roy. What we need are men and women of courage and vision to start the kinds of stores that local shoppers want -- locally owned and locally supported."
-Excellent point, Howard.

I did also forget to mention that of the limited items that Tops carries that I purchase, they cost significantly more there than at Wegman's.

Mar 14, 2010, 8:42pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

John, but it would be better to find a way to encourage a local entrepreneur (or somebody willing to move here) to provide the business and services consumers want.

If somebody sees a need for a particular type of business, I'd rather see them get the wheels turning on how they might get that own business going themselves rather than seeking a chain.

And besides, saying "wouldn't it be great if this or that chain" came in is really kind of magical thinking. Chances are, that chain has already taken a look at Batavia and decided to pass it by. The more realistic approach is to think about how there can be a small business owner solution. An entrepreneur will be more willing to take risks on demographics that a chain might find less than ideal, and because it will be that operator's only business, he or she will innovate and stick it out (if he or she is any good as a business person) in a way that a chain won't.

Chains don't make for healthy communities. Small businesses do.

Finally, when people start talking about hobby stores and sporting goods stores, they are not talking about businesses Batavia doesn't have. They are talking about bringing in chains to compete directly with businesses we already have.

There are franchise hobby businesses, I believe, but I don't know of a large national retailer. Franchises are a different matter -- not all of the advantages economically to the community of locally owned, and they sometimes get the tax breaks that lead to unfair competition (but not always), but franchising can also help people get into business for themselves who might otherwise find the barrier too high (though some franchises are actually way more expensive (McDonald's, for example) than what it would take to open your own similar business.

Mar 14, 2010, 8:43pm Permalink
Tim Howe

Also Howard, there are a couple more arguments that can be made too...

Internet sales....With the obvious exception of food, i probally do 75% of my shopping (or more) on the internet. Why? Again...better prices, and not just better prices, but MUCH better prices and i think it kind of goes without saying that the selection is pretty much limitless. Also, as long as you avoid New York based internet shopping then you dont have to pay tax either, that equals more savings. Its kind of funny because as much as i defended big chain store shopping, the simple fact of the matter is i only use those big chain stores for the remaining 25% of my non food shopping.

Also Howard, believe it or not, i am actually on your side as far as "mama and papa" is concerned, i REALLY am. However, those mama and papa shops have a couple of big handicaps....HIGH prices, EXTREMELY low inventory. I understand that the "little guy" cant keep 50 copies of Lost season 5 dvd in thier inventory, they only order 2 copies when that dvd is released. Well if i were to walk into that local shop looking for that dvd and the owner tells me that its not in stock (strike one) then like the adam miller reference you made earlier, that local shopkeep tells me he can order it for me (strike two), then he tells me how much it would cost, and i find out its 12 bucks more than wally world (strike three). Its really that simple. My generation and the gen coming up behind me is just that way, when we want something we want it NOW. Is it an endearing quality? No, but you also have to keep in mind that its the year 2010 not 1862 anymore either. We are supposed to be getting more efficient as time goes on, and i fear that small business with thier prices and with thier lack of inventory are going to go the way of the condor. And although i truly believe thats VERY SAD, i am not going to pay a higher price and wait for a few days to save them.

A few posts ago Howard you mentioned the comparison between the big chain 17.00 staying locally and the mama and papa 47.00 staying locally. Can you go a little deeper in depth about that? Are you saying that mama and papa are being hit that much harder with taxes, ect ect that the big box mart is? If so, then maybe you and I together should be pointing fingers at our elected officials allowing this to happen. Tea party Howard?

Mar 14, 2010, 8:46pm Permalink
Jim Burns


I agree food selection in out stores is poor and the diversity of restaurants, while there are some good eats,is very shallow.

I stated a blog on this site talking about Batavians cooking with local ingredients but never got a response. So i dropped it.

At least we have a good Irish Pub.

Mar 14, 2010, 8:49pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens


What I'm saying is, spend $100 in a chain, only $17 goes stays in the local community. Why? Because all of the profits are sent to the local headquarters. Rather than hire a local bookkeeper, the chain has centralized bookkeeping at HQ. Rather than hire a local lawyer when needed, the chain has its own attorneys at HQ. When light fixture goes out, the chain gets a replacement from its own corporate vendor rather than Falcone. Or when a restaurant needs new box of dinner plates, its getting those from a corporate-mandated vendor, not Batavia Restaurant Supply.

Those are some of examples of how, when you spend money in a chain, you are sending money out of the community, costing local jobs and local wealth.

Local business owners give more to local charities.

Tim, I'm 48 years old, but the localist agenda I write about isn't a generational thing. There are many young people who are into, especially on the food side -- localvors -- elements of localism. It's also an important environmental issue.

As for taxes -- the tax issue is that local businesses don't get the tax breaks the chains do. Wal-Mart owns a substantial amount of its success to more $8 billion in tax subsidies its received over the years.

Also, more and more states are taxing Internet sales -- a movement I strongly support.

As you point out, the need for immediate gratification is a felt need. Felt needs can be changed by education and understanding. If you understand the bigger need for yourself, your family and your community is to mitigate instant gratification and instead do the right thing and support the businesses of your community, then the real felt need becomes one of doing what will be in the best long-term interest of your community, rather than "I've got to have it now." It's all a matter of attitude and priorities. There's nothing mandating you shop on Amazon or drive to Williamsville. Instant gratification is a choice, not a matter of survival.

Mar 14, 2010, 9:13pm Permalink
Dave King

I am all for supporting local businesses, and I fully agree that large-scale chain stores are bad for small, locally owned businesses. BUT...Batavia is not THAT small of a town. It's quite comparable to Henrietta, and look how bustling that town is. The fact is, people here expect more variety than they would in a village. That's the dilemma. Batavia is stuck in this strange in between spot between small town tendencies and larger city tendencies. Unfortunately, Batavia doesn't have the great jobs available to support the larger city lifestyle.

Mar 14, 2010, 9:20pm Permalink
Kristi Buckel

Quite frankly, I would do a lot for a Borders, or a Barnes & Noble. I absolutely love Present Tense, but they don't have as large of a selection as I'd like - and I want a job at a book store! ^_^

Also... entertainment. If you don't ice skate, drink, or enjoy hanging out at Wal*Mart, there's very little to DO in Batavia. We don't have any arcades, clubs, dog parks, large skate parks - the great movie theater was turned into a church - our "mall" is a joke.

If there were two things I pick off the list, it would definitely be the book store & the dog park, but Batavia has no night life whatsoever. God forbid you work all day and want to do something fun at night. Everything except the bars and Denny's is close.d

Mar 14, 2010, 9:22pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Taking one foot off the soapbox for a minute, I'll answer Tiffany's original quetion for myself.

When I said I get 99 percent of what I need in Batavia, that may not be entirely accurate, depending on how you do the math.

I made two major purchases since November.

First, I bought a Nikon D-90 camera. Then I bought a MacBookPro.

I bought neither of these in Genesee County. I don't know of a camera store in GC and even the chains don't carry either of these items.

For the camera, I drove to Greece and bought it at Rowe, which is a family owned operation with four or five stores in the Rochester area.

The computer I bought at Mac-Ave in Victor, actually driving PAST the East View Mall, where there is an Apple Store. When I was at GateHouse, I insisted we do all of our Mac business with Mac-Ave rather than the Apple Store (which was about 1/3 closer to our office). Why? Better service, and locally owned.

I probably could have gotten a better price on the camera if I had shopped online, but I've always gotten great service from Rowe (they did me a huge favor in reducing the cost of a repair on a video camera last year).

So, I wish there was a computer store that sold and serviced Macs in GC, and a good camera store, such as Rowe's here.

My wish isn't for chains to come in and fill these needs, but if no local entrepreneur wants to fill the void, I would applaud a Rowe or Mac-Ave expanding here. (I've actually wondered whether I could get Rowe on as an advertiser -- trade ads for camera equipment).

Mar 14, 2010, 9:23pm Permalink
Gary Diegelman

Really haven't read all the posts yet just skimmed through them. A good movie theatre is a must the one in the mall just doesn't cut it. We never go there need just a good 4 plex like the Regal or Tinsel Town. We now go out of town for a movie. Batavia isn't big enough for a Best Buy wouldn't go over. A good hobby shop combined with an outdoors store specializing in camping, hiking,and canoeing would go over. A Red Robin Restaurant or a Golden Coral would go over as well.

Mar 14, 2010, 9:25pm Permalink
Kristi Buckel

Tyler - regarding entertainment for 18-25 year olds - I completely agree. I'm 25, will have two Bachelor's and an Associate's by the end of this school year, and am pursuing a Master's degree at Brockport.

Right now, I'd do almost anything to move. I love Batavia and the people in it, but I sit home every night that I'm not working, doing nothing, because what is there to do? Go to Denny's yet again? Wander around Wal*Mart?

Yeah... local graduates don't see a reason to stay. :/

Mar 14, 2010, 9:27pm Permalink
Tiffany Barber

I'm not sure how this thread turned into a plea for chain-stores so I'm going to try to get it back on track. I agree with Jennifer that we need more choices when it comes to restaurants, NOT another pizza place! So listen up restaurant owners - change your menus - right now you're really all the same to us 30-somethings. Jen - I'm dying for a Mediterranean, Thai, Indian, Sushi place - and I would BET that there are a lot of other people in Batavia that are as well. Sometimes I think we underestimate ourselves and think that because we live in the "country" we don't like sophisticated things - we DO! So bring some of that sophistication to Batavia. I actually started this post as a way to stir up some realistic ideas about the types of business we want in our town and Howard I'd prefer they were NOT chain stores. So let's try this again - what kinds of places do we need in Batavia? So far it sounds like a bigger/better movie theater, ethnic restaurants (these really could just be teeny little places with GOOD food), women's clothing (and shoe) stores (and to the men out there please don't tell us what stores we already have because trust me we've tried them and they aren't doing it for us), a hobby shop (or at least more selections at the one we have) - what else?

Mar 14, 2010, 9:48pm Permalink
Tim Howe

Howard, i totally agree with you about the mama and papa thing pertaining to local resturants. The food in Batavia local resturants cannot be beat! Chain resturants cannot even begin to compete with the locally owned ones, and believe me my belly and i gladly support them :) (the small business ones that is)

And like i said before, its very sad what is happening to small businesses, and i commend your efforts in supporting them, and lets face it they support you too, they pay your rent and feed your dog :)

But i really do think that it IS a generational thing. I would say (and this is obviously just a guess) but i would say people in thier 40's and younger (and yes my friend you are the exception to the rule and i respect you for it) but 40's and under (especially "under") do NOT care about the long term effects of NOT supporting local businesses they want the best prices, they want it now, and many of them actually want Batavia to be a "big city" I think this great city of ours could grow in leaps and bounds if we got some big name business in town that would keep our money here, and actually attract people and thier wallets from surrounding towns to spend here. Most of the younger generation wants bigger, better and more fun. None of which you get in a small town with local "dinky" businesses. I honestly believe the only way Batavia will truly GROW is with "bigger and better". How would you propose for us to keep the small town charm and GROW at the same time?
And Howard, you really need to develop a "TheBatavian" app for my ipod touch, cause i am really getting sick of going back and forth to and from the computer chair. Hey i know, i will buy a laptop at problem solved. Just kidding :)

Mar 14, 2010, 9:53pm Permalink
bud prevost

Dave said "It's quite comparable to Henrietta, and look how bustling that town is"

Batavia 16000 pop
Henrietta 39500 pop
How is that comparable? Face it, you live in a small town, and it will always be a small town (I hope)

Mar 14, 2010, 9:51pm Permalink
Tiffany Barber

I hope Kenny Mistler is reading these posts and taking copious notes! Howard I think a good series for the site would be to highlight businesses in and around Batavia because I bet there are some good ones out there that we don't know about - especially those of us that spend most of our days working in Rochester or Buffalo. A while back in a similar type of discussion someone mentioned that Batavia needs a bookstore - this is something I have always thought Batavia needed. However the owner of Present Tense posted a message that really got me thinking - I was one of the people that thought we needed a bookstore - yet I've never set foot in Present Tense - it made me think. So, how about highlighting out local places - inform us a little maybe we're better off than we thought!

Mar 14, 2010, 10:00pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

For restaurants -- as long as they're locally owned -- I do wish we had Thai, Greek (though you can get some Greek at Settler's) -- and though it's not as common, Korean (there is a decent Korean restaurant in Henrietta (not everything in Henrietta is a chain). But Thai and Greek are two popular cuisines that it seems like Batavia could support.

I just don't see Batavia being able to support enough night-life type of venues to satisfy our younger readers.

When I was in San Diego in my 20s, San Diego seemed sooooo boring with so little nightlife for me and my peers.

At best, Batavia could support one night club, and it strikes me that it takes more one club to go clubing.

Though, Center Street has live music and seems VERY popular with local twentysomethings, and Glass Roots has regular shows in spring and summer.

A lot of times what it takes to get a good local scene going is some young people starting some good local bands -- they need places to play, support each other, get people out and start their own momentum, and somebody figures out they need to provide a place for them to play and make a little money along the way.

If there was a venue known for local music in Batavia, that's something I think people would drive from the surrounding counties to support.

There are a lot of things that Batavia can be a central location for, even without drawing from the metro areas.

Mar 14, 2010, 10:07pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Tiffany, I do write stories about local businesses when I can or opportunity presents itself, but another way you can find great local businesses to support is look at the ads on this site (which includes Present Tense). We run all the ads on the home page in an easy to scan manner just to make it easier to notice, find, and see what local businesses are up to (I mean, the way we do things with advertising isn't just a happy accident -- it was designed to help readers/consumers see more fully the offers and information of local businesses). We have 71 local and regional businesses supporting site right now. There are more than 1,500 local businesses in Genesee County, but I estimate less than 200, and probably less than 150, would be the kind of business that would advertise on a site like The Batavian -- that's a long way of saying, we don't have all the businesses that might interest you, but we have a good number of them. Supporting them is supporting The Batavian.

Mar 14, 2010, 10:13pm Permalink
Tiffany Barber

I would be in favor of a dog park in Batavia - Howard can we get a poll on this? I would even be willing to pay more for my dog license to support a local park - but sponsorships from local pet supply stores would probably do the trick too. I actually think another thing the area needs are spruced up parks. I like Genesee Country Park - but it could use better signage(maps within the park - it's very easy to get lost) and maybe some interactive stuff - even education about the trees/plants in the area - it's basically just like walking through the woods - it could use an educational component. Tinker Nature park in Henrietta is similar to Genesee Country Park and I think we could learn a lot from the different displays, educational items they have.

Mar 14, 2010, 10:35pm Permalink
Bob Price

There was talk of a dog park,but I don't think it ever came to be.You know how that goes-money,budgeting,etc. Clothing stores??? What about Peebles,Cato,House of K,Maurices....I never see many cars at Peebles,or any of the businesses in that little strip. I don't believe Batavia would be able to support any specialty restaurants.Keep dreaming on Wegmans too-I think they looked at this area long ago(Easttown Plaza area IIRC)-we also had a few clubs back in the day. The one thing we could use in this city is a REAL bakery- a big electronics store will never come to Batavia-this is still too small of a demographic for them.A nice theater-but I do not think it would draw enough to be viable. Local businesses are a great asset-Kenny is doing a great job downtown,but he can only do so much.Ask your local liquor store about the wine you desire-they can't compete w/ the biggies in the cities.

Mar 14, 2010, 11:00pm Permalink
Robert Bennett

Reasonably priced name brand clothing store, especially for men! Where is there for a guy to go and get a decent pair of jeans in Batavia? JC Penny's is about the only option.

Mar 14, 2010, 11:59pm Permalink
John Ognibene

You will never see an electronic stores like Best Buy move into Batavia, there is not enough money to be made. And there is already to much competiton for Walmart. This city cannot support so many chains, it can barley support Walmart, Kmart, Target and Tops. As for the movie theater, dont count on it. Batavia has a low median income compared to big cities like Rochester and Buffalo who have the people to support the big stores like Best Buy. I personally would like to see a better movie theater in town. Maybe if the just remodel the existing one and add a new screen that would be better.

Mar 15, 2010, 12:16am Permalink
Jacob Bell

Well first off Dipson is a chain thearter. Second off since they remodeled, its a very nice place. The movie selection isnt great, but theyre trying to stay afloat, so they have to choose movies they feel will make a profit and that they can afford to rent. As far as electronics stores, we have a Radio Shack, WalMart, Target, Gamestop not to mention the couple local computer stores. So as far as youre electronic needs, you just need to know where to look.

We just need weekend entertainment. Youre home on a Friday night with nothing to do and not really wanting to drive to Buffalo, you have no where to go, maybe a Bar if youre old enough, the movies RARELY if the movie you want to see there (they get it right somtimes), and in the summer, you got a Muckdogs once in a while. But thats not a whole lot. We also need decent fairs and comunity events, the "Summer in the City" and "Christmas in the City" have gorwn absolutely PATHETIC in the 10 years since I moved to Batavia. They used to shut down nearly all of down town, now they cram Christmas in the City into out "mall" and its overcrowded, hot, smelly, GREMY, nasty place, and for the most part not worth the going through it all. And dont get me started on the formerly Wing Ding, its

Basicly we need stuff to do. Maybe somone buys the old Latinas and puts somthing in there, maybe the city does it? It has alot of space and its a blank slate. Put a comunity center in there of somtype. Put pool table, dart, anything you know. Lazer tags. Maybe have on Friday nights a $1 movies showing, sit down in lawn chairs and what not and play movies that are out on DVD already.

Attracting us kids/teens is a big thing too, we have alot of mostly disposable income since we ushualy dont have alot of bills to pay. This is where the moneys at, give us a reason to stay in Bataiva on the weekends insted of going to Buffalo, or aimlessly driving around for no reason, or the last resort just hanging out in Walmart cause theres nothing else to do.


Mar 15, 2010, 12:22am Permalink
darren dewitt

definetly a quality theater. i would like to see a chucky cheese for the kids. A pool hall for the teens. i was not happy when triangles closed. and a community ADULT pool. if thats possible. jubilee would make a nice community center instead of a eye sore. a good book store wold be nice too.

Mar 15, 2010, 12:43am Permalink
Jacob Bell

Presnt tence book store. Its no the coner oslf state and washington. They got a nice selection of books and if theres one you want that they dont have, they gladly order for you.

Mar 15, 2010, 12:49am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

One thing this thread shows -- people do care about the quality of life in Batavia. Whether we can all agree one what we want is one thing ... but there's a lot of people joining in on this discussion, which is good.

Mar 15, 2010, 1:22am Permalink
Russ Salway

As of right now you don't have to leave Batavia to see professional baseball! The Batavia Muckdogs are getting ready for their 71st season here in Batavia! It's a very important year for us and we need to support the Muckdogs in several ways. One way is to stop down to Dwyer stadium and purchase season tickets. If not season tickets, then an 8 pack coupon book for any 8 games would help! Pro ball in Batavia is part of our quality of life and together we can keep it right here! If we don't support it, then it will be something we will have to leave Batavia to see. I'm enjoying watching some of our former Muckdogs now practicing with the St. Louis Cardinals in spring training! Come down this season and see future Cardinals right here in Batavia! Please support our Batavia Muckdogs!

Mar 15, 2010, 5:36am Permalink
Charlie Mallow

A better movie theater would keep me around town more often as well. That’s probably one of the few things I do leave town for during the weekend. It’s not that our theater is bad, they have remodeled and it’s far from what it was a few years ago. The main problem is selection. With only two screens, I wish Dipson would rotate their movies more often. It also seems that they are stuck on two types of movies as well, horror and kids movies.

Mar 15, 2010, 7:54am Permalink
Mike Weaver


The reason most folks want to see bigger chain stores come in is because people DON'T want to order products. They want to come in, browse, pick up, feel , and handle a product before they buy it. They don't want to order it sight unseen. Browsing and looking through all of the selections is part of the joy of shopping for a product. The small stores in Batavia just cannot afford to stock enough products to make this feasible. Consequently, folks go to Henrietta or Amherst/Cheektowaga so that they can browse, touch, and handle the various products they are chosing from. I don't see this going away. It is human nature I think.

I would like to see more choices in men's clothing in Batavia. JC Penney's is about the only game in town. Additionally, I was hoping that when Sears and KMart merged that our KMart would become a Sears store. It would give Batavia another choice for clothing, electronics, and tools.

And add my vote to those calling for more ethnic cuisine in Batavia. You can only eat so many variations of American standard and Italian.

Mar 15, 2010, 8:01am Permalink
Robin Murphy

I can't agree more about the need for therapists. We have a physical therapist come from another county for my daughter. There is a HUGE need for more physical therapists to work in home and with younger children. I do all my shopping local as it is hard with a disabled child to go on longer trips to Buffalo/Rochester. But we do go to the city for almost all of their doctors visits, mostly Strong.
I do wish that there were more for the kids in the area to do, mostly during the winter when you can't do the outdoor activities.
I have had great experience finding and ordering everything I need in Batavia. It just takes a bit of extra effort. I have ordered items from Millenium Computers, Adam Millers and received great advice at Hardcore Audio for a recent project of mine even though they didn't have what I was looking for. It just takes some more time and creative thinking but it can be done.

Mar 15, 2010, 9:27am Permalink

I'm getting into this a little late, but I have a few things to point out.

You can't have both a small town and the same kind of stores and resources found in towns around Buffalo and Rochester. If you're going to live in Batavia, you need to realize and accept this. Batavia isn't a horrible place to live, but to enjoy it, it requires a certain lifestyle. There are things in Buffalo and Rochester that Batavia will never have because of it being a small town. Either deal with having to drive to either Buffalo or Rochester and back or start making plans to move. I'm doing the latter.

Second, I've had good experiences (and heard good things) with R&D Electronics. They're located at the corner of Rt. 33 and Seven Springs. Other than them, I have my own background in electronics and computer repair, amongst other things. This is my kung fu and I am very good at it.

Lastly, I've heard varying reports that Ken Mistler plans to open a night club. There isn't much for the 18 - 25 year old age range, as someone previously pointed out, to do in Batavia. I can't say I know the above to be sure, however, I imagine we'll find out in the future if it is.

Mar 15, 2010, 9:47am Permalink
andre miller

Good topic! i think Batavia has really come around with the shops. But it still needs more. Like most agree the movie theater needs help! It's horrible the one that is there now.
And i really wish that the Target would have been a super Target.I hate supporting Walmart but the one stop shopping is nice.I would support Target more if it was a super Target.I hate Walmart!!!
And i agree with someone who said a TJMaxx or Marshalls would be nice. Clothes shopping is horrible in Batavia and Marshalls or Tjmaxx i think would fit right in.
But i agree on the mom and pop stores too. more personal service. Like you walk into Walmart or Home Depot, you never can find anyone to help you!!! I hate that sooo much.
And on another note, some of the chain stores really need to get new workers or train them to have a personality. I was at BJ's in Batavia last week the cashier couldnt look more unhappy and didnt say a word to me during the whole check out process. Walmart is getting up there too. Ever notice when you go to Wegmans and there is always someone there WANTING to help you and are so friendly at the checkout? why is that? Cause they treat their employees wonderful so they enjoy coming to work. Maybe BJ's and Walmart should pick up on that cause customer service goes a long way these days...

Mar 15, 2010, 10:28am Permalink

JELLYBEANS...This comment has little to do with what Batavia has and has not...(at least for people who use automobiles) What I want to say has already been discussed many times over but it needs to be said again...I live downtown and walk everywhere...I have ZERO grocery stores within walking distance. It is sad that we have no grocery store downtown that has all the features that the outer limit big-box places have...

Mar 15, 2010, 10:35am Permalink

Totally a new Movie Theater or even a Drive In for sure! I would also love some kind of Comedy Club! I really think that would bring and keep people into town.

ALSO....we NEED a dog park! Seriously, for a place that is so giving to thier animals, I'm shocked that we don't have a place for them to go!

Last...That big husk of a building that we call Latina's needs to be converted into something resembling the Broadway Market in Buffalo! I think that with the wealth of local farmers that we have here that could really fly!

Mar 15, 2010, 10:46am Permalink
Ritchie Kirkum Jr

A Regal Cinemas would be on my list. A big box electronics store would be great too. I wish we had a children's clothing store but that would mean there would have to be stores in the "mall", and I don't think thats happening anytime soon.

With all that said, there will never be a time where Batavia has everything, so people will still have to leave for somethings. So possibly those stores wouldnt survive here...if you're already going to Buffalo to go to Best Buy, you would stop somewhere around there to see a movie, or get something for your hobby. Who knows.

Mar 15, 2010, 11:03am Permalink
william tapp

i like to see a red lobster and golden coral . we have some great places in batavia but these two are my fav to go to, Rochester or transit town . golden coral is 4 hr drive from here

Mar 15, 2010, 11:09am Permalink
Jon Mager

As a small town business, we reply on the local community for our livlihood. Thankfully, the community has been very kind to us over our 63 years here. But we see local businesses come and go rather frequently. Its not for lack of trying, we've had pool halls, bars, laser tags, electronics stores, coffee shops, restaurants and everything in between. The problem for many businesses arises from an obvious lack of business. When people are in their comfort zones to travel 30 minutes in either direction to go shopping, local businesses suffer, and many subsiquently close. By shopping locally, we support businesses that are rooted here in the community. The owners are from here, the employees are here and the banks that fund them are here as well. What we need to work on is offering better incentives for small businesses to start-up. There are municiple grants and low interest loans, but maybe there should be tax breaks like those offered to the chain stores. Currently, the physical locations where these grants and loans are offered is limited to certain areas of town. Perhaps removing this barrier would spur businesses that dont necessarily need to be downtown.

Mar 15, 2010, 12:03pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

I went to see Shutter Island yesterday at the mall theater. It's no Tinsel Town, but I was happy with my experience there. The popcorn was fresh, the seat was comfortable and it was only two blocks from my house.

To build a movie theater along the lines that some have suggested would take an enormous investment and when I say 'enormous' I'm talking about tens of millions of dollars. I can't imagine that this (relatively) small market has investors drooling over the chance to build something like that, especially when you take into account the short drive to any one of five or six such movie complexes in the Buffalo and Rochester areas.

I love movies and if someone built a complex like that here, I'd be there twice a week, but I can't imagine it would happen.

Mar 15, 2010, 12:17pm Permalink
John Roach

Something to keep in mind is that with so many city residents working out of town, shopping out of town is easier for them.

Add that Bataiva has a population base smaller than many towns in the area. If you are selling goods that last awhile, like TVs or cameras, it's very hard to get new customers or turnover to stay in business.

Rowe, in Rochester has a population base big enough to survive. But how many times does the average person buy a new camera? How many of us need a high end camera like the one Howard bought? That's why so many of us go to Wal Mart or K Mart to buy a digital camera, or a TV.

Mar 15, 2010, 12:18pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

John sort of reminds me of another thought -- Batavia doesn't have to have everything. It wouldn't be a small town/small city if it did.

One of Batavia's strengths is that it is a rural city close to two significant metropolitan areas, but not so close that they intrude on the rural nature of our county and our city.

I like that. I live here because I wanted to get away from the big city. I could have gone back to San Diego, and as much as I enjoy visiting there and still root for my Padres and Chargers -- I just have no real desire to live there again.

With all the big businesses and big chains and the big traffic and big crime that does with it -- no thanks.

Batavia is uniquely positioned to thrive. We can build a much stronger local retail base, one that not only serves our own community well, but offers a unique variety of shopping experiences that city folk will come here to enjoy.

Living in the little city or town and needing to go to the big city for some entertainment or to take care of certain shopping needs that aren't available in the smaller community -- that's just part of rural life. That's something to be embrace, not try to change.

To me, we should embrace Batavia's strengths -- which includes smallness -- and build on that, not try to turn Batavia into something that it both probably can't become and shouldn't become.

Mar 15, 2010, 1:07pm Permalink
Bea McManis

Posted by Howard Owens on March 15, 2010 - 1:07pm
To me, we should embrace Batavia's strengths -- which includes smallness -- and build on that, not try to turn Batavia into something that it both probably can't become and shouldn't become.

The video on Batavia, 1959 tells a lot. If it weren't for the greed of those long past elected officials that chose to put their own interests ahead of the interest of the community there would be no need for:…

Look at that Main St. again. Take a good look. We didn't have to be reminded to shop locally. We DID shop locally. We shopped at stores that were forced out of business. We had no option but to go to the big box stores that came when there were no stores left.

Frankly, I find it insulting that you feel you have to "educate" Batavians on how to shop. We knew the value of local stores and mourned (and still do) the loss of many. The situation we find ourselves in didn't come about because of the big box stores, it came about long before we even knew the term "big box".

This thread reminded me that there was a time when one could walk down Main St., Jackson St., and Ellicott St., and completely plan a wedding from a place of worship, attire, flowers, invitations, reception, music, etc. Not today.

We can't recapture what has been lost. It would be wonderful if we could.

Mar 15, 2010, 1:41pm Permalink
Dave King

It seems that the common need in Batavia is for a movie theatre. I fully agree with this. The lack of a decent theatre has been a frustration for at least a decade. My question is, why, for all of these years, has Batavia completely ignored the overwhelming desire by the public for an upgraded theatre? Is it money? Or is it because the city feels there isn't enough population to support it? If it's the latter, then that's just silly considering we have a Kmart, Target and Walmart all within a block of one another. Seems priorities are a bit backwards. Even smaller locations such as Geneseo has a very nice theatre. And Avon has a nice drive in theatre. We don't even have that in all of Genesee county.

Mar 15, 2010, 1:52pm Permalink
Jennifer Keys

Wow, Nice job, Tiffany. This is really exciting stuff. I'm so happy to see so many people weighing in on their opinions.

I'm not in Batavia, which I assume most people know, but in case you don't... I'm in LeRoy.

What I hear from people of all ages is that they are tired of driving to get what they need. And as gas goes up... . It takes too long to get to the other side of Batavia and Henrietta is even further away. Not to mention that every time I have to go to Henrietta, Chili, Brockport (or even Pittsford) my money is not being spent in Genesee county.

I forget at this point who said it, but Batavia is not like Henrietta and really, who wants it to be? Yeah I can get whatever I want right there, great Indian, Thai, Korean food, coffee, WEGMANS, shoes, clothes, gas, terrific pizza and subs which are different than what we have here, bagels, but NO I don't want to live in Henrietta. It also takes way too long to get around.

What I have noticed is that we have a wide range of needs and wants and thought patterns here in Genesee County. There are those of us, such as Howard and myself and many of my friends and people I see here, who are socially conscious and aware. We understand the importance of having quality items for as little as possible while supporting local businesses because, in truth, they are our backbone. There are those of us who just want to go into one store get everything they need for the least amount of money at the time and they don't care where it comes from or if it is good quality. They don't see, or possibly don't care, about the importance of supporting local. Then there are those of us who fall in between.

I know people who owned businesses that were put out of business by the arrival of the big boxes where you are less apt to get personal, quality service and generally lower quality items. That is a shame and it seems to me that isn't what Genesee County is about.

I'm learning that our county has a long history of being innovative and self sufficient. What I mean by this is basically...see a need, fill a need and do it on our own. The big boxes tend to cramp our ability to do that because people's mind sets tend to change to focus on the store, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and not on the product, such that they stop the comparison shopping because they found it at Wal-Mart and by default it must be less expensive, when that is not always the case. When a local business likely oculd fill the needs, but you'd have to be a responsible shopper and go there to buy it instead of to Wal-Mart (just an example).

In other words, the question wasn't what store do you leave Batavia for, but what items do you need that you can't find here, in Batavia or LeRoy? It seems the focus since last night has changed to this and I hope it continues to. The big boxes won't last forever. What will we do when they are gone?

Finally, I love WEGMANS because of the variety of products (not always brands, but products), the outstanding customer service, the environmental awareness and social conscience that they have (not that there isn't room for improvement) and the quality of everything...if I can have that in another store I will be happy. I have traveled all over the US and have found stores that were okay substitutes, but they still didn't have what Wegmans has, which is locally owned. :)

Mar 15, 2010, 1:54pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Bea, Batavia is not unique in having a portion of its downtown destroyed by Urban Renewal. It's happened to towns all across America, including the San Diego suburb of El Cajon, where I spent much of my life.

But there are also a lot of downtowns that are in even worse shape than Batavia that were never touched by a bulldozer -- vacant building after vacant building -- small town businesses destroyed by tax-subsidized big box stores, Walmart and the like.

There are also towns that have reclaimed their downtowns through revitalization (Corning springs to mind), and shop-local campaigns have proven effective, when a sustained effort, at improving the local economy and helping small businesses grow.

You may find the idea of "education" insulting, but not everybody understands what damage the big boxes do to communities, and what the benefits are to shopping locally. It's important to have these discussions from time to time and bring the facts to light and hopefully persuade some people to think differently about their consumer choices. You don't have to change your mind if you don't want, but I plan to keep hammering at the same message.

You've heard of the Prime Directive on Star Trek. Well, the Prime Directive of The Batavian is to promote localism. It's better for communities and better for America.

Mar 15, 2010, 2:35pm Permalink
Dave Olsen

I'm going a little off the subject and I know we're not supposed to comment on other commenters.........But I'm thinking George has found a wine store in his new town that has just what he likes. Good for you George. My man.

Mar 15, 2010, 2:46pm Permalink
Julie Morales

Howard wrote:
Bea, Batavia is not unique in having a portion of its downtown destroyed by Urban Renewal.

Maybe not. But born-and-raised Batavians have no history with those places. Batavia is unique to us who grew up here, and remember, or are reminded by others who lived through it.

Bea, you don't mourn alone.

Mar 15, 2010, 3:13pm Permalink
kevin kretschmer

Regarding chain restaurants, I have been told in the past based on the hospitality surveys taken by Gen Co. Tourism that Darden Corp. was considering opening a Red Lobster or Olive Garden in Batavia near the thruway exit.

I'd love to see a Golden Corral as well but I'd say that's pretty unlikely. The franchise cost alone is prohibitive. The last time I looked into it one needed $2M in assets and a minimum of $500K cash on hand just to be considered. Fortunately for me, I travel through Erie, PA and Colonie, NY fairly often.

Mar 15, 2010, 3:26pm Permalink
beverly morgan

This week I was looking in every local store in Batavia, that might carry girls slips and pleated drapes. Nothing
I went to rochester and found both.

Mar 15, 2010, 3:31pm Permalink
Bea McManis

Posted by Howard Owens on March 15, 2010 - 2:35pm
There are also towns that have reclaimed their downtowns through revitalization (Corning springs to mind), and shop-local campaigns have proven effective, when a sustained effort, at improving the local economy and helping small businesses grow.

Corning got their urban renewal money at the same time Batavia did. There were many people, here, who looked at Corning and pointed to their model as a far better example of using the money. It fell on deaf ears.
Had they listened and learned from Corning, then Batavia would have a much different business sector than it has now.
The only sustained effort by the officials, at the time, was spawned by greed.
When you look at that video and realize each one of those businesses employed people. They were small enterprises, but they thrived. The people who killed them were fellow business owners who were in no way interested in improving the local economy nor were they interested in helping the small business owner.

Posted by Howard Owens on March 15, 2010 - 2:35pm
You may find the idea of "education" insulting, but not everybody understands what damage the big boxes do to communities, and what the benefits are to shopping locally.

I understand your point about the big box stores.
The point I'm trying to make, and which you chose to ignore, is that Batavia was filled with locally owned business. The dreaded big box was not the reason those people found themselves pushed out.
Blaming the big box stores for Batavia's Main St. demise is just wrong. Point the finger where it belongs, those on the Urban Renewal committee and the city fathers of the time.
You blame the uneducated Batavia consumers. We, the consumer, had no choice but to turn to the bigger stores when we were left with gaping holes in the ground and a mall that no way catered to our everyday needs.

Mar 15, 2010, 4:14pm Permalink
Lorie Cook

Not all business go under because of the economy...many fail because of fighting between the partners of the business. I watched this happen many times and it was an incredibly SAD event to see. The problem with the mom and pop shop is that their children will most likely take it over and did the children ever learn how to deal with conflict in the workplace...NO! Because dad always called the shots. Not saying it is wrong, as much as it is reality.

Mar 15, 2010, 4:33pm Permalink
Tim Howe

Speaking of greed....

Someone mentioned a few posts back about a pool hall. The one we had in batavia a long time ago was great (i believe it was called side pocket) I actually spent ALOT of time and $$ in there, and when they had to leave batavia thier excuse was that thier "landlords" the mancuso's would observe the pool hall thriving and on many occasions kept raising the rent until they could not afford it anymore. I really miss that pool hall, it was clean, and not your stereotypical "sleazy" pool hall, it was actually more of a family place. I believe a place like that could thrive once again here....

Mar 15, 2010, 5:06pm Permalink
E. S. Sherman

we still need to be able to go back to what it was a city with some shops that were specialty shops....such as a shoe store. I wish that things could go back and be locally owned. I have gotten so I do not go to Rochester. I will try to buy everything locally as well as made in USA. Some things are impossible. One thing I do notice is Tractor Supply is coming back to made in USA on a lot of their things. That is one reason I will go there for some clothing.

Wouldn't it be nice if our kids could enjoy Batavia the way it once was. A good old hometown or city.

Mar 15, 2010, 5:09pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Bea, you're arguing against things I never said. I never blamed downtown on big boxes. In this thread in particular I never even discussed the issue with downtown until you did. My point about big boxes in Batavia has nothing to do with the past. It's about now and the future.

Mar 15, 2010, 5:15pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

The most recent pool hall was called Triangles. I spent a ton of time in there when I was a teenager and so did most of my friends. The place was packed on Friday and Saturday nights and it was a place for good, clean fun.

We reserved the bad, dirty fun for after the place closed :)

Mar 15, 2010, 5:34pm Permalink
monique fournier

i LOVE this post. i had to reset my password just so i could comment...

1st: the only thing i NEED to leave batavia for is entertainment for my 2-year-old in the winter and on rainy days. he loves the strong museum of play, but planning a visit there around his naptime, around their crowds, and keeping him entertained in the car there and back is a pain.

if i knew how to go about it, i would open an indoor playground in batavia. i know there're probably prohibitive insurance costs, and economic considerations regarding what the residents would be willing to pay... but if you've ever been to the indoor bounce house in pittsford (operated by a former BHS principal, btw), you know the kind of business an indoor play area can do in an area, like this one, where the weather is rough for at least 6 months a year.

2nd: here, here for educating people on spending their money locally. i've only lived in batavia for 3 years, and in that short time have seen so many local businesses turn over, change names, shut down and start up again downtown that it makes my head spin. and i miss Main Street Coffee *sniff*

so, yeah, indoor playground/young child entertainment is the only thing i truly NEED to leave batavia for.

Mar 15, 2010, 9:17pm Permalink
Nic Pelton

Just checked the Batavian while out of town traveling and came across this excellent post. For me, one thing that Batavia (and Genesee County in general) could use is for the residents to be aware of many of the small business in their midst. I've spent the majority of my life in Genesee County and many times come across businesses that I'm not aware of and would at least consider them when it comes time for purchases.

There are a number of local businesses that thrive in the good times and survive in the bad because they offer more than the Big Box stores do in the way of a personal touch and quality of service (Adam Miller, Batavia Restaurant Supply, and DuPont TV all come to mind for me when considering purchases) and can be competitive when travel costs are factored in. They'll order something for you if they don't have it and they service what they sell. I agree that many local residents don't see the benefit of spending their dollars locally and aren't always aware of the choices if they do desire to.

That said, I have to say that I am a Wegman's fan as well. The selection, added competition, and quality would benefit many in the community. Some of the chain Restuarants sound like they would be nice, but I actually think there is a reasonable variety for the size of Batavia--but I would love to see some of the small ethnic choices mentioned as well. Don't forget the Muckdogs for reasonable entertainment for the family as well. It would be good to see some of the parks within the city host more concerts for the young and old (and those in between).

It would be great to see if they could use Latina's or some of the other empty buildings for something for the Young Adults in our community. I remember when I was one and there didn't seem to be many choices then and there are less now.

Howard, maybe a poll along this line would be good. Perhaps a energetic entreprenuer could take the feedback and run with it. Thanks for your forum and localist thoughts.

Mar 15, 2010, 10:58pm Permalink

Authentically Local