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November 12, 2018 - 2:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Country Farmers' Market, batavia, news, business.

Press release from Mike Bakos, manager, Genesee Country Farmers' Market:

On behalf of the members of the Genesee Country Farmers' Market, I would like to thank everyone that supported this year's Market -- the City of Batavia, the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District (BID), our 2018 market sponsors, our market vendors, and of course, our loyal customers.

The Market, located at the Downtown Batavia Public Market, on the corner of Bank Street and Alva Place, was, once again, able to sustain a three-day/week market schedule being open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., from mid-June through the end of October.

This year marked the third year of collaboration with the BID. The popular Friday "BIG" Market continues to grow and receive inquiries from new vendors interested in joining the Market.

It is estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 people visited the Market each week, bringing 30,000 to 40,000 market customers into the Downtown Batavia Business District over the 20-week market season.

During the off-season, the Market will be pursuing new/prospective vendors with a goal of growing/enhancing the upcoming 2019 Market.

Please know that the Market is committed to our Mission of "providing a family-friendly environment where the residents of the Greater-Batavia area and Genesee County can shop for fresh, locally grown, produce and specialty artisanal items" -- and our Vision of "making the Genesee Country Farmers' Market @ The Downtown Batavia Public Market a WNY Destination."

Comments/inquiries regarding the Market are welcomed by emailing [email protected].

We wish you a wonderful and safe holiday season. Hoping to see you next June.

November 9, 2018 - 4:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Le Roy, business.

Press release:

For the second straight year, Empire Access has been named Best Internet Service Provider in the Best of the Best Southern Tier Readers’ Choice Awards presented by GateHouse Media. These awards recognize industry leading businesses in the Southern Tier region of New York State.

In Genesee County, Empire Access has locations in Batavia and Le Roy.

The Best of the Best contest allows for community members to vote in over 100 categories for their favorite business. Categories range from Best Real Estate Company to Best New Car Dealer. One winner is awarded from each category.

“We would like to thank all of our loyal customers for their continued patronage,” said Jim Baase, COO of Empire Access. “Receiving this award for two consecutive years truly shows the high level of customer satisfaction, not only with our Fiber Optic Internet but with our customer service and support”

Empire Access is a locally owned and operated Fiber Optic telecommunications service provider, offering state-of-the-art high-speed Internet, Television, Phone and Security services to homes and businesses – all enabled by Fiber Optic technology – to more than 25 communities in Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania.

Empire Fiber Optic residential Internet speeds start at 100 Mbps (Megabits per second) download and go up to a lightning fast 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) download. Fiber Optics are far more reliable and not prone to slow downs due to issues caused by weather and congestion, each customer has their own dedicated connection.

Along with Fiber Optic-based Internet service, Empire offers a complete array of communications and Security services –

·       Television – delivering 100 percent digital picture quality, Free HD channels, Whole Home DVR capabilities and additional features through a variety of plan choices

·       Home and business phone service – including various plans with business options including toll-free numbers, phone systems, voice mail and more

·       Security and home automation – such as 24/7 video monitoring and in-home or business-based automation, the ability to remotely manage security, lock and unlock doors, control appliances, adjust heating/cooling and more from a smartphone, tablet, or computer

·       Advanced business services – enterprise Wi-Fi, business email, audio and video conferencing, dark fiber and metro Ethernet

For more information or to speak with an Empire Access Fiber Optic expert, please call 800-338-3300 or visit www.empireaccess.com.

About Empire Access

After starting in 1896 with one telephone line in Prattsburgh, NY, Empire Access has grown significantly as a family-owned, locally based communications provider serving large areas of Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania. Today’s Empire offers a wide range of products and services from basic phone service to customized phone solutions, scalable high-speed Fiber Optic Internet, basic to enhanced digital TV service and advanced security solutions.

Responding to a variety of business and consumer needs, Empire continues to expand into new areas while retaining a strong focus on local, personalized customer service. Empire Access offers Fiber Optic service in Arkport, Batavia, Bath, Big Flats, Burdett, Canandaigua, Canisteo, Corning, Dansville, Elmira, Elmira Heights, Geneseo, Geneva, Hammondsport, Hornell, Le Roy, Montour Falls, Mount Morris, Naples, North Hornell, Odessa, Prattsburgh, Penn Yan, Victor, Warsaw, Watkins Glen, and Waverly in New York and Sayre, Athens, South Waverly and Troy in Pennsylvania. The company’s Website can be found at www.empireaccess.com.

November 9, 2018 - 4:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, JJ Newberry, Newberry Place--freshLAB, batavia.

Submitted photos and press release:

On Thursday, Matt Gray (in photo above) accepted the Robert Macon Award with an honorable mention from the Community Design Center of Rochester -- Reshaping Rochester awards on behalf of the Newberry Project.

The award was established to honor the late architect Robert Macon’s contributions in the Rochester area. A gifted designer and leader in the architectural community, Macon is remembered for his civic contributions and transformative projects that spanned a 30-year career in the city that he loved.

Nominations for this award recognize projects that demonstrate Design Excellence and contribute to enriching the public realm. Nominations were judged according to the following criteria:

  • Excellence in a building or structure that has solved a design problem in a distinctive way;
  • Extent to which the completed project demonstrates enduring and notable design;
  • Ability to integrate that undertaking into a community’s context and extent to which it contributes to or benefits the public realm.

109-111 Main St., Batavia, location of Newberry Place – freshLAB

Project Award Nomination 

Newberry Place--freshLAB is a locally led $2.8 million three-story downtown mixed-use building renovation to deliver a 10,000-square-foot, ground-floor restaurant incubator housing three start-up eateries and upper floor apartments.

The Main Street food hall project has overcome design and infrastructure challenges, warranted State and Federal historic designation along with significant investment and grant partners to underwrite success.

Guided by Preservation Studios and TRM Architecture, the project was thoughtfully approached to preserve the building’s historic character in which the first national retailer, JJ Newberry, settled in Batavia. JJ Newberry wall medallions, Art Deco aluminum counter trim, office doors, hallways, beadboard and chain-link milk glass dome fixtures have been incorporated into the new design.

As expected, modifications also ensued when the century-old walls and floors revealed structural challenges. Relocation of bathrooms, kitchen ventilation hoods and floorplans were flipped to accommodate.

Meanwhile, the intended use as a foodhall with a micro-brewery anchor tenant took perseverance to advance. A simple farm brewery concept evolved into a restaurant incubator intended to keep millions of dining and entertainment dollars local to reduce spending leakage from Genesee County each year.

Local leadership coalesced an infrastructure for restaurateurs to advance a concept, write a business plan and open a new restaurant in this shared space under supervision of industry experts.

However, New York State Liquor Authority does not allow multi-tenants to occupy one space. After months of inquiries and legal fees, learning of “concessionaire” was key to authorizing Batavia Brewing Co. dba Eli Fish Brewing Co. the primary license to brew and sell alcohol on premise.

Two additional “concessionaires” are allowed to share seating, an indoor bocce court and tasting room whereby all alcohol must be purchased at the anchor tenant. The food-hall incubator is anticipated to launch five new businesses in five years, create 30 jobs and generate thousands of tax dollars.

While bumping into walls was expected, the floor integrity, lack of power in downtown and limited capacity gas lines had to be doggedly overcome.

The heavyweight brewing equipment was placed onto the basement floor, a hole was cut through the first floor to allow the tanks to peek through serving as a foodhall feature. A tasting room was fashioned above to overlook the tank farm.

Even though the City of Batavia underwent a substantial Main Street reconstruction less than a decade earlier, adequate electric power was not available and low pressure gas lines were underground. Fortunately, the property boundary extended eight feet to the rear of the building, which enabled a new transformer pole installation.

Yet, that triggered a NYS building code exception request since the outdoor space would no longer allow the fire stair descent; other fire safety measures were emphasized.

Commercial kitchens and upper-floor apartments were reequipped due to lack of available gas. The gas company is now considering infrastructure upgrades due to the existing demand and recognizing more than 40,000 square feet of vacant space remains on the City block.

Committed to transform downtown, Matthew Gray exudes patience as the concept leader, building investor and volunteer mentor drawing from his decades of restaurant ownership.

Upon purchasing the building, the first floor was divided into three different areas, each with their own cobbled, inefficient and potentially unsafe HVAC systems. These systems were completely removed to allow installation of new energy efficient heating and cooling equipment suited specifically for the new use of the building.

Arctic Refrigeration Company of Batavia completely designed, sourced and installed the HVAC and mechanical systems in the building. The brewery received three 10-ton rooftop heating and cooling units. This equipment was designed and selected with the brewery and restaurant in mind. They can operate independently, each unit with two-stage heating and cooling. This allows for energy savings by using partial capacity of the equipment as heating and cooling requirements constantly change. 

The HVAC system was also designed to work in conjunction with the multiple kitchen exhaust systems. By balancing the airflow between the six exhaust fans, two tempered makeup air units and the HVAC units, comfort levels and energy efficiency will be at their peak performance.

The brewery’s chiller is also placed on the roof, allowing the chiller to remove the heat from the brewery process and discharge it outside the building. This design kept the HVAC systems from being overloaded or oversized if the heat were to be discharged indoors, again using energy efficiency wherever possible.

Project Participants:

  • Matthew Gray, building owner, lead investor, co-owner Batavia Brewing Co. dba Eli Fish Brewing Co. and freshLAB restaurant mentor, Batavia
  • Jon Mager, co-owner Batavia Brewing Co. dba Eli Fish Brewing Co., Batavia
  • TRM Architecture, Matthew Moscati, Buffalo
  • Preservation Studios, Mike Puma, Buffalo
  • Thomson Builds, Paul Thompson general contractor, Churchville
  • Batavia Development Corporation, freshLAB partner and project grant coordinator, Batavia
  • City of Batavia, micro-enterprise grant and real property tax abatement, Batavia
  • NYS Homes & Community Renewal, NY Main Street Anchor Project & Micro-enterprise Program Funds, Albany
  • USDA Rural Development, Equipment Grant, Batavia
  • National Grid, Main Street Revitalization Grant, Buffalo
  • Empire State Development, startup micro-brewery incentive, Buffalo

BEFORE: Single tenant space represents half of the ground floor, center wall later removed to use10,000 square feet on ground floor as open, shared dining food hall.

Center wall removed to open entire 10,000-square-foot ground floor space, looking south.

AFTER: Concessionaire walk-up service with dedicated cold and dry storage for each startup restaurant.

JJ Newberry wall medallions preserved and incorporated in new design.

Art Deco aluminum trim to peek through drywall.

“Brew Hole” to set heavy brewing equipment on the basement floor, tanks will rise above the first-floor level.

Tasting room hovers over “Brew Hole.”

Arctic Refrigeration Company of Batavia completely designed, sourced and installed the HVAC and mechanical systems in the building.

November 8, 2018 - 12:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

Press release:

Tops Markets LLC (“Tops” or the “Company”) today announced that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (“the Court”) has confirmed the Company’s Plan of Reorganization (the “Plan”). Tops expects to complete its restructuring and emerge from Chapter 11 shortly.

“We are pleased to receive the Court’s approval of our Plan and are poised to emerge from this process an even stronger and more competitive company,” said Frank Curci, chief executive officer of Tops. “Through this process, we have accomplished several key objectives, including significantly reducing our debt, creating a viable cost structure and efficiently optimizing our store portfolio.

"Importantly, we provided an opportunity for employment to every associate who was interested and impacted by store closings at other nearby stores. Our restructuring will create an even more exceptional shopping experience for our customers and assure that we will continue to serve our communities like no one else can.”

“On behalf of everyone at Tops, I want to thank all Tops associates, who have continued to provide customers with convenient, friendly and high-quality service. I also want to thank our loyal customers, suppliers and other stakeholders for their continued support throughout this process.” 

November 7, 2018 - 1:57pm

Business After Hour Schmoozer hosted by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on the second floor of the Harvester Center, 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia, on Thursday, Nov. 15.

These events are not only well attended, but laid-back and fun! They offer an easy way to get to know other movers & shakers here in the community.

You are invited to join your fellow Chamber members and learn about the unique business incubator -- the Harvest Center -- we have right here in Genesee County!

Enjoy some local food and drink, too. There will be craft beer provided by Eli Fish Brewing Co.; wine tastings by WNY ONEHOPE Studio; and hors d'oeuvres prepared by D&R Depot.

Plus there will be a 50/50 raffle to benefit Crossroads House, along with door prizes and other fun giveaways.

Click here to register.

November 6, 2018 - 3:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, BBID.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BBID) is seeking qualified applications for the position of Executive Director.

We would like to thank our former Director, Beth Kemp, for her service to the district and wish her the best in her professional endeavors. Kemp represented our BBID with integrity, strong leadership and endless energy. Her presence will be missed.

Leanna DiRisio, former BBID board member, has accepted the interim position at this time, working part-time and resigning her position from the Board of Directors effective immediately. DiRisio will assume all functions of the Executive Director along with Board President, Jennifer Gray.

A hiring committee has met to discuss and establish the guidelines for hiring the next director. In addition, the Board is seeking two new members for the board, both tenant positions. Board members work collaboratively to solve problems, beautiful the downtown, identify strengths and areas for improvement as well as guide the BID organization in decision making to promote business in our district.

Any tenant member of the BBID interested in serving on the Board should contact the office for more information at 344-0900.

The BBID is seeking an Executive Director for full-time, salaried employment. Qualified candidates should have three years’ experience in executive leadership and/or management, including directing volunteers and being responsible for managing budgets of more than $100,000.

The ideal candidate is outgoing, amicable, reliable with excellent communication skills. Candidate must be a team player who enjoys making connections and new partnerships. A background in grant writing and community development is a plus.

A bachelor’s degree is preferred in either business, government, administration, marketing or similar/related fields. Paid vacation and bonus earnings are offered, with flexible hours with some mandatory nights and weekends.

Any interested candidate for the position of Executive Director should contact the BBID office for more information or visit our website at: www.downtownbataviany.com or may email a letter of interest to:  [email protected]

The window for application submissions will be open until Nov. 30th.

November 6, 2018 - 2:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in BEST Center, GCC, business, news, Functional Area Review survey.
Press release:

The BEST Center at Genesee Community College is in the process of conducting a Functional Area Review (FAR) to help identify opportunities for improvement.

One of the most significant steps in this process is gathering feedback from our business and organization contacts about the quality, effectiveness and services we provide.

As a result, we are hoping you will take a couple minutes to complete a brief survey through Survey Monkey. Your input will be extremely valuable as we plan and prioritize our efforts moving forward. 

Here is the link to the Survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GFN6G5S

The BEST Center Survey will be open until Friday, Nov. 16th.

November 5, 2018 - 1:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in United Way, business, Announcements, news.

Submitted photo and press release:

United Way of Genesee County’s Board of Directors announced the selection of Tammy Hathaway as Executive Director. She will begin her duties Nov.19th.

Prior to joining United Way, she was employed as Account Executive at Tompkins Insurance Agencies and the Bank of Castile.

Erik Fix, former United Way of Genesee County Executive Director, announced his departure from the organization in September. Jennifer Gray has served as Interim Executive Director as United Way and the Genesee County Board of Directors performed a thorough search for the position.

Hathaway brings 17 years of experience working and volunteering in the non-profit and human service arena to the United Way of Genesee County. She previously conducted the PathStone Homebuyer Program as a part of Habitat for Humanity for Genesee County. Most recently, she has been an active United Way of Genesee County Board Member and has been a champion of the Genesee and Orleans Regional Arts Council, GO-ART!

“The Board of Directors is thrilled to welcome Tammy in this capacity," said Theresa DeMars, United Way of Genesee County Board chair. "Her experience and passion for the community makes her an ideal fit. We are looking forward to have Tammy grow the United Way of Genesee County and lead us into the future.”

United Way of Genesee County’s 2019 Campaign is underway, led by the Women of the Board.

For more information about United Way of Genesee County, please visit this website:  uwgeneseecounty.org

November 3, 2018 - 1:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Merrill Lynch, bank of america corp., batavia.

Submitted photo and press release:

John Riter, a Merrill Lynch advisor based in Batavia, was one of 12 employees recently honored with the 2018 David Brady award at a ceremony in New York for his outstanding client focus and overall commitment to the company and his community.

The award is named for David Brady, a financial advisor who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He was highly respected for putting the client first and giving back to his community.

The award that bears his name was created in 2007 and seeks to honor individuals within Bank of America Global Wealth and Investment Management who continue to emulate Brady’s ethos.

“The Bank of America family is made up of dedicated individuals who, like David, exemplify what it means to go ‘above and beyond’. This award not only immortalizes David’s legacy but also rewards employees such as John for their continuous hard work in meeting the needs of their clients, colleagues and communities,” said Paul Lehrman, market executive.

In 2008, Riter joined Merrill Lynch as a first vice president, financial advisor; he is currently the resident director of the Batavia office. John and his wife, Liz, have been married for 29 years. They live in Batavia and have two children, Mitch and Kathryn.

Bank of America Corporation 

Merrill Lynch is part of Bank of America Corporation. Merrill Lynch is a leading provider of comprehensive wealth management and investment services for individuals and businesses globally. With 14,838 financial advisors and $2.3 trillion in client balances as of Sept. 30, it is among the largest businesses of its kind in the world. Bank of America Corporation, through its subsidiaries, specializes in goals-based wealth management, including planning for retirement, education, legacy, and other life goals through investment, cash and credit management.

Within Merrill Lynch, the Private Banking and Investment Group focuses on the unique and personalized needs of wealthy individuals, families and their businesses. These clients are served by approximately 200 highly specialized private wealth advisor teams, along with experts in areas such as investment management, concentrated stock management and intergenerational wealth transfer strategies.

November 2, 2018 - 10:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, news, business, Ellicott Station, batavia.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a revised PILOT -- Payment In Lieu Of Taxes -- for the Ellicott Station development project and incentives for the construction of a spec building at the Gateway II Corporate Park in the Town of Batavia.

The Ellicott Station project in the City of Batavia is a mixed-use brownfield redevelopment project including adaptive reuse and new construction of a blighted property in a key gateway to Downtown Batavia.

The GCEDC Board approved a $22.5 million PILOT for Savarino Companies, the developer of the project, to meet the financing needed for the project’s expanded scope and scale. Incentives are an estimated $3.25 million, including property tax abatements and sales and mortgage tax exemptions.

When fully developed, Ellicott Station will create 68 full-time equivalent jobs and will include the construction of 99,000 square feet of brewery, restaurant and beer garden, a five-story apartment building with 55 apartments and class-A office space.

The Board approved an $18,000 mortgage tax exemption for Gateway GS, LLC for the first of five planned 27,000-square-foot spec buildings the company is building at the Gateway II Corporate Park in the Town of Batavia.

The $2.6 million project, which is being managed by Gallina Development Corporation, has previously received approval for property and sales tax exemptions.

November 2, 2018 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GGLDC, GCEDC, news, business.

Press release:

The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) approved a revised and consolidated loan and two purchase and sale agreements for parcels in the Gateway II Corporate Park at the corporation’s Nov. 1st board meeting.

Artisinal cheesemaker Yancey’s Fancy requested the revision and consolidation of a January 2017 loan for an expansion project at the company’s Town of Pembroke facility. A $233,449 loan from the GGLDC’s Revolving Loan Fund #2 will close out the fund in its entirety and will be consolidated with two outstanding loans totaling $340,000.

The GGLDC also approved the sale of a 22.2-acre parcel of land at the Gateway II Corporate Park in the Town of Batavia to Mega Properties Inc. which plans to build a 60,000-square-foot facility.  

Wellsville Carpet Town Inc. received approval from the GGLDC to purchase a 2.9-acre parcel of land also located in the Gateway II Corporate Park. Wellsville Carpet Town plans to construct a 15,000- to 20,000-square-foot facility for an outlet center at the site. A purchase and sale agreement set the land price at $45,000 per acre. The company owns Ashley HomeStore, a business also located in the Gateway II Corporate Park.

Both Mega Properties Inc. and Wellsville Carpet Town Inc. may seek incentives from the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) in the future.

November 2, 2018 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GGLDC, GCEDC, news, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) passed a budget for fiscal year 2019 at its board meeting on Nov. 1. The budget anticipates cash outflows of approximately $2.5 million.

“The mission of the GGLDC is to foster local economic development by making real estate development investments that prepare sites in Genesee County for new corporate tenants,” said Tom Felton, chairman of the GGLDC.

“The GGLDC also provides strategic investment funding to support the GCEDC’s ongoing economic development and workforce development programs.”

The anticipated 2019 expenditures of the GGLDC include operations and maintenance for the MedTech Centre building, site/corporate park maintenance, an economic development program support grant to the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), continuing to support a dedicated workforce development consultant, and professional services. 

Other significant items include: an $890,000 pass-through grant from the New York State Department of Transportation that furthers the ability of the tenants of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park (Ag Park) to access rail; $655,000 in debt service payments supporting development at the Ag Park and the MedTech Center campuses; as well as $352,000 in expenses related to wastewater treatment facility upgrades in the Village of Corfu in partnership with the Town of Pembroke, supporting the Buffalo East Technology Park. 

A major source of revenue is rent of $670,000 from the MedTech Centre facility. In addition, $205,000 will be received through the Empire Pipeline Community Benefit Agreement for the final payment of Ag Park bonding. Additional cash receipts will include $202,000 in principal and interest payments from several companies repaying loans made in previous years.

“The GGLDC will continue to actively market our shovel-ready parks in collaboration with the Genesee County Economic Development Center in 2019,” Felton said. “We have been working on a few projects that we anticipate will come to fruition by the end of 2019.”

October 30, 2018 - 5:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GGLDC, pembroke, business, news.

Press release:

The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) will consider approving a revised and consolidated loan as well as two purchase and sale agreements for parcels in the Gateway II Corporate Park at the agency’s board meeting Thursday, Nov. 1st.

Yancey’s Fancy has requested the revision and consolidation of a January 2017 loan for an expansion project at the company’s town of Pembroke facility. A $233,449 loan from the corporation’s Revolving Loan Fund #2 will close out the fund in its entirety. It would be consolidated with two outstanding GGLDC loans for a total of $340,000.

Mega Properties, Inc. is seeking to purchase a 22.2-acre parcel of land at the Gateway II Corporate Park in the town of Batavia in order to construct a 60,000-square-foot facility. The company owns Mega Properties Inc., which also is located at Gateway.

Wellsville Carpet Town Inc. also is seeking to purchase a parcel of land at the Gateway II Corporate Park. Wellsville Carpet Town plans to construct a 15,000- to 20,000-square-foot facility for an outlet center at the site on approximately 2.9 acres. A purchase and sale agreement set the land price at $45,000 per acre. The company owns Ashley HomeStore, a business also located in the Gateway II Corporate Park.

Both Mega Properties Inc. and Wellsville Carpet Town Inc. may seek incentives from the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) in the future.

October 30, 2018 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, Gateway II, batavia, GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider approving incentives for two projects at the agency’s Nov. 1st board meeting.

The Ellicott Station Project in the City of Batavia is a mixed-use brownfield redevelopment project including adaptive re-use and new construction of a blighted property in a key gateway to downtown Batavia.

Savarino Companies, the project’s developer, has requested a PILOT agreement for the $22.5 million project be expanded to meet the financing needed for the project’s expanded scope and scale. A revised incentives package is valued at an estimated $3.25 million, including a property tax abatements and sales and mortgage tax exemptions.

The Ellicott Station project is anticipated to create 68 full-time equivalent jobs, the construction of a 99,000-square-foot brewery, including a restaurant and beer garden, and the construction of a five-story apartment building with 55 apartments and class-A office space.

Gateway GS LLC is seeking an $18,000 mortgage tax exemption for the first of five planned 27,000-square-foot spec buildings to be constructed at the Gateway II Corporate Park in the town of Batavia.

The $2.6 million project, which is being done by Gallina Development Corporation, has previously received approval for property and sales tax abatements.

October 30, 2018 - 5:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Freightliner & Western Star of Batavia, business, batavia, news.

freighlinerconstucitonoct2018.jpg

We get a lot of questions about the construction project off of State Street next to the Thruway in Batavia.

The project is a new 30,000-square-foot warehouse and service center for Freightliner & Western Star of Batavia, LLC. The company is expanding beyond its current West Seneca location.

The company wanted a location close to the BOCES campus and plans to create at least 30 new jobs.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center approved $437,652 in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions for the $4.35 million project.

The project also received a $465,000 state grant because of the educational component of the facility.

October 30, 2018 - 5:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, friedman & ranzenhofer.

Submitted photo and press release:

Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC, a law firm with offices in Batavia, announced that Justin R. Friedman has been named an associate.

He will focus his practice on criminal defense and civil litigation.

Friedman earned his Juris Doctor degree from Catholic University Columbus School of Law, M.F.A. in Creative Writing from American University and B.A. from S.U.N.Y. Geneseo.

October 30, 2018 - 5:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fairfield inn, batavia, news, business, Gateway II.

fairfieldconstructionoct2018.jpg

Construction finally began just over a week ago on a new four-story, 64-room hotel on Federal Drive in the Gateway II project.

The hotel will be operated by Oakfield Hospitality LLC, a company headed by Ash Patel, and branded as a Fairfield Inn.

While Oakfield Hospitality acquired the property from Genesee County Economic Development Center, the project has not received any incentives from the IDA.

Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, said the new hotel will help bring more visitors to Batavia.

"The addition of the Fairfield Inn to Genesee County’s inventory of hotel properties adds one of the only large flagship chains – Marriott – not represented in our county," Turnbull said. "The familiarity of the Marriott name and the loyalty to its brand by its customers means even more people will be staying in Genesee County hotels.

"That means not only more revenue for the hotels but also from restaurants, retail shops and other ancillary businesses in our area. More tourism revenue also means more sales tax revenue from sources outside of the county, which should help reduce the burden on county taxpayers."

October 30, 2018 - 5:22pm
posted by Genesee Chamber... in River Spring Lodge, Darien, tourism, news, business.

Imagine the perfect weekend getaway. It’s comfortable, secluded, and your every need is anticipated and cared for. Most importantly, it’s easy to get to. In fact, it may even be in your backyard. Welcome to River Spring Lodge, located at 1961A Church Road in Darien Center.

About the Lodge & the Hamers

An executive retreat and country inn, River Spring Lodge is known for providing a high-end, luxury experience to its guests. Opened in 2016, the Lodge is owned by locals Dave and Carolyn Hamer. After working in hospitality around the world for 15 years, the Hamers returned to Western New York to bring their passion for good food and great lodging to this area.

Seven modern and comfortable rooms, a fully equipped conference room, and large dining room make up this beautiful country estate.  

Deeply influenced by French cuisine as a student at the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Dave is world-renowned and has cooked for an impressive list of A-listers and celebrities. Carolyn complements the team with touches that make the River Spring Lodge experience unique – greeting each guest with a warm welcome as they arrive and sending them off with her favorite treat, a chocolate chunk cookie, when they depart.

A Romantic Escape

Surrounded by the colors of autumn, the deep chill of winter snow, or the sights and sounds of spring – River Spring Lodge is a romantic escape year-round. Named as one of the "top 10 most romantic inns in the country" by iLoveInns.com, they offer a couple's escape that’s sure to keep the fires burning or reignite the spark. Relax, refresh and enjoy each other’s company while your every need is tended to. The package includes a four-course dinner, three-course breakfast, and a room of unrivaled luxury. 

Meals are crafted by Chef Dave himself, and meant to be savored -- never rushed. When you dine at the lodge, the table is yours for the evening. Decide to retire, and you’ll find goose down duvets, European shower rooms, heated floors for the colder months, and woodland or pond-side views from your private balcony or alcove. Wi-Fi and boosted cell phone coverage allow you to stay connected with the outside world, but why would you want to?

A Sportman’s Paradise

Romance isn’t the only package River Spring Lodge specializes in. The Sportsman Suite is a completely private space for hunters and fisherman, offering an exclusive steelhead fishing trip, as well as whitetail, turkey and pheasant hunts. Boasting four bedrooms and two full bathrooms along with a gun safe, poker table and darts, it’s truly a man’s world wrapped in a wilderness retreat. And man’s best friend is welcome to join the fun, as hunting dogs are allowed in the suite. All-inclusive packages are available in the warmer months.

Drop By & Dine In

If an incredible food experience is simply what you seek, you don’t have to stay the night to get it. The dining room serves four-course dinners from 5 until 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday to lodge guests and local diners alike. While it’s open for reservations, we recommend you make one early. Dave and Carolyn take comfort seriously, so your table is yours for the evening, or however long you wish.

Once you’re booked for the evening, start perusing the menu. Guests are requested to pre-order their meal 24 hours in advance – all part of the personalized experience – on a menu that changes regularly. Local produce is used in season, keeping fresh foods and first quality always top-of-mind.

Large groups (8-18) can make reservations for the Chef’s Table, located in an adjacent room for a completely immersive dining experience – or sometimes even in the kitchen itself.

Whether you’re looking for your next hunting adventure, board retreat, romantic getaway, or just a weekend away from it all, River Spring Lodge is the ultimate in luxury and comfort. Stop by, and let Dave and Carolyn welcome you to an experience you won’t soon forget.

For more information visit www.visitgeneseeny.com.

October 28, 2018 - 4:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Los Compadres, restaurants, batavia, news, business.

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You know you're in an authentic taqueria when you spot a sign next to the salsa roja warning the gringos, "Danger!"

Not every dish in a Mexican restaurant is spicy, of course, but if the discerning diner doesn't have the option to bite into something that bites back, then it's just not the real deal.

A bottle of Frank's Hot Sauce on the counter doesn't cut it.

"I think we are very very authentic," said Jose Castañeda, owner of the brand new Los Compadres at 40 Oak St., Batavia. "We serve tacos and pretty much that's what we do. We will be getting a liquor license, of course, in the near future.

(The U.S. colloquial translation of Los Compadres is "The Buddies.")

"We do try to be as authentic as we can. We have very good people, very good cooks and they take a lot of pride in what they do. I think that helps us to be successful."

During the first week of business, local residents have had no trouble finding Los Compadres, keeping the lunch and dinner hours busy, often with repeat customers, Castañeda said.

"Many people that we've served since we opened had come back three days in a row," Castañeda said.

The success isn't unexpected for Castañeda. This is the 10th Upstate Mexican restaurant the Batavia-resident has opened, including another Los Compadres in Evans Mills, near Ft. Drum, with the same menu, that has done very well.

"I would say that 90 percent of our customer base is military (at Los Compadres in Evans Mills)," Castañeda said. "They are very happy with the food there. We are a five-star restaurant there and we have a thousand reviews. Being that I'm a resident in Batavia and I wanted to do it here, too."

For those of us with experience eating at authentic taquerias, there are other good signs when you walk into Los Compadres, starting with the straightforward menu above the front counter, the Mexican pottery and artwork displayed in the dining area, a salsa bar so you can garnish your own tacos, and the drink dispenser serving Mexican favorites, the refreshing agua frescas -- horchata, tamarindo and jamaica.

On the menu, tacos, tortas, quesadillas, and tamales, with meat choices including pollo (chicken), carne asada (the main ingredient in an authentic Tijuana street taco), molida (ground beef), barbacoa (brisket), al pastor (pork with pineapple), chorizo (Mexican pork sausage), cesina (dry salted steak), lengua (tongue), camarones (shrimp), tripa (gut), taco baja (fried fish), taco compadres (fried shrimp).

One of the best things about Mexican food is it is inexpensive. Tacos range in price from $2.50 to $4.

Rice and refried beans on the side are only $1 each.

The tacos are served with corn tortillas, which is as it should be; though, if you want to go gringo with your tacos, you can order flour tortillas.

Castañeda staff takes the time with new customers who may have little experience with Mexican food to explain the difference between tacos, torts, quesadillas and tamales.

The secret to a restaurant's success, Castañeda said, isn't just the food, it's the customer service. Restaurants that fail often miss the mark with customer service, so he said he makes sure his staff provides great service.

Castañeda was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, which is in the north central area of the country, south of Monterrey, north of Guadalajara. His parents immigrated when he was a young child and their first jobs were picking cotton in Texas.

While he was still a child, they moved to Western New York for farm work. Near the end of his 10th-grade year, Castañeda dropped out of high school and took a job on a farm in Brockport.

When he was 16, he went to work for Craig Yunker at CY Farms.

"I've worked ever since," Castañeda said. "I worked for the farms and any farm work I did, I did with pride in everything I did. It didn't matter what I was doing, whether I was sweeping the floor or if I was operating a tractor, I put pride in my work. That's that was how I was raised."

Castañeda started in the cabbage fields at CY Farms, he said. It wasn't long before the Yunkers took notice of his worth ethic. He was made a tractor operator and then moved to pesticide management for Batavia Turf. By 2006, after learning every job of the operation, he became manager of Batavia Turf, a position he held until 2016 when he quit to give his full attention to his burgeoning restaurant empire.

Castañeda started in the food business after visiting a cabbage operation for CY Farms in Florida and spotting a food trailer serving migrant workers on the farm there.

"I was down there and I saw people coming to the farms and bringing the food to the migrant workers so I thought it's a great idea," Castañeda said. "At that time here in Genesee County there was none of that going on, so I went to Indiana and bought a trailer."

His wife, Karina, pretty much ran that business until six years ago when she became pregnant with their now 5-year-old son.

In 2014, he opened his first restaurant in Lockport.

He was working at this point more than 100 hours a week, starting at Batavia Turf at 4 a.m. and working until the early evening and then doing the books and paperwork for his restaurants at night.

"It was busy working on the farm and trying to manage the restaurant," Castañeda said. "I felt there was a good business. It was a lot of work but it was a good business."

Leaving CY Farms wasn't an easy decision, though Castañeda said it proved to be the right decision.

"My wife was opposed to it because I guess, we got so used to working on the farm and making a living," Castañeda said. "I was pretty much my own boss."

Castañeda and Karina have three children, Brenda, 24, Jocelyn, 17, and Jose Sebastian, 5. The family bought a home in the City of Batavia 15 years ago.

"My parents were migrant workers," said Castañeda, whose mother has returned to Mexico and whose father died 12 years ago. "They started picking cotton in Texas. We grew up very poor. Even when I got married to my wife back in 1993, we were very, very poor.

"I worked many hours on the farm. Still, we were barely getting by. But I think through years of hard work and persistence, I always had a dream to give my kids what I wasn't given."

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October 26, 2018 - 6:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in farm bureau, agriculture, business, news.

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Local farmers were warned Tuesday night at the Genesee County Farm Bureau's annual meeting at Terry Hills that there's a risk Republicans could lose control of the State Senate, which would be bad for Upstate rural residents speakers warned.

Dean Norton, director of public policy for the New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association, said if Democrats gain control of the Senate, to go along with their control of the governor's seat and the Assembly, things could get as bad or worse as 2009-2010, the last time the Democrats controlled both the executive and legislative branches of state government.

Norton was president of the New York Farm Bureau then.

During that era, the state redirected 30 percent of school funding to downstate schools, eliminated $60 million in local agency funding, which meant cuts to ag research, gutted the Environmental Protection Fund for Upstate; and if not for five rural Democrats who voted no, would have passed a farm labor bill that would have greatly increased the costs of farming in New York.

"You think a $15 an hour minimum wage is going to be hitting," Norton said. "It's going to be higher."

Regardless of what Gov. Andrew Cuomo says, Norton said, he is no friend of rural communities.

Chris Laughton, director of knowledge exchange for Farm Credit East (bottom picture), the night's keynote speaker, also expressed concern that New York will lose the benefit of a divided government.

"One could argue that there is value in having a divided government and one party can keep the other in check," Laughton said. "The State Senate is up for grabs and could shift parties pretty easily and that could bring urban lawmakers more to the forefront in policy discussions."

Most of Laughton's talk about was about national issues affecting farmers.

The mid-terms are coming up, he noted, and his prediction is that Republicans lose seats in the house but maintain a narrow majority.

The farm bill expired Sept. 30 and Congress has not passed a replacement. Funding for SNAP (food stamps) and crop insurance continues but many other USDA programs come to a halt for the time being.

A Senate version of the farm bill passed by the largest margin in many years but the House version barely got through and it is drastically different from the Senate version. The House version raises the work requirements for SNAP recipients, which is a big reason it has no Democratic support.

Trade remains a big issue for farmers.

Soon there will be tariffs on every import from China and China is retaliating, especially against agriculture. 

Trade between the United States, Mexico, and Canada has more than tripled since 1995 when NAFTA was ratified. For U.S. farmers, it's meant an increase in exports in corn, dairy, and pork, with more fruit and vegetables being imported into the United States.

The new agreement, which hasn't been approved yet, doesn't change much, with a slight change coming for dairy.

Canada is eliminating its Class 6 and Class 7 pricing. The primary benefit is that Canada will no longer undercut the U.S. price on these classes of milk products in global markets.

Canada's supply management system remains in place. The United States had access to 1.5 percent of the Canadian market. That will increase to 3 percent.

“So our access to the market is still fairly limited but it is an increase," Laughton said. "It’s not a small market for us. We exported more than 600 pounds from four states into Canada last year and it could increase our exports by about 200 billion pounds at least."

"The effect on U.S. prices is still unclear," he said. "It's certainly not going to help us in the short term."

During a Q&A after his talk, in response to the overall health of the dairy market, Laughton said, "I think prices are going to get better and margins are going to get better, but it’s going to be a slow climb."

To offset agriculture losses from tariffs, the Federal government is delivering billions in subsidies. Much of that will be in the form of price supports but the Federal government is also going to purchase $1.2 billion in commodities for nutrition programs. There will also be $200 million spent to promote exports.

Top Photo: John Sobello, state board of directors, right, presents the New York Farm Bureau membership trophy to Christian Yunker, Genesee County Farm Bureau president, to recognize the local chapter's membership efforts in 2018. Criteria for the award include member retention and new member sign-ups.

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