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December 5, 2019 - 1:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Center Street Smokehouse, business, batavia.


Restaurants come and go. It's a tough business. But some endure and among those is Center Street Smokehouse, which has been a staple of the downtown dining scene in Batavia for 20 years.

In 2000, Paul, his brother Scott and friend Tommy Freeman bought at auction an old newspaper building that had been vacant for years and was in a sad, dilapidated state and renovated it, turning it into a Southern-hospitality, retro-themed eatery.

"It's been an interesting trip," Paul said. "We've got a loyal fan base and we've been improving things year after year after year so people keep coming back."

As downtown's business base has slowly grown over the past two decades, Center Street has been in the thick of it.

"It's nice to be right in the middle of the city," Paul said. "People can move around downtown and get more of a city experience."

The restaurant opened 20 years ago on Dec. 7 and to celebrate, on Sunday (Dec. 8), draft beers are $1, beef ribs, $6, half chicken, $4, and a hamburger is just $1.

"These prices are not a misprint," Paul notes in a flier he made for the event, and the prices only last on Sunday while supplies last. The hours are from 4 to 8 p.m.

The celebration will last all of 2020, Paul said, with monthly specials throughout the year.

December 3, 2019 - 4:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in Charles Schumer, agriculture, business, industrial hemp.

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced today that following his major push, the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), in tandem with the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, have confirmed the legality of banks and other financial institutions extending services and products to industrial hemp-oriented businesses and farms.

Schumer explained that without access to traditional financial services, local farmers and the industrial hemp industry across Upstate New York had been unfairly restricted on capital investment, preventing further economic growth and the creation of good-paying jobs, and choking off valuable income for farmers.

Lack of Awareness By Lending Institutions

Schumer said the lack of awareness by lending institutions about the legality of industrial hemp had created an unwarranted murkiness around the legality of financing hemp-oriented businesses — and that new guidance was urgently needed.

With that now cleared up, the industrial hemp industry can continue to seed and grow across Upstate New York.

“This is a strong step in the right direction to boost the growth of the industrial hemp industry, and I am glad federal regulators, including the Fed, heeded my call to provide clarity to banks that industrial hemp is fully legal and their member banks are free to lend to farmers and producers," Schumer said.

"Now that the feds have issued to lenders updated guidance clarifying hemp’s legality as a crop, the industry will really start to take root and grow. I fought so hard to strip the burdensome and outdated federal regulations from industrial hemp because of all the good it can do for our farmers, our economy and our consumers. Today’s updated financial guidance related to industrial hemp means that we’re one big step closer to the complete emergence of a job-creating, economy-boosting industry across New York State.”

No More 'Suspicious Activity Reports' for Industrial Hemp-oriented Businesses

Specifically, the Fed, FDIC, FinCEN and OCC announced that under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks will no longer have to file Suspicious Activity Reports for industrial hemp-oriented businesses seeking to attain loans or other services. Schumer explained that this will significantly increase the likelihood that these businesses receive financial services, and help the industry continue growing and creating good-paying jobs for New Yorkers.

Schumer explained that since the 2018 Farm Bill removed the federal regulatory shackles from industrial hemp production, manufacturing, and selling, New York’s industrial hemp industry has started to grow significantly, with new farms and businesses emerging and existing ones expanding operations. This has brought considerably more good-paying jobs and revenue to Upstate New York, making industrial hemp a critical new part of the state’s agricultural future.

That being said, as industrial hemp farmers and businesses are exploring the full benefits of the 2018 Farm Bill, they have experienced serious difficulty accessing financial products with regulatory uncertainty at financial institutions. While some companies have agreed to offer financial services to the growing hemp industry, many have not due to confusion over the crop’s legal status.

The Schumer-backed Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was introduced by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). It passed and was signed into law as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

This legislation:

  • Removes industrial hemp from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act;
  • Empowers states to be the principal regulators of hemp;
  • Allows hemp researchers to apply for competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); 
  • And makes hemp farmers eligible to apply for crop insurance.

Industrial hemp is a type of cannabis plant that is grown largely for industrial uses, but it can also be used for food, oil, and cosmetic products.

The Roadblock of a Spec of THC Lifted

Hemp contains a very small amount, typically between 0.2 and 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and while from the same species of plant as marijuana, it has varied widely in use. However, due to the existence of THC in hemp, Schumer explained, both plants were considered “controlled substances” under federal law, meaning the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was the primary regulator for hemp production.

Schumer argued that this narrow view has undermined the crop’s agricultural and economic potential.

With the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 passed by Congress and signed into law last year, this unnecessary roadblock has been lifted, and industrial hemp’s significant potential to become a cash crop in Upstate New York will be unleashed.

November 27, 2019 - 1:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Alabama, GCEDC, STAMP.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) recently participated in Semicon Europa, the largest European semiconductor industry event connecting leaders across the advanced manufacturing world and related supply chains. 

Director of Marketing and Communications Jim Krencik represented the GCEDC and the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP) at the event, which was held in Munich, Germany Nov. 12th through Nov. 15th.

More than 8,000 industry professionals participated in the conference. Krencik participated in the event as part of the New York Love Nanotech pavilion, which included representatives from Empire State Development’s Strategic Business Division, SUNY POLY/NY CREATES, AIM Photonics, site developers, and New York-based supply chain companies, with the support of National Grid.

While connecting with representatives of semiconductor industry companies from North America, Europe, and Asia, Krencik was able to tout many of WNY STAMP’s assets, such as low-cost hydropower, site infrastructure development, and the availability of top-end talent in the region.

“New York State has proven to be an ideal location for the industries represented at Semicon Europa,” Krencik said. “The assets available at Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park provide a ready source for the growth of the semiconductor industry and advanced manufacturing in our region.”

Located in Alabama, Genesee County, WNY STAMP is a 1,250-acre campus connecting New York’s second- and third-largest metropolitan areas, and developed to best serve the needs of advanced manufacturing projects. Ongoing site development will enable WNY STAMP to achieve full capabilities of 485-megawatts electric capacity and 11-million gallons per day of water capacity.

November 27, 2019 - 1:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in Basom, hemp, business, agriculture.

Press release:

Standing at Gina and Terry Miller’s Organic Hemp Farm in Albion, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, flanked by farmers and industry experts, today called on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend the comment period for a proposed interim final rule that presents a number of potential problems and challenges to the rapidly emerging and growing industrial hemp industry in Orleans County, Genesee County and throughout the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region.

Schumer urged the USDA to listen to these concerns from growers and producers and to make improvements to the final rule. Last month, he visited the Mills Family Farm on Ham Road in Basom to get input from local farmers.

Specifically, Schumer expressed his concern over USDA’s proposed "Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program," which was published on Oct. 31st of this year. Schumer explained that he’s been approached by farmers, producers and stakeholders from across the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region who have concerns that the proposed regulations regarding the sampling and testing of hemp are imprecise, not fully reflective of farmers’ challenges, and could have a seriously negative impact on the fledgling industry, stunting growth and the creation of good-paying jobs.

Industrial hemp is a type of cannabis plant that is grown largely for industrial uses, but it can also be used for food, oil, and cosmetic products.

Schumer argued that given the new nature of this industry and the economic potential it holds, USDA should extend the comment period for the "Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program" interim final rule, and improve the regulations, to ensure that farmers and the public have ample time to submit comments to help guide the best possible final rule for establishing the hemp program.

“When it comes to an industry as promising as industrial hemp in the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region, the feds need to get it right the first time, and not rush to any reckless regulatory decisions. Regulating this rapidly-emerging industry is a must, but any rules must be part of a well-thought-out process that carefully considers the needs of all stakeholders—from farmers and growers to producers and manufacturers,” Senator Schumer said.

“That’s why today I’m urging USDA to extend the comment period for its proposed final rule on hemp production to ensure that farmers, growers and producers have ample time to provide input and have their concerns listened to and that a meaningful part of these concerns is integrated into the final rule.

"These hemp experts have serious fears about how this proposed rulemaking could impose unrealistic or poorly thought out rules, restrict their industry, cut-off growth and stop the creation of good-paying jobs. So, it is incumbent on USDA, the chief agricultural regulators in the United States, to hear them out and make improvements to the final regulations that are balanced and smart.”

Schumer explained that the proposed rule, which is a necessary step to support domestic industrial hemp production, potentially includes regulations that could have harmful effects on hemp production in Upstate New York and the entire nation. The comment period for the proposed "Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program" began on Oct. 31 and is set to end on Dec. 31st of this year.

However, Schumer argued, with stakeholders having such serious and valid concerns about the rule, it is critical that they have adequate time to submit their comments on it. Therefore, Schumer strongly urged USDA to extend the public comment period by 60 days, so that growers and producers have ample time to make their case—and so it can be thoroughly reviewed and analyzed to best address the concerns of hemp producers throughout Upstate New York.

Schumer pointed to a few provisions under the proposed "Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program" final rule that farmers and producers have expressed their concerns over, specifically related to the timeframe for sampling and testing of industrial hemp, the lack of available places to do this testing, the guidelines for THC level testing, and the restrictiveness for retesting if the threshold for THC exceeds allowable levels.

For example, under the rule, producers would have a 15-day timeframe for the harvesting, sampling and testing of crops. However, Schumer explained, since this testing typically takes 5-6 business days alone, the proposed final rule creates a tight turnaround and affords farmers very little leeway in the prescribed timeline.

Furthermore, Schumer explained the short 15-day window may be further hindered by the potential scarcity of DEA-registered laboratories in state, to perform testing in a timely manner. Additionally, Schumer said the current draft regulations do not afford any provisions for growers to salvage or retest crops that initial tests exceed the established .03 THC threshold. Crop insurance, which is often difficult to procure, still affords no protections for most farmers in these circumstances.

Other concerns highlighted by Schumer pertain to the sampling methodology to determine accurate THC levels.

Hemp contains a very small amount, typically between 0.2 and 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and while from the same species of plant as marijuana, it has varied widely in use. However, due to the existence of THC in hemp, Schumer explained, both plants were considered “controlled substances” under federal law, meaning the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was the primary regulator for hemp production.

Schumer argued that this narrow view has undermined the crop’s agricultural and economic potential. With the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 passed by Congress and signed into law last year, this unnecessary roadblock has been lifted, and industrial hemp’s significant potential to become a cash crop in Upstate New York will be unleashed.

The Schumer-backed Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was introduced by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). It passed and was signed into law as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

This legislation:

  • Removed industrial hemp from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act;
  • Empowered states to be the principal regulators of hemp;
  • Allowed hemp researchers to apply for competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); and
  • Made hemp farmers eligible to apply for crop insurance.
November 26, 2019 - 2:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, celebrate agriculture dinner.

Press release:

Plans are already underway for the 18th annual Celebrate Agriculture Dinner, which will take place Saturday, April 18 at 6 p.m. at the Alexander Fire Hall. This annual event is a celebration of Genesee County’s agriculture industry.

The highlight of the night is a delicious meal using locally produced foods prepared by Penna’s Catering. The dinner is open to the public.

Tickets go on sale Dec. 2 at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce (8276 Park Road, Batavia). Tickets are $30 each or a table of 10 can be purchased for $275. Sponsorships are also available which help support agriculture educational events in Genesee County.

Only 400 tickets will be sold. Order your tickets now as they will not be available at the door.

The Celebrate Ag Dinner is coordinated by the following partners: Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District and Genesee County Farm Bureau.

Sponsors of the 2019 celebration included: Alexander Equipment, Alleghany Farm Services, Arctic Refrigeration, Baskin Livestock Inc., Carolina Eastern Crocker, CPL, CY Farms/Batavia Turf, Farm Credit East, Farm Family Insurance, Freed Maxick CPA, Lamb Farms, Lawley, My-T Acres, National Grid, NY Pork Producers Cooperative, OXBO International, Rochester Regional Health -- UMMC, Scott Adams Trucking, Senator Ranzenhofer, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Torrey Farms, William Kent Inc. and Windy Acres Farm.

Farms and businesses that donated locally grown food for the 2019 dinner included: Dairy Farmers of America, Dorman Farms, Fenton’s Produce, Love Beets Inc., M-B Farms, New York Chips, O-AT-KA Milk, SJ Starowitz Farms, Torrey Farms, Upstate Niagara Co-op. and Yancey’s Fancy.

For ticket information contact the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce at 585-343-7440 or email Kelly Bermingham: [email protected].

November 26, 2019 - 1:35pm

From Mike Bakos, market 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, our 2019 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 and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from mid-June through the last Friday of October.

This year marked the fourth 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 visit 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 2020 Market. The Market is committed to its 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."

We’re hoping to be back again next June with fresh, locally grown produce… providing the residents of the greater-Batavia area with a market that dovetails nicely with Batavia’s developing Healthy Living Campus. We wish you a wonderful and safe holiday season.

Comments/inquiries regarding the Market are welcomed at the Genesee Country Farmers' Market's Facebook page or by emailing [email protected].

November 26, 2019 - 12:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, AtWork Group, batavia, staffing franchise.

Press release:

AtWork Group, one of the nation's largest and fastest-growing staffing franchises, announced today the addition of a new office in Batavia, located at 29 Liberty St., Suite 207. It offers staffing solutions for the communities of the greater Batavia area and Genesee County.

The new branch will be led by Steve Ferraro, someone who is no stranger to working in Genesee County. Ferraro has been in the staffing industry for more than 28 years and manages multiple offices and on-site locations throughout the Western New York area. He also owns another AtWork location in Rochester.


He and his team are eager to work with the surrounding companies and community. They pride themselves on treating everyone fairly and with respect while providing the best service possible. 

"We are excited to see AtWork continue to expand in a city rich with culture and history," said Jason Leverant, president and COO of AtWork Group. "Batavia is also one of the best staffing markets and we're eager to bring our best-in-industry service to the area.

"By coupling a strong, local franchise owner with the experience, tools and resources of AtWork's national franchise network, clients and associates alike will be able to quickly realize why AtWork has been named a Best of Staffing award winner for multiple and consecutive years."

The new offices will provide staffing assistance to general staffing, production and clerical for temp, temp to hire and direct hire. The business may be reached at (585) 250-4198.

AtWork Group was recently ranked in: Forbes' America's Best Executive Recruiting Firms and America's Best Professional Recruiting Firms, Staffing Industry Analysts' (SIA) Largest Staffing Firms, Entrepreneur Magazine's Franchise 500®, Franchise Times' Fast & Serious, Franchise Times' Top 200+ and Inc. Magazine's Inc. 5000.   

For more information please visit https://www.atwork.com

About AtWork Group 

It is an industry leading staffing franchise, based in Knoxville, Tenn. Providing temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire services across industries, AtWork specializes in three lines of service – AtWork Personnel, AtWork Medical and AtWork Search.

There are locations across 27 states, with the goal to reach 325 by 2029. AtWork franchisees execute region-based decisions that make a difference in their local economies to strengthen their communities. The company facilitated 50,000 hires last year.

For more information about franchise opportunities, visit www.AtWorkfranchise.com.

November 26, 2019 - 12:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in Tops Friendly Markets, batavia, Le Roy, business.

Press release:

Tops Friendly Markets, a leading full-service grocery retailer in New York, Northern Pennsylvania, and Vermont, was pleased to conduct its annual Tops Years of Service recognition program earlier this month.

Currently in its 23rd year, the Tops Years of Service recognition program celebrates the dedication and loyalty of our long-term associates.

To honor their many years of service, each associate who reached a 5-year milestone beginning at 25 years were invited to a celebration dinner where they were recognized for their years of service by the Executive Committee and members of Tops leadership team.

This year, Tops recognized a total of 283 associates reaching 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 year anniversaries for a grand total of 9,065 years of service.

A total of 10 honorees work at the Tops Friendly Markets in Le Roy and Batavia.

The two Le Roy store employees recognized were:

  • David Remington -- 25 years 
  • Tim Brigham -- 25 years

The eight Batavia store employees recognized were:

  • David Priolo -- 40 years 
  • Ann Marie Nichols -- 35 years 
  • Carol Merrick -- 30 years
  • Tina Wolff -- 30 years
  • Cathy Buckland -- 30 years
  • Kathleen Goras -- 30 years
  • Tammy Bickle -- 30 years
  • Lee Skellon -- 25 years

Regional events were held in Buffalo at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens and in Rochester at Casa Larga Vineyards. Honorees were able to reminisce with their colleagues, as well as enjoy festivities including a compilation of memorable moments submitted be honorees, commemorative photos of the evening, a souvenir program containing honoree bios, photos, and other memorabilia, and a gift for each honoree.

"At Tops we believe in recognizing those associates who have made a long-term commitment to the grocery business, to one another, and more importantly to our company," said John Persons, president and chief operating officer for Tops Friendly Markets.

"As a locally owned and operated company based in Western New York, we take great pride in ensuring our valued associates are provided with the right tools to grow and succeed through scholarships, health improvement programs, and career advancement opportunities."

Do you have a passion for food? So do we! Join the 28th largest supermarket chain in the country and do what you love every day -- all while learning new skills, honing your craft, and growing as a leader.  From various positions throughout our stores to warehouse opportunities and more, we just may have the perfect match for you!

To learn more about the great opportunities that await you at your neighborhood Tops visit https://www.topsmarkets.com/Careers/

November 25, 2019 - 6:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Big Pauly's, business, batavia.


After 35 years in the pizza business, 15 years as an owner, Paul Berardini, owner of Big Pauly's Pizza in Batavia, has decided it's time to stop tossing dough and do something else with his life.

He's sold his business to his manager, Angela Cinquino. She opens Cinquino Pizza at the same location on Ellicott Street next week.

In a way, the business has come full circle. Berardini's first job was in the pizza shop of Cinquino's father.

"My father had a pizzeria when I was a kid so (the pizza business) is kind of in our family our whole lives and I figured since my father passed away 15 years ago so I could just bring back the tradition," Cinquino said.

At 50 years old, Berardini said he's had enough of the grind of running his own restaurant.

"I haven't had a vacation in three years," Berardini said. "I've worked every night and weekend for 35 years. I have worked on holidays. I've worked Christmas Eve, Super Bowls. It's gonna be nice to just relax."

He said Cinquino is going to do a great job.

"She knows everybody that comes to the door," Bernardini said. "She has her customer base and they love her. They're excited. They're excited for her.  ... I think she'll do very well and she will be the second female pizza owner in town. I think that's also good for business, too. You know, as a woman in business, in a pizzeria, it's not a hot dog cart. This is big business."

Cinquino said she's developing her own logo and new signs will be out soon. She's changing the decor of the restaurant but all of the recipes will remain the same. She might expand the menu but nothing will be removed, she said. She's also keeping all of Pauly's staff and she will get more help from her family.

As for Berardini, he'll see what comes next.

"I made it 15 years as a business owner in Batavia I just decided to try something different," Berardini said. "I mean, I obviously have to work. You know, this isn't a Mark Zuckerberg deal where I'm going to make $50 billion. I still have to work. But, you know, this helps me clear up some debt and move on to another chapter of my life."

November 25, 2019 - 4:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, business, batavia, Della Penna Building, notify.


Developer Sam Savarino heads into the holiday season optimistic that once the weather clears in the spring he will finally be able to begin construction on Ellicott Station -- the restaurant/brewery, apartment, and office complex on the former Della Penna and Santy properties on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia.

Savarino said within days, once the application window is open, Savarino Companies will submit an application for funding assistance to the state's Home and Community Renewal agency and he expects a determination to be reached in January sometime.

It was good news last week, he said, when he learned that the Department of Environmental Conservation had opened public comment period for expedited remediation of environmental contamination at the sites.

Work will begin with cleanup of contamination followed by demolition of a portion of the main Della Penna building (the front part) and the rest of the buildings on the two sites. Then construction of the restaurant and brewery for Resurgence Brewing Company in Buffalo will begin.

If all goes according to schedule, the total project -- including office space and 55 apartments -- will be completed in October 2021.

There's a significant change in the funding plan. Savarino initially intended to finance the $19 million project (now $1.4 million more than the earlier estimates) using a federal program known as the New Market Tax Credit, where investors could get a tax break for backing the project.

Savarino said the timing of the project no longer favors using the New Market Tax Credit program.

He said, "a lot more of my money" is going into the construction of the multi-use complex to ensure the project is fully financed.

November 22, 2019 - 5:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ken's Charcoal Pits, batavia, downtown, business, notify.


The owner of Bourbon & Burger Co. and The Coffee Press, Derek Geib, has acquired Ken's Charcoal Pits from local businessman Ken Mistler.

"Essentially, Kenny was just at the point where he wanted to sell and I was at the point where it made sense," Geib said.

What attracted Geib to the property was its location and its unique amenities, such as a first-class downstairs banquet facility, a brick pizza oven, an outdoor, all-season patio, and the walk-in food counter at the front of the building.

"Kenny's put a ridiculous amount of money and time into this location," Geib said. "It's got access on Main Street and from the parking lot, beautiful downstairs banquet space, the outdoor patio, which is unlike any other in Batavia. I mean, he's got one-of-kind pizza, the charcoal pit that's in the front. There was just there's so much potential in this space and in Kenny's put it in a position to be very successful."

Mistler purchased the building a few months after the former South Beach Restaurant closed its doors suddenly in 2009. He operated the restaurant as South Beach for a short time and then changed the name to City Slickers. About a year ago, he changed the name to Ken's Charcoal Pits.

Geib isn't ready to announce the new name of the restaurant and said that while the main restaurant menu will change, the pizza and charcoal pits will remain the same.

"We'd like to have this all done early next year, which is very aggressive," Geib said.

Mistler owns several other downtown properties, including the former Genesee Bank building at Jackson and Main and the former Carr's building. We couldn't reach him late this afternoon for comment but Geib said Mistler will still be around. He's offered to continue to help with the business and he enjoys cooking pizza.




November 22, 2019 - 2:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, batavia, business, notify.


There's some progress to report on the development of Ellicott Station though the finish line for the project isn't yet clearly in sight.

This week, the Department of Environmental  Conservation opened a public comment period for an expedited cleanup of contamination at the Ellicott Station Site, 40-52 Ellicott St., which is part of the Brownfield Cleanup Program. 

The comment period is open through Dec. 20. 

City Manager Martin Moore explained this afternoon that the fact that the DEC has opened an expedited comment period means that the developer, Savarino Companies, has requested permits for the cleanup work, which the DEC states will take place this winter.  

Still pending for Savarino is the final piece of the puzzle of a complex financing plan that includes support from Homes and Community Renewal, a state agency. 

An application for assistance was turned down last year and the application process this year ends in December. It's unclear how long it will take for Savarino to get a response on the application.

"To his credit," Moore said, "he hired a consultant experienced in working with Homes and Community Renewal."

Sam Savarino did not respond to a text message sent to him earlier today asking for an update on the project.

The vast majority of financing for the $17.6 million project will come from private funds, either Savarino's own money or investment by private institutions individuals through the New Markets Tax Credit Program. To be financially viable on a brownfield site in an economically distressed neighborhood, the project needs state assistance and tax abatements through the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Once completed, Ellicott Station is expected to add 68 full-time equivalent jobs in the community and will include the construction of 99,000 square feet of brewery, restaurant and beer garden, plus a five-story apartment building with 55 apartments and office space.

For previous coverage, click here. For details on the site cleanup and the public comment period, click here (pdf).

November 22, 2019 - 2:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, bank of castile.

Press release:

Tompkins Bank of Castile is receiving a prestigious Silver Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Buffalo District Office for approving more than $5 million in small business loans from Oct. 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2019, supporting 345 jobs in the local community.

“This level of activity is a clear indication of Tompkins Bank of Castile’s commitment to our local small business community,” said Franklin J. Sciortino, SBA district director. “SBA relies on its lending partners to provide much needed capital to our small businesses.”

Tompkins Bank of Castile is celebrating a remarkable 150 years of supporting the communities where it operates. Based in Batavia, the bank serves the GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties) region and beyond in Rochester and most recently, an expanded presence in Buffalo with its Amherst location.

“Tompkins is proud to support the communities we serve through small business lending,” said John McKenna, president and CEO. “We are grateful to our partners at the SBA for this recognition and plan to build on our long history of community investment in the years to come.”

The award is tentatively scheduled to be presented on Dec. 12.

About Tompkins Bank of Castile

Tompkins Bank of Castile is a community bank with 15 offices in the six-county Western New York region. Services include complete lines of consumer deposit accounts and loans, business accounts and loans, and leasing.

In addition, insurance is offered through an affiliate company, Tompkins Insurance Agencies. Wealth management, trust and investment services are provided through Tompkins Financial Advisors. Further information about the bank is available here.

November 22, 2019 - 12:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ken Barrett Chevrolet Cadillac, batavia, business.


In 1994, Ken Barrett and partner Virgil Austin purchased a Chevrolet dealership with seven decades of service to the residents of Genesee County and yesterday, Barrett, along with representatives of General Motors, celebrated the 25th anniversary of Ken Barrett Chevrolet Cadillac.

On hand to present Barrett with the dealership's 25-year awards were Natalie Taylor, Chevrolet zone manager, Dan Oldham, district after-sales manager, and Weston Lee, district sales manager.

Today, Ken Barrett's employs 41 people.

The roots of the dealership go back to Mancuso Motors in the 1920s when the Mancuso family operated the dealership where T.F. Brown's and Mancuso Lanes are now. In the 1960s, the dealership was relocated to West Main Street, the current location of Ken Barrett's, and became Batavia Motors.  

Dave Heinrich Sr. purchased the dealership from the Mancuso family in 1990. Four years later he sold it to Barrett and Austin. Austin passed in 2013 at age 93. Barrett said Austin continued to work up until a few months before he died.

In 2003, Barrett's built a new showroom and over the years expanded its collision center from 4,400 square feet to more than 16,500 square feet, with the most recent upgraded completed in 2011.

Ken Barrett said it's great to hit the 25-year milestone.

"You know, don't use a rearview mirror, so everything is looking forward," Barrett said. "I have absolutely no regrets. There's a lot of unanticipated challenges between the regulations and the pace of change, which we all deal with. I've been very fortunate. I should say, we've been very fortunate that we've been able to have an exceptional staff.

"And by and large, they cared deeply for the customers. They worked well together. There's a real sense of teamwork. And if, heaven forbid, a ball gets dropped, usually somebody else is right there to pick it up."

This year is also the 25th anniversary of the Salvation Army/WBTA/Ken Barrett Toy Drive, which is Dec. 13. Barrett said the dealership has contributed more than $500,000 to local organizations and charities over the years.

"We are firm believers in supporting the community that supports us," Barrett said.

November 19, 2019 - 3:08pm

Press release:

Genesee Community College Foundation is proud to announce that Tompkins Financial, one of the community's leading financial services companies, is the Benefactor Sponsor of "Encore: An Evening of Elegance," which is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. in the Richard C. Call Arena at GCC's Batavia Campus.

The proceeds from Encore, the Foundation's premiere fundraising event, directly benefit the scholarship program at Genesee Community College.

Scholarships recognize academic excellence, keep talented students within the GLOW community, ease financial hardships for students and prepare students for careers in occupations that are critical to this region's growth.

"Tompkins is pleased to be the lead sponsor of this important event and to celebrate the importance of GCC to our community, and its students as our future leaders," said David S. Boyce, Tompkins Insurance president and CEO.

Since its inception nearly 30 years ago, Encore has provided a fun and festive opportunity for the community to gather in the fine spirit of the holiday to raise funds for student scholarships. In 2018, the Foundation awarded more than $145,000 in scholarships to GCC students in financial need.

This year's event is co-chaired by Mary Blevins and Jenna Holota.

With guests wearing their stylish cocktail attire, "An Evening of Elegance" includes the following:

  • Cocktail Hour with DSP Jazz Trio (6 p.m.)
  • Dinner Reception with sensational food stations (7:15 p.m.)
  • Holiday Favorites and Pop Music by Nik and the Nice Guys (8-10 p.m.)
  • Delectable Desserts (8:30 p.m.)

Tickets cost:

  • $1,000 -- Holiday Chord Circle (for six tickets)
  • $600 -- Golden Guitar (for four tickets)
  • $300 -- Inner Circle (for two tickets)
  • $100 -- Platinum Patron (single ticket)

Tickets to attend Encore 2019 are on sale now here, or through the Foundation Office at (585) 345-6809, or [email protected].

November 15, 2019 - 12:25pm

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today (Nov. 15) released a report detailing how the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Market Facilitation Program (MFP) has treated Upstate farmers unfairly—and launched a new effort to restore parity to the system.

The MFP is designed to reimburse the farms that have been damaged by the turbulent trade climate across the globe, and has distributed $25 billion in mitigation payments to help farmers recover in recent months.

However, Schumer explained, this funding was distributed unevenly, sending 95 percent of the top payment rates to Southern farmers, who have been harmed less than other regions, and helping farms owned by billionaires and foreign-owned companies.

To address this disparity that is negatively impacting Upstate farmers, who are in dire need of assistance, Schumer urged USDA to improve the MFP to better support small New York farmers.

“This report shows that as Upstate farmers are grappling with extreme uncertainty caused by the chaotic global trade climate, USDA is using a flawed formula that helps big, wealthy farms and billion-dollar foreign-owned companies, while our small and family farms in New York have been left in the dust,” Senator Schumer said.

“The USDA must stop picking winners and losers in such an unbalanced way, and instead ensure all of America’s and Upstate New York’s farmers get the help they need and deserve—not just a lucky few.”

Farmers across New York State are being treated unfairly in many ways, including:

  • Farmers in New York are receiving $41.10 less per acre than farmers in Georgia and other Southern states;
  • Even within New York the difference in payments from county to county can be significant and cause similar farms to get vastly different payments. For example, Orleans County has a payment rate of $48 per acre, yet Warren County has a rate of $15 per acre. For an average-sized farm this is a difference in payments of $9,936 and $3,105 for Upstate farms that likely have very similar growing conditions;
  • At a county level, the average payment rate in New York was $28 per acres. However, many counties in Southern states received the maximum payment rate of $150 per acre. With more than 33,400 farms across New York, averaging about 207 acres each, NY farmers would receive a payment of about $5,796, while the same sized farm in one of these other Southern counties would receive $31,050(delta: $25,254).
  • USDA currently ignores any trade damage not related to its own chaotic trade actions and largely shuts out Upstate New York’s specialty crops from direct assistance.
  • Instead of taking steps to support small and beginning operations, USDA doubled the payment limit for row crop payments from $125,000 to $250,000. This change will concentrate payments even more in the large complicated farming conglomerates.
  • Rather than using current production numbers, USDA based payments to dairy farmers on data that are 6 to 8 years old.

In the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill, Congress provided balanced support to help farmers manage market instability across the country and provided permanent support for USDA export market development programs.

Schumer raised concerns that the administration’s policy upends this careful compromise, replaces income from markets with government payments, creates vast inequities, and does not address the actual trade damage to farmers who have been hit the hardest.

NY County

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    November 14, 2019 - 1:16pm

    Press release:

    Financial services firm Edward Jones ranks highest in investor satisfaction with full-service brokerage firms, according to the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study (SM), the firm recently announced.

    The study measures overall investor satisfaction with 18 full-service investment firms based on eight factors, including financial advisor, account information, investment performance, firm interaction, product offerings, commissions and fees, information resources, and problem resolution. The firm scored 853 in overall satisfaction, 18 points over the industry average.

    "What a great honor it is to be recognized for what matters most, which is making a difference in the lives of our clients," said Edward Jones Managing Partner Penny Pennington. "We illustrate the value of the Edward Jones client experience every day and help our clients achieve financially what is most important to them. We can bring something truly special to clients who experience us. This is why we exist."

    Edward Jones ranked highest in investor satisfaction by J.D. Power in 2015 (tied), 2012, 2010, 2009, 2007-2005, and in a tie in 2002, when the study began.

    The 2019 Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 4,629 investors who primarily invest with one of the 18 firms included in the study. The majority of the study was fielded in December 2018. For more information, visit jdpower.com/awards.

    Edward Jones, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in St. Louis, provides financial services in the U.S. and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm's business, from the investments its financial advisors offer to the location of its branch offices, caters to individual investors. The firm's 18,000-plus financial advisors serve more than 7 million clients and care for $1 trillion in assets under management.

    Visit our website at edwardjones.com and recruiting website at careers.edwardjones.com. Member SIPC.

    November 10, 2019 - 9:31pm
    posted by Howard B. Owens in Amada Tool, batavia, GCEDC, business.
    Video Sponsor

    Press release:

    Amada Tool America celebrated the completion of a 19,000 square-foot addition to its existing Batavia-based facility. Leadership from Amada North America and Amada Tool America convened with local leaders at the facility to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

    “Amada Tool America has been manufacturing punch press tooling for 54 years," said Edward Dries, chief operating officer of Amada Tool America. "Today we are starting a new chapter with an expansion into the manufacturing of press brake tooling.

    “This expansion will supply tooling for the new press brake machines being built in Amada’s brand-new facility in North Carolina. To meet this need, Amada Tool America’s employee number will be increasing to 87 employees, bringing 17 new jobs to this facility. We are proud to be a part of the Amada team.”

    Amada is a leading international tool manufacturer and boasts 8,000 employees worldwide. Its Genesee County location first opened its doors in 1965 and specializes in precision sheet metal tooling.

    The project featured $8.8 million in capital investment, which includes $6.5 million of new equipment and supports Amada’s growth to 80 workers in Genesee County.

    The expansion was supported by Empire State Development’s Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) incentives.

    “Amada has been a staple of Genesee County for more than 50 years and its continued success is what led to this exciting addition to its current facility,” said GCEDC’s Vice President of Workforce Development Chris Suozzi.

    “When you consider the sustained success and investment into our community, Amada is the blueprint for the kind of companies that we are looking to attract and grow in Genesee County.”

    Amada has been at the forefront of local workforce development efforts, engaging with students from the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, participating in the inaugural GLOW With Your Hands hands-on careers festival, and will soon debut a series of career profiles on the EdgeFactor.com career exposure platform.

    November 8, 2019 - 7:15pm

    Photo, from left: Joy and Bill Hume Foxprowl Collectibles owners, Shane Dreyer Work Experience participant, and Jeffrey Young Employment and Training counselor.

    Submitted photo and press release:

    The Genesee County Job Development Bureau announces Foxprowl Collectables as Business of the Month for October.

    The Business of the Month was introduced to acknowledge the exceptional work and the results gained by the contributions of local businesses to the development of a skilled workforce.

    The bureau congratulates Foxprowl Collectables for being selected as the inaugural winner of this award and we wish them the best for the future. 

    Businesses are nominated based on their demonstrated commitment to the growth of our workforce and thus the well-being of the county.

    The Business of the Month Award seeks to recognize contributions to providing paid/unpaid work experiences that allow job seekers to gain experience and develop their skills.

    We also consider mentorship, career tracks, innovation in recruitment, hiring, and/or retention, utilization of the One Stop Services, and a commitment to workforce retention in selecting our award winner each month. 

    Jeff Young, Employment and Training counselor, says he's proud of his connection to Foxprowl Collectables, which is located at 440 Ellicott St. in the City of Batavia.

    “Mr. Hume sets aside time to teach and mentor our customer," Young said. "He is covering all the aspects of his business; and our client is developing many useful transferable skills. His hands-on approach is really benefiting both his business and our client.”

    Job Development prides itself on the many business connections that help us to serve our customers. This award is given to commend those most deserving for their hard work and commitment to supporting career goals.

    To learn more about how your business can benefit by serving as a work experience site or sponsoring an on-the-job training, please call the Genesee County Job Development Bureau (585-344-2042), and to learn more about Foxprowl Collectables go to their website (http://www.foxprowl.com/).

    November 7, 2019 - 5:42pm

    Press release:

    “Universal Hiring Practices: Hiring Someone with a Disability” will be the subject of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s latest business workshop on Nov. 13.

    The Chamber has partnered with the Arc of Genesee Orleans to provide training on the benefits of hiring a person with a disability. The workshop will be held at the newly renovated GO TO Hub at Arc of Genesee Orleans, 64 Walnut St., Batavia.

    “It is well known that finding and retaining employees is a problem for employers here in Genesee County,” said Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

    “Unemployment is low and the pool of capable workers is shrinking. To meet these hiring needs, local businesses need to explore new and diverse options that are available here in our local communities.”

    “Hiring a person with a disabilityis an option employers sometimes overlook but would be wise to consider. This pool of diverse employees will provide a highly productive, community focused, dedicated group of new hires to your employee base.”

    The workshop is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and should last approximately one hour.

    This event is free for Chamber and Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District members. There is a $10 charge for non-members.

    To register, contact Kelly Bermingham at the Chamber by phone at 585-343-7440 or by email at [email protected].

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