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December 4, 2022 - 5:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Christmas in the City, parade, batavia, downtown, BID, news, Christmas.


Downtown merchants, through the Business Improvement District, hosted their annual Christmas in the City Parade on Saturday evening.

Photos by Philip Casper.








October 27, 2022 - 10:26pm


Halloween is quickly approaching, then it’s Thanksgiving, and before you know it, the annual Christmas in the City takes hold the first weekend in December.

As members of Batavia Business Improvement District and Batavia Players — led by Co-Chairpersons Pat Burk and Shannon Maute — strive to get things in place for the event, there are plenty of opportunities for others to participate, they say.

Christmas in the City
The main event runs from 1 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 3 Downtown, with a visit from Santa Claus from 1 to 5 p.m. inside the mall and a finale parade at 6 p.m. throughout downtown. Local groups, businesses, emergency services departments, kids, adults, and most anything in between are welcome to join the fun.

Maute has put out the call for not only organizations but also for departments with fire trucks, to sign up.

“You can walk, ride or enter a float,” a BID flyer states.


Mall events will run from 1 to 5 p.m. and include Santa’s Village, pictures with Santa, hot cocoa and cookies, crafts, cookie decorating, a kids’ zone, Santa’s workshop, shopping specials, Dickens Carolers, Scrooge, adult tastings and more, organizers said.

Our Hometown Christmas
Even earlier that day will be a craft and vendor fair that begins at 10 a.m. and runs to 8 p.m., Burk said.

“We already have 22 tables,” he said. “And there will be entertainment; our dance academy is performing, the small brass group from BHS signed up, and there’s Santa’s Village. We’re trying to get people in what used to be the mall, and our Christmas show will be happening Dec. 1, 2, 3 and 4.”

Burk, long-time executive director of Batavia Players, is learning how to juggle theater responsibilities with Board of Elections tasks and being president of the Genesee Valley School Boards Association, he said.

The theater in Batavia City Centre has been one of many projects delayed by the pandemic’s onslaught of labor, supply chain and social distancing issues.

With fingers crossed, Burk is hoping for a completed theater to open in May or June of 2023. There are grants involved, and though the Players are a pre-qualified status through Grants Gateway, there is more footwork to be done, and it is all falling at the same time as taxes being due Nov. 15, he said.

Despite the “bad timing,” he and group staff and members look forward to that day when a performance happens in the fully renovated theater.

“We had some pretty hefty demolition left to do with plumbing, electrical, all those old air conditioning units that were there for the X-ray machines and stuff. Yeah, huge. They're all gone. I mean, we're moving daily. And we're working hard,” he said. “So I don't know what time we're going to be completed. And a lot of it's depending on availability of our stuff, and when we get our reimbursements from the state.”

Grant funding is crucial, due to how — sounds like a broken record by now, he said — COVID affected pricing for everything.

“Our supplies went up by over $260,000. We’re in for $1.2 million already and have raised money. And all that money doesn't mean anything, because we have to come up with more money for it, just to complete everything," he said. "On top of that, we really want to do a good job of accessibility and maximizing use and having good lights and sound and all that other stuff. And all that stuff went up in money … it all went through the ceiling."

They should get word on the grant application in March or April next year, he said, and he has learned how meticulous all of that paperwork needs to be, especially given at least three grant-related changes taking place this year. If one number is off, it gets sent back, and then they wait another month or more for approval of a resubmission of the corrected material.

“You have to have people look over this stuff, over and over and over,” he said.

A Christmas Carole
Nonetheless, the show, as they say, must go on, and the Players will be presenting the seasonal Dickens’ favorite “A Christmas Carole” the weekend of Christmas in the City.  It is set for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1, 2, 3 and 2 p.m. Dec. 4 at Main St. 56 Theater in Batavia City Centre. Tickets are $16 for adults and $14 students and seniors, and available at showtix4u.com.

The Players will also be sponsoring Our Hometown Christmas all day on Dec. 3 with an array of gift options at craft and vendor tables. There is still space available, and any interested crafts dealers, food trucks, vendors or antique dealers may want to grab a table NOW


Santa’s Village will be part of a festive display, and local schools are to be participating, Burk said. There are so many activities jam-packed into the schedule, that Burk would like to see a future two-day event, he said.

The Hometown event is a fundraiser for the Players, and will provide entertainment and fun for visitors, he said.

“We’re trying to keep the theater going with no theater and with no money,” Burk said. “We are literally scraping together money to pay to keep the lights on.”

Wreath Contest
The BID is also hosting its annual Wreath Contest for downtown Batavia “as a creative way to add some holiday spirit to downtown.” The contest is open to any business, group, organization, or family. For $20, each participant is provided with a 16-inch plain wreath to decorate. Participants may pick up their wreaths on Nov. 19 and have a week to decorate before dropping them back off to the BID for committee volunteers to place throughout downtown, Maute said in a recent press release.

Voting for the most creative will take place from Dec. 3 through 24. The first-place winner is to receive a $100 cash prize, second place $75 and third place $50.

To participate in the wreath contest or parade, contact Maute 

File photos of Christmas in the City 2021 by Howard Owens

October 21, 2022 - 1:23pm
posted by Press Release in Christmas in the City, BID, downtown, batavia, news.


Press release:

The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District is hosting its annual Christmas in the City Event with Holiday Parade on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 2 to 6 p.m., with a parade down Main Street at 6 p.m.

The BID is seeking any business, organization, or group to walk, ride or enter a float for the parade which runs from Jefferson Ave to Summit Street. 

Downtown Businesses are encouraged to host an activity or offer store specials during the event. Vendors are welcome.

This year’s event includes Santa’s Village, pictures with Santa, hot cocoa & cookies, crafts, cookie decorating, kid’s zone, Santa’s workshop, shopping specials, Dickens Carolers, Scrooge, adult tastings and more.

BID Mall Events will be from 1 to 5 p.m.

“Our Hometown Christmas” craft fair sponsored by Main St. 56 Theater will be held in the mall 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

We have something for everyone, this is an event you won’t want to miss.

The Batavia Business Improvement District is also hosting its annual Wreath Contest for Downtown Batavia.

As a creative way to add some holiday spirit to downtown, the BID invites any business, group, organization, or family to enter the contest.

For $20 each participant is provided with a 16” Plain Wreath to decorate.

Participants will pick up their wreaths on Saturday, Nov. 19 and have a week to decorate before dropping them back off to the BID for committee volunteers to place throughout Downtown.

Voting for the most creative will take place from Dec. 3 thru Dec. 24. The first-place winner receives a $100 cash prize, second place $75 and third place $50.

To participate in Christmas in the City or the Wreath Contest contact Shannon Maute at [email protected]  

Photo: File photo by Howard Owens.

October 2, 2022 - 5:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wine walk, batavia, downtown, news, BID.


Once again, the annual Wine Walk in Downtown Batavia, sponsored by the Business Improvement District, was a sellout.

This year the theme was "dead celebrities."

Which dead celebrities can you spot in the photos?

For more photos and to purchase prints, click here.












September 14, 2022 - 3:29pm
posted by Press Release in BID, wine walk, downtown, batavia, news.


Press release:

The B.I.D. Wine Walk Committee announces this year’s event which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.

Only 600 tickets are available for this year’s event.

Tickets may be purchased online, YN Godess, Adam Miller & Empire Hemp.

General Admission tickets are $30, VIP $40 and DD tickets for $10.

All VIP ticket holders get into the event one hour early at 4 p.m., a special gift, raffle tickets and more!

All ticket holders will enjoy a tasting of several Wines and Ciders at over 23 local businesses throughout our Downtown.

This year’s theme is Dead Celebrity!

Photo: File photo from 2014 by Howard Owens

September 13, 2022 - 6:25pm
posted by Press Release in news, BID, downtown batavia, wine walk.

Press Release

The BID Wine Walk Committee announces this year’s event which will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 1, 2022. Only 600 tickets are available for this year’s event. Tickets may be purchased online, or at YN Godess, Adam Miller and Empire Hemp.

General Admission tickets are $30, VIP $40 and DD tickets for $10. All VIP ticket holders get into event 1 hour
early at 4 PM, a special gift, raffle tickets and more! All ticket holders will enjoy a tasting of several Wines and Ciders at over 23 local businesses throughout our Downtown. This year’s theme is Dead Celebrity!

For more information contact the Batavia Business Improvement District at 585-344-0900 or Shannon Maute at [email protected].

August 28, 2022 - 4:01pm
Video Sponsor


Brett Doward (top photo) and Levi Bennett (second photo) might want a rematch in next year's boxcar derby -- assuming there is one, and by all indications, there will be -- after facing off against each other in both each other's first heat of the day and in the finals for their age bracket.

That finals race had to be run twice after the first race wound up in a tie.  

In the first match of the Doward/Bennett rivalry, Doward won by a wheel.  In the first heat of the finals, the race ended in a tie.

In that second race for the Suozzi Memorial Trophy, Doward won handily. 

The day was also marked by an appearance by Roger Martin with a boxcar he built himself in the late 1930s and which took him to the national championships in 1940.  His son ran it once down the Ellicott Avenue hill, where Martin's car had seen past glory.

There were 28 competitors running against each other in pairs with double-elimination until the final rounds.

The derby was sponsored by the Business Improvement District and Glow With Your Hands.




Dominic Darch and Brett Doward, winners of the 7-10 and 11-13-year-old brackets.


The start of the first run of the finals race for the 11-13 bracket. Levi Bennet on the left, Brett Doward on the right.



Bennett on the left and Doward on the right.


Doward in the lead at the end of the first race.











Lilly Gray glances back at Shannon Maute, BID director, as she beats her in an exhibition race at the end of the event.

August 24, 2022 - 10:38am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, entertainment, batavia, BID.

Everyone is invited to a Family Movie Night in the Square tonight at 7 p.m., Shannon Maute says.

Maute, executive director of Batavia's Business Improvement District, encourages families to bring their lawn chairs, blankets, pillows, or "whatever makes you comfy," as you watch "The Little Rascals" at Jackson Square in downtown Batavia. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

There will be free popcorn, and the movie is in line with the BID's Boxcar Derby event happening at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Ellicott Avenue.

August 21, 2022 - 8:00pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, entertainment, downtown batavia, BID, Italian Fest, notify.


You could say that Don Antinore took his job seriously Saturday on School Street in Batavia.

He was one of three volunteer judges for the first-ever Italian Fest sauce contest. Antinore, Jay Steinbrenner and Paul Figlow carefully tasted, observed, and dripped each sauce off the spoon during their deliberations of the top three winners.

After they reviewed each type and style of sauce, the judges were ready with their selections. That is after they conferred with one another for several minutes. The Batavian remarked how soberly they were approaching the task.

Antinore, whose business card lists him as an American Academy of Chef's Culinary Hall of Famer, and an educator and coach for Hospitality Solutions, said they were giving the job due diligence for the eight contestants.


“We're doing this because these people took the time to make these sauces,” he said.

The contestants were mostly made up of home chefs with family recipes. The contest was a first for Stephanee Surabian of Batavia. She didn’t exactly have a choice in entering, she said.

“My kids decided to push me toward it,” she said, watching her three pots of varied sauces. “They think mom’s is the best.”

She had a pesto alla trapanese, made with tomatoes and freshly ground almonds; fra diavolo, whose name translates to the devil’s mouth, and includes a spicy concoction with red pepper and red chili flakes; and a parma rosa, featuring a creamy base of tomatoes with melted cheese.

Lucie Griffis of Le Roy entered her Nanny’s Italian sauce, made with canned tomatoes, sausage, pork, homemade meatballs and fresh basil. The secret to a good sauce? “Not burning your garlic and onion at the start,” she said, “is key.”

To her left was Ken Kline from Oakfield. His recipe is cooked down from fresh roma tomatoes for three days on low heat, he said. He uses fresh parsley, oregano, basil, Italian sausage, homemade meatballs, stew beef and hard-boiled eggs.

“It’s thick and not runny,” he said. “You gotta love the sauce, you gotta love the family recipe.”

The recipe comes out during special occasions and, at times, just when the mood strikes him and his family, Kline said. Handed down from great-grandma from Palermo, Sicily, it’s a favorite that depends heavily on fresh roma tomatoes, he said.

Home chef, but with a background of working in the family restaurant in Denver, Colo., Sam Prinzi of Batavia believed in slow-cooking his ingredients, many of which are home-grown in his Batavia yard.

“Slow cooking, good seasoning and cooking it down,” are keys to a winning sauce, he said. He spent 90 minutes preparing everything, and then letting it cook on low for three to four hours.

He had a display of fresh ingredients on his table: green peppers, tomatoes and garlic, with some potential accompaniments of crunchy breadsticks, a small loaf of bread and pasta.

The recipe came from his grandparents in Sicily, both who have passed away, leaving their grandson to take up the spoon and continue on with the family tradition.

Prinzi liked the event, and plans to come back next year, he said.

“They’ve got great potential if they just keep adding to it,” he said. “I think this is great for the community.”

The contest was put on a brief hold as former county manager Jay Gsell was making his way downtown with his big pot of sauce from yet another family recipe.

His wife Ann Marie and her mother, Fannie Varone, are die-hard Italians with a recipe to be proud of, he said. So proud, in fact, that his mom-in-law threatened to put the “evil eye” on him if he didn’t learn the concoction before moving with his wife out of state.

“It’s a staple, in a big pot,” he said. “We have it for one or two meals, and then freeze the rest. We call it gravy, not sauce.”

After all of the tastings and whispering amongst the three judges, it was time for the big announcement. But first, Antinore offered some tips for authentic Italian sauce: oregano doesn’t belong in an Italian kitchen, he said, suggesting instead to use rosemary; don’t use too much spice as to take away from the overall taste; and consider how much oil you use, and its source (cooking meat in the sauce, for example); and herbs are not spices, he said.

Third place went to Griffis, second to Gsell and first prize of $100 and an engraved wooden spoon went to Prinzi.

Photos by Howard Owens





Meanwhile, The Formula entertained with classic Italian songs to a mixed audience of standing and seated spectators, while others gravitated to the beer and wine tent or shopped vendors along Jackson Street.

The event was hosted by Batavia's Business Improvement District. BID Executive Director Shannon Maute said that, despite some competition from other events on the same day, "I felt it went pretty well." It drew more than 1,000 people, she said, and vendors "were happy and said they would love to come back next year."

Maute stressed the short lead time of having about four months to plan and pull this event together, when it typically takes a year to organize one. She was thankful to have the support that she had for the festival, she said.

"Events are a huge undertaking, and I am grateful for all the help and support from City Council, the city manager, my board, committee members and volunteers," she said. "I was very excited to bring this event to downtown. It was the first year, and we have some adjusting to do, and hope to grow it every year." 






Top photo: Judges Don Antinore, left, Jay Steinbrenner and Paul Figlow make their way through eight sauces to find the top three winners at Saturday's Italian Fest in downtown Batavia; Sam Prinzi won first place and the commemorative wooden spoon; Jay Gsell, second place, congratulates third and first place winners, Lucie Griffis and Sam Prinzi; visitors to the event on School, Center and Jackson streets.

July 24, 2022 - 8:10am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, BID, boxcar derby, Jackson Square, notify.


There was one part about an upcoming boxcar race that especially appealed to Mason Dominiak, he said.

The 13-year-old likes speed.

“I like racing,” he said Saturday at Jackson Square in Batavia. “The adrenaline of going fast, I like going really fast.”

He and Adrian Tabelski were watching Adrian’s dad work to gradually put together a boxcar for them. The boys are participants of a first-ever Batavia Business Improvement District Boxcar Derby. Handmade creations will take off down the Ellicott Avenue hill at 9:30 a.m. sharp on Aug. 27.

Saturday was “Build Day,” and about 10 kids and their parents picked up their car kits and took them home to work on while the remaining 20 stopped by throughout the day to put their cars together with hands-on support from many BID committee members and community volunteers.

In between sounds of construction equipment, Adrian, 10, said that his participation was sort of a surprise.

“My mom signed me up,” he said.

Adrian in turn invited Mason to come along. They are sharing the initial duties of assembling and decorating a car, and both agreed that Adrian would be taking the wheel on race day. He has never been in a boxcar, but has “learned a lot about construction” during the day, he said.

Mason didn’t think he’d know as much as he did. Then again, he has worked on vehicles — four-wheeling is his favorite ride — and once had to take an entire engine out for a piston issue, he said. He will be there on race day to root on his friend. They began to brainstorm their car's exterior: how about black and gold with flames for a design, they agreed.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Mason said.

Committee member Lydia Schauf had telltale signs of sawdust on her black outfit. Using a saw, perhaps? No, drilling into wood.

“So we found out that they're doing the boxcar thing, and they were doing a build day. So we all came out and said that we’ll volunteer and help cut out templates, like my dad said, and just help build wherever we can with these kids,” she said. “It was fun to get out and try my hand at it.”

Lydia gave her dad, Rich Schauf, a nudge to join her in the effort. She also brought friend Marianne Pautler with her.

When asked if there had been any mishaps yet, Pautler smiled and nodded yes.

“I might have added a couple extra pieces here and there,” she said. “Those two extra pieces slid in. But hopefully it's been rectified. We went back through and pulled them out,” she said. “So yeah, just putting the kits together so that they're ready for the people to pick up or build here.”

Looking like he was ready to hunker down for some work, Rich Schauf, wearing a thick gray headband, happily obliged his daughter’s request, he said. He saw lots of enthusiasm during his time there.

“I thought it was a very worthwhile project,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of kids. And it's been really great to see these young kids and their excitement. I don't know if memory is still serving people about it, or if this will be new to people, but it's pretty exciting. And if you remember back in the day, it was quite good.”

There were stations with various tools and materials set up for the project, and several committee members and volunteers on hand to help. Participants each received a car kit, and BID merchants have been supportive of the idea, Executive Director Shannon Maute said. The race will be double elimination, which means several — about 50 — races on event day.

She and the others encourage spectators to join the fun and root for the kids. There will be tents set up and pizza and beverages for sale afterward as a “picnic in the park” BID style at Centennial Park, she said.

“We would like to make this a really large event. I mean, how fun cheering on these kids going down the hill, because what a feeling of a park filled with people cheering you on when you're going down this ramp,” she said. “I have challenged every child that I've come in contact with, because I built a car and I have challenged them to race me, so it's gonna be fun.”

She joked that she threw the gauntlet down to committee member Chris Suozzi, but believes that “he’s afraid to race me.”

The actual race is not in the downtown business district, she said, but merchants were OK with that. Ellicott Avenue has not only a nice hill that’s in the city but also was used years ago for similar races, she said.

“We had talked at length if anyone minded us doing (this) actually outside of the downtown area, but everyone was all for it because it's really more about the kids and not the district,” she said.

Other members Saturday included Jim Krencik, Lauren Becht, Gail Tenney, John Roche, and volunteers Don Cunningham, Jay Steinbrenner, Ron Galdun, Derek Ells, and TJ Henderson. Genesee Lumber cut and delivered the wood needed for the car kits.

The adults have taken care of all of the “logistics,” Krencik said, so that “the kids can focus on the hands-on skills that they’re learning by building the boxcars.”

“And then having a lot of fun racing them,” he said. “Our goal really was, for Build Day, to see the kids, their smiles as they’re walking away with these projects that they’re gonna dive into. And it’s going to be several hours of memories that I think are gonna really inspire them as they go through middle school, high school and, for my hat with GCEDC, to integrate into careers.”

As for the fun of it, someone suggested to him to think of the Little Rascals movie, in which the impish kids race boxcars. That sealed it for Krencik, he said, and that movie has fueled his zeal for the grand finale next month.

“It's really gonna be fun on August 27, to see these kids take off … it’s right at the corner of Centennial Park. But I liked that the race kind of goes towards the heart of the BID,” he said. “Because I think that's the energy that's right there. And it's getting more memories for those kids coming downtown like they are today.”



Parents, committee members, volunteers, and kids got together to build some boxcars Saturday at Jackson Square. Photos by Jim Krencik.

May 11, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, downtown, BID, music, notify.



There’s so much happening in downtown Batavia, Shannon Maute says, that she needs to start her own podcast to discuss it all.

Maute, the Business Improvement District’s executive director, is eager to share ideas she and the BID Promotions Committee have been kicking around lately. She wants to provide a venue for them to mull suggestions and figure some things out for downtown’s ongoing success.

“We hope to have it ready to go by mid-June. We are open to anyone coming on. We want to hear from everyone who has an idea, or a thought, and I’ll even take suggestions,” she said to The Batavian. “We will discuss our events, our plans for downtown and promote businesses as well as individuals. We want to have fun with it and get Batavia involved. If we can solve some issues along the way that would be fantastic.”

She teased that the group has some ideas “ready to go,” but you will have to “listen to find out what they are.” Maute plans to promote the podcast in the near future.

Extra nights of music ...
One idea will be implemented beginning in July. Since concerts on Friday nights have had such a positive result, BID members have decided to bring on some Thursday nights as well.  Concerts on Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. are scheduled for June 30, July 28 and August 25 at Jackson Square. Musical groups are yet to be announced for those.

The Downtown Batavia Friday Night Concert Series is to kick off with Old Hippies on July 1, Skycats on July 8, Don Newcomb Band on July 15, Ohmes Band July 22, Creek Bend July 29, Ghost Riders on Aug. 5, The Bluesway Band on August 12 and capped off with Mitty and The Followers on Aug. 26. These concerts are all free and are set for 7 to 9 p.m.

An inaugural Italian Fest has been scheduled for August 6, complete with a strolling accordion player, pasta, cannoli and other Italian treats, decorations and a Mediterranean vibe, Maute said.

New faces on BID board ...
She is excited about a resurgence in community gatherings and about some new faces on the BID Board. Derek Geib has been elected president of the board, with fellow businessman John Roche as vice president; and Carrie Lawrence and Shelly Wolanske are new board members.

Maute recently shared how the intrusion of COVID-19 changed her priorities.

“Two years to reflect is a long time, but I learned what is important, and what is important to me is my family, friends and my community,” she said during the annual BID breakfast. “I am so proud to live in this cute little city with a very big heart.”

Awards were given to “the amazing” Gavin Townsend for Volunteer of the Year, and Business of the Year went to “the outstanding Islands Hawaiian Grill.”

“They earned those awards with all their hard work, commitment, and positive attitude, as well as their great love for our community,” Maute said.

Special awards were given to Beth Kemp and Leanna DiRisio for Volunteer of the Decade.

With incoming president Derek Geib, former president Don Brown was acknowledged for his sage and consistent advice and for being a great help to Maute, she said.

“I am pretty lucky to work with such a great board. Each and every one of them brings something great to the table,” she said.

Top photos: Shannon Maute, executive director of Batavia Business Improvement District; and new BID President Derek Geib, left, and Vice President John Roche.

Photos by Howard Owens. 


Award recipients Gavin Townsend for Volunteer of the Year


Kourtney Kunichika, owner of Islands Hawaiian Grill for Business of the Year.


April 11, 2022 - 4:26pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Business, notify, downtown batavia, BID, chamber of commerce.


If Yong Guang Ye gets his wish, the California businessman will more than double his investment at 40 Batavia City Centre.

Better known as the former JC Penney store in downtown Batavia, the property was purchased by Ye in February 2021. The price tag was $500,000. He has asked his realtor, Jonathan Maurer of Pyramid Brokerage Co. in Fairport, to list the site for sale at a cool $1.3 million.

Maurer has spoken with Genesee County Chamber of Commerce President Eric Fix and Business Improvement District Executive Director Shannon Maute about prospects for the site.

“I’m trying to understand what the community would want,” Maurer said Monday to The Batavian. “A hotel would be amazing … we’re pursuing a hotel; we don’t have any strong leads yet, it’s too soon to tell. The priority is to find the best use for the space.”

The selling price is not out of range given the open floor space, “which I think is a value, given the size of the building,” he said, plus a roof repair in progress.

The buyer is a commercial real estate developer, and does not own any other property in New York State, Maurer said.

Based on his talks with the county and downtown representatives, the first goal would be to renovate it for an event space, with the second goal being a downtown hotel. It has been “difficult to find the right user” so far, he said, due to the site’s limited visibility and entrance/exit set-up.

BID Executive Director Shannon Maute said she could easily see a boutiquey micro-hotel situated within the 38,584 square-foot building. This area is lacking a venue for conferences and special events, she said, and the property is zoned for all of that, including building on two additional floors.

It has often been said that Batavia is a perfect location for being in between Buffalo and Rochester, and Maute would like to capitalize on that. "If you had family in Buffalo and Rochester, Batavia would be the perfect place to have a wedding or an event," she said.

“There definitely is a need for that,” she said Monday. “We’re still open to any ideas, but the goal is for (Maurer) to have an idea of what the need is. We try to work closely together, and Eric agreed on what should and should not go in there. The city would have to weigh in on an idea.”

She would not elaborate on what they felt should not go into the site.

Fix was not available for comment. 

Previously: Vacant Penney building purchased by West Coast businessman

Photo by Howard Owens

March 22, 2022 - 4:22pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Business, notify, BID.


Not only has interim director Shannon Maute been hired for the full-time permanent position of Batavia’s Business Improvement District, but she also plans to hit the ground running with a new event this year.

Get ready for a strolling accordion player, sweet and savory Mediterranean cuisine and lots of fun, Maute says.

“We’re looking at mid to late summer; it will be an outdoor event with a ‘Welcome to Italy’ sign, lights strung along the streets, and vendors at stands on the side of the road,” she said to The Batavian Tuesday. “So you’ll feel like you’re in New York City for an Italian fest … with pasta and meatballs, pastries, cannolis … and I see kids doing three-legged races and sack races in the parking lot, playing the games that we used to play as kids. I’m just looking to go back to a time when the community and families did everything together.”

Maute was appointed as interim director on Dec. 14, 2021, to fill the spot left vacant by former Director Beth Kemp. She was approved Tuesday during a BID board meeting. Board members and Maute opted to give the interim position a trial run before making it official.  

"It just happened," Maute said. “We both took our time, and we were both happy and so we went for it."

She also presented her vision of an Italian fest to replace the former BID Summer in the City event. It was an idea she came up with a few years ago, before COVID-19 hit and closed down most everything. The board really liked the idea, and a posting on Facebook reaped “a fantastic reaction,” she said, so she has formed a Promotions Committee to pursue it.

Her vision includes a large horseshoe-shaped layout of downtown that will be filled with food vendors, live music, children’s games and contests in an authentic display of Italian heritage similar to that of Octoberfest with its German flair, she said.

Maute and her husband Jay Steinbrenner are frequent visitors of New York City’s Italian fest, and she would like to bring that excitement and family-friendly activities to Batavia. With each of the couple being half-Italian and half-German, it has been a natural fit to be involved with Batavia's Octoberfest and now an Italian celebration. Her favorite Italian items are juicy meatballs and cannolis, though ravioli and manicotti also make the list, she said. There's also the potential economic impact of introducing the community to a vast amount of merchants, she said. 

“I would really like it to be where all businesses would benefit,” she said. “Any business in Batavia would participate so (the public) could enjoy the restaurants and stores we have here.”

Hardly a newcomer, Maute, a Batavia native and resident, has been involved in local events for years. She led the way with FeBREWary, BID’s first event of 2022, which sold 467 tickets. She saw “everyone was smiling and walking down Main Street,” and hopes to replicate that kind of positive happening later this year, she said.

Anyone interested in being on the Promotions Committee or attending a BID meeting is welcome to do so, she said. For more information, go to: http://Downtownbataviany.com

File Photo of Shannon Maute from February 2022 by Howard Owens.

December 28, 2021 - 2:41pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, BID.

As one in a long line of stalled events due to the COVID-19 shutdown, the Business Improvement District’s beer fest is to return in 2022.

 Led by BID Interim Director Shannon Maute, FeBREWary is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 26 in downtown Batavia.

“We’re hoping to have a lot more people participating and will want to get out and go downtown,” Maute said during an interview Tuesday. “We’re still accepting applications … and tickets are only being sold at Eventbrite.”

Run in a similar fashion to BID’s popular wine walk, FeBREWary will take place at 20 downtown businesses and focuses on tasting the brew. There will also be hard cider for those that don’t like beer as much, Maute said. Folks will have three hours to walk, sample from New York State craft breweries, and check out the downtown merchant goods. 

Maute’s name may seem new, but she has served on BID committees for quite a while now, she said. A former event coordinator and office manager for Eli Fish, the Batavia native worked on FeBREWary, Christmas in the City, and wine walk events. BID members recently began seeking applications for the BID director position after Beth Kemp announced she was leaving earlier this month. Maute was hired as interim director to fill the gap. 

The organization has received some applications, including one from Maute, she said. As someone who has “helped with a lot of events,” she would like an opportunity to fulfill the director’s duties, she said.

“I find it very exciting; it’s an amazing opportunity to get business downtown,” Maute said. “Beth has done a great job, and I would like to continue that. Whether or not I get the position, I will be driving FeBREWary."

A total of 600 tickets will be sold, and can only be purchased online. General admission is $25, and all participants will receive a commemorative beer glass. VIP tickets are $35 and will allow participants entry an hour earlier at 4 p.m., plus exclusive specials, raffle tickets, and a commemorative gift. Tickets for $5 will also be available for designated drivers.

For more information, call (585) 344-0900. To buy tickets, go to: https://downtownbataviany.com/index.php/febrewary/

Top photo: Interim BID Director Shannon Maute shows the poster and glass for the next FeBREWary set for Feb. 26 downtown Batavia. Photo by Howard Owens.

December 27, 2021 - 3:59pm
posted by Press Release in BID, downtown, FeBREWary, news, batavia.

Press release:

The B.I.D. FeBREWary Committee announces this year’s event which will be held on Saturday, February 26th.

Only 600 tickets are available for this year’s event. Tickets may be purchased online. General Admission tickets are $25, VIP $35 and DD tickets for $5. All VIP ticket holders get into event 1 hour early at 4 PM, a special gift, raffle tickets and more! All ticket holders will enjoy a tasting of several NYS Craft Beer and at over 20 local businesses throughout our Downtown.

For more information contact the Batavia Business Improvement District at 585-344-0900 or Shannon Maute at [email protected].

December 3, 2021 - 12:44pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, BID, Christmas in the City, parade.

Beth Kemp
(2016 file photo)

This year’s Christmas in the City parade is a special one to Beth Kemp, executive director of Batavia Business Improvement District.

It will resume the years-old holiday event after the pandemic shut down, and close out a chapter on Kemp’s career path. She is leaving the role for a position in marketing and accounting with Council Rock Wealth Advisory Group in Batavia.

“December 10 will be my last day. This is my last big parade; the parade is kind of my baby, I love it,” she said to The Batavian Friday morning. “It’s like a well-oiled machine at this point, and I hope it will continue.”

Thirty-four participants have signed up for the parade, set to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday outside of Wendy’s restaurant on Main Street, Batavia. Floats, costumed characters, and music will follow a route that leads toward Summit Street. 

Christmas in the City was originally dubbed Taste of the Holidays, which is when Kemp first became involved with it. She was on an event committee and was integral to the creation of a festive parade as part of the renamed event. Meant to be a family-friendly, fun downtown happening, Christmas in the City runs from 2 to 6 p.m., ending with the parade. 

A train ride, several vendors, pictures with Santa, hot cocoa, professional carolers and an elf, the Muckdogs mascot, and a GO-ART! building-turned-Whoville will be part of the excitement. There will also be hidden gnomes at downtown businesses for kids to find and take photos of for a contest boasting prizes of Muckdogs tickets, a basket full of board games, and more. 

November 4, 2021 - 2:22pm
posted by Press Release in news, notify, BID, Christmas in the City.

Press release:

The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District is hosting its annual Christmas in the City event from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 4 with a holiday parade down Main Street to follow at 6 p.m.

The BID is inviting any business, organization or group to walk, ride or enter a float for the parade which runs from Jefferson Avenue to Summit Street. Downtown businesses are encouraged to host an activity or offer store specials during the event. Vendors are welcome.

This year’s event includes train rides, pictures with Santa, hot cocoa, crafts, and a Downtown Scavenger hunt with chances to win some great prizes.

The BID also is hosting its second annual Wreath Contest for Downtown Batavia.  Again, any business, group, organization or family are invited to enter the contest.

For $20, each participant is provided with a 16-inch plain wreath to decorate. Participants can pick up their wreaths on Sat., Nov, 20 and will have a week to decorate it before dropping the wreath off to the BID for community volunteers to put them up downtown.

Voting for most creative will take place from Dec. 4-24. First place winner receives $100 cash prize, second place $75 and third place $50.

To participate in Christmas in the City or the Wreath Contest, contact Beth Kemp at [email protected] or find all forms online at DowntownBataviaNY.com.

November 2, 2021 - 11:34am
posted by Press Release in BID, downtown, batavia.


Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District hosted its fourth annual Scarecrow Contest for Downtown Batavia. As a creative way to add some more fall flavor to downtown decorating, the BID invited any business, organization or family to enter the contest. For $20 each business was provided basic supplies of straw, a post, and zip ties along with their pole assignment. Each business could then get creative in creating its scarecrow. All voting for favorite scarecrow ended Sunday, October 31st.

The First Place Winner for 2021 is Veterans Services! Shout out to Verna and everyone over at Veterans Services for the amazing job. They will be donating their winnings to WNY Heroes. (top photo)

Second Place Winner is Charles Mens Shop. They would like to thank the Notre Dame Art Club, Maia Zerillo and Jasmine Wessel for their assistance with the scarecrow this year. (second photo)

Third Place Winner is Eli Fish Brewing Co. (third photo)

First place winner receives $100 cash prize, second place $75, and third place $50. The BID would like to thank Home Depot for sponsoring the scarecrows and to our City of Batavia Fire Department for assembling the posts.



October 7, 2021 - 6:14pm
posted by Press Release in electric vehicles, BID, batavia, downtown, news.


Press  release:

City of Batavia officials and community leaders were joined by leaders from National Grid to commemorate the installation of four new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The stations were made possible through National Grid’s Make-Ready Electric Vehicle program, which funds electricity infrastructure costs associated with new EV charging stations for its upstate electric business customers.

For the Batavia stations – two located at Mancuso Bowling Center, 214 East Main St. and two at The City Church, 210 E. Main St. – National Grid’s program covered more than 90 percent of the infrastructure costs to install the stations.

“The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District Board of Directors was excited to pursue this project and are thrilled to see four EV charging locations within our downtown,” said Beth Kemp, executive director, Batavia Business Improvement District (BID). “We would not have been able to move forward with these progressive additions to our downtown without the assistance of National Grid, NYSERDA, Rick Mancuso, and Marty Macdonald. Thank you to all partners involved.”

“Electric vehicle adoption is on the rise in New York State, and EV charging stations are a great way to attract employees, and also a great way to attract and retain new customers,” said Paul Gister, customer and community engagement manager, National Grid, who added that the stations have become more popular among landlords seeking to attract and retain tenants, as well as helping New York State achieve its energy targets by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

National Grid’s EV charging program is available for businesses, multi-unit residential buildings and retail stores, as well as parks and vacation destinations.  The company also offers a program for companies looking to electrify their fleets, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and meet the de-carbonization goals of the states where the utility operates.

“These programs include incentives for customers who have an eye on the future, who support clean energy initiatives, and are providing a necessity for the vehicles that will take us there,” Gister said. “Initiatives like these are at the heart of how we collaborate with customers and significantly impact our communities and community partners. These kinds of collaborations are central to our Project C initiative, which was created to inspire change and create a more equitable future for our customers and communities.”

Added Rick Mancuso, owner of Mancuso Bowling Center and TF Brown’s Restaurant, “We were presented with an opportunity to provide EV charging stations through programs offered by National Grid and NYSERDA through the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District. We believe that with the increase of electric car sales there will be a need for stations and at the same time, these stations will drive traffic to the downtown area as well as the surrounding businesses. We’d like to thank Beth Kemp and the BID for their support of not only this project but also, all that the organization does for the Batavia Business Improvement District.”

“The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is proud to promote, support, and connect our local business and tourism communities. We believe passionately in collaborations that enhance our abilities to live, work and play in Genesee County,” said Erik Fix, president, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. “We are grateful for our partnership with National Grid and the BID and appreciate them working together to bring EV Car Charging Stations to downtown Batavia. Congratulations to both organizations and thank you to National Grid for continuing to invest in our community!”

Photos by Howard Owens



September 11, 2021 - 10:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, downtown, batavia, news.


Businesses, agencies, organizations, and families are invited to participate in the Downtown Business Improvement District's annual Scarecrow Contest.

Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place.

All participants will be provided with straw, twine and an assigned pole in  Downtown Batavia where the entrants can mount their scarecrows.

The contest runs from Sept. 27 to Oct. 31.

Register online at www.downttownbataviany.com or email [email protected].  There is a $20 entry fee.

Photo: File photo from 2020

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