Skip to main content

buy local

Some feedback - a bakery in Batavia

By Chelsea O'Brien

Peter and I have been discussing an idea for a few months and wanted some feedback. We're thinking about possibly opening a bakery in Batavia. We'd like for it to be on main street, so it is available to people who drive and/or walk around.


I have a few questions for all of you local Batavians and those in Genesee County:

1) Would you utilize a local bakery instead of using Walmart and Top's baked goods?

2) What kind of goods would you like to see from a local bakery?

3) What features would you want in a bakery (ex: coffee, a cafe/eating area, etc)?

4) During what hours (and times) would you most likely visit a bakery (ex: morning, afternoon/lunch, holidays, etc)?

5) Would you utilize a specialty cake service?


Thanks for your input!

Just a "BIG" kid in a Candy store

By Timothy Paine

This past week I got to live out the dream of every kid (and most adults) I know.  I got a tour of Oliver's Candies from manager Jeremy Liles.  He showed me all their products, machines and specialties.  He introduced me to his dedicated staff and explained what each one of them did and what made each one of them so valuable to the company and its success. 

With Easter being right around the corner I felt this was the best time to feature them here.  I was amazed by how many different sizes and shapes of Bunnies they offered.  From little realistic to cartoonish, solid and hollow and from little bite sized all the way up to nearly 4ft tall and topping the scale at 31 pounds.  They have chocolate shaped like sports equipment, tool sets, Champagne bottles and Dinosaurs.  Baskets galore, stuffed animals, keepsakes, cards and balloons which they even offer to deliver for any and all occasions.

Oliver's was started in 1932 by Joseph Oliver in his home which is still the main section of the current store.  In fact, the bedrooms now are used as offices upstairs.  He began making his candy and started by selling it at local gas stations and corner stores.  Joseph continued to grow and set up a retail space in his front palor, he eventually served as the first president of the RCA (Retail Confectioners Association). 


According to Jeremy, one of the interesting things he did was make all ingredients used in his candies public.  However, in what order, how much, and procedures belonged to the person.  He did share one creation of his with a company and they still follow it today.  To everyone who  has enjoyed an "Andes Candy", you can still buy the original created right here in Batavia.  The Hostess Mints made here are still the original recipe followed from years ago. 

Jeremy said that he constantly hears from people that have tried ones from other companies and state that they just aren't as good.  Jeremy says that after purchasing the company in 1998 he and his family made a promise to never change the quality or ingredients of any of their famous products.  They still buy everything they can locally to insure quality.  He also says they haven't raised prices in three years and there is no plan to in the near future. 

He stated, "People have come to expect our quality and high standards, we never want to disappoint them.  We love hearing the same thing year after year".  One of his favorites is someone coming in that hasn't been able to visit for a few years and after the first bite they are filled with joy and exclaim "just as I remeber it!" 

I know even in my family, whenever my parents return to Florida they, and Ed Arnold had better remembered to bring some down with them.  Jeremy said the only changes they've made to the store is the size of the shipping room.  By adding creating a web-site and offering world wide shipping during holidays even the larger shipping room over flows with boxes waiting to leave. 

He added the ice cream palor in 2001 and on a hot night the jammed parking lot is proof of just how good it is.

We all wish Jeremy and his family continued success.  Nearly everyone I ever spoke with has a cherished memory of Oliver's.  I myself have them and now I happily make memories with my kids.  If you visit there often there is nothing I'm saying you don't already know.  If it's been a while, it is just as good as you remember.  Oliver's is located at 211 W. Main St in Batavia. Phone them at 1-800-924-3879.  Check outt their web-site; and see some videos or place an order.

(her's where I was going to insert some pictures. I'm unable to insert them at this moment. When my 13 yr old daughter gets home she can show her cyber-moron father what he's doing wrong)

Another Family Owned Business that Loves Batavia

By Timothy Paine


            Max Pies

Max Pies was established in 1905 by Max himself. The business was passed to Sam and Jake and turned over to Phil Pie in 1970. The future looks strong with Phil's son Steven on board to be the fourth generation to take over. Any business that can boast over a century as a local institution must be doing something right. As far as I know, they are the second oldest family owned retail business in Genesee County.



                   Max  Pies is a name that rings familiar to anyone that has ever lived in our area. In fact the first thing my wife and I did when we bought our house was to have our entire upstairs carpeted by them before we moved in. I was out of town when they did the job and was completely thrilled and amazed by the quality of the job they did. I can be very critical and could not find a fault anywhere. Every seam, edge and break appeared flawless. My wife told me how courteous and professional they were during job and how much pride they took in every aspect from removal to final clean up. I can say that I am a very satisfied customer. Before I continue, I need to apologize for the delay on submitting stories. I ran into a few set backs but I promise to keep this series going. 

                                                                                                                                                I stopped in and spoke with both Phil and Steven.  It was a pleasure to share feelings about Batavia and its people.  They both have tremendous affection for our city and all the folks they have served through out the years.  In fact it seemed my interview wasn’t one at all.   We spent only a few minutes talking about the business and the rest was about our community.  We talked about local issues, the stadium, the Mall, schools and annual events.  Steven and I spoke about where we’ve traveled and how we both always looked to Batavia as the place we wanted to be and raise our kids.  He told me how he got married and moved away but couldn’t stay away from our inviting community.  He moved back for the same reasons I wanted to be here, our kids.  We talked about how wonderful it is that our children can run around and play.  How similarly we liked the fact that in our neighborhoods all the parents kind of keep track of  each others kids in their roaming groups going to each others houses and playing.  We look out for each other and keep in contact with ten second phone calls, “Hi Dad, I’m at Jenny’s! click”  but you knew they were safe.  We agreed that even in a modern society the old town feel still remains evident here.  We laughed and joked through our family tales, because after all, any one with kids can relate to or even re-live every kid inspired story told.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I eventually got back to asking about the business and what it takes to keep a family run enterprise successful for so long.  The answer was similar to every long standing business owner I’ve interviewed.  “Give the customers good service at a fair price and they’ll be loyal”.  “Good service means taking care of them during and after the sale”.  “No matter how busy we are, how big or small the job, every one deserves to be treated as the most important task in front of you at the time”.  “When people are shown respect and given what they asked for you haven’t  just made a sale, you’ve established a relationship that hopefully lasts a life time”.  I couldn’t agree more!  I myself want more than someone to just show me a product and take a check.  We all want someone who knows more than their product.  We want them to know their business.  Let their experience help us decide what would best fit us.  That only comes from many years of dealing with people in all different situations and all walks of life.  That’s what I found with Phil and Steven, it is more than another sale to them.  It’s building that relationship.  Stop in and see Phil or Steven at 400 South Jackson St. or give them a call at 585-343-6280.    









By Kimberly Amey

Grants to Cost-Share Advertising & Promotion; Available First-Come, First-Serve Basis

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced the availability of funding for a pilot Pride of New York “Buy Local” Cooperative Advertising Program.  Members of the Pride of New York Program can receive up to $5,000 on a first-come, first-serve basis to advertise and promote specialty crop food and agricultural products grown or processed in New York State.

“New Yorkers have some of the best products grown or processed right here in their backyard, yet unfortunately many don’t know where to find them,” the Commissioner said.  “I am pleased that the Department was able to secure federal funds for this important program that will help consumers identify local products and help the State’s specialty crop producers build awareness, preference and sales of New York products across the State.  I encourage all Pride of New York members to take advantage of this great opportunity.”

The Pride of New York’s “Buy Local” Cooperative Advertising Grant Program, a pilot project of the Department, provides up to $5,000 to create and develop promotional messages, purchase media time, print space or signage or pursue other promotional activities.  Members can choose from a wide range of advertising and marketing options that best fit their budget and target audience, in multiple media markets.  Cooperative advertising funds will be awarded on a first-come, first serve basis.  The program options include: 

·       Pre-Negotiated and/or Custom-Built Television Ads: Includes professional production of a 23-second TV commercial with a 7-second Pride of New York tag at the end. 

·       Pre-Negotiated and/or Custom-Built Radio Ads: Includes professional production of a 45-second radio spot that ends with a 15-second Pride of New York tag.

·       Print: Pride of New York will cost-share approved print advertisements and placement in a variety of consumer publications.

·       Point of Purchase and Promotional Items:  Pride of New York will cost share approved point of purchase and promotional item such as:  signs, bags, banners, product packaging, brochures, flags and rack cards.

Funding for the Pride of New York “Buy Local” Cooperative Advertising Program is provided through the 2006 and 2007 USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.  The Department is utilizing 2008 USDA Specialty Crop Block Grants to cost-share third party Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audits and to assist producers with developing farm food safety plans.

The Pride of New York program is the State’s marketing program for food and agricultural products grown or processed in New York State.  The program was created to help consumers identify fresh, high-quality New York State products where they shop.  The Pride of New York also assists farmers and food processors in branding their products by using the Pride of New York emblem, and encourages retailers and restaurants to highlight the New York State products they use and sell by displaying the emblem. To find out more about the Pride of New York Program, call 1-800-554-4501 or visit

For more information on the Pride of New York Cooperative Advertising Program or other promotional opportunities, please contact the Pride of New York Program at 1-800-554-4501 or visit the Department’s website at and click on “Funding Opportunities.”

Proudly serving the community for 134 years and counting

By Timothy Paine

Seaman's Hardware is Genesee County's oldest family owned business. I spent some time yesterday just browsing through the store and reliving my past. I remembered the many times I went with my Dad to the local Hardware store when I was little. I’d wander the isles just looking at all the things on the shelves and wondering what I could build with them. My Dad is a pretty handy guy, he did everything at home himself. He built a house, barns and sheds. He did plumbing, electric, roofing and mason work. I learned a lot from him, mainly that I prefer to write a check when my house needs repair. (I never was as good at it as he was).

I spoke with Jim Seaman about the history of the Hardware store. He said he is fourth or fifth generation. The reason for this is he can’t find any receipts from Charles. He has the paper trail for Ezra, Web, Gail and himself. Since he doesn’t have any paper evidence of Charles and the sales from the wagon he considers it a fourth generation business. What an enormous accomplishment to keep a family business a float for 134 years. Surviving the Great Depression and who knows how many recessions. Keeping a business in the family through two World Wars and numerous other ones. Just being able to operate any business in this State is remarkable. To keep one this long and under the same name is astonishing. While I was there customers came in one after the other. After every sale Jim came from behind the counter and asked every one how could he help them. Every person was given the same personal attention and guidance towards what they needed. As I walked around and looked at every shelf I was amazed about the shear variety of items they had. Everything from power tools to P-traps to canning pots to ping-pong balls. With my son being a new Scout I picked him up a compass and a pocket knife (he starts working on his whittling badge this week). Even though the store may not appear very large, they seemed to have anything you would expect at real Hardware store.  Through the years he has changed thigs only when his customers wanted it. After all, you don't mess with something that works. Over the years he has added outdoor equipment and tool rentals, maybe a few other things. But he has always stayed true to the old time true Hardware store. If you need it, he's probably got it.

I asked Jim what his theory on success is, and what has lead his business to such a long history in our County. He said his key has been, find out what customers want and make sure you always have it. He continued, offer them more than just a product at a reasonable price. Make sure you give them service and stand behind it. While I was there a gentleman came in for a special light bulb that he happened to be out of stock on. Instead of saying “I’m out of them” he said “I’ll have one for you tomorrow”. He’s right. That’s the difference between selling to a community and serving one. I encourage everyone to stop in and see Jim the next time you’re on Route 5 in East Pembroke. It’s a great place and the biggest example of why it’s good to shop local. You’ll never get Jim’s kind of service at a box store.  They're located at 2602 Main St in E. Pembroke. Ph# 762-9211.

     Seaman's Hardware (Est. 1875) is located on Rte 5 in East Pembroke (just west of Batavia) is Genesee County's oldest family owned business. Charles Seaman and his son Ezra were tin smiths who sold their wares out of a wagon. They eventually built a wooden structure and upgraded to the current brick building in 1916. Part of the original wooden structure is still attached.

I received a bunch of e-mails about businesses around the County. I can use a buch more! If you know a business that's been here a long time, let me know and I'll feature them. Send e-mail to:  Thanks!

Buy a Local Christmas Tree

By Jan Beglinger

Christmas is only 8 days away! Have you gotten your Christmas tree yet? If not, consider going local this year. There are Christmas tree growers in our area that sell trees direct or you can pick and cut your own tree. Not sure if that perfect tree you are looking at was grown in NY? Then ask the seller. New York has more than 1,000 Christmas tree farms so it should be easy to find a tree that was grown in New York.

New York Christmas tree farms offer a wide variety of Christmas trees.  Fraser Firs and Balsam Firs are the most popular varieties in New York State, while White and Blue Spruce, Scotch Pine, and other firs, such as Douglas and Concolour are also available.  Many local Christmas tree farms offer other holiday items such as wreaths, swags and fresh roping, along with wonderful handmade crafts. I found some great wooden ornaments and other decorations at the Christmas tree farm I visited. All were locally crafted.

Are you going green? Christmas trees are a renewable resource. For every Christmas tree harvested, up to 3 seedlings are planted in its place the following spring.  When you are done with your tree, recycle it. It can be chipped and used as mulch or put it outside and decorate it for the birds with edible treats.  It can also be put near your birdfeeder for additional shelter.
Christmas trees are grown on land that may not be suited for traditional agricultural crops.  They help stabilize soil and protect local water supplies.  Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases.  Did you know that one acre of Christmas trees emits enough oxygen for 18 people?  Christmas tree farms also provide year round habitat for birds and other animals. 32,600 acres of Christmas trees are grown across New York.
Support your local economy. Christmas trees provide additional income for farmers and rural landowners.  They also create seasonal jobs and serve as an economic stimulus for local communities, offering not only trees, but tourism opportunities.
What should you do with your tree when you get it home? Follow these guidelines to keep your real Christmas tree fresh throughout the holiday season:
1. Cut one-quarter inch off the base of the trunk.  Keep the tree outdoors or in an unheated garage in a container of water and protect it from the wind and sun until you’re ready to decorate.  This helps the tree retain moisture.
2. Before you bring the tree into your home, make another fresh cut a minimum of one-quarter inch off the base of the trunk.  This reopens the tree stem so it can take up water immediately.  Place it in a stand with fresh water.  Do not allow the water level to drop below the fresh cut or the stem will reseal.
3. Trees may drink from 2 pints to 1 gallon of water a day.  Use a stand with 1-gallon capacity or more.  Keep your tree away from drying heat sources such as sunny windows, hot air ducts and fireplaces.  Check the water level daily and supply fresh water as needed.
There is nothing like the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree. This year take the family out and enjoy the adventure of finding that perfect tree.
Sources: NY Dept of Ag & Markets
Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York
National Christmas Tree Association

Authentically Local