Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

Chamber Awards

March 3, 2019 - 4:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chamber Awards, chamber of commerce, news, notify.

chamberawards2019.jpg

It was a celebratory evening at the Quality Inn and Suites on Saturday as the Chamber of Commerce honored local businesses and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the community. 

For more on each award winner, click on the story links below:

chamberawards2019-2.jpg

Dan Fischer, emcee.

chamberawards2019-3.jpg

Jay Gsell, emcee, with the "Genesee Is Great Already" (GIGA) hat that he introduced at the event and gave to each honoree.

chamberawards2019-4.jpg

Tom Turnbull, president of the Chamber of Commerce.

chamberawards2019-5.jpg

Bob Stocking and Penny Arnold.

chamberawards2019-6.jpg

Larry Webster and Mike Davis representing Upstate Niagara Cooperative.

chamberawards2019-7.jpg

The Harrower family, Genesee Lumber.

chamberawards2019-8.jpg

chamberawards2019-9.jpg

Jim McMullen and Sue Schuler representing the Rotary Club of Batavia.

chamberawards2019-10.jpg

Videos, produced by Paul Figlow, were used to introduce each award winner.

chamberawards2019-11.jpg

Bob Stocking's hat.

March 1, 2019 - 11:51am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Chamber Awards, pembroke.

bobstockingchamber2018.jpg

Video Sponsor

 

Editor's note: The  2018 Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Awards banquet will be held Saturday, March 2, at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

The phrase “pay it forward” is a bit overworked, but there’s no better way to describe the manner in which Corfu’s Bob Stocking goes about the business of community service and volunteerism.

Stocking, 83 and getting younger every year, is the 2018 recipient of the Geneseean of the Year award from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

He will be honored at the chamber’s 47th annual Awards Ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on March 2 at the Quality Inn & Suites on Park Road in Batavia.

Nominated by longtime friend and neighbor Penny Arnold, Stocking (who has lived in his Angling Road farmhouse since 1945) has made a difference in the lives of people of all ages – from the children who have found their way as 4-H Club members to the elderly who have found comfort and friendship in HomeCare & Hospice, Genesee Cancer Assistance, Mercy Flight and Crossroads House.

Through it all, he raised a family as a top-notch tractor-trailer driver for 41 years, endured the death of his 48-year-old son, John, to a hunting accident in 2008 and now, with the help of his daughter, Tracy, takes care of his wife of 63 years, Donna, who has health problems.

Stocking also has assumed the role of helping those who need to clear out their homes due to the loss of a parent.

Every day brings a new adventure, a new challenge to the Stocking household, and Bob continues to be up to the task.

“Over the years, people have helped us,” he said. “The first auction barn dance that we did was for Hospice, which had taken good care of my mother when she passed away. I wanted to do something to repay them.”

So, putting his words into action, Stocking agreed to chair an annual fundraiser at Bontrager’s Auction Barn on Wortendyke Road – this year’s event to benefit Crossroads House is set for Oct. 12 and, as you would expect, Bob plans on selling the bulk of the 225 available tickets.

Stocking, per Arnold’s nomination, jumped into it feet first.

“In the beginning the (Bontrager) employees agreed to share the chairing of this event, but Bob always seemed to take on the task,” she wrote. “There have been five wonderful events which have helped (the agencies listed above) … Chairing this event is no small task. Bob held meetings at his home and delegated many of the tasks, but has had his hands into many of the aspects of the event.”

Arnold went on to write about Stocking’s many hours on the phone and spent delivering tickets, and has turned the event into one that people look forward to and raises quite a bit of money for the designated causes through ticket sales, donations and a pie auction.

“Todd Jantzi (of Bontrager’s) has been great to us by donating the facility and helping in other areas,” Stocking said. “Other businesses donate to us and it has become a very successful event. Last year, we raised $5,000 for Crossroads House and we’re going to do it again.”

Stocking said the main reason he does this is “because all the money stays in the county.”

“It’s important to me that we help those in Genesee County,” he said. “With some things, you never know where the money goes.”

He said that a couple he met in Tops Market one day came up to him and thanked him for running the dinner-dance at Bontrager’s.

“They told me that they got some of the money that was donated to Genesee Cancer Assistance for gas and other expenses. That meant a lot to me,” he said.

Stocking’s generosity has touched young people who have participated in horse shows through 4-H at the Genesee County Fair by giving them and their animals rides to the shows in his horse trailer, providing accessories for training and donating trophies to the fair that were won by Tracy during her years showing horses.

“We used to have 25 horses and 25 cows,” said Stocking, who also operated a tack shop, “but now we have a dog and a cat.”

Stocking was active in the East Pembroke Volunteer Fire Department for many years (he’s a lifetime member) and once donated a steer to its carnival to raise money.

In her nomination, Arnold wrote that Stocking, who became a grandfather figure to her daughter, Danielle, is “honest and trustworthy … someone that always helps out other people but doesn’t do it for the acknowledgment … he does it from the heart.”

When he was contacted by a chamber employee, Stocking said he didn’t realize he had won, but thought he had been nominated.

“I never expected anything like this in my entire lifetime,” said Stocking, who said he will have 14 people, including son, Robbie, who lives in Virginia, at the ceremony. “It’s a big, big honor to have something like that. I just do it to help people.”

March 1, 2019 - 11:46am
posted by Mike Pettinella in Chamber Awards, news, business, batavia, Genesee Lumber.

geneseelumberchamber2018.jpg

 

Video Sponsor

 

Editor's note: The 2018 Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Awards banquet will be held Saturday, March 2, at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

John Harrower said he recalls a story that his late father, Robert, told him about how Genesee Lumber got started way back in 1928.

“My grandfather, a pioneer in his vision and thinking, shook hands (on the deal) with the former owner of what was Franklin Street Lumber at the time, and he (the seller) said, ‘Good luck, it’s a dying business.’ ”

Today, that “dying business” is alive and well – continuing to serve Genesee County and, in recent years, Erie and Monroe counties – as both a contractor yard and retail outlet.

It’s doing so well, in fact, that it is being honored as the 2018 Business of the Year by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and will be recognized as such at the chamber’s 47th annual Awards Ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on March 2 at the Quality Inn & Suites on Park Road in Batavia.

“We are very honored and humbled to receive this award,” Harrower said, speaking for his wife, Leslie; sons, Michael and Eric, who are both in the business, and his employees.

Genesee Lumber was nominated by Batavia John Riter, who praised the Harrowers for their “vision, willingness to bet on the community and commitment to success” as key elements in the company’s ability to expand considerably in recent years.

“Their success has contributed to the community’s success in a variety of ways, not the least of which is an expanded workforce,” Riter wrote in his nomination letter.

John and Leslie purchased the company from Robert in 1994, but John actually worked for his dad as a child before coming on full time after college in 1983. Leslie, an accomplished business person in her own right, came on board in 1987.

Robert Harrower, well-known for his efforts as a Rotarian and on several community boards, passed away last June at the age of 84.

The origins of Genesee Lumber are best captured in John’s words:

“The company was started in 1928 by my grandfather, Harold Harrower, who was a traveling salesman and a lumber dealer. He wanted to own a lumber yard one day, and he called on this place – the old Franklin Street Lumber – and ended up buying it.”

John said the business prospered through the Depression and World War II, and was supported by three big silos, which kept Harold busy during the winter months. “A big source of revenue, and the fuel supply was coal,” he noted.

In time, the coal aspect went away, the silos were removed and the business became known as Genesee Lumber Company Inc.

Robert Harrower worked beside his dad and uncle as a child. In 1963, he bought out his father (who retired) and owned the business until selling it to his son and daughter-in-law 25 years ago.

John Harrower said he sees himself as a combination of the two – a bit of a risk taker like his grandfather and a sense of conservatism, more like his father.

“Yeah, I think I have some of my grandfather in me in that we took a leap of faith about 15 years ago to venture outside of Genesee County,” John said. “We added four or five buildings, and while continuing to be very heavy in the retail business (in Genesee County) we have expanded those avenues into Monroe and, especially Erie County.”

He said the company owns a fleet of a dozen trucks and 10 forklifts, features a large showroom area to “give people a feel of what they could envision for themselves, no matter the size of the project that they have going on.”

The Andersen Windows line has been a key part of the company’s offerings for about 60 years. “They (Andersen) are, if not No. 1, No. 2,” he said.

Genesee Lumber also carries siding, metal roofing, top quality shingles, the Trex decking product, storm doors, windows and more.

“We also do a large amount of interior packages – styles, color, paint grade option or also a stain finish product,” John said, “and a wide array of exterior door options, and patio doors (with a) great selection. It’s quite an expansive line.”

John said Genesee Lumber has several skilled sales and service employees in the areas of kitchen cabinets and countertops – “not our main line, but we can do pre-built or custom cabinetry,” he said.

Much of the expansion has occurred under John and Leslie’s watch.

“We tore down an old building and a house and put up this nearly 10,000-square-foot warehouse – that mostly houses windows and doors,” he said. “We cut lumber, plywood and have a shop for custom painting.”

John said that they take on a lot of lumber by rail, with one railroad car holding more than four tractor-trailer loads.

“Rail helps reduce our costs quite a bit. It reduces the freight tremendously, which we can pass on to our contractor and customer base,” he said, adding that the majority of the lumber comes from Canada or the West Coast.

The Harrower family continues to be active in the community, as both John and Leslie have served on the Genesee Area YMCA board (Leslie is a former president) and as volunteer coaches for a variety of school and youth sports.

Per Riter’s nomination, “John and Leslie have been great ambassadors in that they are always friendly and welcoming to people who are new to the community, including Liz (his wife) and myself.”

John said he embraces what he calls “the hometown spirit.”

“Nothing comes near it,” he said. “We like to see people within the community; we’ve made a lot of friends and have had a tremendous amount of support from the community. And, for that, we’re very grateful.”

March 1, 2019 - 11:42am
posted by Virginia Kropf in Rotary Club of Batavia, business, Chamber Awards, batavia.

chamberawardrotary2018.jpg

 

Video Sponsor

 

Editor's note: The 2018 Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Awards banquet will be held Saturday, March 2, at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

As Batavia’s oldest service club prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, it will be honored by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce with the Special Service Recognition of the Year on Saturday.

Rotarian Christopher White stressed the importance of the Rotary Club of Batavia in the community when he nominated it for the Chamber award.

“Founded by local businessmen looking for camaraderie and an opportunity to give back to their community, the Club has made meaningful contributions, not just financial, but of their time, talent and expertise to make Batavia a better place to live,” White wrote.

Rotary’s contributions to the Batavia community include support of Batavia Concert Band, Genesee County Youth Bureau Community Garden, Genesee Cancer Assistance, Crossroads House, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, GO ART!, Fourth of July Picnic in the Park, Genesee/Orleans ARC and United Memorial Medical Center.

And they support local youth in ice hockey, minor league baseball, Boy Scouts, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), YMCA Camp Hough and the YMCA Summer Adventure Program. 

The Rotary Scholarship Program provides $18,000 each year to high school students from Batavia, Notre Dame and Genesee Valley Educational Partnership.

Rotary also gives local high school students a chance to spend a year abroad, and has hosted foreign exchange students looking to experience life in the United States and Western New York. Two of these students, one from Australia and the other from Denmark, are in Batavia now and attended a recent meeting to tell of their experiences at Algonquin Provencial Park in Ontario, Canada.

Rotary has also provided youth leadership training to many local high school and college students through Rotary International. And they support the world by continuing to raise funds from club members to support Rotary International in its quest to eradicate polio from the face of the earth.

Batavia Rotary hosts the annual girls’ and boys’ high school basketball tournaments, the annual Father’s Day Fly-in Breakfast at Genesee County Airport, the annual Beerfest and raffle, and the Memorial Day Flags and Flowers Sale.

Not to be forgotten are the Rotary shows which were put on for so many years.

White noted that many of the current 75 Rotary members sit on boards of local organizations and nonprofit agencies, lending their support and knowledge to them. They can be found making an impact outside of the Club itself, he said. Members range in age from 28 to 88 and all believe in the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.”

Batavia Rotary was founded in 1919 by Batavia businessman Carlton M. Sleight, who had only lived in the city little more than a decade, according to William F. Brown Jr. in his book "Service Above Self: The Story of a Rotary Club."

Sleight had attended a Rotary meeting in Elmira, while living and doing business in Canandaigua, and Brown believes that his visit may have inspired him to form a club in Batavia. On March 13, 1919, Sleight invited 25 business and professional men to meet at the Holland Club with Dr. John H. Ready from the Rochester club to learn how to form a Batavia unit.

The group was so enthused that, two months later, a dinner meeting was held at the Batavia Club to discuss the reports of committees working on bylaws and a constitution. Officers were installed May 26 at the Odd Fellows Temple (the former St. James Episcopal Church on Ellicott Street). More than 200 Rotarians attended from Rochester to Niagara Falls and enjoyed a five-course dinner served by the Eastern Star. 

Batavia became Rotary International’s charter No. 491.

Batavia dentist Joseph Rowbottom is a 50-year member of Batavia Rotary, along with Dave Schwartz and Don Iwanicki.  

Rowbottom first became exposed to Rotary after moving to Corfu. When he was a freshman in dental school, he had a friend whose fiancee’s mother knew a dentist in Corfu who was retiring. That turned out to be Guy Patterson and Rowbottom bought his building. (Guy Patterson's daughter was the famous swimmer Greta Paterson, who swam across Lake Erie in 1955.)

In 1966, the Vietnam War was heating up, and Rowbottom didn’t want to be drafted, so Patterson agreed to hold the building and Rowbottom enlisted. He served two years in the military and after returning home, started attending Rotary meetings with dentist Patterson. 

“I’ve been coming ever since,” Rowbottom said. “I continued to block off time on my schedule from noon to 1:15 p.m. so I could attend Rotary. I’ve always had a lot of fun at Rotary. I also liked the Buffalo Club, but they were so formal.”

Rowbottom said his friends challenged him in the beginning to propose that women be allowed to join Rotary. At the time, the Batavia Jaycees were thrown out of the organization for accepting a female member. He proposed Rotary welcome in Terry Carauna, the dean of Business at Genesee Community College.

“They didn’t accept her and I almost got thrown out of Rotary,” Rowbottom said. “Today, we would be in a world of hurt without women. This club could not function as it does without women.”

One of the newer, younger members is Pam Sivret, who joined in 2017. Her sister, Teri Yasses has been a member since 1994 and Sivret has helped her with the fly-in breakfasts and Rotary shows. 

When Yasses said Sivret should join, she did.

“I love the friendship and how we are all very like-minded,” Sivret said. 

She was the first winner of a Rotary Youth Leadership Award to become a Rotary member. She won the award in 1990 while a student at GCC.

Lori Aratari was working for Triple AAA when she joined Rotary. 

“They encouraged us to be part of our community and get involved,” Aratari said. “I explored the service clubs locally and Rotary stood out.”

She has chaired fundraisers and is in her second term on the board.

“I’ve made amazing friends through Rotary and my husband enjoys participating in Rotary events,” Aratari said.

March 1, 2019 - 11:38am
posted by Virginia Kropf in Chamber Awards, business, agriculture, upstate niagara.

Editor's note: The  2018 Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Awards banquet will be held Saturday, March 2, at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

Upstate Niagara Cooperative Inc., a dairy cooperative owned by 340 farm families located throughout Western New York, will be honored March 2 as the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Organization of the Year.

“On behalf of our member-owners, especially those located in Genesee County, we are honored to be presented with this award by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce,” said Keith Telaak, senior marketing manager of Upstate Niagara Cooperative. “We are grateful of this recognition and are proud to be a part of the Genesee County community.”

Upstate Niagara Cooperative is a result of several mergers, acquisitions, and consolidations of local dairy processors over the past 100 years, as dairy farmers realized the need for increased efficiencies to be able to grow their businesses and compete in the changing marketplace, Telaak said.

In 2006 Upstate Farms Cooperative and Niagara Milk Cooperative consolidated, bringing together two of the nation’s top dairy cooperatives. Its history, however, goes back even further.

Some of Upstate Niagara Cooperative’s family-owned farms have been in existence for more than six generations, according to Telaak.

The cooperative operates seven manufacturing facilities – three fluid plants (Buffalo, Rochester and Williamsport, Pa.), with their main office in Buffalo; two cultured facilities (West Seneca and North Lawrence); one cheese plant in Campbell; and O-AT-KA Milk Products in Batavia. The Membership Office is also located in Batavia, Telaak added. 

“Our mission is to serve each one of our customers the highest quality dairy products and services, in order to market milk and maximize returns for our dairy farmer owners, while providing a rewarding environment for our employees,” Telaak said.

“Our commitment to quality dairy products extends to every stage of production, from the farm to the consumer. The success of our cooperative begins with the passion and dedication of our farmer-owners to work hard every single day to produce the highest quality milk.”

Upstate Niagara’s high-quality dairy products have earned several first-place awards at dairy competitions, including their Bison French Onion Dip and light sour cream. They are marketed to consumers throughout the country.

Their products include milk, flavored milk, yogurt, dip, sour cream, cheese and ice cream marketed under the Upstate Farms, Valley Farms; Intense Milk for consumers looking for a healthier way to indulge; Bison; and Milk for Life. 

“We are also a private label manufacturer of dairy products for many of the largest retailers throughout the country,” Telaak said. 

Today, Upstate Niagara employs more than 1,400 people in their offices, manufacturing facilities and distribution network. 

Batavia was chosen as the site for the Membership Office because of its central location to member farmers in Western New York, Telaak said. Mike Davis is plant manager of the Batavia plant.

January 15, 2019 - 12:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, Chamber Awards, news, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 47th Annual Awards Ceremony which will be held on Saturday, March 2, at the Quality Inn & Suites, Park Road, Batavia.

This is the County’s premier event that honors businesses and individuals for their achievements in business, community service and volunteerism. Tickets are $50 per person or a table of 10 for $450.

The evening begins at 5:30 with hors d'oeuvres, entrée tables & cash bar (no formal sit-down dinner is to be served). The Award Program starts at 7 p.m. where dessert and coffee will be served. 

This year’s honorees are: 

  • Business of the Year:    Genesee Lumber Company Inc.      
  • Agricultural Organization of the Year:    Upstate Niagara Cooperative Inc.   
  • Special Service Recognition of the Year:   The Batavia Rotary Club
  • Geneseean of the Year:   Bob Stocking, of Corfu
March 2, 2018 - 11:49pm

baltzconchamberaward2018.jpg

This is the fifth in a series of five stories about the honorees at this Saturday's annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony. The ceremony is being held at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

Pouring concrete is a young man's game, said Tom Baltz, co-owner of Baltz Concrete Construction in Pavilion.

"We have a lot of knowledge and ability to keep (the business) running, but I certainly couldn't go out and do concrete anymore," said the 64-year-old Baltz. "We have a lot of tough guys. You have to be tough to do concrete work."

Baltz employs between 40 and 50 people regularly, usually more in the summer. They have to work in all kinds of conditions. This isn't school where you can count on a few snow days during the winter. A Baltz construction worker works in the hot and the cold, the wind and the rain, the snow and the bright light of an August afternoon.

"They're working outdoors in all possible conditions," Baltz said. "We only took one weather day off this winter. They're out there in the mud and the water and they still have to think clearly and get a job done, and get a job done in a manner that it's going to stand up. It really is an amazing thing what these guys are capable of doing and what they're willing to do to get the job done."

It's been 45 years since Tom's dad, Robert Baltz, started the company, which his three sons eventually took over. Since then it's continued to grow and increasingly become a bedrock business of the community.

That's why Baltz Construction was selected by the Chamber of Commerce at the business of the year.

"I was only 19 when I started," Baltz said. "I came home from college and got out in the sun and got working, I just put my head down and did it. To be honest with you, I just never looked back. I just loved the physical work of it."

Baltz Construction specializes cast-in-place concrete. In other words, Baltz workers go to a construction site and fill casts with concrete, rather than bring in pre-poured castings. 

Clients include schools and factories.

"If it's concrete, we do it," Baltz said. "We don't do a lot of residential work because that's kind of a different gear than what we're set up to do. We have bigger equipment with more overhead, so we don't do a lot of residential unless it's a large job."

Robert Batlz was working for the B.R. DeWitt Corp. driving a cement truck when it struck him that maybe that was the kind of work he could do for himself.

"He saw a lot of concrete being poured and thought it looked like an opportunity so he decided to give it a try."

He started out with small jobs on the side but by 1973, Baltz Concrete became his full-time job.

That's when Tom went to work for him.

In a couple of years, Robert Baltz bought the Howard Brown Precast Company and Tom's brothers went to work for him there and Tom ran Baltz Concrete.

When the precast company was sold to Kistner, Baltz Concrete became the business of Tom and his two brothers.  

When one of the brothers wanted out, Tom and his brother Nicholas decided to make James Logdson a partner.

"James was looking for a summer job when he came to work for Baltz Concrete," Baltz said. "He worked one summer, he graduated, but he impressed us a lot. I talked my brothers into chasing him down and making him an offer to come to work for us. That was in the 1980s. He's been with us ever since."

Baltz said the company has always valued its employees and they try to treat them right.

"We take jobs that are anywhere within an hour-and-a-half of Pavilion," Baltz said. "We don't go much further than that because we need our people to be home every night. We hire family men. It's important that we get them home every night to be with their families."

They also support some of their after-work hobbies. They might sponsor stockcar or go-kart or some other activity.

"You get involved with the people you work with in a ton of different ways," Baltz said. 

There's a lot of charity support flowing out of Baltz Concrete. They sponsor youth baseball, soccer, softball, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, the Pavilion Community Chest and the Arc of Genesee Orleans.

"Being part of the town and being in a position to do something, you feel like you have the opportunity to help and helping always makes you feel better," Bartz said.

Both Tom and Nicholas are married. Tom and his wife don't have children. Nicholas is a stepfather to the children of his wife, but he and his wife are also parents to three foster children they plan to adopt. 

"So he has many children," Baltz said. "He lives and breathes for them, that's for sure."

What makes the company successful, Baltz acknowledged, is its people.

"We're not like a factory," Baltz said. "There's not a lot of equity in equipment. Most of the equipment we use has little or no market value. When all is said and done, with this place, if we shut it down, there's more worth in the building and the driveway then there is in the equipment.

"With our company, it is the people who are the only real value."

That's why some of the best employees in the company, such as Logsdon, have become partners.

The two new junior partners are Jaret Geitner and Jeremy Trzieceski.

The best workers, Baltz said, are the ones who have a dedication to their job and take pride in what they do. Those are the people who get promoted.

"When you have pride, you do something right for its own sake," Baltz said. "You don't do it for your boss or for your company. You do it for your own pride. You can teach a guy to do a job right but you can't teach a guy to care about his job."

The guys who care are easy to spot, Baltz said. They're the ones who see the boss working with estimating software, so they go home and play with it just to see if they can figure it out. 

"You know who the ones are that wake up in the middle of the night and think, 'Wow, did I get that measurement right?'"

That's why those employees get a shot at being a partner.

"There is a self-motivation in certain people that you have to recognize because if you don't recognize those people, they will go someplace else quick enough."

March 1, 2018 - 6:46pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in The Firing Pin, bergen, news, Chamber Awards, business.

firingpinchamberaward2018.jpg

This is the fourth in a series of five stories about the honorees at this Saturday's annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony. The ceremony is being held at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

The Firing Pin in Bergen is a friendly place to visit. Owner Brandon Lewis is a big reason why. Open and gregarious, he's eager to help his customers and ensure when they come to use the range they do so safely and get the most enjoyment from it as possible.

The store is brightly lit, clean and well-stocked.  

It's no wonder, the Firing Pin was selected by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce as the Innovative Enterprise of the Year.

Lewis, the owner, said he was humbled to receive the award.

“When you go into business, you never know what’s going to happen,” Lewis said. “To be recognized for the work you do is the icing on the cake. It can’t get better than that.”

Lewis started planning to open The Firing Pin in 2011. He wanted to offer a facility with a full range of products and services, that was not a typical gun shop. He felt it was something the community needed, and the public responded well to the business.

“We cater to those who are afraid of guns, and those who use guns,” Lewis said. “We cater to every skill level. We’re a destination for anyone who is looking to be better.”

The facility, located at 8240 Buffalo Road, was built in 2013 and opened in 2014.

Lewis went to Alexander High School when he thought of the idea of running his own place. The idea took time to develop, so he went to St. John Fisher College.

He took a job at Gander Mountain, and decided he wanted to open a place that gave more training, the right training, and safe training.

Lewis is an eagle scout, a certified NRA pistol and rifle instructor, a certified GLOCK Armorer and a black belt in Taekwondo.  

“Everywhere down south there are gun shops and ranges,” Lewis said. “It is popular down south and it’s something I felt we needed.”

The Firing Pin is open seven days a week, Monday from noon until 8:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. They offer group rates, memberships and firearm rentals, in addition to one-on-one training with NRA certified instructors.

More information and pricing can be found here.

firingpinchamberaward2018-2.jpg

firingpinchamberaward2018-3.jpg

firingpinchamberaward2018-4.jpg

firingpinchamberaward2018-5.jpg

firingpinchamberaward2018-6.jpg

firingpinchamberaward2018-7.jpg

February 28, 2018 - 3:18pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Geneseeans of the Year, William Kent Inc., Chamber Awards.

kentchamber2018.jpg

This is the third in a series of five stories about the honorees at this Saturday's annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony. The ceremony is being held at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

Renowned purebred cattle auctioneer William “Bill” Kent says there’s a straightforward explanation for his Town of Stafford company’s nearly half a century of success.

“It’s pretty simple, really. I said to the kids, 'don’t fib and don’t do anything wrong, or it will come back to bite you,' ” said Bill, who founded William Kent Inc. in 1970 and has since turned it over to his son, Dave.

Bill, Dave and Dave’s son, Josh, spoke about the business and its role in the community in light of the family being named Geneseeans of the Year for 2017 by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a heck of an honor, and certainly unexpected,” said Dave, who joined forces with his father in 1976 after graduating from St. Bonaventure University. “We’re very pleased.”

Over the years, several members of the Kent family have participated in the auctioneering, appraisal and real estate brokerage firm, including Bill’s wife, Jean, and daughters, Debbie and Connie.

Currently, Bill (at 85 he’s still on the job), Dave and Josh, who came into the business in 2006 after attending Cornell University, handle the day-to-day responsibilities, with assistance from trusted employees Mike Cody and George Heins.

The family was nominated for the award by Stafford neighbors Rick and Jane Scott, who said the Kents are “well known for their community spirit, love of agriculture and generous nature. They deserve to be recognized not only as a business but for all they do in this community and beyond.”

The Kents have displayed their generosity through the numerous benefit auctions they conduct (at no charge) for civic organizations and charities, rarely turning down a request.

“Dad has always done this, and it is one of the ways we can give back,” said Dave, a former New York State Auctioneer of the Year.

In 1971, Bill gave of his time and talent to run the first Genesee County Fair auction, and the company has been involved ever since.

“Kids raise and sell their 4-H project animals at the Fair, and we help them out,” Bill said, adding that they also participate in the Wyoming County 4-H.

He then went on to name other organizations that have raised funds through their benefit auctions – churches, Kiwanis Club, Batavia Business Women, Le Roy and Stafford historical societies, Salvation Army and Hunter’s Hope, Spirits & Skivvies underwear project, plus many more.

Josh, whose children, Landon, 10, and Ainsley, 7, could be destined to join the business someday, said he has embraced his grandfather’s philosophy.

“Western New York is a fairly tight-knit community, and to be in business for any length of time, you have to treat people right,” he said.

Bill said the business has changed over time – “we used to sell 5,000 cows per year, now it’s a lot of machinery and real estate auctions and sales” (and consulting) – but they’re available to “help out where we are needed.”

That was the case when Bill presented auctioneering for a “show and tell” session at the Le Roy Nursery School, where his grandson, Riley, was a student.

“That was more fun than making money,” he said, with a laugh.

“I asked the kids to just do what I do, counting 1, 2, right up to 10. Then I gave them the little microphone and asked each one to come up and count. One little girl was so shy; she hid behind me, clutched my leg and counted really softly. That was something.”

Photo: David Kent, Josh Kent, and Mike Cody.

February 27, 2018 - 5:10pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Batavia Cross Training, news, Chamber Awards.

crosstrainingchamberaward2019.jpg

This is the second in a series of five stories about the honorees at this Saturday's annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony. The ceremony is being held at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

When Jessica Pratt saw a chance to own her own gym, she took it and she hasn't looked back.

Batavia Cross Training has become not only a popular fitness spot for her customers, it's become an important part of Genesee County's charitable community.

This Saturday, the gym will be recognized by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce with a special Service of the Year Award.

Pratt said she was shocked and honored by the award.

“I’ve only owned the gym for two and a half years,” Pratt said. “It’s very humbling to be noticed already. I didn’t expect that.”

Pratt was approached by the old owner two and a half years ago, and said he was moving to Buffalo, and gave her the opportunity to take the gym over.

“I guess I was a risk-taker,” Pratt said. “I committed to it and we’ve done well. It has been my life ever since.”

Batavia Cross Training provides a different type of fitness for anyone and everyone, Pratt said.

The fitness program is for individuals who are committed to improving their fitness, whether it be to lose weight, run a marathon, or have endless energy. Through the program, members are taught to develop nutrition plans, set and reach goals, and how to maintain motivation. The program is for people of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels. 

The gym is located at 34 Swan St. in Batavia and offers classes at various points throughout the day. There are different types of membership, including yearly, month to month, and trials. 

“I don’t do this to win awards,” Pratt said. “I do this because I like it and have fun.”

Pratt is 30 years old and lives in Le Roy. She said the community is so involved in helping Batavia Cross Training succeed.

“All of the businesses in Downtown Batavia and in Genesee County have helped out immensely,” Pratt said. “Even those donating to other events have been amazing.”

Pratt said she loves coming up with new ideas and running with them.

“I just want to keep doing what we’re doing and keep coming up with fresh, new, fun ideas,” Pratt said. “I want to keep moving in a good direction.”

Pratt wanted to thank the community and Batavia Cross Training Community members.

“I’m very happy to be able to help them and to have them support me every day,” Pratt said. “They’re the ones that are giving back. I put on the event and come up with the crazy ideas and they just support me. I love them all.”

crosstrainingchamberaward2019b-2.jpg

crosstrainingchamberaward2019b-3.jpg

crosstrainingchamberaward2019b-4.jpg

crosstrainingchamberaward2019b-5.jpg

crosstrainingchamberaward2019b-6.jpg

crosstrainingchamberaward2019b-7.jpg

February 27, 2018 - 5:01pm

cornellchamberaward2018.jpg

This is the first in a series of five stories about the honorees at this Saturday's annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony. The ceremony is being held at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

Quickly deflecting any kudos for herself, Bev Mancuso, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, said it’s the staff, volunteers, and community that should be applauded in conjunction with the agency’s selection as the Agricultural Business of the Year for 2017 by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

CCE, along with several other businesses, will be honored at the Chamber’s Annual Awards Dinner on March 3 at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

“It’s the specialists and experts on the CCE staff who deserve the recognition,” said Mancuso, who is retiring from her position in June after 15-plus years at the East Main Street facility. “They’re the ones who are out in the field, literally. I do what I can to get them what they need to do their jobs.”

Mancuso also had words of praise for those who give of their time to help the agency reach its goal of “growing minds” through nontraditional, experiential learning.

“All of our internal programs are heavily dependent upon volunteers -- 4-H, Leadership Genesee, Master Gardeners. Much fundraising is due to our volunteers. We would be lost without them.”

She also spoke highly of the board of directors, also volunteers, who have been instrumental in building and maintaining a strong organization of employees “very passionate about their jobs.”

“I continue to be amazed with their (staff) dedication and commitment,” she said. “No one is here to just get a paycheck. It really is their calling in life – they live to be here and do this job, despite the funding cuts we’ve experienced over the past few years.”

Mancuso said the agency (there is one CCE in every county in New York State) primarily reaches the farming community – operations big and small – through its involvement with three regional teams – Northwest NY Dairy, Livestock and Fields Crop, Vegetable and Harvest New York.

Currently, 23 specialists from Cornell University interact with all segments of agribusiness, enhancing capacity and infrastructure through on-site farm visits, hours on the muck land, corn and soybean symposiums and newsletter blasts.

Highlights of the work of the three teams include:

-- NWNY Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops: Several “Congresses” in the area of forage, calf/heifer, corn, soybean/small grains, as well as educational opportunities for growing malting barley, Ag workforce development and dairy calf managed housing and feeding systems.

-- Vegetable: A Batavia Field Day to capitalize on the increase in new farms in this area, soil health alliance summer field day, good ag practices farm food safety and research into wholesaling for small-scale vegetable growers, organic farming management and climate awareness.

-- Harvest New York: With a goal of spurring agricultural economic development, the focus is on dairy food processing and marketing, local food distribution and marketing, and farm strategic planning. Projects have been developed to promote the craft beverage industry, and to link Ag businesses with the WNY Tech Academy and GVEP BOCES culinary program.

The Master Gardeners program, coordinated by Jan Beglinger, has had a profound impact upon Genesee County residents, Mancuso said.

“On many occasions, someone will come in and want to start a farm, but don’t know what to do,” Mancuso said. “That’s when Jan gets involved. When you see those businesses start, that’s really cool.”

Last year alone, according to a CCE budget report, 71 Master Gardener volunteers donated 4,842 hours, worth $135,867 at current NYS value of $28.06 per hour to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County.

The CCE of Genesee County was nominated for the award by Christian Yunker, managing partner of CY Farms and a member of the Genesee County Agricultural Committee, said it’s easy to overlook the agency’s numerous benefits to the area.

“We in the industry many times take it for granted – the work that they do and their teams that provide such high value,” he said. “As producers, without that third-party expertise, we’d be left with only our vendors.”

Yunker said it was apropos that Chamber honor is being bestowed during the CCE of Genesee County’s centennial year.

“We believe that it is well-suited that during their 100th anniversary that they receive this award.”

March 5, 2017 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, Chamber Awards, business.

chamberawardspreso2017.jpg

At the Quality Inn & Suites last night, the Chamber of Commerce presented its annual local business and leadership awards. Here are photos and links to our stories from the past week about the winners.

Above, Charlie Cook, CEO of Liberty Pumps.

Chamber Awards: Business of the Year -- Liberty Pumps

chamberawardspreso2017-2.jpg

Bill and Joy Hume, owners of Foxprowl Collectables.

Chamber Awards: Foxprowl Collectables -- Entrepreneurial Business of the Year

chamberawardspreso2017-3.jpg

Owners of Stein Farms. Natasha Sutherland speaking, then on left, Jerrod Stein, Ray Stein, and Nathan Stein (Dale Stein was out of town and unable to attend).

Chamber Awards: Agricultural Business of the Year, Stein Farms

chamberawardspreso2017-4.jpg

Steve Foster and Tim Adams, owners of Red Osier Restaurant.

Chamber Awards: Special Service Recognition, Red Osier Restaurant

chamberawardspreso2017-5.jpg

Steve and Lisa Grice.

Chamber Awards: Geneseeans of the Year, Batavians Steve and Lisa Grice

chamberawardspreso2017-6.jpg

Tom Turnbull, present of the Chamber of Commerce, during his opening remarks.

March 4, 2017 - 3:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in liberty pumps, Chamber Awards, bergen, news, business.

chamawardlibertypumps2017.jpg

Quality products, enterprise and innovation, peerless customer service and a commitment to international growth are the hallmarks of Bergen-based Liberty Pumps. Combine these with an exceptionally skilled and dedicated workforce of about 200 employees (counting temps and part-timers), including a 19-member executive team, and you have a winner.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce named Liberty Pumps its 2016 Business of the Year.

The privately held, family-owned company makes sump, effluent and sewage pumps for the professional trade. Last year, sales were well over $95 million.

Firmly at the helm is CEO and President Charles Cook, who everybody calls "Charlie." His uncle, Fred Cook, started the business in 1965. Charlie joined the company as an engineer and bought the business back in the the '70s.

Charlie holds two of the dozen or so patents on Liberty Pump products. These are proof of his and his company's ability to find creative engineering solutions to solve problems, resulting in products that are designed and manufactured with exacting specifications to do tough tasks.

For example, they developed a grinder pump that can handle disposable products like baby wipes and throw-away cleaning products like Swiffer cloths that can jam traditional sewage pumps. They are currently working to develop their biggest pump to date. Their engineers can tweek the flow meters, turn valves and pressure gauges in a tank filled with water 12 feet deep, all while tracking the progress in real time on big computer screens. It's fascinating to watch.

The engineers work behind closed doors, of course, "no cameras" allowed. 

The manufacturing, assembling, painting, and other aspects of the business are spread out in a gargantuan building. The floor of the manufacturing plant itself is more than 200,000 square feet.

In 2015, they undertook a massive, multimillion dollar expansion project, roughly doubling the size of the facility on Apple Tree Avenue. The office building is sleek and spacious, and there's an Internet cafe, fitness center and state-of-the-art teaching/presentation/meeting rooms, too.

The overall impression is that of a clean, efficient, comfortable work environment. It's quite impressive.

"Day to day you don't think about it," Charlie said about the newly renovated premises after giving a tour. "But once in a while you have to stop and pinch yourself and say 'How did I get here?' We're proud of it and we like to show it off."

More important than the space is the culture of the workplace, which Charlie says is a top priority. 

"Taking personal responsibility is important," he said. "We give people freedom to present ideas and implement them. We have an active suggestion program."

The ideas of employees can boost productivity and increase safety, and recognizing their contributions benefits the work environment and helps the company succeed, Charlie said.

So does an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, which was implemented in 2014. It provides the majority of employees with shares of stock as part of their retirement package. To be fully vested and receive shares, an employee must work for the company for five years. Every year, employees get a statement with their share information and they can sell their shares back to the company when they retire. The company averages an annual growth rate of about 13 percent and the quantity of shares each vested employeed receives increases with growth.

Although Liberty Pumps has been asked about relocating elsewhere, Charlie says he's not budging.

"We're very proud to be a local U.S. business," Charlie said. "It can be a tough environment in New York from time to time, but our people are connected here. Our executives are all homegrown. We aren't going anywhere."

But their products are going more places than ever. The sales growth potential is high, not only nationwide and in Canada, where they've sold goods since the mid-'90s, but also internationally. Since expanding its global presence in 2010, Liberty Pumps now ships to more than 30 countries.

And along the way, the company has garnered impressive awards from Greater Rochester Enterprise's International Business Council, for example, and it's landed on the Rochester Top 100 list of businesses for 16 of the last 19 years. In May, Liberty Pumps was one of only 123 companies nationwide to receive the President's "E" Award for exporting excellence at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

But nothing beats the recognition of your peers, friends and colleagues in your own backyard, says Charlie.

The award from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce "is far more meaningful," he said. It will be presented tonight at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.chamawardlibertypumps2017-2.jpg

chamawardlibertypumps2017-3.jpg

chamawardlibertypumps2017-4.jpg

chamawardlibertypumps2017-5.jpg

chamawardlibertypumps2017-6.jpg

chamawardlibertypumps2017-7.jpg

chamawardlibertypumps2017-8.jpg

chamawardlibertypumps2017-9.jpg

March 3, 2017 - 8:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in Chamber Awards, batavia, business, news, Foxprowl.

chamberawardfoxprowl2017.jpg

You know you’ve wandered into a unique store when you see the nearly life-size Freddy Krueger standing, how else but menacingly, just inside the side entrance of the store at 97 Main St. in Batavia. On top of a nearby display case is another clue, the rubbery head of a one-of-a-kind beast with a gaping maw and toothy jowls. 

This is Foxprowl Collectables, of course, a place for sci-fi and pop culture collectors and the young at heart in the heart of the city, and Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Entrepreneurial Business of the Year. Owners Bill and Joy Hume will join other honorees Saturday night at the annual awards ceremony at the Quality Inn & Suites on Park Road.

Deborah Green, a friend of theirs who lives in East Pembroke, nominated the business. She says the Humes are community-oriented and their business brings in people from throughout Western New York to Batavia.

The Humes' enterprise is chock full of action figures, comic books -- 40,000 of them (wrapped in plastic, priced, alphabetized and in chronological order), toy collectibles and more, a place for tots and Boomers alike to look for many of their favorite characters and remember back in the day...

As a young man, Bill, a Batavia native, played in bands, did construction work and delivered furniture and appliances. Although he had collected toys all his life, he had no particular interest in business before starting Foxprowl as an ebay enterprise back in 1999. He had a lightbulb moment about the potential for making a living around his hobby and started buying toys in "lots" or quantities, then selling off excess while building his reserves. 

"Most people know more about their hobbies than they know about their jobs," Bill said. "So if your hobby is your job, you have more of a passion, more of a drive, and you're going to work 12-, 13-hour days because you enjoy it."

The first storefront opened in 2010 on Ellicott Street and then they relocated and opened Sept. 1 last year in the building at Jackson and Main streets.

"It's a new ballgame," Bill said of the new space. "It's a different demographic. (On Ellicott) it was more of a destination. Here there's more foot traffic, quadruple what it was. I'm looking forward to our first summer here, that's for sure."

Bill and Joy both say they are honored to be part of Batavia's business community and thankful for the recognition by the chamber for their hard work.

Joy said "drive, desire, diligence, setting goals, growth, planning the work and working the plan" are the keys to their success to date. And she gives a lot of credit to their employees and supporters.

"We have a great team that has grown with us and works right along with us and we are blessed with an abundance of family and friends who support us in so many ways," Joy said.

These include Tim Schiefer, Wayne Stahler, Marc Tillery and Bill Doetterl.

Stahler for the past two and a half years has run the online side of the business, handling Internet orders, shipping, tracking sales, complying with merchant rules for Amazon, eBay and their own e-commerce site on Big Commerce. His duties include working with a variety of distributors worldwide to get proper authorization to ship certain licensed goods. They only starting selling on Amazon last year and already Stahler said it is quickly reaching par with in-store sales.

Keeping the store itself organized and neat for finicky collectors and grandmothers seeking a special birthday gift for little Tommy is no small feat either.

"I try to keep it pretty shoppable," Bill said.

Glass cases house mint-condition items; on the walls and on countertops Star Wars is kept with Star Wars, likewise for G.I. Joe, KISS, Transformers, etc. There is a big bin for action figures.

"Kids love digging through there, rummaging, digging for the buried treasure buried at the bottom," Bill said.

He has some backstock, too.

In a small closet about 25 Millenium Falcon spaceships from Star Wars are stacked, variously equipped with their dozens of parts. Of those, he said he could maybe put together two whole spaceships with all the parts, in which case one would sell for $150-$160. The rarest bit is the Jedi Training Ball, which hangs down like a boxing bag. That alone sells for more than $20.

"Every mom vacuumed that up and so it's the part that's most often missing," Bill said.

Care to look through an old Atari magazine from the '70s? Ever seen uncut sheets of Three Stooges trading cards? Remember the Snoopy Sno-Cone machine? They are all there! Some people drive four hours just to get the special Japanese-made Godzilla figurines sold there, each exquisitely detailed and not cheap either.

But buying inventory and deciding well in advance of, say, a movie's release, how much of its corresponding merchandise to stock, can be tricky. Consumers are fickle and their memories are short. Despite all his acumen, Bill said it's still "a crapshoot."

A proven adjunct to the business is Foxprowl-Con, which brings together stars, a variety of clubs, artists, fandom and vendors on the weekend before Thanskgiving. It debuted at a local hotel in 2015 after 11 months of painstaking planning.

The first year there were 18 celebrities, dozens of vendors, dealers, crafters, artists, book sellers, and clubs like the Ghostbusters Club with its 20-foot inflatible marshmallow, plus interactive games, contests, experts panels -- like makeup artists and costumers, plenty of family fun all day long.

Putting the convention together was challenging but people loved it. Bill learned on the fly about third-party ticket sales, per diem payments, security, travel planning, promotions, advertising, and on and on. And he said he learned that it was important to treat every customer as royally as each star.

"Everybody is important," he said.

Joy said she thinks Foxprowl is one of Genesee County's coolest places; Foxprowl-Con is a labor of love. Both are places where families and fans can "geek out" and enjoy their favorite characters and artists and have a good time.

The Humes plan to keep having fun doing what they love.

chamberawardfoxprowl2017-2.jpg

chamberawardfoxprowl2017-4.jpg

chamberawardfoxprowl2017-3.jpg

chamberawardfoxprowl2017-5.jpg

chamberawardfoxprowl2017-6.jpg

chamberawardfoxprowl2017-7.jpg

chamberawardfoxprowl2017-8.jpg

February 28, 2017 - 1:44pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, red osier, chamber of commerce, Chamber Awards, Stafford, business.

chamawardsredosier2017.jpg

Give and it will be given unto you.

“When we took over operations in Thanksgiving of 2015, we had one goal – to give back to the local community,” said Steve Foster who, along with business partner Tim Adams, has successfully tied charitable giving with quality food and service to make the Red Osier® Restaurant in Stafford a premier dining destination of Western New York.

“Genesee County has been forgotten over the years here,” Adams said. “We believe that the more we support local organizations, the more success we will have.”

Foster, an Alexander native, and Adams, who grew up in East Bethany, officially took ownership of the restaurant – known throughout WNY for its prime rib – on April 20 of last year, and have displayed a large measure of generosity to the people of Genesee County through event sponsorships, donations and employee-supported fundraising.

As a result, the Red Osier® Restaurant has been selected as the Special Service Recognition of the Year award from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Foster and Adams, who also own Adams’ Welding & Fabrication in Stafford, will be honored at the 45th annual Awards Ceremony on March 4 at Quality Inn & Suites on Park Road.

In her nomination letter, Lynette Skelton of Starowitz Farms in Byron praised Foster and Adams for purchasing the restaurant – possibly saving it from closing for good and saving the jobs of around 60 employees.

“The two men decided to take the chance, and the opportunity to save the local landmark and the local jobs in their community,” Skelton wrote.

Foster, a Red Osier® employee since 1998, said he was hesitant about buying the business – “it needed a lot of help,” he said – but finally agreed. Since then, and he and Adams have moved full speed ahead.

The list of the duo’s Genesee County civic contributions over the past 18 months is impressive, to say the least:

-- The Genesee County 4H program. Tim is a former Geneseean of the Year for his service to 4H and Cornell Cooperative Extension, and he is continuing his support by purchasing two pigs (which have been processed for special dishes at the restaurant).

-- GO ART!’s Picnic in the Park. The restaurant was the major sponsor for the July 4th event last year, coming to the forefront at the last minute to prevent the event from being canceled.

-- Genesee Cancer Assistance. A joint venture between the restaurant and welding shop last Thanksgiving resulted in the presentation of $10,000 to GCA – money derived from proceeds of diners that day and a contribution from the welding shop.

-- Le Roy Food Pantry, Genesee County Animal Shelter, Crossroads House, Michael Napoleone Foundation. The two men contributed to fundraisers supporting these causes.

-- Oatka Festival, American Warrior Event at Frost Ridge, Le Roy Youth Football.  The restaurant signed on as major sponsors for these events, and also has sponsored individuals participating in horse shows, cheerleading contests, and other endeavors.

-- Spirits & Skivvies. An employee-led initiative, more than 600 pairs of socks and underwear were donated to the homeless.

“Our staff is right with us every step of the way,” Foster said. “They are on board with our donation program.”

On the business side, the owners said they have “broken every record” for sales – seeing repeat and new customer and raising the average per capita bill from about $25 to around $45.

“Everything here is made from scratch – the meals, desserts, salad, bread; it’s all fresh,” Foster said.

While prime rib is the main attraction, the menu includes a variety of dishes, and much of the food and some of the spirits and liquors are purchased from local vendors.

The owners also reported that, upon their return from a recent trip to Nashville, they have purchased a custom-built, 24-foot food trailer with a full kitchen “to take our chefs out on the road.”

They said they will be able to cater weddings, parties, graduations and other gatherings, and hope to get that started in May.

“It’s a replica of our kitchen,” Foster said.

The Red Osier® opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and at 1 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, check out its website – www.redosier.com.

chamawardsredosier2017-2.jpg

chamawardsredosier2017-3.jpg

chamawardsredosier2017-4.jpg

chamawardsredosier2017-5.jpg

chamawardsredosier2017-6.jpg

chamawardsredosier2017-7.jpg

chamawardsredosier2017-8.jpg

chamawardsredosier2017-9.jpg

March 8, 2016 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chamber Awards, chamber of commerce, business.

0307_batn_chamber_awards60.jpg

Saturday, the Genesee County Chamber of Comemrce held its annual awards banquet at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia.

Pictured are award recipients, back row: Jay Gsell, Tracy Miller, Pete Zeliff, Matt Ryan, Jeff Post, John Post and Rob Walker; front row: Pamela McCarthy, Loretta Miller, Susie Boyce, Meg Ryan and Shelley Falitico.

Photo courtesy the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.
Photo by Mark Gutman/
Daily News.

For coverage of the award winners:

March 5, 2016 - 1:17pm
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Chamber Awards, Barry Miller, news.

paviliondwidrill2014-6.jpg

(File photo: Barry Miller serves as Genesee County coroner during a May 2014 DWI drill at Pavilion High School.)

The posthumous recognition of Barry Miller by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, is a reminder of the positive difference one individual can make in his community.

Miller, a lifelong Bergen resident and volunteer firefighter, died Sept. 23, 2015, while aboard an ambulance responding to an emergency call. He has been chosen by the Chamber as a 2015 Geneseean of the Year.

“I think what you could learn from Barry’s life, is that you can have an impact if you’re willing to put in the time,” said Don Cunningham, Bergen’s town supervisor.

“It takes a lot of dedication, and Barry was willing to give that dedication,” he said.

Miller, 50, grew up on Buffalo Street, the son of Tracy and Loretta Miller. He graduated from Byron-Bergen High School in 1983. He was the owner of Miller’s Millworks, a custom-designed furniture business he started in his basement and eventually located on Lake Avenue in Bergen. He also owned the Beaver River Lodge in the Adirondacks

Miller was passionate about emergency services. He joined the Bergen Fire Department when he was 18, and continued to volunteer for 31 years. For the past decade he had been the department’s chief of Emergency Medical Services.

He started the fire department’s Explorers Program, and was also a Genesee County coroner.

Cunningham grew up with Miller, but established a close friendship while they were both serving on the Bergen Town Board. “His mind was always going,” Cunningham said. “He always had ideas for things, and he was driven to follow through.”

“It was just constant. Fundraisers, local projects — he had his hand in everything.”

What made Miller unique, Cunningham said, was that he was drawn to respond to emergency medical situations. But community causes especially close to his heart, were those dedicated to children, and battered women.

Whatever the situation — a fire alarm or a fundraiser — it seemed like Miller was always “the first guy on the call.”

“That’s what makes his loss so profound,” he said. “There are not that many people like him, and in a small community, when you lose that individual, it leaves a big void.”

March 5, 2016 - 12:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in Chamber Awards, Susie Boyce, news.

chamber_boyce2016.jpg

Susie Boyce works indefatigably to help make her community a better place. She's got a reputation for being good at organizing, a multitasker with a ready smile and the ability to work well with behind-the-scenes colleagues who take on events, from the mundane to the sublime, fund-raising, and scores of committees.

"Susie is passionate about the organizations that she serves and gives 110 percent to everything she is involved in," said Jane Scott, of Five Star Bank, in her nomination paper. "(She) is well respected and liked throughout the community. She is fair-minded, dependable and tireless."

The Batavia resident is the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce 2015 Genessean of the Year.

(The late Barry Miller is also being honored with this award tonight.)

Scott says she has known Boyce since 2004, when they met while attending Leadership Genesee. Since then, they have worked on numerous committees and boards, and served with organizations together.

Where does Boyce get all the energy to work full time as an account executive at Lawley Genesee Insurance agency and volunteer countless hours on behalf of nonprofits?

"When you're helping people in the community," Boyce said, "you don't think about the energy or effort it takes. If you're helping others and you're passionate about what you do, you just get it done."

But she credited others for helping make her contributions possible: her employer, one that encourages community involvement; her fiance, who doesn't complain about their lack of dinners together; coworkers, who share her passion for public service; and great, smart people who serve with her in various organizations.

"It's just a part of my life," Boyce said. "I always stay busy. I volunteer because that's how I was raised. My mother volunteered. It's who I am. Luckily, I have great parents who taught me to give back."

Her volunteerism can be traced to her teenage years, when she attended Byron-Bergen High School.

These days, Boyce volunteers on behalf of Genesee County United Way for years, chairing the 2008 pledge campaign and spearheading its annual Day of Caring, which she continues to co-chair. The event brings together hundreds of volunteers to do about three dozen much-needed, long-overdue projects countywide -- from picking up trash and painting, to planting flowers and cleaning attics. In addition, Boyce serves on the United Way's Allocations Committee, helping to distribute more than $250,000 to community agencies.

The Batavia Rotary Club awarded her its highest honor for her exemplary contributions, naming her a Paul Harris Fellow. In Rotary, Boyce is the Social Director and chairs the popular annual Christmas Party, plus she serves on its Scholarship, Brewfest and Fly-in Breakfast committees.

She has served on the board of the Rochester Regional Healthcare/United Memorial Hospital since 2008 and is now serving as the hospital Foundation president. In the past, she has served on its finance and executive committees. She is chair of the Dessert Dash Committee for the annual Hospital Auction.

In Leadership Genesee, from which Boyce graduated in 2004, she was named Alumni of the Year in 2011. She has served on various Leadership Genesee committees, led day sessions, and was the former Class Radar for Leadership Wyoming's Class of 2008.

Since 2004, Boyce has volunteered on behalf of the Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic, which benefits children via the Kelly for Kids Foundation.

For Eagle Star Housing, a private not-for-profit (with facilities in Pembroke and Spencerport) providing transitional homeless housing for veterans and their families, Boyce chairs fundraising events.

She's on the board of the Batavia Development Corp. and has been since 2007; currently serving as treasurer.

Annual "Walk the Villages" -- an initiative started by former NY Sen. Mary Lou Rath -- is also something Boyce participates in. Participants visit and “walk the villages” of as many participating municipalities as possible. Walkers are encouraged to learn more about each community and visit local merchants.

As for the Chamber award, Boyce said "I actually was surprised. I am humble that somebody would be honoring me as Geneseean of the Year. We live in a great community. We are lucky to have the Batavia Development Corp., the hospital, the Day of Caring, which has the most wonderful committee. There are so many good people out there."

March 4, 2016 - 5:43pm
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Chamber Awards, Post Dairy Farms, genesee county, business, news.

chamber_postmarch2016.jpg

Running a family farm is enough to keep anyone busy.

That’s certainly true for Jeff Post, a fifth-generation owner of Post Dairy Farms, LLC, located at 4103 Batavia Elba Townline Road, Oakfield. Nevertheless, Post makes time for still another role  — that of ambassador.

His family’s farm welcomes hundreds of visitors each year, many of them youngsters from the surrounding area.

“We’ve been really active in getting people on the farm and seeing things,” Post said. “A whole gamut of people. And I’m always happy to host. Especially children with their parents, so they can know that their food is safe and where it’s coming from.”

A tradition of both excellence and openness are among the reasons Post Dairy Farm was chosen by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce as its 2015 Agricultural Business of the Year.

Mike Davis, a county legislator and manager at Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc., in Batavia, praised the farm for its role as educator.

“The Post family has hosted numerous tours for key customers, students of all ages, as well as groups of Cooperative employees and have provided all a better understanding not only of their operations, but agriculture in general,” Davis wrote in support of the nomination.

“The farm produces an extremely high-quality product using innovative technology, while also being good stewards of the land,” he added.

Post Dairy Farm has deep roots in the community. Seward Post — “my grandfather’s grandfather,” Jeff post said — began farming on Pearl Street, Batavia, during the late 1800s. The farm moved to Townline Road about 1890 “and has just grown since,” Post said.

Ownership passed to Leo Post and then Ken Post — Jeff’s grandfather — who continues to work every day. The 900-acre farm is currently owned by Jeff Post, his father Dan and uncle John.

Two other family members, Jeff’s aunt Laurie Post and cousin Kailynn Stacy, work on the farm. They are joined by two non-family employees.

The dairy operation includes about 400 cows and 300 young stock. The family grows feed corn and alfalfa for cattle, but also wheat and string beans for human consumption, Post said.

Perhaps the farm’s biggest innovation — and an attraction for many visitors — is the robotic milking system that opened in June 2010. It milks 240 cows, three times a day, Post said, and allowed the farm to significantly grow is operations without adding to labor costs.

“You have to be reinvesting in your business, obviously, to stay in business,” Post said.

The family still operates a traditional milking parlor, where 120 cows are milked an average of twice a day.

Farming — dairy farming in particular — faces numerous challenges. Two of the biggest, Post said, are depressed milk prices and the prospect of higher labor costs forced by minimum-wage increases.

Added to that, he said, are often emotion-driven concerns about food safety, labeling and animal welfare.

“That challenges farmers to be advocating for ourselves all the time,” Post said.

He hopes that advocacy, also inspires young people to consider careers in agriculture. It’s a field that needs young talent, and embraces a wide range of interests, from herdsmanship to high technology.

Indeed, the farm has hosted a Genesee County Business Education Alliance “robotics camp” for middle school students.

“This is one thing I always talk to kids about,” Post said, “even if you don’t want to be a farmer, there are so many skills that farming and agriculture support — cattle nutrition, welding, manufacturing. There’s just so much out there.”

Post Dairy Farms has racked up a number of honors over the years, including recognition as a Dairy of Distinction. It was named 2013-14 Business Partner of the Year by the Business Education Alliance, and 2014 Conservation Farm of the Year by the Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District.

Post said the Chamber award is appreciated.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for what you do,” he said.

March 4, 2016 - 5:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in p.w. minor, Chamber Awards, news, business.

chamber_petemarch2016.jpg

The oldest business in Genesee County was set to shut down on July 31, 2014, nearly done in by lackluster sales and a frumpish product line, despite having outsourced 100 jobs to China in an effort to keep costs down and stay afloat.

But thanks to two local guys who stepped up and came to its rescue, creating the New p.w. minor company, the 150-year-old shoemaker and orthodics producer is still standing, striving to thrive.

Fifty jobs were retained by keeping the business, located at 3 Treadeasy Ave. in the City, in operation. Then the hard part of rebuilding began.

Peter Zeliff and Andrew Young, although the latter is no longer with the firm, invested in the business, worked with local and state officials to work on bringing back those jobs from China, hired new designers and are revamping the product line. Things are turning around. This is why the New p.w. minor was named the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce's 2015 Business of the Year.

"I honored to be named Business of the Year," Zeliff said. "I don't know that we deserve it yet. But we're moving in the right direction. It's taking longer that I had planned on, but we're going to get there."

Zeliff and Young didn't need to take the risk, but they valued a mainstay business of the local economy and did not want to see it close. Zeliff is now CEO of p.w. minor and sits on the board of Oakfield-based EIF Renewable Energy Holdings, LLC, where he once was an executive. Young is a real estate broker and investor.

"Our goal is to bring manufacturing back to Batavia and expand it," Zeliff said in August of 2014. "We are excited to be a part of the resurrection of this American icon."

The company was founded in 1867 by two brothers shortly after they returned from fighting in the Civil War. But despite its historic roots and rich tradition of making high-quality leather footwear, like many small and mid-size businesses, worldwide economic trends and the withering of manufacturing in the Northeast took its toll.

Reversing the gloomy course of p.w. minor took money, business acumen, vision and commitment, according to the leaders who embraced Zeliff and Young's plans, including Gov. Cuomo, Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, Steve Hyde, president and CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Howard Zemsky, president and CEO of Empire State Development, County Legislature Chairman Ray Cianfrini, et al.

Last year, p.w. minor outlined long-term plans to upgrade and automate its production facilities, putting the total price tag at $7.5 million. Empire State Development pledged to provide up to $1.75 million in performance-based tax credits, including a $900,000 state-backed aid package to re-shore the China jobs and add jobs.

Since the acquisition in 2014, Zeliff said 30 jobs have been added, but five of those were temporarily cut today (not the 10 as rumored).

"We expect to bring those jobs back in four to 12 weeks," Zeliff said this afternoon.

He explained that later this year -- late summer, early fall -- newly purchased production equipment should be in place in Batavia-- to help do the jobs that were being done in China. So far, Zeliff said $1.3 million has been invested in new equipment to upgrade and automate facilities here; and another $500,000 will be spent this year on shoemaking equipment, including molds, from Italy, known worldwide for shoes and leather goods.

New shoe designs were rolled out, or are being developed, that offer not just the fit and comfort p.w. is renowned for, but style, too.

There's been a big learning curve, and sometimes it's been frustrating. Zeliff said it's sometimes s-l-o-w going when it comes to dealing with state bureacracy. And developing new molds and products, likewise, has taken more time to achieve than he initially anticipated.

"I was a landfill gas-to-energy person," Zeliff said. "I may have underestimated what it takes to do this, but we'll get there."

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Upcoming

Copyright © 2008-2019 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button