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December 26, 2011 - 5:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, photos.

Reader Debra Nanni took a walk through Downtown enjoying all of the storefront displays and wanted share her pictures, and her appreciation with The Batavian readers.

"It's not New York City, but it was a pleasant walk anyways, and nice to look at," Nanni said.

BTW: People who register on Shop Batavia can submit community pictures to that website as well.

December 20, 2011 - 5:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Save-A-Lot.

In a way, you can thank Walmart for the new grocery store downtown, which held its ribbon cutting today and will officially open Wednesday.

Co-owner John Hedlund (top photo, right) once owned a grocery store in a small town in Pennsylvania, then Walmart came to town. The giant retailer leveled a hill across the street from his store and within six months had taken away half his business.

After closing the store, he started looking for other opportunities in the grocery business, and with his desire to remain entrepreneurial and independent, the Save-A-Lot model appealed to him.

Hedlund converted his Jubilee store in Salamanca to Save-A-Lot and along with business partner Bill Larson now owns and operates four Save-A-Lot locations in Pennsylvania and New York.

Larson was owner of the former IGA store in Corfu.

"Walmart devastated me, but they also put me on a different track," Hedlund said. "The Save-A-Lot program is a great business to bring to a community."

Save-A-Lot is a mixture of corporate-owned stores and licensed stores, such as the new one in Batavia. The company operates 1,200 stores nationwide.

The Save-A-Lot model is to maintain low prices with a comparatively limited inventory and smaller stores -- Batavia's store is 18,000 square feet, which is large for a Save-A-Lot. The store also sells its own brands, such as Bubba's sodas, Malone's canned meats and Manita's pasta (names taken from actual people who work at corporate headquarters in Earth City, Mo.

"The Save-A-Lot format is to provide quality products at lower prices," Hedlund said.

Larson (top photo, left) said the produce and meat offered at Save-A-Lot are always fresh and of the highest grade available.

Victor Gautieri's family company owns the former Jubilee/Latina's building -- between Jackson and Court streets on Ellicott Street -- where the new store is located. There are still 22,000 square feet available for lease. Gautieri said he hopes it becomes a retail hub for downtown anchored by Save-A-Lot.

"From the word on the street, we're hearing people say this is a godsend for Downtown Batavia, " Gautieri said. "And we're finally getting this white elephant off the shoulders of the city."

Outgoing City Council President Marianne Clattenburg said, "We're very happy in the City of Batavia to finally have another grocery store downtown."

More than a dozen customers were in the store after the ribbon cutting to check out what it has to offer and buy a few items.

"I like it because I used to drive to Save-A-Lot in Le Roy, but that's too far to drive," Carla Laird said. "And it's hard to get to Tops a lot of times."

Billie Jo Laird said, "It's great for people who don't have a car and can't drive."

Hedlund said it's the goal of his company to help the communities they serve to thrive.

"The downtown area was missing a grocery store and it needed a grocery store," Hedlund said. "This is a great opportunity for us."

December 17, 2011 - 3:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

In an era when it seems just about everything is going digital, Jennifer McAuley has taken her business in the opposite direction.

The former Buffalo resident -- she and her family moved to Corfu in August -- has made her living for years selling secondhand items on Ebay.

But as of Friday, McAuley's Bargain Bin is now a "brick and mortar" business. McAuley opened up shop in the Mortellaro building on Jackson Street.

“My Ebay fees were way over what I could pay for a store," McAuley said. "And with a store, I can actually  interact with customers and not worry about postage and ‘hey the post office broke it,’ or whatever.”

When McAuley held a garage sale in Corfu over the summer, the sale went so well, she started to think she needed to open a shop in Genesee County.

"With the economy and everything else going on, this is the best business to open up here,"  McAuley said.

McAuley gets most of her merchandise from storage unit auctions, store return merchandise and overstocks.

She prides herself on keeping prices low, "just like a garage sale."

"A little kid came in yesterday and he told my daugher he only had 50 cents," McAuley said. "I had a pair of Jordon sneakers for 50 cents. He said, ‘I need to get these so I have a new pair of sneakers just like my brother.’ He paid for them with his own money and he was so happy with them. It was absolutely unbelievable. To give somebody a good item at a discounted price is amazing.”

December 16, 2011 - 11:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, T.F. Brown's.

For the 23rd year, all are welcome at T.F. Brown's on Christmas Day for a free holiday dinner, and for the children, Christmas gifts.

Seating times at T.F. Brown's this year will be at noon and 1 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling Maud at 343-2091.

T.F. Brown's is not officially open on Christmas and there will be no bar service that day.

The traditional Christmas Day fare will include turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, salad and dessert.

Photo: Ben Mancuso, Rick Mancuso, Joe Teresi, John Murray, president of the Batavia Lions Club, and Chuck Brenner, also of the Lions Club.

December 16, 2011 - 10:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

This sign appeared in a shop window on Ellicott Street in the last day or so.  Nobody was around this morning, so no word on when the new deli might open.

It will be Ellicott Street's third deli. This summer, Molasses Hill moved from Alexander to a location near Harvester Ave., and, of course, on the corner of Liberty and Ellicott is Southside Deli. That location has been a deli or meat market for more than 100 years.

There's been a bit of a boomlet on Ellicott this past year, with four, now five, new shops opening for business.

December 8, 2011 - 9:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, BID, taste of the holidays.

Press release:

Downtown Batavia – The first “Taste Of The Holidays” hosted by the Batavia Business Improvement District, which took place on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2-3, was a huge success. More than 400 people attended the Friday night tastings under the Holiday Tent.

Seven area restaurants participated and three winners were selected by the people as the “Best of…The Taste of the Holidays” based upon their favorite tastings.

First place went to the B.I.D.’s own Sunny’s Restaurant,12 Batavia City Centre, for their outstanding Artichoke French and Vodka Pasta dishes. Second place went to Delavan’s, 107 Evans St., for their scrumptious Italian Sausage with Peppers & Onions, and in third place was Batavia’s Original, 500 E. Main St., for their delicious Specialty Pizzas. Other participants were: Coffee Culture, Molasses Hill, O’Lacy’s Irish Pub and T.F. Brown’s. All should be congratulated as they made the debut of this event most successful.

Three individuals who won the gift certificates were: Jeff Allen from Oakfield, Darrell and Janet Smith from Medina, and Carrie Lawrence from Batavia.

Jeff Allen from Oakfield said, “Hope this is a tradition that will grow.”

We hope so, too, and encourage more area restaurants to join us next year. Any restaurants who are interested in participating or individuals who would like being on the committee for the 2012 “Taste of the Holidays,” please let us know by calling Don Burkel at the B.I.D.: 344-0900.

December 5, 2011 - 11:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, LPL Financial.

LPL Financial is growing, and to accommodate the growth has moved into new office space in Downtown Batavia.

The financial services office is now located at 216 E. Main St., #3.

Joining LPL as a financial advisor is Judy Thompson, who has more than 30 years experience in the financial services industry.

“We are very excited to have Judy working along side us at LPL,” said Marc Staley, managing principal. “She brings tremendous experience to our office, along with many wonderful relationships throughout Genesee and Wyoming counties”

Thompson joined the firm Nov. 28.

“I am thrilled about continuing my career as an independent advisor,” Thompson said. “I am very passionate about servicing my clients, and dedicated to the ongoing commitment that it takes to build solid relationships with them.”   

Thompson joins the team that already included Jill Meeder, relationship manager.

Staley said that with Thompson’s addition, LPL needed more private and functional office space, so the firm moved from its former location at Main and Jackson streets.  

“Jill and I knew we wanted to stay downtown and remain in the BID," Staley said. "We loved our old location, but privacy and confidentiality became an issue as we grew. Our new space has four large offices, a conference room and a nice reception area.” 

The space also opens the door for adding another financial advisor to the staff at some point in 2012.

It's a matter of finding the right person, Staley said.

“Judy and I share a very similar approach to managing our clients, and it just happens to fit perfectly with LPL’s model," Staley said.

Judy lives in Attica with her husband Peter. She can be reached in her new office at 345-9797 or by email at [email protected].

Photo: Staley, left, Thompson and Meeder.

December 3, 2011 - 6:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Save-A-Lot.

Just in time to meet your Christmas dinner shopping needs, Save-A-Lot is opening in Downtown Batavia.

Planning opening is Dec. 21.

Victor Gautieri, of V.J. Gautieri Constructors, Inc., showed off the space for Save-A-Lot on Friday and said by next week, installation of shelves and cases will begin followed by inventory stocking.

"Save-A-Lot is definately going to fill a need," Gautieri said. "The demographics are perfet for a store like Save-A-Lot. It fits their model perfectly. We’re looking for a very, very successful store."

Gautieri said he expects the customers Save-A-Lot brings to the Ellicott Street location will mean more business for the shops in the immediate area.

"It’s going to be a beehive out in the parking lot," Gautieri said. "There’s going to be a lot of people in the area. We’re anticipating folks that are shopping here at Save-A-Lot, they’re going to go the banks, maybe go to Alberty Drugs, head over to Valle Jewelers, just hit this whole Court Street Plaza area, and hopefully extend out (to the rest of Downtown)."

The Gautieris are also hopeful that Save-A-Lot's success will help attract tenants to the additional 22,000 square feet of retail space available in the former Latina's/Jubilee/Montgomery Ward building.

The family owned construction and real estate company has been buying ads, putting out feelers, doing research and everything they can to find the right tenants for the west side of the building.

"We’re really pushing for retail," Gautieri said. "That’s what downtown Batavia needs is retail."

The 22,000 square feet of space can easily be partitioned into several storefronts, each with windows and doors on the west side of the building.

How the space will be partitioned off depends on what kinds of stores come forward and sign leases.

"We will tailor the space based on the particular tenant," Gautieri said. "It's going to be hard to tell (how the space will be configured). Everybody has their own requirements for their business. We’ll just build it to suit."

Right now the space is filled, both with all of the shelving and cases that will be moved into the Save-A-Lot store, along with leftover fixtures from Latina's. Once all of that is cleared out, Gautieri anticipates they can more effectively show the space to potential tenants.

December 3, 2011 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown.

The first "Taste of the Holidays" in Downtown Batavia wrapped up this afternoon with arts and crafts for the kids under the big tent on Jackson Street, along with live music by Kevin and Bart, and horse-carriage rides around downtown.

December 2, 2011 - 6:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

After an opening Christmas carol, BID director Don Burkel was given the nod and he flipped the switch, officially lighting Downtown Batavia's Christmas tree. More than 100 people gathered around the tree then joined in singing several more carols to help kick off downtown's Christmas celebration, "Taste of the Holidays."

December 2, 2011 - 7:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Le Roy.

The first-ever Taste of the Holidays event in Downtown Batavia kicks off this evening.

Here's the schedule of events for this weekend:

Friday, Dec. 2 (5:30-9 p.m.)

  • Lighting of the Christmas tree (5:30 p.m.)
  • Sample tastings by area restaurants and caterers (6-9p.m.)
  • Entertainment: The OHMS Band (6-9 p.m.)

Saturday, Dec. 3 (11 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.)

  • Holiday activities for kids and families
  • Divine Dance Group (11-11:20 a.m.)
  • Entertainment: Kevin & Bart (12-3 p.m.)
  • McMahon Irish School of Dance (1-1:20 p.m.)
  • Horse & Wagon Rides Around Downtown (12-3 p.m.)

Also, this weekend, Le Roy has its Winterfest. For more information, click here.

December 1, 2011 - 9:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, bdc.

Press release:

On behalf of city hall, the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) has distributed a request for proposals to attract developer interest in the former Carr’s warehouse building located on Jackson Square in Batavia. The city has asked for proposals to convert an historic 1880 warehouse into a productive mixed-use, office, commercial or residential building.

“This 6,000-square-foot historic conversion project, considered small to some, could have a real impact in downtown Batavia,” said Jason Molino, city manager. The city acquired the property in 2010 through a delinquent tax foreclosure process.

Consultants have recently indicated a lack of Class A office space availability, a void in certain retail sectors and a gap in modern housing stock for professionals. Each of these uses would be permitted for this project under the city’s C3 zoning law.

Inciting revitalization efforts through public and private partnerships has become the norm for the City of Batavia.

Neighboring to the warehouse, other public-private efforts have resulted in the redeveloped Center Street Smokehouse restaurant and the 19-25 Jackson Street mixed-use redevelopment by the Valle family to house their jewelry store. Habitat for Humanity also acquired a distressed residential property though a unique public-private arrangement with the city.

On a grand scale, the Mancuso Business Development Group wrapped up its multimillion dollar Masse Gateway redevelopment project to improve the product mix, accessibility and infrastructure to the century-old 30-acre industrial site. The city had secured a $1,500,000 RESTORE NY Communities grant that was redistributed to the developer upon satisfactory completion of the project.

“Substantial renovations to more than 100,000 square feet of flex-industrial space would not have been possible without the city’s support,” said Tom Mancuso, president, Mancuso Business Development Group.

Earlier this year, the city submitted a NY Main Street grant request that is expected to leverage a $275,000 private investment to improve 30 downtown commercial and residential properties. And just last month the city applied for a $100,000 grant through the consolidated funding application process to foster job creation at the new Save-A-Lot store prepping to open after considerable renovations to a longtime vacant building. Both of these projects anticipate award announcements this month.

The City of Batavia serves as the regional economic center for Genesee County situated between Buffalo and Rochester at Thruway exit 48. Four State Routes (5, 33, 63 and 98) traverse the city and provide easy access for both consumers and workers. Daily traffic counts top 40,000 vehicles and more than 3,000 people are employed within walking distance of the featured redevelopment site. To request a proposal package, contact the Batavia Development Corporation at 585-345-6380 or [email protected].

November 22, 2011 - 3:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, BID.

Press release:

Join in the holiday spirit at the first “Taste of the Holidays” on Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3 in the Holiday Tent at Jackson and Main streets.

Friday, Dec. 2 (5:30 - 9 p.m.):
5:30 p.m. - Lighting of the community Christmas tree and singing of carols. Tree is next to Bank of America on Main Street.

In the Holiday Tent (6 to 9 p.m.): More than 10 great area restaurants will be providing a tasting of their menu specialties. They will be handing out coupons and selling gift certificates for the holidays. For entertainment, the OHMS Band will be performing. The cost is $5 per person and children are free.

Community bonfire on Center Street (across from Adam Miller Toy)

Saturday, Dec. 3 (11 a.m. - 3 p.m.):
In the Holiday Tent: Free holiday activities for the children, i.e. decorating ornaments and other holiday crafts). Holiday gift items for sale by local organizations. Entertainment: Bart Dentino & Kevin Huber and the McMahon Irish School of Dance.

Horse & Wagon Rides on Center Street (12 - 3 p.m.): Rides cost $1 per person with proceeds going to the Donny Carroll Toys for Kids fund.

Hosted by the Batavia Business Improvement District.

For more information visit: www.downtownbataviany.com or Facebook: downtown Batavia Business Improvement District.

November 21, 2011 - 6:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown.

Downtown is being transformed into a more festive holiday mood with Christmas lights in one of the parks, next to HSBC, and snowflakes hanging from the street lamps.

November 17, 2011 - 6:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Coffee Culture.

Brenda Richardson, manager of Batavia's Coffee Culture location thought an empty room in their building was going to waste, so she suggested turning it into an event center available to the community.

Her bosses apparently liked the idea because Thursday evening, Chamber President Lynn Freeman joined her for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new room.

The room is available for rental for parties, meetings and other group gatherings.

The spacious room is decorated with paintings by local artists. The paintings are also for sale.

Among the handouts for chamber members at the ribbon cutting was a flier advertising the availability of the Coffee Culture store to a franchisee. According to the flier, for an investment of about $295,000, you could become the owner of your own coffee house right in Downtown Batavia. SBA loans are available.

November 5, 2011 - 10:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

This week workers have been repairing the corner of the facade of the building at Main and Jackson streets. The century-old facade of the former Bank of Genesee had expanded away from the brick and masons restored it to its former look. The building is owned by Ken Mistler.

October 28, 2011 - 6:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, South Beach Restaurant.

The entire staff of South Beach is dressed up for Halloween tonight. Do you recognize owner Ken Mistler?

October 27, 2011 - 4:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, downtown, Glass Roots.

A young woman worked an agreement with Jeremy Almeter, owner of Glass Roots on Center Street, to avoid criminal charges after she was caught on video making an art heist from the shop. The woman walked out the front door with two paintings on the very first day Almeter was using a video surveilance system installed by Rich Clark of Computer and Phone Repair (CPR). Almeter and the woman made an agreement not to release her name. She walked in front of the store for two hours today carrying the sign reading "I stole art from Glass Roots."

October 24, 2011 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Batavia Development Corp..

Press release:

The Batavia Development Corporation as administrator of the City of Batavia small business loan funds, has approved and closed the fourth loan this year to spur economic activity within the city. A total of $72,000 has been distributed for assistance in business start-up and acquisition, purchase of new equipment and working capital.

“Receiving this business loan has changed my life,” said Kate Gonzalez, longtime resident of Batavia and new owner of the Enchanted Florist on Main Street, Batavia. “I can not say enough good things about this program.”

Gonzalez received a $22,000 loan to use toward purchase of the successful flower shop that gives Gonzalez the opportunity to become her own boss after 25+ years of florist experience.

Last month, Sunny’s restaurant received a loan to purchase new kitchen equipment. In August, master-barber Brandon Armstrong of City Styles received start-up funds to open his shop on Ellicott Street providing hot-towel shaves and contemporary styles like unique fades and brush-cuts. And, Colin Dentino was able to add new equipment and hire additional employees to deliver professional and entertaining “fencing” classes through En Garde.

Overall, these businesses were able to hire three new full-time persons, five part-time employees and retain two jobs with these funds.

The City of Batavia now offers the only small business grant and loan program available in Genesee County allowing requests as low as $1,000 up to $50,000. Eligible applicants must be located within city limits and use funds for business activities within the City of Batavia. Contact the Batavia Development Corporation for more information by dialing 585-345-6380 or visit online at www.BataviaDevelopmentCorp.org

Photo, by Howard Owens: Kate Gonzalez, center, with her mother, Margaret Anna, left, and her daughter, Rachael Heatherman.

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