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November 1, 2013 - 4:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Amy's Fluffy Friends.

The absolutely best thing Amy Worthington ever did for her business was move it to Downtown Batavia, she said.

In locating Amy's Fluffy Friends on Ellicott Street near the intersection of Liberty, she has given her business more visibility and the Business Improvement District has given her more avenues to promote her shop and get involved in the community.

"I participated in the Wine Walk, the Sidewalk Sale, the OktoberFest with the Rotary Club and I'll be part of Taste of the Holidays," Worthington said. "They've been reaching out to businesses to get more involved, and I'm all for that, to bring more feet to Batavia."

Worthington moved her dog grooming business from Corfu one year ago today because with her son starting school at Jackson, she wanted her business to be located closer to her family. Most of her clients were from Batavia and they told her, she said, that if she was in Batavia, they would make more appointments.

"And I wanted to be where I called home," she said. "This is where I grew up."

The move has been a stunning success.

A year ago, she hadn't even cracked 150 clients. Today, she has 375. That's an impressive 150-percent growth in business in just 12 months.

The success has allowed her to expand a bit. She's also started selling some retail items, such as collars and leashes.

Clients have requested more services, so now she does teeth cleaning, she said.

Worthington said she's blown away by how well the move worked out for her.

"I can't believe it," she said. "I love it."

October 29, 2013 - 9:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Jackson Street.

Press release:

Batavia has one less vacant building and a new business coming soon! Local entrepreneur Tim Walton has plans to open a cold kitchen eatery and bar at 35 Jackson Street. Crazy Cal's, will add a fun atmosphere for everyone to hang out, eat or have a drink.

"We want to be able to give something that isn't really here in Batavia." Walton says. "If you're hungry, we are going have a fast service cold kitchen, which is Specialty sandwiches, soups, salads and a few other food items as well. If you're thirsty, we have a bar to get enjoy a beverage from the unique drink menu and if you just want to hang out, we will have music, TVs to watch the sports games, pool tables and other games to play as well."

Just where did the name come from? "Cal is short for California. I wanted to open a place that you would expect to see along a boardwalk at the beach. It's not beach-themed, but you go on vacation and see these fun places to hang out and have fun, and that's the atmosphere of what I wanted to bring here."

Walton is no stranger to the bar and restaurant business. The last two years he has been able to gain management experience at several bars and clubs in Buffalo including Bayou, LUX, and Privato Lounge.

"The experience allowed me to learn event management, promotions, liquor laws, staffing management and everything else that is needed to run and manage a bar," he said.

Most recently, Walton has also been able to gain restaurant and food management skills from The Lodge, a high end restaurant in Buffalo. He has also done local shows and events at City Slickers, T.F. Brown's and Center Street Smokehouse and the list of shows includes The Zac Brown Tribute Band, Buffalo Bills, MTV and more.

Crazy Cal's which is aiming to be open by the holidays, and will be open at least five days per week, has already attracted much interested from the public.

"It's getting a lot of excitement," Walton said. "I've already spoken to a few teams and church groups that are interested in doing fundraisers here once it opens, too, so it's definitely exciting. It's something that will be good for the city and can benefit everyone."

The business is expected to create a minimum of five to 10 new jobs as well.

For more information, and to track the progress of Crazy Cal's, you can follow them on Facebook, www.facebook.com/crazycals.

October 28, 2013 - 5:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, BID, Genesee-Orleans County Youth Bureau.

Photos and information submitted by Chelsea Dillon.

With the permission of the Business Improvement District, Reality Check Students (a Genesee-Orleans County Youth Bureau program) decorated pumpkins to include in Halloween displays Downtown with facts about smoking. The program leads up to the 38th Annual Great American Smokeout. The smokeout is Nov. 21, when smokers are encouraged to give up cigarettes for 24 hours.

September 14, 2013 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Dellapenna Building.

Press release:

The City of Batavia released a request for redevelopment proposals to reinvest at one of the City’s strategic Batavia Opportunity Area (BOA) sites. The one-acre parcel is located in the heart of downtown. Market research reports a demand for new office space and downtown market-rate residential.

The RFP deadline has been extended to Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Please review the attached proposal or visit the Web site for more details. Questions? You may contact our office or the City Manager’s office at 585-345-6330.


PDF Files:

September 12, 2013 - 2:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, School Street.

Workers have begun resurfacing the city-owned School Street parking lot. The area has been milled and cleaned and new asphalt will be laid soon, weather permitting.

The council approved the $30,000 project Monday.

August 20, 2013 - 3:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

At Monday's meeting, the City Council rejected on a 6-2 vote a plan to spend $35,000 to build a dumpster enclosure on School Street.

City administrators have been looking for a way to clean up the collection of dumpsters used by nearby businesses and sought approval to use VLT money (money from slot machines at the Batavia Downs Casino) for the project.

Council members said that money should be spent elsewhere or saved.

"That money should be used for other things," said Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian, "like reducing our budget or the fact that we need new sidewalks or resurfacing our city streets, just helping our taxpayers all the time instead of businesses all the time. And I have nothing against businesses, but nobody helped me pay for a dumpster."

Pier Cipollone also said taxpayers should benefit from the VLT money, not private businesses.

"The VLT money will end up in the budget," Cipollone said. "It will end up in a contingency fund that will offset sidewalk construction, infrastructure improvements which would, in the end, decrease the tax levy."

City Manager Jason Molino agreed to try and rework the enclosure to reduce its cost by $10,000 eliminating any direct contribution by either business owners or taxpayers.

The measure defeated Monday night also called for spending $30,000 to mill and resurface the parking lot around the proposed dumpster enclosure.

(Based on story by The Batavian's news partner, WBTA.)

August 17, 2013 - 8:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Summer in the City.

It's the biggest day of the year for the City of Batavia with the arrival of Summer in the City.

This is the 10th year for the Downtown event, which opens at 11 a.m. and goes until 9 p.m.

There will be over 45 vendors. Food concessions will be serving: BBQ, hot dogs & hamburgers, fried dough, pizza, and ice cream and lots more delicious treats. Artists & crafts persons will have a variety of artwork, jewelry and clothing for sale.

The entertainment lineup runs throughout the afternoon and evening. Downtown will be rock’n with Terry Buchwald is on stage from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. performing as Elvis and also doing a country music show. Hit N Run takes the stage at 6 p.m. and performs until 8 p.m.

There is also a kids' zone and classic cars.

At 6:15 p.m. is the 32nd Donald R. Carroll 5K Race and Walk, starting on Bank Street.

City firefighters will be holding a free child passenger safety seat check at the Fire Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., 18 Evans St.

The following street closures are in effect now through 11 p.m.:

  • Bank at Alva Place

  • Bank at Washington (Closes at 3 p.m. / Reopens at 
 7:30 p.m.)
  • Main at Upton Monument
  • Main at Liberty / Summit

  • Jackson at Ellicott
  • Center at School
  • Court at Ellicott  / Parking Lot Entrances /Bank Drive-
  • Jefferson at Intersection Tonawanda Valley &
  Wendy’s Parking Lots
  • Wendy’s -- Main Street Entrance

Other events going on today: The East Pembroke Mud Races, a 5K run at Frostridge and Hogs for Paws at Stan's.

August 14, 2013 - 7:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Yo Twisters.

Batavia's new frozen yogurt shop, Yo Twisters, on Jackson Street, officially opened late this afternoon, and as soon as Mercedes Rivera, left, and Tesla Phelinger heard the shop was open they headed right down.

They had sampled the frozen yogurt before and couldn't wait to try it again.

At Yo Twisters, when a customer walks in, he or she is directed to the back the store where the frozen yogurt machines are -- 15 of them. You can mix and match any flavors you like, and then top with any of a large variety of toppings.  You then pay according to the weight of your cup. 

August 10, 2013 - 6:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, WNY Round Up Rally.

There was a big turn out today in Batavia for the WNY Round-Up Rally.

August 6, 2013 - 8:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, football, sports, buffalo bills, City Slickers.

Yesterday, Buffalo Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone put his team through a long and physical practice. It was the first day of scrimmages. By the time it was over, players were tired and running late, but still, several did show up as planned to City Slickers for the taping of Sports Cube TV.

Above former #1 draft pick Marcell Dareus during his interview.

Also joining the party were Aaron Williams, Migel Bradham, Zebrie Sanders, Marcus Dowtin, Crezdon Butler, Jamie Blatnick, Kortnei Brown and Dominque Ellis.

Dareus with promoter Tim Walton.

DJ Macy Paradise

Sports Cube host Muki.

To purchase prints, click here.

August 3, 2013 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, sports, buffalo bills, City Slickers.

Press release:

Monday night, City Slickers will be the place to be. Several Buffalo Bills players will be in Batavia at the restaurant for a live filming for Sports Q Television, a Buffalo-based company. The event which starts at 9:30 p.m. will feature two DJs, and up to 30 Buffalo Bills players that will be arriving shortly after in a limousine, courtesy of Mancuso Limousine (sponsor). The filming will take place on the stage and will be open to the public to enjoy and watch, and will be followed up with an after party.

The names of the players can't be released because of contractual arrangments.

"There will be even more guys coming out. Some of them we can't announce until they show up, others we are just waiting on confirmation," said event coordinator Tim Walton. "We have invited the whole team, so anyone can show."

City Slickers is no stranger to hosting the Buffalo Bills. Walton has recently put on events that included Buffalo Bills players Stevie Johnson, Aaron Williams, Kelvin Sheppard, TJ Heath and Crezdon Butler. The Bills will be traveling from St. John Fisher College, where they have been staying for training camp. They have Tuesday off due to the PGA Tour.

This event is 18+ with proper ID and will run from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Everyone is encouraged to wear Buffalo Bills gear and to come out for dinner before.

The restaurant, which is not usually open on Mondays will be opening at 4 p.m. and offering a full dinner menu. 

For more info you can visit the event at Facebook.com/CitySlickersBar   (https://www.facebook.com/events/185226108319418/)

August 1, 2013 - 10:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Health Care, Insource Urgent Care.

Insource Urgent Care, the revolutionary health care provider that chose Batavia for the first location for its new chain of clinics, held its official grand opening today.

The celebration included a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Insource President Mark Celmer, center, Dr. Magdi Credi and VP of Operations Melissa Marsocci.

July 30, 2013 - 9:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, redevelopment.

It's an ambitious plan, one that takes in 366 acres in the heart of Batavia and targets at least five major areas for redevelopment, and it got a some favorable responses at a special public meeting Monday night.

"There have been a lot of plans done over the past 15 years and they have been shelved," said local businesswoman Mary Valle. "Now, we are ready to move forward. There are a lot of exciting things going on in the county and the city. I do believe the people are ready to support it and more forward."

Perhaps the most dramatic redevelopment proposal involves knocking down part of the downtown mall and extending Jackson Street north to Alva Place.

The plan would open up some of the mall concourse, improve parking and traffic circulation and improve development potential in the area, officials said.

An artist's rendering shows a new three-story, L-shaped building at the corner of the extended Jackson Street and Main as well as a new three-story building on the east side of the new Jackson Street, next to the existing Bank of Castile building.

"I like the idea that we are doing something," said Councilman Pier Cipollone. "I would prefer to see more retail come into the mall. I really like the idea of opening up the concourse.I would actually like to see the entire concourse opened up and create an open area walkway. I understand the notion of an indoor winter area, but I still thik it would make more sense to just open it up and give all those businesses access from the outside."

The plan also calls for redevelopment in and around the Della Penna building on Ellicott Street, to stretch down Evans toward Mill Street and along the railroad tracks almost to Jackson Street.

Included in what's known as the Batavia Opportunity Area is the Harvester Center -- which has already undergone some redevelopment with the Masse Place project -- and what the plan calls the medical corridor, which is the area east of Bank Street.

The plan builds on Batavia Central Corridor Urban Design, Marketing and Development Plan completed in 2006 and the recently completed Community Improvement Plan.

The planning phase is covered under a $260,000 state grant, the Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program.

The presentation, with artist renderings, is supposed to be posted on the Batavia Opportunity Area Web site some time this morning.

Story via The Batavian's official news partner, WBTA.

July 27, 2013 - 10:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

A program to bring more higher-end apartments to Downtown Batavia is starting to produce results.

Yesterday, visitors were able to view two new apartments at 17 Jackson St. owned by Dr. Edward A. Sielski that were renovated as part of Batavia's community plan.

A $60,000 Main Street Improvement Grant -- funded by the state, administered by the Business Development Committee -- helped pay for the $270,000 project.

The second and third floors of Sielski's building -- his dentist office is on the first floor -- were converted to a pair of 1,000-square-foot apartments. Each is two floors with a kitchen and living space on the first floor and bedrooms, a bathroom and washer/dryer combo on the second floor.

The back apartment overlooks Jackson Square.

There are several more downtown apartment projects in the works under the auspice of the program.

Julie Pacette, economic development coordinator for the BDC, said studies have shown there is pent-up demand for higher-end apartments in Downtown Batavia.

The target market is the professional person or couple earning $60,000 to $75,000 a year who wants to live in a more urban environment. They don't mind walking up stairs and want to walk to the public market, the grocery store, theater, restaurants, bars, post office and gym.

Sielski said he's already received several calls about the apartments without even advertising them.

For the open house, one of the apartments was furnished by Max Pies with decorations from Valle Jewelers.

CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS: The total project cost was $270,000 ($100K more than originally reported). This does not include architectural fees). That's 22 percent of the project cost.  The NYS Main Street Grant Program allows grants up to 75 percent of project costs. The first apartment completed under the program was in the Valle Jewelers building, owned by the Valles, and rented immediately.  The rents for these apartments is expected to be $950 to $1,000 a month.

Dr. Sielski with his family, from left, Neil, Lauren, Dr. Sielski, Claudia and Elise.

July 18, 2013 - 6:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Yotwisters.

This sign is in the door of the former Salsa & Curry location on Jackson Street, Batavia.

The owners are not ready to discuss their plans, but as you can see, they're getting ready to open a frozen yogurt bar, hopefully by the end of the month. Workers were busy today installing the counter. 

You can follow the progress on the new shop's Facebook page.

July 13, 2013 - 9:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, GCEDC.

Press release:

Fisher Sports has decided to close its doors. We have thought about the situation and have had many discussions over the last month and we feel with being a new business we just haven’t had enough time to build our business to where we could withstand a hit like the one the GCEDC gave us paying Dick's to come to town.

We would have liked to stay open through the end of the year but with my son Jonathan’s football season at Syracuse starting next month I will be doing a lot of traveling and thought this is as good a time as any to start the closing process. We are having a 50-percent off everything in the store sale to reduce our inventory so please come in and take advantage of the savings.

July 11, 2013 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, BID.

Merchants are lining the streets in Downtown Batavia today for the first of three Thursday sidewalk sales sponsored by the Business Improvement District.

The other sidewalk sales are also on the second Thursday of the month -- in August (Aug. 8) and September (Sept. 12). Time is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Above, Chris Merrian, Don Brown and Bryce Rogers with Charles Men's Shop, and below, John Roche, Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles.

July 6, 2013 - 12:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Jackson Square, music, entertainment.

Irish folk band Penny Whiskey, always a crowd favorite, opened the Jackson Square concert season Friday with two hours of Celtic rhythms and melodies. The square was pretty jam-packed with local music fans for the show.

Penny Whiskey is: Kirk McWhorter, Jon Carlson (top photo), Dan Lelito, Paul Kneis (second photo).

The Ramble Music and Arts Fest starts Saturday at 11 a.m.

Natalie Muscarella uses mom's camera to get some pictures of the band.

Officers Mark Lawrence and Eric Dibble next to the mural portrait of a Batavia police officer in Jackson Square.

To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

July 2, 2013 - 10:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, restaurants, business, downtown.

Press release:

Why do you leave Genesee County to eat? That’s exactly what the Restaurant Creativity Advocates want to find out. In response to sales leakage reports provided by W-ZHA and The Community Land Use & Economics Group, a brief survey was developed for area residents to explain their dining and travel habits. The survey is available now through July 12th online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N6SCRMV.

The Restaurant Creativity Advocates is a local group formed by representatives of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Genesee Community College’s The BEST Center, Batavia Development Corporation, downtown's Business Improvement District and Senior Corp of Retired Executives. This group voluntarily organized to research and improve the local dining options throughout the county.

“We gathered in response to two recent reports that suggest area residents spend more than $12.4 million annually to eat and drink at restaurants beyond our County borders,” stated Julie Pacatte, Batavia Development Corporation. “We want to understand why people leave the County to dine-out. Ultimately, we want to do what we can to try to ensure more dining dollars stay local.”

The Restaurant Creativity Advocates began discussion early February 2013. Since then, they conducted their own local restaurant assessment facilitated by Lina LaMattina, director of The BEST Center.

“We began by asking team members to finish the open-ended question, wouldn’t it be great if...,” LaMattina said. “Allowing this cross-functional team to begin to consider the possibilities open to the County helped the group to generate some big picture thinking, think creatively, and develop the foundation for some real conversation with stakeholders without giving way to the  traditional stumbling blocks typically encountered when dealing with significant challenges,” LaMattina added.

The group categorized more than 100 committee responses and found that six areas of focus could potentially improve the local restaurant scene. Upon completion of the customer survey, the group will share all results with the local restaurateurs in hopes of devising an action plan to reduce the sales leakage.

The restaurant customer survey is brief, but it does end with the same valuable question “Wouldn’t it be great if…?”

The Chamber of Commerce has mailed a separate restaurant owner survey directly to their listing of 126 existing restaurants in Genesee County. That survey will also be complete at the end of next week.

June 24, 2013 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Carr's.

Steve Carr, a popular local businessman who managed the C.L. Carr store in its final years, passed away Friday after suffering a heart attack while swimming at Stafford Country Club.

Carr was 66.

Funeral arrangements are pending, but will be handled by H.E. Turner.

His death comes as a shock to many people who remember him as a warm and fun person.

Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian remembers that Carr helped her get reestablished in Batavia after she returned to her native city 40 years ago.

"He was a generous person," Christian said.

Peter Mumford, Carr's cousin, said they were both born in 1947 and grew up together and remained close.

"He was always trying to help people out," Mumford said. "I always considered him a bon vivant. He liked to travel. He liked people a lot. He liked music, especially blues."

Carr was the grandson of C.L. Carr who opened a retail store in Batavia in 1917. That store would become one of the mainstays in the city until about 2001, but changes in the local market made it difficult for the family to keep the large department store open.

Carr was the majority shareholder, but members of the Carr, Minor and Mumford families also held shares, Mumford said.

A member of Rotary, Carr remained active in the community after the store closed.


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