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Ellicott Street

June 21, 2012 - 2:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, public market, Ellicott Street, Center Street.

Abby Saville, working for The Enchanted Florist, holds sunflowers at the Downtown Public Market, located at the corner of Center and Eillicott streets, Batavia.

The Enchanted Florist is one of a few new businesses participating in the market this year.

The market runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every Thursday from now through Sept. 27.

It features locally grown produce, handcrafted goods and, of course, flowers.

May 26, 2012 - 10:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Ellicott Street, main street.

About a dozen volunteers associated with the Business Improvement District hit the streets of Batavia today to plant flowers in a series of terracotta planters placed at strategic locations.

The planters are part of an ongoing beautification effort for downtown and in all 14 were purchased and filled with flowers and grasses.

"When you look at Niagara on the Lake, Saratoga, any of those cities, when they have flowers, people do talk about them," said Don Burkel, executive director of BID. "They make people feel better. It also attracts people to come here. They lend a vibrancy to our community."

The planters were placed at the main intersections on Ellicott and Main, as well as some along Ellicott Street, where Burkel said the area could use a little more color.

Above, Marcia Gann and Mary Valle fill a planter at the corner of Main and Court streets.

February 11, 2012 - 4:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ellicott Street.

(Pictured are the Smiths, from left, Michelle, Alex, Tom and Matt.)

Tom Smith has a simple goal: To be known as -- "The Sub King of Batavia."

Smith, with help of his brother, Matt, and wife, Michelle, opened New York Subs and Deli at 234 Ellicott St., Batavia, on Friday.

It's a shop that Smith has been planning for 20 years.

He said he always felt he couldn't get a good sub outside of Rochester, and he thought, "I can do that, too."

"There's an art form to a good sandwich and I've mastered the art form," Smith said.

There's at least one convert in Batavia -- a local resident stopped into the shop this afternoon to report back that he and his wife were duly impressed with the subs they had just eaten for lunch.

"I'll definitely be back," the customer said.

Smith said he spent a lot of time traveling to Rochester, buying subs, bringing them home and deconstructing them -- measuring out every ingredient.

Besides getting the amount of ingredients right, the other secret to a great sub is fresh bread, meat, cheese and vegetables.

"I figured out what they were doing and how to make some improvements," Smith said.

January 27, 2012 - 6:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Ellicott Street.

When Dennis Taber heard from a friend in another town how well he was doing with a gold, silver and coin exchange business, he decided it sounded like something he should do.

His friend actually invested in Taber's business and helped him open American Trust Gold and Coin Exchange at 239 Ellicott St., Batavia.

"He said it was a lucrative idea and I decided to take a chance on it," said Taber, who has worked for 30 years as an antiques dealer.

The lifelong Batavia resident said he deals in gold and silver, coins and any antiques he thinks he can make a buck on.

December 17, 2011 - 2:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, charity, business, Ellicott Street.

Cassandra Pierce was among the dozens and dozens of people who showed up at The Laughing Buddha on Friday for half-price tattoos with the donation of a new toy for a family in need.

Owner Jason Lang said toys and gifts were provided to four families, including the Culver family, which recently lost its home in a fire.

In the early evening, Santa showed up at the shop and Lang said people were lining up outside the door waiting to make a donation, get a tattoo, see Santa or just be a part of the event.

Among the donors of food and gift cards were Alex's Place, Center Street Smoke House, Bourbon & Burger and Applebee's.

Pictured with Pierce is tattoo artist Martin Slaymaker.

December 14, 2011 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Ellicott Street.

The NYS DOT turned Ellicott and Court/Evans streets into a four-way intersection this morning while doing traffic light repair.

December 3, 2011 - 4:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ellicott Street.

Volunteers from Habitat for Humanity were at the former Cristina's location on Ellicott Street this morning clearing out junk from the building so that construction can get started on a Restore location for Habitat.

Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County was given the property by former owner Chuck Brumstead, who decided to deed the one building still standing and the land to a local nonprofit group. Habitat was selected from among several applicants.

Brian Bishop, volunteer and communications coordinator for Habitat said the group recently finalized building permits and will now begin work inside the building to create the retail space necessary for Restore. He said no date has been set yet for when the store will open.

September 9, 2011 - 6:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ellicott Street.

The mini-boomlet of new businesses opening on Ellicott Street, Batavia, continues with The Laughing Buddha at 440 Ellicott St.

The Laughing Buddha offers tattoos, piercing and a gift shop.

Pictured are tattoo artists Eric "Crazy Goose" Weis, left, and James "Jimi" Soccio, along with Ashley Keene, who handles the front counter, owner Jay Lang (who also owns Batavia Cab Co.), and Eric Betz, piercer and store manager (Betz is formerly of Time Bomb Tattoo).

September 8, 2011 - 11:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ellicott Street.

There's no record to confirm, but it's probably been decades since a new barbershop opened in Batavia.

Sure, there have been plenty of hair salons that have opened, but a barbershop, it's almost as if they went out of style with, well, styling.

According to Brandon Armstrong, barbershops remain popular in bigger cities and he decided to bring some of the same flair of the modern barbershop to Batavia.

The Batavia resident has opened City Styles at the corner of Ellicott and Liberty streets (before any of us were born, the location of a corner grocery drug store called Gioia's, but more recently, the location of Mother's Chicken & Fish).

"In the bigger cities, there's a bigger barbershop culture," said the 22-year-old Armstrong. "The barbershop is a big part of their daily life."

Besides haircuts, Armstrong also offers hot towel shaves.

There are only three barbershop schools in New York and one of them, Sheer Eagle, is in Rochester, which is where Armstrong studied. He also worked as a barber at Le Roy Manor.

"There's a big demand here for a barbershop that serves a younger crowd," Armstrong said, explaining why he opened a barbershop. "I've always wanted to be my own boss. I used to work for my cousin Brian Kemp at T-Shirts Etc. and I saw that I would like working for myself."

While Armstrong believes his shop will be the only one in town with an expertise in African-American hairstyles, he isn't putting up a barber pole out just to serve one segment of Batavia's population.

"I can cut anybody's hair," Armstrong said. "I'm well-rounded and have lots of experience with all styles."

Pictured with Armstrong is Eric Smith, Armstrong's first paying customer after Armstrong opened Wednesday afternoon.

August 24, 2011 - 7:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ellicott Street, Molasses Hill Bulk Foods.

Shannon Harder moved her business earlier this month from Alexander to Batavia in search of a bigger customer base.

She figured her bulk-food store and deli would see an increase in business, but she never expected the kind of reception she's received.

"We've been very busy," Harder said. "It's exceed all of my expectations. I knew we would do better, but I never expected this response."

On just about any given afternoon, the parking lot of Molasses Hill Bulk Foods, 466 Ellicott St., is full.

The store carries a variety of spices, speciality flours and other baking ingredients along with a full-service deli counter.

And the deli will start serving homemade soups soon, Harder said.

Pictured with Harder is her 5-year-old daughter Teagan.

July 18, 2011 - 1:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Ellicott Street.

A 39-year-old Ellicott Street resident is in jail following an alleged domestic incident during the early morning hours in which a victim reportedly received cuts to his hand.

Taken into custody was Andrew A. Crimes, of 334 Ellicott St..

The name of the victim, who was transported by Mercy EMS to UMMC, has not been released.

The alleged incident occurred near the intersection of Ellicott Street and Goade Park at 12:21 a.m.

Crimes was charged with assault, 3rd, menacing, 2nd, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation and harassment, 2nd.

Following arraignment in Batavia City Court, Crimes was jailed on $5,000 bail.

(initial report)

June 23, 2011 - 3:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Ellicott Street, Liberty Street.

Even though it's only been a handful of months since Ellicott Street was repaved, crews were working at several intersections today putting down new asphalt. A supervisor told me the previous "new" asphalt was removed because the state determined it was "too rough."

June 7, 2011 - 4:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Ellicott Street, code enforcement, Dellapenna Building.

City officials took a walk-through of the Dellapenna building on Ellicott Street this morning to check the security and safety of the long-vacant building.

Over the weekend, police officers discovered the building was unlocked while looking for a missing person.  

Following the inspection, officials said they secured it as best as they could today and will take steps to ensure it is better secured.

February 2, 2011 - 2:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Ellicott Street.


Somebody has built a large snow fort on Ellicott Street, in the city, in front of St. Joe's Cemetery. It looks like the developer used one of the city's blue recycling buckets to pack snow in and then piled the blocks on top of each other.

October 13, 2010 - 10:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, Ellicott Street.


Work crews were on Ellicott Street this evening attempting to finish the repaving job through Batavia's downtown.

A worker told me that if it didn't rain, they should be able to finish by 6 a.m.

About an hour later, it did rain a bit.

He also told me that the hot asphalt is 300 degrees when it's laid down.

September 23, 2010 - 9:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Ellicott Street.


Contractors began milling Ellicott Street this morning in preparation for repaving next week.

Over the next three days, the milling tractors -- which cost $750,000 each -- will remove 750,000 tons of top asphalt.

The milling begins down the center of Ellicott today, with traffic being diverted to the outside lanes from Main to Cedar. Once the center of the roadway is milled, traffic will be routed to the center and workers will mill to the curbs.

A test strip of paving will be laid on Wednesday, with actual paving scheduled to begin on Friday.


September 16, 2010 - 4:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Ellicott Street.


Even in this morning's downpour, contractors were out on Ellicott Street milling the intersections in preparation for resurfacing.

September 7, 2010 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Ellicott Street, dot.


Contractors working for the state Department of Transportation began working on Ellicott Street, Batavia, this morning.

A 1.7-mile stretch will be milled and resurfaced. By the end of the project, the four-lane roadway will be reduced to three lanes and bike lanes will be added.

August 24, 2010 - 8:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ellicott Street, Foxprowl.


Bill Hume is living his dream.

What started with a Star Wars and KISS memorability collection when he was a child, has blossomed into his own retail store on Ellicott Street.

The 39-year-old entrepreneur started selling pop culture collectibles on Ebay in 1998, eventually had a 20x20 stall at Antique World in Clarence and now has 1,000-square-foot store at 440 Ellicott St.

foxprowl02.jpg"It's been progressively building and culminated in a store back in my home town," said Hume. "This was the ultimate dream, though I didn't know it would ever be feasible."

Hume benefited from a flexible landlord and the ability to buy all of his store fixtures cheaply.

The store, named Foxprowl, opened just over a week ago.

He said customers from Buffalo, who bought collectibles from him in Clarance, have already started showing up at his new location to browse his expanded inventory.

foxprowl04.jpgThe story contains a wide variety of pop culture items, from figurines for Star Wars, KISS (of course), Star Trek, Spider Man, Superman and Austin Powers to toys and games tied to many of the most popular movies and TV shows of the past 30 years.

"I guess I was born at the right time," Hume said. "I just got sucked up into the whole pop culture thing in the late '70s"

He acknowledges that his kind of specialty retail store can find it hard to survive. But he's hoping with his ability to keep his expenses low, expansive resources for obtaining new inventory, and a loyal following from his previous years in business, he can make a go of it at his new location.


August 16, 2010 - 5:27pm
posted by WBTA News in Cristina's, Ellicott Street, non-profit.


In the wake of a disheartening fire more than two years ago, the owner of the former Cristina’s Restaurant & Lounge on Ellicott Street plans to re-invigorate his property – by giving it away.

Chuck Brumsted says it’s time to see the remains of his restaurant made useful again.

“Without all the community support we had through (25) years, what Cristina’s was wouldn’t have been possible,” Brumsted says. “So we’d like to take the property as-is and donate it to a not-for-profit organization. And that way it stays in the community, and hopefully a majority of the people will be able to use it.”

He bought the building at 230 Ellicott St. in 1984.

“I basically put the building together…through numerous additions; it was a wreck when I acquired it,” he says.


For 25 years, Brumsted operated the restaurant, gaining notoriety in the area and attracting such big governmental names as Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo.

Then in 2008, tragedy struck. A destructive early-morning blaze ripped through the main building. It was declared a total loss and was eventually torn down, leaving an empty lot next to the also-damaged banquet hall.

The cause of that fire was never discovered. Brumsted declines to speak anymore about the fire.

“We don’t want to live in the past."

And so, moving forward with the property is his goal. In all, he estimates about 9,000 square feet is available, including a 5,000-square-foot, non-combustible masonry building.

“One of the ideas that’s been entertained is to take the part that was a two-story frame building, and make green space, a park-like setting. Then take the building that’s left, open up the east wall, and make an open amphitheater.”

Another idea is for a non-profit to simply acquire it and rent the space out for private parties or wedding receptions. Those are just a few of the many ideas Brumsted envisions for the site; he listed off 10 different proposals in a row. None of it is final, of course: Brumsted hasn’t yet secured a non-profit to donate to.

Whatever the cause, Brumsted says he hasn’t even considered any monetary loss he may absorb by giving it away.

“That hasn’t even been discussed. It’d be an honor and a privilege to see the building stay intact and have years and years of use. It’d be a great memory of Cristina’s.”

Any non-profit organization interested in Chuck Brumsted’s offer is asked to contact him by calling (585) 356-0927.


PHOTOS:  top, Cristina's today; inset, Cristina's before fire (courtesy Chuck Brumsted); bottom, re-development plans for former Cristina's site (courtesy Chuck Brumsted).

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