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Harvester Center

August 1, 2012 - 12:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, weather, Harvester Center, Harvester Avenue.

With things winding down from the storm this evening, I drove down Harvester Avenue and spotted this long puddle next to the railroad tracks and thought "that might be pretty interesting come sunset time." So at dusk, I drove back and made this photo.

April 4, 2012 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Harvester Center, Batavia Enclosures.

It was graduation day for Batavia Enclosures at the Batavia Industrial Center this morning.

The 24-year-old company is moving to its own 27,000-square-foot building, which will help better meet the needs of the growing enterprise.

Leonard Roberto founded the Batavia Enclosures in 1988 with only $6,000 in the bank.

"We didn’t have a name, no company, no product," Roberto said. "I just believed it was something I wanted do, so I quit my job and came here to Batavia and rented 4,000 square feet. I had no equipment and no customers. That’s how we started. My faith was that it would happen and it did happen."

Batavia Enclosures makes precision-engineered cases and racks for electronic companies. The additional space will allow it to introduce new manufacturing processes, including powder coating.

Roberto said the firm, which now has four employees, will likely add four or five workers with the expansion.

Meanwhile, he and his sons have started a second business called Savage IO, which manufactures a server -- a computer that stores and serves data to other computers over a network. That's where the big opportunity lies -- in the server industry -- which he says is currently the fastest-growing industry in the world.

Savage IO is potentially a multi-multi-million dollar company, Roberto said, and much of the space of the new building is intended to accommodate growth.

BIC President Tom Mancuso presented Roberto with a certificate of graduation in a ceremony at Moonjava Cafe in the Harvester Center and congratulated Roberto on his company's growth.

Roberto thanked Bank of Castile for facilitating the purchase of the new building.

December 5, 2011 - 11:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Harvester Center, Oatka School of Glass.

The doors to Oatka School of Glass opened on Monday evening, giving visitors -- mostly Chamber of Commerce members -- a chance to see what the school has to offer, most notably its new glassblowing class area.

New instructor Justin McKenney gave a lengthy demonstration and lecture on how glassblowing works and how he teaches his classes.

The Alfred University graduate taught glassblowing in the Boston area before deciding to move back with his wife to her hometown, Buffalo.

McKenney said the new glassblowing school at Oatka is the only one of its kind between Buffalo and Corning.

Classes are structured to give people the ability to just dabble in glassblowing -- close supervision on making, for example, Christmas ornaments -- or new students interested in a long-term hobby can start with glassblowing 101. There are also family classes and one-on-one instruction.

McKenney will provide more glassblowing demonstrations during Holidays at Harvester from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday.

For more information on the school, click here.

Bottom photo, some of the Christmas decorations made Saturday by 75 Girl Scouts who visited Oatka on Saturday.

April 3, 2011 - 4:12pm

March was Arts Month and it was a busy one. Here are some snapshots of Harvester Center activities, as well as arts-related activities elsewhere in Batavia.

The Batavia Players' production of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" (Friday, March 18)

February 13, 2011 - 1:22pm

The Batavia Players present:

...an original play, written and directed by Patrick D. Burk. 


Nikki Lanich as the Young Girl

Nick Russo as the Southern Preacher

Brittaney Lang as the Emily Bronte Girl

January 10, 2011 - 1:27pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in Batavia Players, Community Theater, Harvester Center.

Some of our readers had questions after reading Thursday's, "Opening gala showcases Batavia players' new theater on Harvester."

Here's some more information:

  • Seating/Capacity: The new theater seats between 100-140 people.
  • Ticket prices: These will vary depending on the show. The first play to be performed in the Harvester location will be an Honesty Theatre performance (click here for more information on this group) on Jan. 22; admission will be $10 per adult, $8 for children and seniors.
  • Theater hours: At this time, according to Batavia Players' Board President Patrick Burk, the space is only open for rehearsals and performances. Burk hopes, eventually, to have people working there "around the clock" on various projects. 
  • To read more about the new theater space, visit www.bataviaplayers.org/new-theater-space.
January 6, 2011 - 11:42am
posted by Daniel Crofts in Batavia Players, Community Theater, Harvester Center.

(Please note additional information added on Jan. 10 below the story and pictures.)

Ever since he was a 10-year-old boy putting on plays with his friends in the basement of a church -- with no audience but themselves -- Patrick Burk dreamed of having his own theater.

"I asked my grandpa for $500 to set up a theater in Mumford," Burk said. "Because for some reason I thought that was how much it would cost."

Grandpa said no, so he had to wait 44 years.

Fast forward to the present day: Burk is board president for the Batavia Players, which are 95 percent finished establishing their new theater in the historic Batavia Industrial Center on Harvester Avenue (see last year's story for background information).

An opening gala was held at the new theater last night. Attendees got to tour the grounds, listen to some music, and enjoy some refreshments. 

Burk is pictured above, addressing those in attendance from the stage of the three-quarter round theater. He said that while there is still work to be done, "we did pass inspection (which is a big deal in Batavia)."

This met with laughter and applause.

The following are pictures of the new theater space, including the black-box stage, the costume storage room, meeting room (where actors can gather to rehearse) and refreshment room.

August 26, 2010 - 2:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Harvester Center, Harvester Avenue.


After a few years of being unemployed, Mary Holmes decided it was time to open her own store.

"I just finally got tired of working for other people," Holmes said.

The Batavia resident and Attica native owned a crafts store in Albany during her 25 years living there, but with her family's background in flea markets, it was natural that the store would carry a variety of used merchandise.

The primary focus, however, as the name of the store says, is books. The business name is Anything Goes Books and More. It is located in the Harvester Center right on Harvester Avenue.

Holmes has amazing, impressive array of items to sell, but as she expected, most of her customers to this point have been buying books.

She opened the store the first week of August.

And the outlet is a family affair. Some of the merchandise comes from her father's estate and her two bothers and sister help by going to garage sales and flea markets looking for more used items to sell in the store.

"I need the help," Holmes said. "I can't be out there picking stuff and be in here, too."

Right now, the store occupies three office-sized spaces in the Harvester Center. Holmes said it's her dream to see the store expand and carry even more items, or even when its doing well enough to move to Main Street.

She acknowledged that the Harvest Center is a little out of the way for some people, but with the recent addition of some other new businesses in the complex, it's helped her business a lot, she said.

June 23, 2010 - 6:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Harvester Center.


This afternoon while waiting for a business in the Harvester Center to open, I killed time by walking along the south side of the building looking for objects to photograph.

If you've ever looked closely at the building, there are stars bolted into the walls between the first and second stories. These, I'm sure, are not decorative, but part of the building's support structure, bolting thick wires that run from wall to wall. That's just a guess, but I've seen this kind of construction before.

Below, a "weed" (I can't identify the flower) set against a red door, and three more pictures after the jump.


January 30, 2010 - 3:10pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in Batavia Players, arts, theater, Harvester Center.

For 45 years, the Batavia Players have had to do without a place to call their own. Now, at last, they will have their own theater in the historic Batavia Industrial Center on Harvester Avenue.

According to board member Michelle Stamp, BP president Patrick Burk "put a lot of legwork into finding a physical space for us."

"It always helps the actors when they have a space to call their own," she adds.

"This is a really exciting thing for us to be doing," said Matt Mayne, BP board member and actor. "Hopefully, it will help to draw more attention to the building, which is definitely historic."

The location of the new theater is BIC's new Artisan Center, which the Mancuso Business Development Group wanted to establish in order to increase their own business activity.

The Artisan Center not only helps foster a relationship between business and the arts locally, but also affords artists of various stripes the chance to support each other.

"We will be doing things to encourage other artists," Burk said. "There will be areas in the Artisan Center in which they can work. And we'll also have people who come in regularly for BP events and shows, and we'll allow people to display their artwork for people to see."

Burk, Stamp and Mayne all believe that the coming change will prove beneficial to actors and their performances as well. One of the greatest challenges they have dealt with in the past was that of finding, in Mayne's words, "readily available space."

"Before, we would be in situations where we weren't sure what venue we'd be performing in," Stamp said. "Now we'll have our own space we can become accustomed to, we'll know what we have to work with, and we'll have all the materials at hand."

"Our types of performances will change," Burk said, "because we'll experience greater flexibility in terms of what we can do and when. We've had shows that we've wanted to do for quite some time that we'll now be able to fit into this venue."

The new theater's black-box format, which will have audience members seated to the right and left of the stage as well as in front, also offers fresh creative challenges and opportunities.

"This type of set up requires actors to do a little bit more, because people will be watching them from three sides instead of just one," Mayne said.

All BP performances -- beginning with the Spring 2010 show -- will be held in the Artisan Center except for the Summer Youth Theatre performances, which tend to require greater stage space. Please contact the Batavia Players for more information.

January 17, 2010 - 1:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Art Ah La Carte, business, Harvester Center.


If you think you don't have a creative bone in your body, you haven't been to Art Ah La Carte yet.

Kimberly Argenta says she can teach anybody to create art.

"People have come in and said, 'I have no talent. I don’t know how to do anything,'" Argenta said. "I’ve actually had people come in and watercolor for the first time and their work comes out beautiful. They say they don’t have any creativity, yet I can pull it out of them. I believe everybody has creativity, you just have to find the right medium.”

artalcarte03.jpgArgenta has turned her passion for art and teaching into a business at the new Artisan Center at 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia.

Classes started this week and cover a range of mediums, from painting to paper mache. Art Ah La Carte also has classes on altered tins, beading, drawing and turning old junk into art.

Caledonia artist Robert Garland is helping Argenta and teaching drawing. He said getting involved in Art Ah La Carte has sparked his own creativity.

Among the students in class on Friday evening was Linda Carson, who raised her hand when Argenta spoke about students coming in thinking they had no talent. She completed two watercolors so far, one in class and one at home, and she seemed to think the second one turned out pretty good.

"I thought I would just enjoy expressing myself in painting," Carson said. "I always wanted to try it, but ... " at which point Carson just shrugged.

Art Ah La Carte is open to individual students as well as groups. Argenta said people can form groups for a girls' night out or a guys' night out or any special event, such as a bridal shower.

artalacarte02.jpg“I just really felt that the community needed an inexpensive way to come out and enjoy an evening without breaking the wallet, yet they’re learning something," Argenta said.

Art Ah La Carte is part of the new Artisan Center being created by Patricia Hawley for Mancuso Business Development Group at the Harvester Center.

Hawley has been in talks with a number of artists, multimedia companies, writers and others about taking space in the new center.

November 18, 2009 - 1:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Harvester Center, Patricia Hawley.

BATAVIA, NY -- Patricia Hawley, who has a long history of working with the arts community in Genesee County, has been hired by the Mancuso Business Development Group, to create an artisan center at the Harvester Center on Harvester Avenue.

Harvester, formerly known as the Batavia Industrial Center, is the world's first business incubator and helped launch a number of successful businesses since its inception 50 years ago.

“Creating this center is a huge step forward for a community that is so richly steeped in a tradition of fine artists," Hawley said in a statement released by the Mancuso Group. "I’m thrilled to join such a great team of innovative thinkers where, together, we can make art happen.”

Hawley, who submits occasional pieces to The Batavian on issues related to localism and the locavore movement, has extensive experience in arts management, having worked at Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council & Genesee Center for the Arts in Batavia and Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, Mass. Hawley studied communications at SUNY Brockport and volunteers for various organizations including Orleans County Adult Learning Services, Genesee Symphony Orchestra and the Genesee Country Farmer’s Market Association. She is also the owner of Fountain of Youth Organics in Brockport.

From the Mancuso press release:

It is expected that the participants in the new artisan center will be able to take advantage of the programs, rental space, shared equipment, support services and management guidance that contributes to the success of the other entrepreneurial businesses at the BIC.

Patricia Hawley is married to Ted Hawley, current president of the Batavia Rotary Club and a member of the Genesee County Planning Board. Ted is brother of Steve Hawley, our current Assembly representative.

July 26, 2009 - 11:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Harvester Center.

In the midst of last night's heavy downpour, Batavia police officers were searching through the Harvester Center for alleged intruders.

A tenant in the building spotted people he didn't recognize in the complex and called police.

Three young men from outside Genesee County were taken into custody and charged with burglary.

The alleged break-in occurred at 9:30 p.m.

Arrested where:

  • William F. Wernert III, 24, of 2796 Patrick Henry St., Auburn Hills, Mich
  • Cory C. Pickering, 22, of 253 Morgan St., Tonawanda
  • Justin S. Fay, 24 of 505 University Ave., Rochester

All three were taken to Genesee County Jail and held on $10,000 bail each.

Wernert is also charged with possession of burglary tools. He allegedly picked a lock so the trio could enter the building.

The investigating officers were Matthew Baldwin, Eric Hill, Frank Klimjack, Jason Davis and Christopher Camp.

UPDATE: Officer Wayne Fenton also assisted in the investigation. His name was inadvertently not included in the original release from the PD.

January 28, 2009 - 8:50am

Maybe this headline should read: How Batavia can save downtown by doing the opposite of what Rochester does... Allow me to explain. Most of us in the area remember the Fast Ferry flop. For Rochesterians, the very word ferry still stings like a jellyfish whip. In a poor attempt to promote cross-cultural relations between Rochester and Toronto, the city sunk millions into a ferry that would cart folks back and forth from the two cities. We all know where that went—nowhere.

Why? One reason that I'm guessing at, is that you're not going to boost your own city's cultural wealth by sending your residents elsewhere. Keep them here. One good way to do that is to offer low-rent studio space to artists in neighborhoods they can afford to live in. Rochester has done this on North Goodman Street, where the city's cultural center faces Village Gate, a quaint shopping center, and Anderson Alley, an old button factory turned into studio space. Ditto Artisan Works off of Winton Road.

Some of you may be wondering why we should give the artists a break. Look at New York City. Wherever artists flourish, along comes business: initially in the form of good eateries, but soon, small shops begin to pop up, followed by large banks. This, unfortunately, then leads to the phenomenon known as gentrification, when all the rich folks with a penchant for what the hipsters have built, simply move and take it over. Go to Brooklyn sometime if you don't believe me. Of course, artists alone do not create this environment. A lot of the appeal is based on a sort of myth of the authentic urban experience: a city block that looks, smells and feels like a city block should feel. It's got natives, it's eclectic, the people have roots there, and the place has a cultural vibe all its own. Again, this is the myth of the authentic urban experience. But as we know, myths are often rooted in actuality.

Rochester has much of this authenticity in many parts of the city. The idea being bandied about for Renaissance Square was designed—or so I believed—to provide a catalyst to further this sort of authentification downtown, which has unfortunately lost its flavor, its character, and, in many cases, its business. With that in mind, the city thought to build a big theater, a cultural mecca right downtown to draw folks in, rather than push them out. Flanking this theater would be a bus terminal, so people can get to and from the theater, and a satellite campus for Monroe Community College, so people can go there to learn, as well. That was the plan anyway.

From the Democrat & Chronicle:

A decision announced Monday to move ahead with the Renaissance Square project will allow federal funds to be spent on a bus station and a community college campus.

Funding for the third part of the project, a 2,800-seat theater, has not been secured and if the money isn't raised, the theater won't be built, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and Sen. Charles Schumer said during a joint appearance in Rochester.

"The likelihood of federal or state funds being raised for the theater is unlikely for the foreseeable future, certainly for the next few years," Schumer said. "Given the economic situation, it's difficult to raise private funds, so moving forward with the community college and the bus terminal is very important. We don't want to hold things up any longer."

Some of you may be saying: "Big deal. No theater. Who cares." Rochesterians should care. What sort of "Renaissance" with a capital 'R' does Rochester hope to effect with a bus station and a satellite campus? How will these two components bring people downtown? Going ahead without the theater would mean, in my honest opinion, not going ahead at all, but just standing still, which Rochester has proved itself quite capable of doing over the past few decades.

So Batavia, take a lesson. Do not do what Rochester does. This does not mean sink all the tax money into expensive cultural projects. What it means is play up your strengths and appeal to the culture of your population by creating an atmosphere that is hospitable to making and performing the arts. The rest will follow.

Batavia already has the authentic urban experience on the Jackson Street block downtown: good eats at locally-owned restaurants, established shops that appeal to people's curiosity and the mall. Uh, wait a second. Scrap that last one. Literally: scrap that last one. Large-scale programs such as Summer in the City do a great job of attracting people to this part of the city. But it's a one-time, thanks for your patronage kind of event. What about micro-celebrations. How difficult would it be to close up a lane of parking across from Margueritas and the Jackson Street Grill, set up some tents, tables and chairs, and serve a summer evening outside. Maybe book a juggler or something to keep folks entertained. I'm sure there are better ideas out there.

Although technically not downtown, the Harvester Center and the many buildings around it, offers a perfect place to start incubating: businesses, artists, offices and public spaces. Maybe above all else: public spaces. Small courtyards where people can gather, grab a drink, listen to some live music, whatever. Maybe a violinist in the local philharmonic can be persuaded, via a modest monetary encouragement, to practice a few nights out in the open, outside a coffee shop that fronts a courtyard in the now verdant square that once was an indsutrial wastescape.

Whatever you do, Batavia, just don't do what Rochester does. No matter how pretty you paint it, you can't call a bus terminal a renaissance.

January 19, 2009 - 12:53pm

From the Harvester Center:

The world’s first business incubator, The Batavia Industrial Center (BIC), is planning a year long celebration of 50 years of business development and job creation.

The businesses at BIC today employ more than 300 people in buildings that sprawl across 25 acres in the center of Batavia and were built over 100 years ago.  The companies that have “graduated” from the incubator employ thousands more and occupy properties worth millions of dollars in the region and across the country.  Events, new programs and announcements are being planned to recognize the success of the BIC, its entrepreneurs and the industry it spawned to help people around the world.  It is estimated that there are 5,000 incubators across Asia, North America, Europe and Latin America.  Jiang Zemin, the former President of China, hails business incubation as: “The most important creation of sci-tech industrialization in the 20th century.”

Business incubators are buildings that improve the survival and success of start-up and small businesses by providing rental space, shared equipment, support services and management guidance.  This concept was pioneered by Joseph L. Mancuso in 1959 as a solution to extremely high unemployment and the re-use of a large obsolete industrial building in the small city of Batavia, NY.  The organization responsible for business incubation in China erected a bronze bust of Mr. Mancuso at their incubator in Anshan China acclaiming him as the “founder of the incubator movement”.  January 19, is the late Mr. Mancuso’s birthday.

The Mancuso Business Development Group, led by B. Thomas Mancuso, SIOR, provides leadership to develop and operate incubators or small business centers that help people succeed.  They currently manage almost 3 million square feet of small business focused properties across Upstate New York.

For more information, please call B. Thomas Mancuso at 585.343.280 x 14 or email: [email protected].

December 8, 2008 - 3:04pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, downtown, Harvester Center.

Last week, we asked readers to consider what one project Batavia should pursue if the funding were in the bag, no strings attached. Batavia's City Council President Charlie Mallow called for the resurrection of the city's old plans for reconstruction of the Masse-Harvester industrial complex downtown. We were curious to hear more of these plans, so we sought further information. Here's what we've found out so far.

Let's start with the graphic, shall we...

This swank boulevard would be the view from the ground in the midst of the "Industrial Powerhouse Square," otherwise known as the "Swan Masse Village" in Batavia's Central Corridor between Harvester and Swann streets downtown.

From the original project proposal:

Overall, the goal in this project area was to rejuvenate the Swan Masse Village, as it once was a renowned downtown industrial hub and “business incubator.” The plan introduces separate structures of mixed-use light industrial, commercial and housing with an urban appeal and vibrancy that consists of lighting, pavement enhancements, pedestrian pathways, open space and streetscape amenities. Central to the development was keeping the powerhouse intact for two important reasons: 1) to keep costs down by retaining the boiler system for the nearby structures that rely upon it, and 2) to strengthen the image as an industrial center as well as maintain the historical integrity and sense of place.

This "downtown hub" of mixed-use structures, tree-lined avenues and "streetscape amenities" would rise from the ashes—or in this case the demolished rubble—of some 40 acres of vacant land and crumbling infrastructure. It would look something like this:

We've been informed that the Genesee County Economic Development Corp. is looking into potential state grants totalling some $2.7 million that would be used for the city's Central Corridor. Other grant opportunities are being researched by the city, as well. Whether or not anything like this plan for the Swan Masse Village would be part of those plans remains to be seen.

What do you think? Would this be a wise way to remake the city's Central Corridor? Would it provide the spark to send Batavia into its renaissance? Do we need more? Less?

Click here to download the plans.

November 13, 2008 - 10:28am

Libertarian blogger/columnist Megan McArdle has deep roots in Western New York.

I love western New York, which may be the most beautiful place on earth.  I love the old cities, the Victorian shells that whisper of much happier days, and the broad, rolling hills, and the broad flat accents of the people who live on them.  I love waterfalls softly falling downtown and the Buffalo City Hall.  I love the place as you can only love somewhere that your family has been living for 200 years.  I would save it if I could.

But I can't save it.  Pouring government money in has been tried . . . and tried, and tried, and tried.  It props up the local construction business, or some company, for a few more years, and then slowly drains away.  Western New York has been the lucky recipient of largesse from a generous federal government, a flush state government, and not a few self-made men with happy memories of a childhood there.  And still, it dies.

Megan's post is arguing against using taxpayer money to stave off the failure of the Big-3 automakers in Detroit.

It's sounds like, though, she is against any number of government programs to help businesses start and grow, and there's a libertarian case to be made that government props get people overly dependant on handouts, killing entrepreneurial spirit

But what I really thought about as I read her piece was how the businesses that once employed so many people in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, as well as Batavia and LeRoy, didn't get their starts because Congress allocated a wad of cash to finance factories and office complexes.

These businesses got up and running because of the energy and vision of entrepreneurs -- often men, and some women, with little means, just an idea and the determination to see it become something worthwhile. They didn't look around Western New York and see obstacles or excuses. They saw opportunity.

WNY is a great place to raise a family and run a business. What's going to save it isn't government programs, but a new generation of entrepreneurs.

Batavia is doubly blessed because it already has a model for building new businesses with a track record of success -- the Harvester Center -- Joe Mancuso's sacred structure of entrepreneurship. To this day, as we reported yesterday, the Mancuso Business Development Group is already leading the way in helping new businesses get started.

I've toured the Harvest Center -- there is plenty of space available for any enterprising individual who wants to start a new business.

Also, Alice Kryzan may have lost the Congressional race, but her push for developing green industries in Western New York shouldn't be forgotten. In fact, we should encourage Alice to carry on with the effort.  She doesn't need to be an elected official to be an effective leader in bringing together business owners and bankers to help create new jobs. In fact, it would probably be preferable to promote the effort without, or very little, government assistance.

When I look at things like the Harvester Center, or parts for wind turbines being hauled down Main Street, or local farmers experimenting with alternative energy sources, or an increase in shipping on the Erie Canal -- when I see and read these things, it gives me hope for the future of Western New York.

There's no reason not to expect WNY's best days are ahead.

Notes: Though I occasionally read Megan's blog, hat tip to Buffalo Pundit for pointing out the post; Also, Megan uses a photo of the Kodak Building from Flickr credited to SailorBill.  Ironically, SailorBill is my boss. The picture at the top of this post is one I took myself two years ago.

November 12, 2008 - 8:09am

Efforts by the Mancuso Business Development Group to redevelop aging industrial plants and turn them into business centers for new and fledgling firms is featured in a piece in the D&C this morning.

Mancuso projects include the High Falls facility in Rochester, a 475,000-square-foot business center in Lockport, and another large development center in Geneva, as well as the Harvester Center in Batavia.

For the four local business incubators, Mancuso Development acts as the managing agent, collecting rent and paying the bills, and as leasing agent. The firm also oversees building rehabilitation work at the Lockport and Geneva sites, B. Thomas Mancuso said.

The company particularly focuses on landing small-business tenants of fewer than 10 workers, Mancuso said. And even in the current economic contraction going on nationally, he said, there is constantly demand for affordable space for businesses of that size.

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