Skip to main content


T.F. Brown's hosts 21st Christmas Day meal for the community

By Howard B. Owens

This will be the 21st year that T.F. Brown's has hosted a free Christmas Day meal for the community, and owner Rick Mancuso wants to make sure residents know: everyone is invited.

Typically, about 200 people show up for the meal (and presents for the kids), according to co-owner Rick Mancuso, but all of the people involved in organizing the meal and volunteering that day would love to see 400 or or even 1,000 people show up.

"We can serve any number of people," Mancuso said. "The initial effort is already there. We don't want to see anybody be alone or anybody go without on Christmas Day. We would love to see them come and enjoy the community dinner that we put on."

The dinner has all of the traditional holiday favorites, Rick said, from Turkey and stuffing to cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and salad. And even desert.

Children under 16 will also receive a Christmas present provided by the Batavia Lions Club. Lions Club members also help serve during the meal.

There are two meal times scheduled: Noon and again at 1 p.m.

The event is organized and sponsored by Ben and Rick Mancuso, Joe Teresi of the Bank of Castile, and Chuck Brenner of the Lions Club (pictured above are Ben, Joe, Chuck and Rick).

Reservations are requested and would be very helpful, but not required (nobody will be turned away).  To make reservations call 343-2091 (ask for Joanne) by 11 a.m. on Dec. 24.

Rides are also available to anybody who needs transportation.

"It's great because you get to see the smiles on kids faces and everybody gets a really full meal on a very special day," Mancuso said. "We do get a lot of notes of thanks, and that really means a lot to everybody, but it's just a great day."

SolarX in former Pepsi-Cola building

By Tasia Boland

There's a new enterprise in the former Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co.'s distribution site in Batavia, which was based in the Crickler Business Building. SolarX now occupies this property, located at 319 W. Main St., as its primary distribution center.

SolarX sunglasses and ornaments are sold in mall kiosks nationwide.

Ben Mancuso, managing director at Chas. Mancuso & Son, Inc., represented both sides of the transaction.

"We have repositioned the facitily as a full-service business center," Mancuso said, "since the transition we have signed deals (with) 35,000 ft. of warehouse/distribution space and 4,000 ft. of executive office suites.

Tenants share a receptionist, conference rooms and lunch rooms. Given the current climate, we are pleased with the activity and very happy to have SolarX operating in Western New York."

Mancusos now operating four business development centers in WNY

By Howard B. Owens

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.

Joe Mancuso: a Batavian through and through

By Philip Anselmo

In Batavia business lore, there are few who loom as large as Joseph Mancuso, an incurable entrepreneur who bequeathed ambition to his children as if it were a heritage.

Mancuso died Tuesday at the state Veterans Home in Batavia, the Daily News reported. He was 88.

Reporter Roger Muehlig writes: "A son of Italian immigrants, Mancuso grew up during the Great Depression and once picked beans on a farm for $1 per 100 pounds."

From those modest beginnings, Mancuso flourished. He was a star athlete in high school, class president, later became a master sergeant in the Army Signal Corps and, once he returned home from World War II, became the first president of the Batavia Area Chamber of Commerce, Muehlig reported. (And those just a few of his social successes).

But the big fish came a little later:

"In 1956, Massey-Ferguson, the largest industry in Batavia, N.Y., closed down, leaving vacant an 850,000 square foot complex of multi-story buildings and driving unemployment to more than 20 percent. The Mancuso family wanted to reverse the situation. They purchased the complex and charged Joe Mancuso, then a hardware store manager, with filling it, creating jobs and making money.

"He tried to find a single company to rent the behemoth plant riddled with maintenance needs but after a month resolved that was a "crazy" idea. Instead, he decided to divide the building and rent to separate businesses that he would nurture by providing shared office services, assistance with raising capital and business advice. Within a short time he had recruited his first tenants, including a winery, a charitable organization and a chicken company. "We were out on the road a lot of the time, trying to interest investors and attract companies to the center," he told the NBIA Review, "and in a joking way, because of all the chickens, we started calling it 'the incubator.'" The name stuck long after the chicken company left, and Mancuso would forever be known as the man who coined the term business incubator." (From the National Business Incubation Association Web site).

"Joe was a visionary, years ahead of his time," Steven Hyde, president of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, told the Daily News.

Friends may call at the Gilmartin Funeral Home and Cremation Company on Friday, May 2, from 4:00 to 8:00pm. A Memorial Mass will be held Saturday, May 3, at 9:30am in St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church, 122 Liberty St., Batavia, NY 14020. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the local Boy Scouts, the Batavia Kiwanis Club, the YMCA or the National Incubation Association. Go here for more details.

UDPATE: Buffalo News Obituary.

Authentically Local