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The Harvester Center

Windy Brew's second location ready to 'share our love' in Batavia

By Joanne Beck
Bradley and Michelle Snyder
Bradley Snyder and his mom Michelle Snyder, business partners for Windy Brew, open their second location Thursday at 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia.
Submitted photo.

It was a year ago Thursday when Bill and Michelle Snyder spent their wedding anniversary dinner discussing business ambitions to open a second location for Windy Brew, Michelle says.

And a year later, the couple is celebrating its 32nd anniversary and the opening of that location at 56 Harvester Ave. in Batavia. Windy Brew is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

It took some connections in Batavia and the local business world — Rob Credi of Pub Coffee Hub and Crapshoot Commissary, and Tammy Hathaway of Batavia Development Corp., the couple said — and then plans began to unfold.

“And when we were at dinner a year ago, we talked about opening a second location and reached out to some friends in the City of Batavia to see if there were any buildings for sale or for lease, and we came across the Harvester Center through Tammy, and she put us in the direction of talking to Rob … and that's how we got in touch with (Harvester Center Manager) Jarrod Clark and took this space,” Michelle said about the street-level site on the city’s east side. 

“We completely renovated the area that we have. We had some tear-out and things like that. There are two complete new bathrooms. The taproom and bar are all brand new. All the tables and chairs, it’s all brand new. We have shiplap walls, the floor is like a vinyl planking, and the bar was custom-built by a friend of ours. 

“It’s beautiful. I wanted a rustic, industrial look, and I feel like we really captured that with the way the heating and cooling ventilation and our chairs and tables just really came together really nice,” she said.

It’s a family partnership between Michelle and her son Bradley Snyder. They share their story online about how the family-run business began with a passion and love for beer. Someone gave them a beer kit as a gift, and that turned into buying a kettle and going into a full-grain brewing hobby. 

“Then we thought it was time to share our love with others,” the Snyders said. 

The first Windy Brew is on their home property in Strykersville, and the Snyders have been running it for six and a half years. 

There are 15 beers on tap, a cider and, with a full liquor license, there will be mixed drinks and wine available as well at the Batavia location, Michelle said. “But our focus is really our craft beer,” she said. 

“I consider us a brewpub. But the city of Batavia said it has to be a restaurant tap room, so I don't know. They have their own version of what a brewpub is,” she said.

As for the food menu, there will be pulled pork sandwiches made from pork that is smoked at the Strykersville facility, loaded nachos, pretzels with dill pickle dip, chips and dip, a taco basket, and tortilla chips with salsa and guac. 

The long wooden bar in variegated hues of blond is highlighted by the dropped hooded lights that give off a yellow glow. There's a definite juxtaposition of industrial silver ceiling fixtures atop the rustic flooring and weathered side paneling for an eclectic mix of design materials. Adding to the ambiance will be musician Rob Koepf, performing 1980s and 90s rock and classic country from 7 to 10 p.m. this Saturday. 

Michelle is anxiously awaiting for another vendor to open in the other half of the property, as they will be sharing some equipment, and Windy Brew will also be making custom pizzas as part of the menu. That is “coming soon,” Michelle said. 

 “I am just so excited that we are here and able to open at this point. It's been a long road, but it's been well worth it," she said. "I feel it's going to be really great for Batavia to have this location. And customers seem to be very excited about us opening in the Batavia area.” 

Though there is a clear definition between the two businesses, the other half of the site will be quite visible, and at least one operator has been identified as Vianiliz “Vee” Echevarria Rivera and her mother Elizabeth under the takeout restaurant name of Linda Borinqueña.

Rivera had hoped to open in June, and said that she had unexpected delays and would have to push that date back.

Meanwhile, Windy Brew will be there, with hours of 2 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Windy Brew 2
Windy Brew 3
Windy Brew 4

Submitted photos.

Enter through the coffee shop for art and music @ The Harve

By Joanne Beck
The Harve Brian Kemp and Mary Jo Whitman

Nothing like the smell of burnt shopping cart to go with your morning coffee.

That was just one of several teasers thrown online to pique viewers’ interest during these past four months of preparation for a surprise exhibit on the city’s east side.

Considering the involvement of artists, sponsoring businesses, with the lead being GO ART!, and Harvester Center LLC serving as host, this project has been kept under wraps fairly well. 

That is until now, when founders Brian Kemp and Mary Jo Whitman decided it’s time to announce:  Enter Through The Coffee Shop @ The Harve.

“So Brian came to me with this idea, he was like, ‘We should take over an industrial space and see what we can do.’ And you know, Brian always has a lot of ideas. And the next day, he said, can you meet me at the Harvester in 30 minutes? He showed me the room, and he's like, ‘You want to do it?’ I'm like, ‘All right. ‘And that's how it started,” Whitman said.

While that may sound like a rather calm beginning, it has been anything but ever since they temporarily claimed the 7,000-square-foot space at 56 Harvester Center in January.

Rectangular in shape, with long rows of windows for ample natural sunlight, it’s a space easily accessible through The Pub Coffee Hub, owned by Rob Credi.

The Harve

Kemp and Whitman put the word out for artists, and the walls have been gradually bleeding color with brilliant murals and 3D sculptures, while the room's footprint has been carpeted with the shell of a red car, artwork and the makings of a bar area. 

Is it an art exhibit? A gallery? A space for mingling and reflection while enjoying refreshments and listening to live music? Or perhaps a new avenue for artists to publicly expose their creations? Yes, yes, yes and most certainly, yes.

One other possibility, of course, is that it also brings people over to Harvester Center, which seems to be getting more buzz as a growing business center again. 

The Harve’s debut will be with an opening reception from 5 to 11 p.m. June 3, and a VIP invitation-only event the evening before.

The Harve

Step into the capacious room, and it’s hard not to notice the sweeping mural of a blonde-haired, vivid blue-eyed doll on one end wall that sits next to a take on the Cheshire cat in a vibrant purple atop red mushrooms in a dazzling, eye-catching still vignette. And all of it was painted by Dan Butler in an astounding four days.

Across the room in a corner is Kemp’s studio, filled with various materials and about 20 works already done.

“It’s been cool having this much space,” he said. “I have 10 more things I’m working on.”

On one wall is Whitman’s sculpture-in-progress. It seems fitting, given a prior disclosure, that she often leans toward darker works of art. 

A big black puff of clouds stretched along toward the top of the wall, with two people dressed in black below, and one of them with a shopping cart — painted black — against the wall. It actually rains, and the clouds have lightning, she said.

From those early moments of walking into such an expansive space, she and Kemp didn't really fumble with ideas of what to do or how to go about bringing their collective visions to life, they said. 

The Harve

“It’s absolutely amazing how everything has just fallen into place. Rob’s extending his hours when we’re open Fridays and Saturdays in June,” Whitman said. “We just started asking questions. There was a BBC documentary, ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop,’ so it’s a parody of that, ‘Enter Through The Coffee Shop.'

“It was just perfect clarity based on ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop,’ but kind of an opposite message that you know, instead of commodifying the arts let’s bring the arts to people to help support local business,” she said.

There will be two cars in the show, and they will hopefully be in the demolition derby in July, Kemp said. Having wheels helps with their other vision for the main floor, which brings together street art, graffiti and murals.

The Harve

“We’re literally going to have the place kind of like a street, we're gonna have little elements of this street scene. Like we're trying to make it look like a street … traffic cones, construction cones, the cars,” he said. “You can just come in and walk around. You can grab a seat. Rob … will be open, so you can grab a coffee or a sandwich. We're hoping to have some alcohol available.”

There are a couple of comfy couches there right now for seating, and tables and chairs will be moved from The Pub Coffee Hub for exhibit patrons, he said. They have booked four acts for live music already, with the potential for more.

They’ve worked with about 10 artists, Credi and Jarrod Clark, who manages Harvester Center LLC. Go HERE to stay up-to-date on details.

Mary Jo Whitman

Photos of Brian Kemp, an artist and owner of T-Shirts Etc. in Batavia, and Mary Jo Whitman, an artist who works at GO ART! in Batavia, at The Harve at 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia, by Howard Owens.

Are your culinary skills a sure bet? The Crapshoot Kitchen & Commissary has space for rent

By Joanne Beck
robcrediharvesterapeil2023.jpg

There’s a joke between Rob Credi and his wife Karie about a nickname they’ve dubbed a part of their home. Rob periodically makes dinner, and sometimes it comes out really good, and other times, not so much. So they call the culinary space Crapshoot Kitchen.

It’s a name that stuck for his latest business venture that will rent opportunities for starter businesses and organizations to get going in the culinary field for take-out meals and food items. The Crapshoot Kitchen & Commissary is located at 56 Harvester Ave., in The Harvester Center, on the east side of Batavia.

“You’re standing in the vestibule now,” Credi said during a walk-through of the street-level site Tuesday afternoon. “So when you walk in this way, this is my space. And this is all a commercial commissary kitchen, meaning that I’m building the entire kitchen, putting in the hood and all the equipment, and all that for someone who wants to come in and use it to prepare food in a certified kitchen, for sale to public consumption.”

He plans to rent it out to three or four operators, ideally food businesses that would be using the space on a regular basis. He already has one committed vendor who makes Puerto Rican cuisine, and potentially a baker. Both vendors were referred by Batavia Development Corporation, he said.

The space can be rented by the hour or the month, for organizations wanting to make, say, cookies for a fundraiser, or take-out restaurateurs wanting to establish themselves.

Credi’s space is 1,400 square feet and will include a long counter, kitchen area, 13-foot hood, baking equipment, coolers, storage lockers, prep stations, tables, and a few chairs for patrons waiting for a food pick-up.

Large solid pillars form a visual wall that begins the separation between Credi’s place and what will be Windy Brew, a pub and tasting room owned by Bill and Michelle Snyder. They wanted to wait until their permits were received before talking details about their place, but prior planning board meetings have teased that the place will feature pretzels and pizza, craft brews from the site’s brewery in Strykersville and elsewhere, and music.

Property Manager Jarrod Clark, who is an officer of Harvester Center LLC, will be taking care of the front and back spaces with steel framing and all-glass vestibules, for two entry/exit ways. There has also been talk about converting part of the rear exterior into a beer garden green space and additional parking, Credi said. He hopes to have the site up and running by June. He estimated that combined, the space is about 3,500 square feet.

His commissary venture was largely based on the idea of food truck owners needing a kitchen to prepare, pack and work out of for their mobile businesses, he said. There is a large garage door at the back that trucks can back right up to load and unload equipment and supplies, he said. In addition to the shared space, renters would have access to dry and cold storage, equipment, and educational resources.

“While the primary purpose of the kitchen is to serve as a prep kitchen for most members, there are also very limited spots available for those looking to conduct a more retail-oriented and customer-facing business operation through the use of its streetside retail counter,” Credi said.

No newcomer to the business world, Credi owns Coffee Pub Hub just down the street, to the right of the Crapshoot. Although he has at times complained about issues of city protocol, lack of communication and tight parking, Credi has been amazed and thankful that recent road construction didn’t dampen customer enthusiasm to keep coming back for his specialty coffee drinks, breakfast sandwiches, and new bubble teas.

“The coffee shop is doing fantastic,” he said. “We had one of the best weekends we’ve ever had. It’s building of the brand.”

So perhaps that answers why he is investing in another site on the same street, but The Batavian asked anyway: why, after your previous complaints?

“That is a question that I asked myself many times a day. Honestly, I like this project, I don't want to say it's not for me, because, obviously, you know, I'm behind it, and I am gaining from it, but it's like a community focus thing. Like, it's more for other people than it is for me. I've done the coffee shop so far, which, this is my business, and I'm trying to make money and provide a service to the city,” Credi said. “But this is more to help other people, which I like about it, which is something I've always kind of done behind the scenes if anyone had a question about starting a business. I obviously do care a lot about the city of Batavia. And that's where a lot of my frustrations come from, is seeing things that could be done better that aren’t.

“But at the end of the day, I think with Tammy Hathaway, she's been great as far as an investor for the city. And I think working with her on a project like this has kind of restored my faith in the direction it's going. We don't get all the limelight and excitement as they do in the downtown projects or the low to maybe middle-income housing project on Ellicott. But there's enough to be said for this building. I think this building has a lot of promise,” he said. “Obviously, I'm investing in a second location in this building. I like the direction that it's going with the new ownership and with Jarrod in charge. So I see this as a building that's really going to take off and be a huge part of Batavia’s success in years to come.”

For more information or to inquire about space, email CrapshootKC@Gmail.com.

robcrediharvesterapeil2023-2.jpg

Top Photo of Batavia business owner Rob Credi showing his latest venture at 56 Harvester Center, and above, out back of the site, where a beer garden and green space may eventually replace some of the back lot, along with more parking space. Photos by Howard Owens.

Harvester Avenue road construction a slow-moving hindrance to business owners

By Joanne Beck

On Aug. 10, business owner Rob Credi was happy and thankful to be celebrating the two-year anniversary of Pub Coffee Hub at Harvester Center.

That is, until he saw a road crew tearing up the street alongside of his thriving coffee shop. That date now marks the beginning of an agonizing blow to the clientele and successful business that Credi had built up those last two years. While other road projects have seemed to move along swiftly, Harvester Avenue has lagged behind as a bumpy, torn up hindrance to motorists and the businesses they're trying to visit, he says.

“Look at the other streets; they’re milled and ready to be paved. Our street is a graveyard of a street; it’s not drivable, there are potholes, lots of cement. On Aug. 10 they started digging, and three to four weeks later they never touched anything," Credi said during an interview with The Batavian. "I spoke to the contractors who dug it up, and they were going to come back. I’ve seen a significant drop in business. It’s the planning, execution and the quality of work that’s got my blood boiling.”

Slow work zone
It pains him to think about the lost revenue -- "you know, money that should have been coming in." 

"I'm gonna write that off, I'm never gonna see those dollars, it's just a lost cause. So really, my focus is just, however long this is gonna take, can we clean up the road and make it more serviceable for customers ... and maybe put a little fire under their butts to make it more of an urgent project to try to finish, kind of minimize the danger of moving forward."

After being patient for more than a month, Credi finally reached out to City Council and management.

“The purpose of this e-mail is to bring to your attention the devastating effect the current Harvester Ave. roadwork project is having on businesses, specifically Pub Coffee Hub. It is my understanding that this has been a project in the works for a couple of years. I have been a tenant in The Harvester Center since August of 2020 and from that date until August 10th of this year was not once invited into a conversation regarding the project and the inevitable consequences my business would suffer because of it,” Credi wrote in an email to council members and City Manager Rachael Tabelski. “If not for the good fortune of having a direct line to the new Director of Public Works, we would have been 100 percent in the dark about everything at that point. Let's not forget the 2-3 days where Harvester Ave. was completely blocked off at Main Street. How do you think businesses on our street did that day? Does anyone care? Yes, there was a surprise pipe issue needing immediate attention. What wasn't a surprise was, yet again, zero communication from the city and zero plan to address those that depend on the availability of traffic down the road while it was being repaired.”

When talking to The Batavian, Credi shared concerns about the business he has lost so far — a 42 percent dip in revenues, and that was after experiencing growth of nearly 35 percent this last year. A big sticking point for him is the seeming lack of thought about the actual entities on Harvester Avenue as plans were made for the road project itself. This week alone, contractors dug a ditch directly in front of a parking lot across the street, and posted a sign announcing the road was closed to all except local traffic.

“And at no point did anyone reach out to any of the businesses in the harvester center, or even a building manager to address 'hey, here's what's gonna be happening, here's what's happening.' Obviously, this is going to affect your businesses,” he said. “It would have been nice of them to be proactive and say, here's what we propose we can do to help alleviate some of that stress, or solicit feedback from us on ‘what we can do to make it less debilitating to businesses while it's going on.’ So that's the one issue that they had plenty of time to address. They never did.”

Untimely timelines
His plea reaped some sympathizers, as council members John Canale, who owns a drum studio at Harvester Center, Patti Pacino and Tammy Schmidt, who represents that area’s Sixth Ward, agreed that it wasn’t a good situation. Tabelski responded with an outline of work to be done in the city, including Harvester Avenue.

Tabelski had spoken to Department of Public Works Director Brett Frank, and “learned that he has been communicating with you and the owners of the Harvester Centre on a regular basis to keep you updated on the construction project,” she said in an email to Credi, adding that Frank will continue to provide updates and “we are hopeful that we can get the street project completed as soon as possible.”

She and others walked along Harvester recently and found deteriorated concrete base pavement that has turned to rubble, and the area will need to be replaced with concrete base pavement prior to any paving being done, she said to Credi.

The Batavian also reached out to council members and Tabelski. The city manager replied with a timeline and scope of the Harvester project. “The project continues to progress and the City is hopeful that the Harvester Ave. project will be finished by December 14th or sooner,” she said.

So that means it could be done anywhere from one to three months from now. Credi had not been given that date, however, he was told that contractors had up to six months to do the necessary work. But he certainly didn’t think it would take that long, he said.

“The City is not looking to put any undue burden on businesses or residents along Harvester Ave. and we are very optimistic that the new street will be a tremendous improvement,” Tabelski said. “We appreciate the patience across the city as we have been able to resurface many streets during this construction season.”

Schmidt responded to The Batavian's call for comment texting that she would send an email when she was able. Bialkowski's reply referred the matter to the city manager since it's "a contractual" issue. No other council members responded. As part of city protocol, council members approve resolutions, contracts and projects related to city business.

Undue burden
Credi and fellow Harvest Center business owner Sarah Jones understand that road work has to be done. But they both question the length of time it has taken so far, and especially the condition of the road while they wait for completion.

“People have been complaining, bigger groups that come in, they're just like ‘I couldn't find a place to park, I couldn't even get down the road at some point.’ It's impossible to get through,” said Jones, co-owner of Game of Throws. “And we came in one time, and we couldn't even figure out where to turn around and go back the other way to go on the back roads to the back of the building. It's really frustrating. And they said they have six months to do it in. Why can't  they do it in one month, or this is going to take up to six months? Our whole busiest season is the winter.”

Jones has observed work crews doing something one day, followed by three weeks of nothing. And when they have returned they “make it worse,” she said, and “dig a big hole.”

Paving the way
While Credi doesn’t want to be “that angry guy” who raises a fuss over this situation, he has felt pangs of anxiety and worry about how long he can sustain his business. He employs four people who only work for him. He doesn’t want to lay them off until conditions improve, and definitely doesn’t want to close his shop. He suspects that other areas of Batavia wouldn’t be dealing with this.

“Because I do often feel like, over on Harvester Avenue, we don't really get much attention. Obviously, we're off Main Street, so we don't get the main attraction,” Credi said. “But also in terms of the city's outlook, they really only seem to be concerned with the downtown district, understanding that's where the majority of the businesses are, that's where they get, you know, grants and funding for to improve.”

Credi appreciated the words of support from the three council members, and Schmidt’s comment that all businesses in the city should have equal importance, he said. He looks forward to the future development of Harvester Center and hopes that “we’ll still be around” when it gets going.

Tammy Hathaway, director of Batavia Development Corporation, enjoys spending time at the Center and drinking a Monica coffee at the Pub. She has tried to draw attention to the city’s eastern site through online postings, she said, and raise awareness of all that’s over there. The Center houses 75 businesses, including One World Projects, Vintage antiques, House of Bounce, The Brick Enrichment Center, Hodgin's Printing, Hitter's Hideaway, plus artists, a dental lab, environmental testing and several other ventures.

“I’ve been trying to really focus on the business piece of it; it’s one of my favorite spots,” she said Friday. “I’m trying to be a good steward for the businesses … giving every little bit of extra attention I can give. My biggest goal is to make people aware, and to say brave the storm and continue to visit those businesses.”

The Batavian asked if there was any type of financial recovery funding for the commerce lost so far, and didn’t believe there was anything available. Meanwhile, Credi will be playing “the numbers game,” he said, remaining open as long as he can cover payroll. When those numbers dip even lower, however, he’s not sure what he will do.

“I’m not the person who tries to complain, to make a big deal out of everything. But this project needs to be done,” he said, reflecting on how things had gone up to this summer. “It’s finally paying off, all the hard work, the business is thriving, we’re absolutely crushing it. I couldn't be happier. And I didn't expect the drop-off, obviously, once the construction came. We have established ourselves to what I believe is, you know, the pre-eminent independent shop in a town that's flooded with Dunkin Donuts, and Tim Hortons, and just another Starbucks coming, it's not easy. And I get why we're suffering because it's so much easier for all these customers to just hit up one of the other 10 coffee shops versus trying to navigate down Harvester Avenue.

“Traffic itself is almost nonexistent. We are getting primarily people from the building and our hardcore regulars. But honestly, what's carrying this right now, it’s just delivery. We do it through DoorDash … even before it was about 20 percent of our sales. Now, it's probably like closer to 25 to 30, which is great because it's bringing in revenue, but it also costs me a lot to pay their commissions to operate our delivery service,” he said. “Because we had such an amazing year up until that point, we've been able to kind of carry it through now. Right now we're not operating at a loss on a daily basis. If, in the next couple of weeks, we start to dip into the negatives, we're losing money … I’ll probably have to revisit what my plan is.”




Top Photo: Rob Credi, owner of Pub Coffee Hub at The Harvester Center in Batavia, would like contractors to speed up progress on Harvester Avenue, as construction so far has damaged his sales and related revenue; and above, a ditch in front of the auxiliary parking lot, rendering it useless for potential customers; and ongoing construction. Photos by Howard Owens.

Video: Business Spotlight: Game of Throws

By Howard B. Owens
Video Sponsor .pane-node-body img {background: none !important; border: 0 !important; margin: 0 !important; padding: unset !important; padding-left: 1px !important } broadstreet.zone(69076)

About a year and a half ago, Game of Throws opened in the Harvester Center on Harvester Avenue, Batavia, and to celebrate, owners Eric and Sarah Jones hosted the Chamber of Commerce for a Business After Hours.

The event was more than a month ago and The Batavian was there to make a video, but there were technical difficulties with the interview.  Then it took some weeks to arrange schedules to reshoot the interview.  Finally, here's the video.

For more information about Game of Throws, click HERE.

Mom's thoughtful moment gives birth to new business in Batavia

By Joanne Beck

If necessity is the mother of invention, then what is a mother with a dilemma?

She’s an entrepreneur like Alisa Pastecki who opens up shop to help her and fellow moms out.

And Thoughtful Kids Consignment Shop was born.

“I have a one-year-old and a four-year-old, and this was out of an abundance of need for myself because living here in Batavia we didn't have any consignment options. And when I was living in Buffalo previously, one consignment shop that I did like to frequent was on Hertel Avenue, and there was just, there's no parking. It would not be easy to bring two kids in tow with, you know, boxes of clothes to sell,” she said during her shop’s ribbon-cutting grand opening Friday at Harvester Center. “So this was just out of an abundance of need for myself, and I think for the community and other moms like myself.”

While raising her children, Pastecki began to notice the collection of things that she didn’t want to throw out yet also didn’t have many options of where to put them to good use, she said. A consignment shop is a clearinghouse for such gently used goods in which the donor receives a portion of the sales for those items directly given to the store. Pastecki will buy them outright or offer a percentage of the total once sold. 

She chose a street-level spot that’s tucked between a children’s bounce facility and a coffee shop. With help from her husband Douglas and other family members — the grandparents babysat Gloria, 4, and one-year-old Walter — they worked to paint the walls and floor and add custom displays “so that we could get open as soon as possible,” her husband Douglas said.

“It started with a small idea of what are we going to do with all these clothes, we’ve got other parents who are the same as us, who just have all these clothes that need to find a home. And she came up with the idea of doing a pop-up shop or some way an outlet to help people, you know, basically make money and save these clothes from ending up in landfills,” he said. “It's very exciting to go through the process because this is our first time going through starting up the business. So it's been very exciting to see it come to this day of the grand opening. We had so many consignment partners … mothers and families had clothes and needed a place to go.”

They carved out a 600-square-foot niche of assorted children’s clothing, footwear, dolls and other items for newborns up to large kids’ sizes.

Once Alisa had the idea last fall, she just kept inching toward her goal.

“This idea started off probably back in November of last year. And so this started as a pop-up business and grew to be something that I needed a lot more space for. And so that's where the storefront came in,” she said. “And the Harvester, I thought, was the perfect spot to do it, being a business incubator and all. I would say that Thoughtful Kids is quality, savings and community. All three good reasons to shop.”

Pastecki is a native of Tonawanda and moved to Batavia about nine years ago. She met her husband here — he works at Oliver’s Candies — and was familiar with some consignment options in the Buffalo area. But once having her first child she wanted something that would be closer and more convenient for kids’ items.

In addition to her brick-and-mortar store, the 38-year-old plans to offer some pop-up shops in the Western New York area to provide opportunities for fellow moms to buy and sell items as well. It’s a simple concept: “you take stuff and sell it,” she said. People can either drop off their goods or she will pick them up for busy parents, she said.

“So I will drive to their homes. I’ve done Orchard Park and Hamburg in a day. I’ve done Batavia any time, obviously, since I’m local. And then I can really go anywhere, from Rochester to Buffalo,” she said. “The plan is to be permanent here and see where this takes us. Being a business incubator, I don’t know if I’ll ever grow out of the space. But I’m really happy to be at the Harvester right now.”

She is a first-time business owner with a background as a sales executive with a network engineering company. She worked with consignment contracts for telecom equipment.

“So this is kind of a lot of the paperwork and a lot of the things I do for my consigners, it is very similar to what I was doing on a much larger scale for telecom companies all over the world,” she said. “So it kind of fit perfectly when  I was home with my kids during the pandemic.”

Benefits of shopping at her place include saving money — an estimated 50 to 70 percent off retail; buying quality, brand name fashions; positively impacting the environment; experiencing an easy consignment process; and the best reason of all, she said, is to support “a small, local, female-owned business."

Hours listed for the next two weeks are 2 to 6 p.m. Monday, 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 23, 2 to 6 p.m. July 25 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 29 at 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia. For more information, call (716) 984-0515 or go to Thoughtful Kids 

Top photo: Alisa Pastecki shows some of the children's clothing at her new shop on Harvester Avenue, Batavia. Family members help Alisa and husband Douglas, behind her to the left, with the ceremonial ribbon-cutting for Thoughtful Kids Consignment at 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia. The couple's children, Gloria, front near mom, and Walter, being carried, in back row, enjoy the celebration Friday.  Photos by Joanne Beck.

The House of Bounce celebrates opening in the Harvester Center

By Press Release

Press release from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce:

Today we helped celebrate the newest addition to Batavia, The House of Bounce!

Justina and Pat Rapone are local parents who saw a need for a children's indoor play space and birthday party center here in Genesee County. They were both born and raised in the Batavia area and are currently raising four children of their own. They wanted to provide an interactive space for children twelve and under to play, climb, jump, and explore!

They are located on the corner of The Harvester Center in Batavia and are now officially open for business! They can host private events, and birthday parties, and are also making the space available for open-play sessions.

Inside the facility, they have multiple bounce houses, ball pits, sandboxes, a rock wall and all sorts of other interactive equipment available for use. For parents, they have a private party room with tables and chairs that can be used for different kinds of events.

Welcome to Batavia, House of Bounce!

Find more information and how to book your experience at www.houseofbouncebatavia.com

Photos courtesy of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Photo: Pub Coffee Hub finally gets its ribbon-cutting

By Howard B. Owens

Rob Credi did something unusual last summer -- he opened a physical location for his business -- Pub Coffee Hub, which up to that time had been purely mobile -- in the middle of a pandemic.

It hasn't hurt business at all. In fact, Credi said yesterday the business is doing well.

But it did mean there was no ribbon-cutting with the Chamber of Commerce.

That item on the business-opening checkbox was ticked off yesterday.  

Previously: Moon Java to become new location for Pub Coffee Hub under ownership of Rob Credi

Photo courtesy the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

New Jersey father, son purchase The Harvester Center operation from Mancuso Business Development Group

By Mike Pettinella

The properties of the Mancuso Business Development Group on Harvester Avenue and Masse Place have been sold to a New Jersey-based company.

The Batavian has learned that a venture headed by the father-son team of John F. Wachter Jr. and John F. Wachter III has purchased The Harvester Center Business Incubator Center at 56 Harvester Ave., the Joseph Mancuso Building at 26 Harvester Ave., and two Masse Place facilities.

Currently, there are around 70 tenants in the buildings – businesses, storage areas and personal use spaces.

On Saturday, MBDG President B. Thomas Mancuso sent a letter to tenants, confirming the sale:

“I am excited and grateful to announce that the Wachter family has purchased the Harvester Center and will be a force driving the success and progress into the future. You will hear directly from them and their plans in the very near future.

“As the Harvester Center moves into the next phase of its service to our community’s economic well-being, I want to thank you for your presence and ongoing efforts to succeed here. My father, Joseph L. Mancuso, spent decades of his life helping people start and grow businesses of all sorts and sizes.

“We are pleased to know that the new owners have a track record for helping companies improve their performance and now they are bringing their energy to Batavia.”

Credited as the world’s first business incubator, The Harvester Center BIC is a mixed-use industrial building that was founded by Joseph L. Mancuso in August 1959. The concept behind the development was to create a building that would attract various types of small, emerging and established businesses and afford those businesses an opportunity to grow.

Today, the company’s four-parcel complex contains about 960,000 square feet of industrial and commercial buildings on 29 acres. More than 3,000 businesses have been housed at the Harvester Center BIC since 1959.

The Mancuso Business Development Group also manages companies in Lockport and Buffalo.

About four years ago, VIP Structures of Syracuse – a development, architectural and engineering firm – assisted Mancuso Business Development Group and Batavia Development Corp. with a property condition report and preliminary design.

That led to a feasibility study and drafting of a Master plan for a mixed-use space to further the Batavia Opportunity Area and the City of Batavia’s vision of a redeveloped and revitalized Harvester Center BIC.

According to the VIP Structures website, the study was done “to advance the redevelopment goals set in the BOA plan. These include: to improve parking, vehicular and pedestrian/bike circulation, open up space and right size the facility while maintaining character, encourage a mix of uses including loft housing, and take advantage of rail access.”

The BDC’s annual report covering 2016-17 listed two favorable options:

(1) Live-Work Redevelopment: Demolish obsolete, deteriorating buildings, reinvent innovation zones, introduce new creative retail spaces, add mixed-income loft housing flanked by creative courtyards;

(2) Multi-Tenant Warehouse: Build a new 100,000-plus-square-foot building that will meet modern day requirements for today’s industrial tenants.

City of Batavia Manager Rachael Tabelski on Saturday said the site is a "major hub for employment and has so much potential."

"I have personally worked with the previous owner of the campus for many years in hopes of redevelopment of this brownfield historical campus and am in awe of the sheer dedication and perseverance of Tom Mancuso to keep this campus going throughout the years. I wish him all the best in his future pursuits," she said.

Tabelski said that a feasibility study conducted by the city and BDC has spurred different projects on the Harvester campus over the years, including the Masse Place redevelopment through a Restore New York Grant, designating the campus as a Brownfield Opportunity Area site through the New York State Department of State, a feasibility study for redevelopment funded by Empire State Development, as well as the designation of the campus in a federally recognized Opportunity Zone.

"I can’t wait to learn what the new ownership will do to revitalize the historic campus, and look forward to meeting with the new ownership in the near future," she said.

Photo: The Harvester Center buildings on Harvester Avenue.

New shop aims to help people reclaim memories, be a gathering place for community

By Howard B. Owens

Bob Trombley had a nice side hustle going -- selling items that reminded people of pleasant pasts on eBay -- but doing that, working at the hospital in Warsaw, while raising four kids kept him a bit too busy.

So he decided, why not make the nostalgia business his main focus.

Saturday, joined by his wife and one of his children and the Chamber of Commerce, he cut the ribbon on his brand-new retail store in the Harvester Center, Vintage.

Just before cutting that ribbon, he recalled one customer who bought a radio-controlled car from him online. After the customer received it, he wrote Trombley a two-page email recalling the same RC car he lost at 13 and then spent 20 years looking for it again.

"Getting that meant everything to him," Trombley said. "It made me feel good about connecting those items to the past for people."

He wanted more of that.

“I noticed that a lot of items I sold online brought people happiness because they were things from their past," Trombley said.  

The new thrift and consignment store, will be more than a place to buy knickknacks from the past. He plans open mic nights on Thursdays (7 to 9). On Saturdays, parents can bring their kids in to "bang on the guitars on the wall" (and maybe get a free guitar lesson) (11 to noon). There will also be game nights and quilting lessons.

“We want a real sense of what it was like for me growing up in the '80s, just a real sense of a real community place," Trombley said.

Here's the Vintage internet link for hours and directions.

Register for networking event celebrating 60th anniversary of the Harvester Center

By Billie Owens

The business community is invited to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Harvester Center in Batavia, the world's first business incubator.

In partnership with Start-Up Genesee, which is the networking event coordinator, and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, the anniversary celebration will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15. The address is 22 Masse Place.

These organizations are thrilled to have such a unique and forward-thinking facility in our county.

Catering will be provided by D & R Depot Restaurant.

There is no cost to attend, but registration is required.

Click here to find out more and click the button on the right side of the page to register. Or call 343-2800.

Video: A visit to the Harvester Center during the Harvester Crawl

By Howard B. Owens

 

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The Harvester Center hosted a Harvester Crawl Thursday evening, a fun way to explore the Harvester Center the world's first business incubator and see what goes on there and meet some of the entrepreneurs who operate there.

The opening scene is a reference to this story.

Today's 'Harvester Crawl' celebrates 60th anniversary of The Harvester Center

By Billie Owens

Press releaase:

The Mancuso Business Development Group is happy to be celebrating the 60th anniversary of The Harvester Center with the inaugural Harvester Crawl, today from 5 to 6:30 p.m., May 2. It will feature a poker run!

Food and beverages provided.

The event will begin promptly at 5 o'clock, with entry to the event through Sarah’s Studio, 56 Harvester Ave.

Please RSVP to bev@mancusogroup.com

Featured sites include:

  • Old Bear Recording Studio featuring "Brothers McClurg" Christian Rock Band
  • Rashaad Santiago, SFX Artist. Winner of Season 6 of the Syfy Channel's “FACE OFF" Reality Show
  • John Canale Drum Studio -- offers variety of drum lessons *Sarah’s Studio – craft beer and wine purveyor
  • Smart Design Architecture -- A full-service Architecture & Design Firm
  • Motoclectic -- Magazine printing headquarters for a new Free Motorcycle Magazine
  • Co-work space at Mancuso Management Group

Three successful local entrepreneurs share their business wisdom Feb. 28, RSVP

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Come join Mancuso Business Development Group as we celebrate three of the Harvester Center's hometown business heroes!

These successful entrepreneurs will be sharing their real-life business wisdom, including their success stories, on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m. at Moonjava Café, 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia.

  • Bill Hayes, Turnbull Heating and Air Conditioning, http://www.turnbullhvacr.com/Established in 1966
  • Ed Smart, Smart Design, http://www.smartdesignarchitecture.com/Established in 2004
  • Noah Whiteford, Whiteford Dental, https://www.whiteforddental.com/Established in 2017

Please come learn from the best! Whether you are already in a business of your own, or are looking to begin, this is the opportunity to learn.

RSVP to bev@mancusogroup.com

For more information, contact Bev Mancuso at bev@mancusogroup.com or call 585-356-3432.

Local resident opens wine tasting room in Harvester Center

By Virginia Kropf

Sarah Veazey has always had an entrepreneurial mindset, and now that she has started her own business, her passion is giving back to the community.

Veazey has opened a wine tasting venue in Harvester Center called “One Hope.”

The name alludes to Veazey’s desire to help nonprofits achieve their goals, and every month she will choose a nonprofit organization to benefit from the profits of her wine tastings.

Her business is named after a California winery.

“I searched for a wine that gives back,” Veazey said. “Every wine has a different nonprofit organization that funds will go to.”

In addition, for every private in-home tasting or business-after-hours event, Veazey will donate 10 percent to a local nonprofit.

On Feb. 16, she will host a couples’ wine and beer tasting from 3 to 6 p.m. to benefit Crossroads House.

“I have also been a volunteer coordinator for Crossroads House, so I know their need,” she said.         

A native of Oakfield, Veazey has always had a passion for wine and previously worked as manager of A Gust of Sun Winery in Spencerport.

“I gained a lot of experience there,” she said.

One of her goals is to have local artists exhibit their work at her business, and she already has several artists’ works on display.

On Saturday, Veazey has planned a Sip & Shop from 5 to 9 p.m. to benefit the family of a Corfu girl who was born on June 20 at Golisano’s Children’s Hospital with numerous medical problems. The event will help the family with their mounting medical bills.

Every third Wednesday, Veazey offers “Rest and Relaxation,” featuring massages and psychic mediums.

One evening she may have gallery readings with groups.

Next month she will have yoga one week. By spring, she hopes to be able to offer a soup and salad bar and, eventually, a reasonable Sunday brunch.

“I’m full of ideas,” she said.

Plans for Valentine’s Day include a wine and chocolate tasting.

Regular tasting room hours are from 2 to 7 p.m. Thursday and 2 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Information on tickets for her events may be found on her Facebook page at Facebook.com/wnyonehope.

Chamber hosts 'Business After Hours Schmoozer' at Harvester Center Nov. 15

By Billie Owens

Business After Hour Schmoozer hosted by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on the second floor of the Harvester Center, 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia, on Thursday, Nov. 15.

These events are not only well attended, but laid-back and fun! They offer an easy way to get to know other movers & shakers here in the community.

You are invited to join your fellow Chamber members and learn about the unique business incubator -- the Harvest Center -- we have right here in Genesee County!

Enjoy some local food and drink, too. There will be craft beer provided by Eli Fish Brewing Co.; wine tastings by WNY ONEHOPE Studio; and hors d'oeuvres prepared by D&R Depot.

Plus there will be a 50/50 raffle to benefit Crossroads House, along with door prizes and other fun giveaways.

Click here to register.

New local dental lab looks to built relationships with dentists to benefit patients

By Howard B. Owens

Up until now, according to Noah Whiteford, local dentists, when working with a lab on crowns, implants and dentures, would have to call on a large firm from outside the area.

There was a certain personal touch missing.

Whiteford and his partner think they've solved that problem with their new business, Whiteford Dental Lab, which they just opened in the Harvester Center.

"One of advantage is we're located in Batavia and we can service the local doctors," Whiteford said. "A lot of people can do pick up and delivery but what we can do is be chairside with the doctor, helping out with treatment plans and doing custom shades and things like that, which this rather underserved market doesn't ordinarily get -- a technician who will be there to help them along the way."

Another advantage, Whiteford said, is the knowledge and experience of himself and partner Dave Vining. 

"I've been doing this for 18 years," said Whiteford (seated in the photo with Vining). "My best friend's father owned a dental lab and I learned from him and then I went to courses across the country learning my trade and working in different laboratories. Dave actually went to went to ECC for this and got a two-year degree in dental technology. We've both been in the field for 15 to 18 years."

They see their market as all the dentists, not just in Genesee County but the surrounding counties as well, which means they can provide personal service they don't think is otherwise available. 

Vining said by keeping it local they will be able to build up relationships that will ultimately benefit patients.

"We're really gunning for great customer service," Vining said. "It's tough to compete with the big market shares so we're going offer something a little bit more personal."

Whiteford Dental is located on the third floor of the Harvester Center and can be reached at (585) 813-5726.

Start-Up Genesee hosting next event at Harvester Center

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Start-Up Genesee will hold the next “Think & Drink” event from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31st at The Harvester Center at 56 Harvester Ave. in Batavia, NY. 

The launch of the Think and Drink series hosted by Start-Up Genesee officially kicked off on Sept. 1 at The Harvester Center where regional business leaders and elected officials gathered to recognize and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit in Genesee County.

“A lot has happened at the Harvester Center since the last Think and Drink event was launched almost a year ago,” said Tom Mancuso, owner of Mancuso Business Development Group. “I think this speaks to the entrepreneurial spirit of our community and the fact that this facility and space helps bring out that type of creative thinking.”

Guests are asked to meet at the Moon Java Café, which will be followed by tours of businesses and viewings of available space as well as demonstrations of the various business services available at the Harvester Makerspace. This event is free and open to the public.

The tour will include remarks from business owners, Renee Smart of Moon Java Café and James Dillon of the Harvester Makerspace. They will provide insight and share their experiences on how entrepreneurs can successfully work in shared spaces.

Resurgence Brewing Company, which recently announced it is opening a brewery in Batavia at Ellicott Station, will provide samples of its various craft beer selections. Resurgence specializes in making sour, wild and barrel-aged craft beers.

Sponsors for the event include Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, FreedMaxick, Merrill Lynch, Del Plato Casey Law Firm LLP, the University at Buffalo New York State Center of Excellence in Material Informatics and Bioinformatics & Life Sciences, Tompkins Bank of Castile and Tompkins Insurance.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Rachael Tabelski at 585-343-4866 or rtabelski@gcedc.com.

Batavia Industrial Center featured in 'Wired Magazine'

By Howard B. Owens

Batavia, and specifically, the Batavia Industrial Center, is featured in a story out today in "Wired Magazine."

How a 1950s egg farm hatched the modern startup incubator

The article contrasts the Silicon Valley ethos of using incubators to find the next unicorn (companies with a valuation of at least $1 billion), companies that often disrupt (or damage) community-based businesses, against the original goal, and still the goal, of the BIC -- to nurture Batavia-based businesses that employ local people.

But the world’s first business incubator cared less about disrupting the global economy than about resuscitating its local one. It still does, in fact. Fifty-eight years later, the Batavia Industrial Center still operates in the same location and under the same defiantly local mandate. “Our job here is to help people create businesses and jobs in Batavia,” says Tom Mancuso, who now manages the facility.

New business in Harvester will make what you need for your home

By Howard B. Owens

The idea of starting a business, not working for somebody else, seemed like a good idea to Matt Cryer after he recently retired from the Army, so he and his wife Michelle talked it over and decided to work together on a new venture.

They've started Falcon Re-Furnishings, with manufacturing space in the Harvester Center.

The business is all about creating unique home decor and furnishing using salvaged items that can either be repurposed or restored. They either come up with their own ideas for their finds or they take custom orders.

"The beauty of it is we can build what you want," Michelle said. "How many times have you looked for a specific table for a specific spot in your house and it has to be this many dimensions? We needed one for in our bathroom. We only had a nine- to 12-inch space and we couldn’t find anything. Now we can do special orders for people, certain sizes or you need special colors to match your decor."

Their workspace has a few old chairs and tables that they will restore or repurpose -- Michelle is planning on recovering an old loveseat with lush, pink fur.

Matt does a work with discarded pallets, making tables, shelves, chairs and even a bar for a client.

One of the tables now is made from pallets and cast off cast iron from an old porch railing.

They're building a website, can be found on Facebook and plan to sell through Etsy.  They didn't want to open a retail store just yet, not until they understood the business better and see how it's going to grow.

Matt said with his military pension, as a fresh retiree, it seemed like the perfect time to give owning a business a try.

"If it works, it works," he said. "If it does, it doesn’t. At least I say I at least tried it."

Michelle thinks Batavia is a great market for them to try this type of business because much of what they'll make isn't available here, or there isn't much competition.

"You would have to go to Rochester or Buffalo to get a lot of this," she said. "We've got a lot of good feedback so far."

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