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Friday, May 30, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Houseknecht brothers buy back family's former vending company business

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Crickler Vending

The Houseknechts are back in the vending business.  

John and Tom, who sold Loose Ends in 2008, after the family sold its Pepsi bottling company, has re-acquired their former business.

The new name is Crickler Vending. Crickler after the former Pepsi-Cola Batavia Bottling Corp., which was founded in 1890 as Crickler's.

"It looked like a good business opportunity and it's a business we're familiar with operating," Tom Houseknecht said.

The company has distribution centers in Rochester, Buffalo and Horseheads. Houseknecht said they consider their market areas Rochester, Buffalo and Elmira.

There are no plans to operate a distribution center Genesee County at this time, Houseknecht said.

The brothers re-acquired the business May 17 and immediately started re-branding their delivery trucks.

Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Total Tan changes locations, updates and upgrades its tanning beds

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Total Tan

Total Tan has been in Batavia since 1996, but starting this week it's all new.  

The salon has moved to the new retail strip between Lewiston and West Main, next to the future new Tim Horton's.

Owner Cyndi Leonard, who founded Total Tan in Williamsville in 1994, said she and her managers had been looking to remodel and upgrade the old location in the Valu Plaza, but decided a new space made more sense.

The new location is filled with new, more modern units -- 20 in all, including five stand-up bays and a spray booth.

Pictured are Jaclyn Rossini, Cyndi Leonard, Rachel Mitchell and Emily Crego.

Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Le Roy zoning board stands by decision allowing music at Frost Ridge, chair says

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Frost Ridge Campground, Le Roy

Le Roy's Zoning Board of Appeals will likely try to retain its own attorney in the Frost Ridge case, board Chairwoman Debbie Jackett said today.

At a hearing May 20, Town of Le Roy Attorney Reid Whiting told Judge Robert C. Noonan that the ZBA didn't have an attorney in court that day because the board chose not to be represented.

He said the ZBA had been served with notice of the lawsuit.

Jackett said the board didn't know it was named in a lawsuit until members read about the court hearing in The Batavian.

The ZBA was named by plaintiffs David and Marny Cleere and Scott and Betsy Collins because the ZBA found in July 2013 that camping and amplified music were permitted uses at Frost Ridge.

The board's position is and was, Jackett said, that camping and amplified music were both permitted uses prior to the area being zoned residential/agriculture in 1967.

The vote was unanimous, Jackett said, and the board's position hasn't changed.

The town board cannot overrule the ZBA's decision.

"Their view is contrary to our view," Jackett said.

Which is why Whiting can't represent the ZBA, she said. 

The ZBA serves both the town and village governments, but the board doesn't feel the village attorney should represent the ZBA since Frost Ridge is a town issue, so the ZBA is scrambling to secure independent legal representation.

The Town of Le Roy will be obligated to pay for the ZBA's attorney.

Frost Ridge and owners David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell are defendants in two lawsuits, one filed by the town and another field by Cleere and Collins challenging their legal ability to both exist as a campground and to operate occasionally as a live music venue.

The plaintiffs maintain that the campground and amplified music violate the current zoning ordinance. Frost Ridge maintains that the property was recreational use prior to 1967 and it's recreational use today.

Noonan issued a temporary injunction May 23 barring Frost Ridge from amplified music and alcohol service on the property, citing the likelihood that the town would prevail on the merits of the case. His decision was based on the May 20 hearing that lacked ZBA representation. 

Since the ZBA doesn't have an attorney yet, it's unclear whether any motion could be brought forward challenging the injunction.

A conference meeting -- where dates will be set for future proceedings in the cases -- is scheduled for tomorrow. Jackelt said she is unsure if the ZBA will be able to retain counsel in time for that court appearance.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Frost Ridge issues statement on Judge Noonan's order

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Frost Ridge Campground, Le Roy

Press release:

The Town of Le Roy, NY (Town) has filed suit against Frost Ridge Campground LLC (Frost Ridge) alleging they are in violation of local zoning code. After initial arguments, Judge Robert C. Noonan has ordered Frost Ridge to temporarily suspend “amplified outdoor concerts and alcohol service” until the merits of the lawsuits can be fully addressed.

Of course, Frost Ridge has complied and will continue to comply with Judge Noonan’s Order. In the meantime, Frost Ridge remains open to all its camping guests, and will continue to seek alternative options and potential venues for its live music.

Again, we thank our guests for being patient, as we have had to be patient. We need to allow this process to be worked through. There may be a few bumps along the way, but everyone who knows us will realize that we work through issues to resolve them.

Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Photos: Nik Wallenda performs for the first time at Darien Lake Theme Park

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Darien, darien lake theme park, nik wallenda

Nik Wallenda, "The King of the Highwire," performed at Darien Lake for the first time on a 750-foot-long wire stretched over one of the lakes.

He performed with is wife, Erendira, and Nick Slimick and Alec Bryant, who were making their professional debut. Slimick and Bryant are graduates of a high school in Sarasota, Fla., where they studied circus performing.

Wallenda drove a specially equipped motorcycle across the wire, which was 150 feet above the water at its apex, with Erendira and either Nick or Alec on a trapeze bar attached below. At the apex, Wallanda performed a handstand on the bike seat on one trip. On another he stood on the seat. On other trips, Erendira and the two young men performed stunts. The final trip was just Nik and Erendira and they performed barrel rolls at the far end of the wire.

This isn't the show Wallenda will be performing at Darien Lake this summer.

The show this summer will be in the Galaxy Theater (to be renamed the Nik Wallenda Theater). Shows start June 24 and run through Sept. 1. The 10-week run will feature two performances every day (4 p.m. and 7 p.m.) except Monday.

The hour-long show will feature top aerialists and stunt performers, Wallenda said. The finale will feature the Wallenda Family Pyramid on the Wire, untethered high above the stage.

During the show's run, performers will entertain park guests with wandering performances throughout the park, called "pop up performances." There will also be a regular interactive 20-minute show on the Gazebo Stage.

Wallenda said one reason he agreed to perform at Darien Lake is he that felt the need to give back to Western New York after being so warmly embraced during the run-up to his highwire walk over Niagara Falls.

"When I got off that cable in Niagara Falls, I said there will always be a piece of my heart that is in this region," Wallenda said. "This community has embraced me. It's been amazing. I get goosebumps.

"I think this shows my commitment to this region, to Western New York and Toronto," Wallenda said. "The community has been so good to me."

More pictures after the jump:

Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 7:36 am

Noonan grants temporary injunction against amplified music at Frost Ridge

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Frost Ridge Campground, Le Roy

There can no amplified music at Frost Ridge Campground, ruled Judge Robert C. Noonan, in a decision handed down yesterday afternoon, at least temporarily.  

Noonan said the Town of Le Roy showed sufficient proof that it would prevail in its lawsuit on the alleged zoning code violation related to an amplified concert venue and restaurant at Frost Ridge.

He denied the same motion made by plaintiffs Cleere and Collins.

In a statement to The Batavian this morning, Frost Ridge co-owner David Luetticke-Archbell asked the public to be patient and understand that from the owners' point of view, Noonan has not been presented with all the facts by the plaintiffs.

"The most recent came from Mr. Whiting when he stated that the reason the Zoning Board of Appeals was not present was because they chose not to be," Luetticke-Archbell  said. "The truth is that they were never notified that they were being sued. He knew, but they did not ... a fact confirmed with them earlier today."

We are unable to get in contact this morning with Whiting nor a representative from the ZBA for comment.

"We just hope people will be patient, as we have had to be patient," Luetticke-Archbell added. "We need to allow this process to be worked through. There may be a few bumps along the way, but everyone who knows us will realize that we work through issues to resolve them."

We've e-mailed Luetticke-Archbell asking for confirmation whether their planned live music show for Memorial Day is being cancelled.

Noonan said in his five-page ruling that prior cases and NYS code gives the town the right to an injunction in the matter of an alleged zoning code violation, a right not available to the other plaintiffs, who have a higher standard to meet.

"As indicated above, the Town has clearly established that the concert venue and restaurant are in violation of the Town's zoning ordinance," Noonan wrote. "Further, the existence of safety hazards, public order and noise concerns creates a balance of equities in favor of the Town."

The town is not required to prove any special public damage in order to receive "injunctive relief," Noonan said, based on prior case law, just that there's the potential to prevail on a violation of it's zoning code law. 

Prior rulings also require Noonan to set a limit on what the town's damages would be if it ultimately didn't prevail in its lawsuit. If the town loses the suit, Frost Ridge could request Noonan to order the town to pay $225,536 in damages.

Noonan sided with the town on the live music and restaurant injunction, but did not order the campsites shut down.

The ruling acknowledges that the town, through the ZBA, may have misled the Luetticke-Archbells in September about whether live music was permissible, or "grandfathered in," only to contradict that ZBA finding the next day when the zoning code enforcement officer issued a letter barring live music.

The injunction was not granted to Cleere and Collins, the ruling indicates, because there is insufficient evidence of irreparable injury.

The ruling leaves open the ongoing disagreement between the town and Frost Ridge over whether campsites at that location are a preexisting nonconforming use, having been in place prior to adoption of the current zoning rules in 1967.

The town claims Frost Ridge was only a ski area, without campsites, prior to 1967. The Frost Ridge owners claim there were campsites on the property prior to 1967 and that the property was considered a "recreation" use, which means all recreation activity -- including live music -- is grandfathered in.

Noonan has ordered all parties back to his courtroom for a conference on the suit at each party's earliest possible convienence. 

UPDATE: In response to our request for clarification on whether live music will be cancelled Monday, David Luetticke-Archbell responded:

No, it is not cancelled. We are however going to comply with the order from Judge Noonan. I did read your article this morning, and would like to offer a correction. The injunction states:

"Therefore, the motion for a preliminary injunction by plaintiffs Cleere and Collins shall be denied; but the motion for preliminary injunction for the Town of LeRoy shall be granted to the extent of 'amplified outdoor concerts and alcohol service.' "

Frost Ridge shall comply with both of these.

Previously: 

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 7:35 am

Duo joins ranks of small business owners with new printing company

post by Julia Ferrini in batavia, business, Harvester Center, J C Printing

Trading in a dusty, cramped attic space for an open-windowed, well-lit studio was like free falling into the unknown for Jim Woodhams and Michael VanBuskirk -- as exciting as it was fearsome.

Woodhams is leaving a custodial position after nine years of service with the Spencerport School District; while VanBuskirk is leaving a laborer's position in the Batavia area. The pair are owners of JC Printing Company and recently relocated their business to the third floor of the industrial complex located at 56 Harvester Ave.

“The attic space became too small to accommodate the inventory and equipment necessary to expand the business,” Woodhams said.

Consequently, when VanBuskirk signed on he began looking into spaces to rent that would allow JC Printing Company to grow their business and have more of a presence downtown.

“I got into this business about a year ago,” VanBuskirk said. “It sounded exciting. It was something that interested me.”

On the other hand, Woodhams had taken a course on screen printing back in high school and enjoyed the class so much that he decided in 2009 to pursue it as a side job.

“The first heat press I bought is akin to an industrial iron,” he said.

From silk screening to embroidery on T-shirts, hats and other apparel; to foil wrap and photo prints on items such as, candles, coffee mugs or plates -- as well as other items -- are all produced in their new space.

“We don’t outsource any of our work,” said Woodhams, who graduated from Fairport High School. “We do all of our work on site. If we can’t do something, we will be honest about it.” 

Consequently, the printing company is making an effort to partner with other companies that have the capabilities JC Printing Company does not have at this time. For example, they have had several requests for paper goods -- letterhead, business cards -- however, they are not set up for paper production.

“Pencils are our biggest sellers right now,” Woodhams said. “We are still using vintage machines of the '30s. I purchased my machine from Guthrie Thomas -- a well-renowned artist of custom made guitar picks.”

Although the editorial process may be time consuming, turnaround time for merchandise is about two weeks for large orders; while some individual orders can be finished in about 20 minutes to an hour.

The process begins with an image, idea or concept the customer has in mind, followed by prepping or “cleaning up” the artwork. Once the artwork and design are approved, the next step is completely dependent on what the customer orders. For shirts, hats and the like, the design is then printed on a clear sheet that is put into a machine to transfer the image onto a screen.

Quality, pricing, efficiency and up-to-date processes are key in the work VanBuskirk and Woodhams produce. The storefront enables the owners to do minimum orders that will cater to the individual who walks in off the street as well as schools, corporations, hospitals, construction companies and more that pre-order merchandise.

“We want to please our customer. When you walk out the door with your purchase, we want you to be happy with the product,” VanBuskirk said. “Reliability -- we deliver on time. We listen to our customers. Communication is essential."

Realizing that advertising is part of the formula for success, tried both the traditional and the most current methods of advertising; according to Woodhams, their greatest success has been word of mouth and creating a catalogue.

“Someone had once told me that catalogues were a poor choice for advertising. For us, it was the best marketing decision we made.”

According to Woodhams, this venture entire is a huge leap. “I am leaving a job that I have held for the past nine years. It’s kinda scary.”

Pricing and other information can be found by visiting www.JCPrintingCompany.com, or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jcprintingcompany. They can also be reached via phone at 800-918-2701 or e-mail at jim@JCPrintingCompany.com.

The Grand Opening of JC Printing Company is Saturday, May 24, all day. The first dozen customers who place an order will receive a free gift.

CORRECTIONS: Our reporter was never informed there was another partner in the business. Her name is Carrie Farley. Also, our reporter was given the wrong grand opening date.  See comment below.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Collins assists Cornell extension in getting tax exempt status back

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) helped the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Genesee County regain its tax-exempt status, something it should have never had revoked in the first place. The CCE of Genesee County contacted Congressman Collins’ office after it was notified by the IRS that its tax-exempt status was being revoked without an explanation.

After months of back and forth, Collins’ office determined that the IRS mistakenly placed CCE of Genesee County on an "Auto-Revocation" list. The issue has now been resolved and the agency’s tax-exempt status has been restored.

“On behalf of CCE Genesee, I am extremely thankful and grateful for the persistent and timely support, and active intervention with the IRS in resolving the erroneous revocation of our tax-exempt status,” said Beverly Mancuso, executive director of CCE Genesee. “Attempts to resolve this were unsuccessful until I reached out to Congressman Collins’ office. I am extremely relieved to have this matter successfully addressed and behind us, hopefully once and for all. I cannot even imagine how much time and effort was required on the part of the Congressman’s office, but our association is more than thankful.”

“Unfortunately, the IRS is an example of big government bureaucracy at its worst, and I am grateful my office was able to help Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County get out of a mess it never should have been in,” Collins said. “Our office is always available to constituents and local agencies who are having a trouble navigating the federal government to get an answer or resolve a problem.”

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Comptroller's audit declares GCEDC effective in economic development

post by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) recently underwent an audit by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) to review the agency’s process for evaluating, approving and monitoring projects from Jan. 1, 2012 through Janu. 27, 2014. The audit found that the GCEDC is “effective in its efforts to promote, develop and assist in economic development projects in Genesee County.”

“We are very pleased with the results from the Comptroller’s audit,” said Wolcott Hinchey the chairman of the GCEDC. “It verifies our approach to economic development as it pertains to having shovel-ready sites available in order to bring new jobs and capital investment into our region. In particular we were very pleased that the Comptroller’s audit recognized the success of the Agri-Business Park with the opening of Alpina and Muller-Quaker yogurt manufacturing facilities.”

The audit also provided the GCEDC with some suggestions and opportunities to improve the agency’s controls and accountability. These included: developing evaluation criteria and process and performance appraisals for potential projects; monitoring procedures for companies that receive benefits from the GCEDC -- as far as achieving capital investment and pledged job creation totals in completed applications for assistance; the development of a cost-benefit analysis ratio or ratios that is reflective of its economic environment and is an appropriate and reasonable measurement of the incentives being offered, among others.

These items will be addressed through a corrective action plan that will be submitted by the GCEDC to the Comptroller’s office.

“We appreciate the recommendations suggested by the Comptroller’s office and will incorporate them into our corrective action plan,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “Anything we can do to improve upon our transparency, especially with our public sector partners and the taxpayers is something we always take very seriously.”

Link to Audit- NYS Comptroller Audit of the GCEDC

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Photos: Kistner employees in leadership class playing a team building game

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Kistner Concrete

Employees of Kistner Concrete were outside the County Courthouse this afternoon, using the sidewalk along the Tonawanda, for a team building exercise. The goal was to roll a ball through a series of half-tubes down the length of the sidewalk until it was successfully dropped in a basket. Each team member had to advance the ball and then move to the end of the line and wait for the ball to roll to their position again.

The leadership program is sponsored by the University at Buffalo. 

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