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Friday, August 8, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Students complete week learning about aviation at Genesee County Airport

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, BEA, business, WNY Aviation Adventure Camp

A week of intense study and fun came to an end today for students of the Aviation Adventure Camp.

The annual week-long camp exposes students going into ninth through 11th grade to potential career options in aviation and is held at the Genesee County Airport.

It's sponsored by the Business Education Alliance of Genesee County.

Today's class ended with a short graduation ceremony after participants competed in a final model helicopter flying contest.

This is the fourth year for the camp.

Friday, August 8, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Marshalls in Batavia Towne Center announces grand opening Aug. 21

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Towne Center, business, Marshalls

Press release:

Marshalls, one of the nation’s largest off-price retailers with more than 900 stores currently operating in 43 states and Puerto Rico, will open a new store in Batavia on August 21, 2014. Marshalls shoppers in Batavia will find top-quality, on-trend fashions and the most sought-after designer brand names at unbelievable prices in ladies fashion, shoes, accessories, men’s apparel, home, juniors, kids apparel and accessories, luggage, beauty and more!

“The new Batavia store will be stocked with a new, fresh assortment of the designer and brand-name merchandise that shoppers love, every single week,” said Richard Sherr, president of Marshalls. “Our buyers are fashion experts with a keen sense of style and are passionate about finding the most coveted merchandise for our shoppers for so much less!”

GRAND OPENING

Join us on August 21st from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. to be part of the grand opening excitement and find the amazing deals for the whole family. Enjoy the festivities including giveaways, gift card prizes, and more. 

STORE FACTS & FEATURES

·      Location: Towne Center at Batavia

·      24,479 square feet

·      Regular store hours:

o   9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday

o   11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays

·      Designer fashion at unbelievable prices

·      THE CUBE: A hip, in-store boutique of contemporary fashions

·      Shoe Mega Shop: Featuring designer and brand-name shoes for the whole family

·      Bright and fresh in-store experience every time you shop

·      Single queue checkout for faster shopping

With over 10,000 new items arriving to the Batavia store every week, it’s like entering a whole new store with every visit. Unlike department store buyers who shop seasonally, our buyers are in the market weekly looking for merchandise opportunities. They work with more than 16,000 brands and designers annually in over 60 countries to offer a mix of top-quality, fashionable pieces from the most sought-after designer brands as well as unexpected treasures from around the world.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

In addition to providing a new shopping option for local residents, the new store will add approximately 60 full- and part-time jobs to the area.

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

In celebration of its new Batavia location, Marshalls will contribute to the local community by presenting a $5,000 donation to Catholic Charities at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 21st 7:30 a.m. Marshalls also has national and local partnerships with charitable organizations around the country including JDRF and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 8:44 am

Company plans e-commerce warehouse expansion in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Koolatron Corp.

Press release:

Koolatron Corporation is increasing its footprint in Batavia with a major expansion this fall. The consumer goods manufacturer is nearly doubling its warehouse and shipping capacity in Genesee County with a planned expansion of its facilities from 25,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet.

Koolatron is a leading manufacturer and distributor of 12 volt coolers and accessories, wine cellars, Pants Saver brand car mats, Michelin auto care products, Coca-Cola personal fridges, Biteshield mosquito and pest repellant lines, along with rain barrels and garden décor products.

The decision to expand in Batavia, NY, is fueled by major growth in the company’s e-commerce business. In addition to its growing list of traditional retail customers, major e-retailers such as Amazon, Overstock, Costco, Home Depot, Walmart, and Sam's Club all carry Koolatron products, along with dozens of other online sites.

“Our business keeps growing and we can barely keep up with the warehouse space we have right now,” says Koolatron President Arun Kulkarni. He adds that keeping pace with the boom in online shopping is priority for the company.

“We have seen a 30 percent compounded growth in our e-commerce business in the past five years and for us Batavia, New York is the perfect gateway in which to build up our U.S. shipping hub,” Kulkarni said.

The expansion of Koolatron’s property on 4330 Commerce Drive is under way with construction set to be completed by December 2014. Koolatron will also be looking to boost staffing as it fully rolls out its warehouse expansion plan by the end of this year. Hundreds of parcels of Koolatron products are shipped daily from the warehouse to homes across the United States. The expansion will help ensure rapid delivery and prompt service for Koolatron’s growing U.S. customer base.

Previously: GCEDC board approves Koolatron and Premiere Credit projects

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Daphne's Restaurant on South Swan closes

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Daphne's Restaurant & Lounge

Daphne's Restaurant & Lounge, at 341 S. Swan St., Batavia, has closed.

The restaurant opened in September 2010 at the former location of St. Nick's Social Club.

Friday, August 1, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Reed Eye hosts ribbon cutting, grand opening

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Reed Eye Associates

Reed Eye Associates held an open house and their official ribbon cutting today at their new location in Batavia on Washington Avneue (the former school administion building).

From left, Dr. Ronald Reed, Chamber President Tom Turnbull, Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Dr. Alan Bloom.

Previously: New home of Reed Eye built with historic preservation and customer care in mind

Friday, August 1, 2014 at 12:32 pm

It's just about the 11th hour for Frost Ridge; attorney hoping Noonan will grant permission for show Aug. 9

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

Frost Ridge Campground is on the brink of insolvency, the attorney for Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell told Judge Robert C. Noonan during a court hearing today.

He's seeking at least temporary relief from the ban on live shows at the campground in Le Roy.

Today's hearing was held so attorney Mindy Zoghlin, representing the people suing Frost Ridge over live music shows at the campground, could make a motion to re-argue one of the issues under consideration by Noonan.

Attorney David Roach, representing Frost Ridge, would have liked today's appearance to have been a hearing on his motion to dismiss the lawsuits against his clients.

Roach was hoping there would be testimony today on when the Zoning Board of Appeals filed minutes from its September 2013 meeting where it determined Frost Ridge was in compliance with Town of Le Roy zoning law.

Roach tried to make the case during the hearing that Noonan needs to revisit sooner rather than later his temporary order barring live music and alcohol service at Frost Ridge.

Noonan wanted the attorneys to focus on coming up with a time for a hearing on the ZBA filing.

After attorneys met privately and then met with Noonan in his chambers, it was determined that the hearing will be at 9 a.m., Aug. 21.

In the meantime, Noonan agreed to let Roach draft an order that would temporarily lift the temporary restraining order and allow Frost Ridge to hold a live music concert Aug. 9.

That's the date Blackberry Smoke, one of the more popular acts to perform at Frost Ridge each year, is scheduled to return.

In open court, Zoghlin tried to suggest to Noonan that allowing any shows prior to resolution of the ZBA filing status isn't necessary because Noonan has already ordered that if Frost Ridge prevails in the lawsuit, they are entitled to nearly a quarter of a million dollars in restitution.

Of course, even a quarter of a million dollars somewhere down the road won't necessarily help a shuttered business reopen, which is why Roach is pushing for some mechanism to allow the bands to play on.

"The reality they are not facing is where the preliminary injunction effectuates the relief the town is seeking and (in previous cases) courts are loathe to allow preliminary injunctions to provide ultimate relief," Roach said during the hearing.

The big hold up in the case is getting either the ZBA's clerk or the town's code enforcement officer, or both, to testify as to a general time frame of when minutes from the ZBA's meeting in September 2013 were filed.

The town clerk has provided an affidavit attesting to the fact that the minutes were filed, she just couldn't remember when.

If the filing date is proven to be any time before April 8 (even if the exact date is not established), then Roach's motion to dismiss the lawsuits filed by the Town of Le Roy and the Cleere and Collins families could potentially be granted by Noonan.

Under New York law, people who wish to challenge a board's decision have 30 days to file such a challenge. The clock starts ticking when a written, public document memorializing the decision is filed with the jurisdiction's clerk.

Noonan ordered more than two weeks ago that a hearing on the ZBA minutes should be held immediately.

The hearing still hasn't taken place, in part because Noonan's court has been busy, which Noonan admitted, but Noonan also laid much of the blame on the shoulders of the attorneys for not agreeing on a time.

Roach expressed a great deal of confidence that either the town clerk, the ZBA clerk or the code enforcement officer for the Town of Le Roy, should be able to testify that the minutes were filed well before April 8, and probably in 2013.

The threat of losing that motion is apparently what prompted Zoghlin's motion today to invalidate the ZBA's determination favoring Frost Ridge all together.

Zoghlin's motion is for a "jurisdictional defect." In essence, she's arguing that because there is no formal document memorializing the ZBA's decision, and no formal process that Frost Ridge followed requesting a ZBA ruling, the ZBA had no authority to make its determination.

Roach said there's no written law and no case law that support's Zoghlin's position, also for a motion to re-argue a point from a previous hearing to be successful, the point must have been argued in the first place. Roach said that since Zoghlin (and she disagrees with Roach on this) didn't raise the "jurisdictional defect" argument the first time around, she doesn't get to re-argue it now.

"If the court did not have that jurisdictional defect argument advanced before it in response to my motion to dismiss, there's nothing for the court to have overlooked or misapprehended," Roach said. "The court of appeals has ruled that you cannot bring a new argument to a motion to re-argue."

If Noonan grants the order being drafted by Roach to allow live music at Frost Ridge between now and the hearing on the motion to dismiss the lawsuits, Roach said there will be reasonable restrictions attached. For example, there would be a limit on the decibel levels of the show.

"Frost Ridge, and I want to make this perfectly clear, Frost Ridge did not and does not presently have any intent of causing an unreasonable noise disturbance to its neighbors," Roach said.

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Raceway Mini-Mart on East Main, Batavia, has closed

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business

The Raceway Mini-Mart at 629 E. Main St., Batavia, has closed.

A customer contacted us last week about the impending closure and said the store shelves were nearly bare as the owners wound down their operation of the location. She said the owners told her annual rent increases were making it harder to keep the business going. 

She said she was sad to see them close.

"They are the nicest store owners I have encountered," she said. "Every time I’ve gone in there I have just felt that they were so appreciative of my business, and their friendly nature is just so welcoming."

The property is owned by Kevin Brady, president of Townsend Energy in Le Roy.

Brady wasn't available for comment, but a Townsend employee said the building has been leased to another operator and will reopen, but no name or opening date is available at this time.

Photo and some reporting by Alecia Kaus / Video News Service.

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 9:48 am

Tompkins/Castile CEO Fulmer to retire, McKenna promoted to top leadership post

post by Howard B. Owens in bank of castile, business, Tompkins Financial
Jim Fulmer John McKenna

Press release:

After 26 years as president and CEO of Tompkins Bank of Castile, James W. Fulmer is retiring from those roles at the end of this year, but will remain as chairman of the bank’s Board of Directors, said Stephen S. Romaine, president and CEO of Tompkins Financial Corporation, the bank’s parent company.

“Jim has been instrumental in Tompkins Bank of Castile’s growth and success for the last quarter century, growing the bank from five locations with assets of $85 million in two counties, to an influential financial services organization with 17 offices in five counties and $1.2 billion in assets,” Romaine said. 

In addition to remaining as chairman of Tompkins Bank of Castile’s Board of Directors, Fulmer will retain several other corporate roles, including vice chairman of the Tompkins Financial Board of Directors, chairman of the board of Tompkins Insurance Agencies, and member of the boards of Tompkins Financial Advisors, Tompkins Mahopac Bank and Tompkins VIST Bank, all affiliates of Tompkins Financial Corp. 

“My position with Tompkins Bank of Castile has been extremely fulfilling because of the team of employees who are dedicated to providing top quality financial services and serving our Western New York communities,” Fulmer said. “Any success we have accomplished is the result of their combined efforts and the expertise of so many talented coworkers.

“My continued involvement at a strategic level will allow me to assist further growth of our affiliates, but also to enjoy some of the benefits of retirement,” he added. 

Fulmer is active in a variety of professional organizations, including the board of directors of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and was recently appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Community Depository Advisory Council. He actively serves as a member of the board of directors of Erie and Niagara Insurance Association of Williamsville, Cherry Valley Insurance Agencies of Williamsville, the United Memorial Medical Center of Batavia, and is vice chairman of WXXI Public Broadcasting Council of Rochester. 

He and his wife, Marjorie, live in Le Roy. They have three grown children. 

John McKenna Named New President & CEO

The company Board of Directors has named John M. McKenna president and CEO to succeed Fulmer. McKenna has been a senior vice president at Tompkins Bank of Castile for five years, concentrating in commercial lending.

“John has the depth of knowledge of banking, our company’s culture and the Western New York community to continue the bank’s success,” Fulmer said. 

McKenna brought more than 20 years of banking experience to Tompkins Bank of Castile when he joined the organization in 2009. 

A Rochester native, McKenna earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Rochester in 1988 and his M.B.A. in finance and marketing from the William E. Simon School of Business Administration in 1992. 

He resides in Brighton with his wife, Martha, and their four children. Active in the community, he is a board member of the Bishop's Stewardship Council for the Diocese of Rochester, Medical Motor Service of Rochester and Monroe Community Hospital Foundation, and treasurer of Al Sigl Community of Agencies.

Tompkins Bank of Castile is headquartered in Batavia, where McKenna will have his office.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 5:57 pm

New home of Reed Eye built with historic preservation and customer care in mind

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Reed Eye Associations

In the past, when Dr. Ronald Reed has expanded his practice, he's erected gleaming new buildings from the ground up.

But not in Batavia.

Reed Eye Associates has opened its sixth location and Reed selected a location with character and ambiance and a bit of history.

The brick building at 39 Washington Ave., across from Austin Park, was most recently the City Schools administration building, but when originally built in 1903 by Edward Dellinger, it was an elementary school.

Batavia's most prominent architectural firm of the time, Henry Homelius and Son, designed the building.

In remodeling the interior, Reed has kept to an art deco theme with a touch of modernism in keeping with the character of the building.

"I saw the building listed online and went to the site and looked at the building and liked it," Reed said. "I called Tony Mancuso, who had the listing, and he gave me a tour. I thought, 'this building needs a lot of work, but it has some great bones.' "

Refurbishing the building also uncovered a little history. One brickmason left behind a note found in the stairwell that said the best men laid the bricks. Another worker in 1939 put a note in a bottle, which was found in a wall, that said "if you're reading this note, it means by now we're all in hell."  

Then there was letter on YMCA letterhead and postmarked 1913, address to a young Myron Fincher. The apparently mimeographed letter speaks of a young man worthy of attention who exchanged a correspondence with Frank Crane, a Presbyterian minister and newspaper columnist. The letter references the enclosed newspaper column, but the column was not in the envelop.

Fincher was born in 1898 in Corfu and worked on the family farm. His fondness for animals brought him to Cornell University. He became an internationally prominent veterinarian. Early in his career he received the Borden Award from the American Veterinary Medical Association. By the 1960s, he was working overseas in places such as Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, Greece, Nigeria and Italy.

Reed said it was thrilling for these little bits of history to be found in his old building.

Reed's company purchased the property from the school district in 2012 for $500,000 and its 13,452-square-foot building. The renovations cost more than $1.5 million and helped put the property back on the tax roles. Reed Eye received $140,861 in tax incentives through Genesee County Economic Development Center for the project.

The expansion of the practice, which was founded in Bushnell's Basin (Pittsford) in 1978 has come, Reed said, as the practice attracted more and more patients. Each time an office would grow beyond its capacity, rather than expand that location, Reed looked at his patient list and figured out where he had a concentration of patients who were driving some distance to get to his office.

First, Reed Eye expanded to Greece, then Irondequoit, then Newark followed by Sodus.

Expansion has been driven, Reed said, by his belief that doctors should focus on their patients.

No long ago, he said he was asked to speak to a group about the secret of his success. He declined, he said, because "there is no secret."

"My word of advise is 'take good care of your patients and your patients will take care of you,' " Reed said. "If that's the focus of your practice, the patients will build your practice. If you don't, you won't have a practice."

With more and more patients from Genesee County, particularly because of a partnership with Dr. Bill Lapple in Le Roy, Batavia seemed to be the natural choice for a sixth office complex.

Reed said there were simply no suitable sites for the office, which was one reason he considered the old school administration building.

The fact that it's large, with plenty of parking (and room for more), centrally located in the city and across the street from a park, where all advantages.

"The park helps give it a nice bucolic feel," Reed said.

In the redesign, as much of the old building was preserved as possible -- the arches, the worn stairway trampled by thousands of students over the years, and the old woodwork. There's even an old desk from the library that is being restored and will be a centerpiece of the entry hallway.

"I've had an interest for some time in historic preservation," Reed said. "We have a 100 year old house in East Rochester that we've been restoring. This seemed like the right thing to do."

The focus on historic preservation shouldn't imply that the practice isn't state of the art. Reed's optometrists, opthamologists and opticians (and even a facial plastic surgeon) have all new equipment to work with.

Read also believes in supporting the communities he does business in. He hires locally as much as possible, he said. Four key employees already with the Batavia office are longtime Batavia or Le Roy residents.

"When a patient walks in the door, they should recognize the people who work there as members of their community," Reed said. "I want to support the town because if the town supports me, it has to be mutual. We want to keep the dollars local."

There will be a ribbon-cutting and open house for Reed Eye Associations at 2 p.m., Friday.

Optomistrist Kimberly Rosati with patient Tanner Richardson, who was in the clinic Wednesday learning how to put in his new contact lenses (picture below).

 
Friday, July 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Retired collision shop owner enjoying life of rust and restoration

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Old World Collision

Dick McClurg says "they don't call me the dreamer for nothing."

"The Dreamer." That's what's stenciled on his 1932 Ford hot rod roadster. His dream car.

"I wanted one all my life. I waited 50 years for that one."

McClurg has about a dozen classic cars scattered around his shop location, Old World Collision on West Main Street Road, Batavia, that many of us would consider dream cars -- a Mustang, Corvette, BelAir, Thunderbird, Charger,  '41 Mercury, Cadillac El Dorado, and old coupes buried under a a couple of dozen rusted bicycles.

Many in some state of restoration; some in permanent disrepair and destined for Ed Arnold's.

"Rust is my life," he said.

Now that McClurg is retired, he has more time to work on his own projects (he emphasized, he's not looking for new business), hence the completion of the roadster.

He's just about finished the restoration on his shop car, a 1949 Chevy panel truck. It hasn't been on the road for 31 of the 36 years he's owned it.

What was wrong with it?

"Everything," he answered. "Body off the frame, every nut and bolt. It's probably one of the most rotten pieces I've never tackled."

The old delivery wagon sat out front of his shop for awhile this morning, gleaming in the July sun.

"I've probably had plenty of opportunities to sell it, but if the day ever came where I could handle getting it on the road, then I'd have to go buy another one, so I'm glad I didn't."

My stop in McClurg's shop this morning -- a stop I've intended for a long time -- was prompted by a 1957 Caddy. 

At the accident near Wortyndyke today, I was reminded of a classic Caddy I'd seen -- and a firefighter had seen -- parked over on Pearl Street, at LaWall's Collision.

The shop owner there told me, yeah, it had been parked out front, a real traffic stopper while it was there, but after some rear end repairs, it had gone back to Old World.

McClurg said the baby blue Caddy is a project for one of his few remaining customers.

Another dream car about to become reality.

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