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Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Owner enjoying larger, more accommodating repair shop location

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Johnson Automotive

In some respects, Jim Johnson has come a long way. In another, he's moved no further than a block down the road.

Johnson opened his own auto repair shop on West Main Street Road, Batavia, in August 2000 with nothing more than a floor jack and a tool box.

This month, Johnson moved into a spacious new location with four bays.

The new location for Johnson Automotive Repair will be more appealing to customers, Johnson said. For one thing, it has a nice, real waiting room that is heated. 

That's a big step forward for Johnson's business.

"I knew as a customer, I don't want to send my wife into a shop where you really didn't have a waiting room, or they called it a waiting room, and you have to sit and freeze," Johnson said. "Now we have a nice waiting room."

In the old location, Johnson crammed three hoists into a space perhaps best suited for only two into a herringbone configuration. One couldn't even go up all of the way, so Johnson or his mechanics had to work on their knees if repairing a car from underneath it.

A customer who needed an oil change would be asked to make an appointment two or three days in advance.

Now Johnson has three hoists for repairs and a separate bay set up exclusively for oil changes and lubes, no appointment necessary.

The new shop is located at 4007 W. Main Street Road, Batavia.

Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 2:30 am

Crafter gets off of festival trail and opens store in Downtown Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown

In the craft business since 1998, Andre Gliwski Jr. thinks it's time to settle down.

Rather than setting up a booth at a different community festival each weekend, Gilwski has opened a craft store in Downtown Batavia, at 220 E. Main St. and is hosting an open house this Friday and Saturday.

Working out of a single location isn't just a better lifestyle for a young father (Gilwski and his wife have children ages 1 and 2), it's better for building relationships with customers.

"You have a better following when they know where you're at rather than trying to chase you down," Gilwski said.

Currently his shop, A.J.'s Crafts, stocks only items that he has made, or his mother or wife have made.

Among the kind of things Gilwski enjoys making are jewelry, clothes, blankets, bean bags, hair stretchies, catnip toys, tooth-fairy pillows and scarves.

He said he can make or have made pretty much any custom item a buyer might want.

His mother has been slowed by arthritis, but there's a table in the store filled with her handmade needlework items.

Gilwski's wife also makes jewelry and helps with some of the product finishes on Gilwski's work.

"I like crafts because they're all handmade and not made in other countries," Gilwski said. "It's something I enjoy doing and I enjoy the look on a customer's face when they buy something I've made. It's something different than what you'll see at Walmart or Kmart or some other Big Box store."

Friday, January 16, 2015 at 3:36 pm

Advances in technology that affect business is topic of BID workshop, RSVP by Jan. 22

post by Billie Owens in business

Batavia's Downtown Business Improvement District will hold a special presentation on advances in technology from 8 to 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 26, at GO ART!, 201 E. Main St.

The topic: "Are You Chip Ready?" The presenter is Chris Vella, with Bank of America Merchant Services.

By the end of 2016, magnetic strips on debit and credit cards will be outdated. Virtual wallets are the future.

This workshop will educate businesses on advances in technology regarding accepting payments, managing customer information, creation of loyalty programs and promotions, tracking sales and inventory, and more.

Free to BID members; $5 for non-BID members. RSVP by Thursday, Jan. 22. Call the BID at 344-0900 or e-mail:  [email protected]

This event is sponsored by the BID's Business Development Committee.

Friday, January 16, 2015 at 8:57 am

GCEDC announces goals for 2015

post by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC

Press release:

The staff of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) unveiled its proposed goals for 2015 at the agency’s board meeting Thursday. Among the goals for 2015:

• Generating $35 million in new capital and/or business investments;
• Creating/retaining approximately 205 jobs; and
• Advancing development of STAMP.

Among the plans for STAMP include continue securing funding to advance critical infrastructure development for the site such as water, sewer, natural gas and electric as well as the remaining land acquisition. According to GCEDC staff, securing this funding will further STAMP toward receiving NYS “shovel-ready site certification” and continue to advance the ongoing efforts to market the Park to corporate site selectors in various industry sectors such as nanotechnology.

“We have set the bar very high, but given the track record of the GCEDC the board is very confident in the staff’s ability to achieve these aggressive economic development goals,” said Wally Hinchey who was reappointed as GCEDC chairman at the board meeting. “Through the years we have created a very positive climate for economic growth and we will continue to build on these successes in 2015.”

The GCEDC also revealed plans to continue infrastructure enhancements as part of Phase II development at the agri-business park and ongoing collaboration with the Town of Le Roy on its potential development of a “greenfield” site located near Route 19 and West Bergen Road, bordering the Village of Le Roy. The GCEDC also plans to enhance its municipal and regional stakeholder outreach program for county and regional stakeholders with a particular focus on municipalities and school districts.

In addition to Hinchey being reappointed as chairman, the GCEDC also announced the appointment of its 2015 officers:

• Mary Ann Wiater, Vice Chairman
• Penny Kennett, Secretary
• Lezlie Farrell, Treasurer
• Steve Hyde, President & CEO

“On behalf of the staff of the GCEDC, we are very excited to embark on another year of significant economic development activity that will continue the growth and prosperity of the region,” said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and CEO. “We are grateful to the GCEDC board for its support of our efforts and we look forward to collaborating with the public and private sectors in our collective efforts to create and retain jobs and bring new investment to Genesee County.”

Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Molino honored by city management association

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Jason Molino, Milestones

Press release:

Jason Molino, City Manager for the City of Batavia, recently received the Credentialed Manager designation from ICMA, the International City/County Management Association. Jason is one of over 1,300 local government management professionals currently credentialed through the ICMA Voluntary Credentialing Program.

ICMA’s mission is to create excellence in local governance by promoting professional management worldwide and increasing the proficiency of appointed chief administrative officers, assistant administrators, and other employees who serve local governments and regional entities around the world. The organization’s nearly 9,000 members in 27 countries also include educators, students, and other local government employees.

To receive the prestigious ICMA credential, a member must have significant experience as a senior management executive in local government; have earned a degree, preferably in public administration or a related field; and demonstrated a commitment to high standards of integrity and to lifelong learning and professional development.

Jason is qualified by more than eight years of professional local government executive experience. Prior to his appointment in 2006 as City Manager of Batavia, he served as the Assistant to the Village Manager for the Village of Port Chester, NY.  In addition, Jason served as a 2nd Class Petty Officer in the United State Coast Guard Reserve from 2000-2007

Highlights of Jason’s ICMA membership include: member of the 2009 Montreal ICMA Conference Planning Committee and most recently the City of Batavia and Jason were recognized by ICMA as recipients for the 2014 Program Excellence Award for Strategic Leadership and Governance.
Jason has also made significant contributions to a number of other organizations, including: serving as Board Member of the New York State City/County Management Association, current member and former President of Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension and Graduate of Leadership Genesee – Class of 2008.

Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 2:23 pm

Former flight school owner returning to Batavia to teach flying again

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Genesee County Airport, P&L Air

Pete Lockner has decided retirement is for the birds. He'd rather get back to doing what he loves: teaching people to fly.

Next week, the County Legislature will be asked to sign off on a new one-year lease for Lockner to open -- we should say, reopen -- P&L Air, a flight school, at the Genesee County Airport.

Lockner and a partner (hence P&L) first opened a flight school in Batavia in 1986. Lockner bought out his partner when he took an early retirement from Kodak and grew the school into an operation with 10 aircraft for students to rent and learn in.

"I taught people how to have fun for 17 years and it was great," Lockner said.

After 17 years of fun, Lockner sold the business, but that operator eventually closed up shop and moved to Florida.

A second flight school opened, but was forced out of business 18 months ago in a tax dispute with the State of New York.

While taking in the dry heat of Albuquerque, N.M., Lockner heard of the vacancy at his old airport and saw it as an opportunity to get back to doing what he truly enjoys.

P&L will be a small enterprise to start, with only one single-engine plane, but Lockner is ambitious. He hopes to have a second plane in a year or so and add on from there.

"In a couple of years, I'm hopeful the business grow like it did before," Lockner said.

Lockner's interest in aviation goes back to his college days, but didn't start flying until his wife bought him a gift certificate for ground school for Christmas when he was 40.

Bit by the bug, Lockner is licensed to fly everything from a single-engine plane up to a commercial airliner. 

P&L will provide pilot training for beginners and beyond.

The basic single-engine pilot license without an instrument rating is pretty much all anybody needs to fly to any destination in the world, Lockner said.

He used to fly all over the country on such a license. 

"The private pilot license is most useful because as long you don't worry about bad weather, you can fly anywhere you want," Lockner said.

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said Lockner returning is welcome news.

The one-year lease will expire about the time the airport will get a new terminal, and P&L, if successful, could be a nice anchor tenant.

"It's nice to have him back because he knows the airport and he knows the market, so I think he will be successful," Hens said. "He's a good pilot."

Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 9:01 am

Athletes looking to improve performance can get an edge at new facility in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, sports

Getting young athletes ready to compete at a higher level is one of the primary missions of Athletes Edge, a new training facility on East Main Street, co-owned and operated by Ben Buchholz.

Buchholz is a coach with Batavia High's football and baseball programs and he said what he's seeing today is local schools squaring off against Monroe County schools, and those athletes have taken on more challenging training routines during the off-season.

It's no longer enough just to show up on the first day of practice and expect to be ready to go. Young athletes need to train during the off-season.

"We're falling behind what we have to do to help us get better in every aspect of sports," Buchholz said. "We need to do more off-season stuff and this gives kids a chance to really get in here and do it. Now a lot of kids are doing a lot more off-season work and it shows in season. To compete, you've got to do it because everybody else is doing it."

The Blue Devils' deep run in post-season football is an example of how good off-season training can pay off, Buchholz said.

When you walk into Athletes Edge, if you're expecting a gym, you'll be struck by what you don't see. There are no weight benches, universal machines, dumbbells or barbells.

Modern athlete training is no longer about just pushing around heavy slabs of cast iron.

It's about speed, agility and stamina, and that's where Buchholz puts the emphasis.

The training tools at Athletes Edge involve boxes and stretch bands, but much of what is taught and trained is about body weight.

Plyometric workouts, which involve body weight and explosive movements, are a big part now of even the most elite athlete's daily routine.

"It's getting away from lifting huge heavy weights and getting into more athletic movement with strength," Buchholz said.

The facility's batting cage and pitcher's mound might leave the impression on a visitor that there is an emphasis at Athletes Edge on baseball, and that wouldn't be an incorrect perception, but the facility and training is open to all athletes and all sports. Notre Dame hockey, for example, is considering a team training session, Buchholz said.

Le Roy and Alexander's baseball teams have both already been in for a session since the business opened a month ago.

There's training available, also, for younger athletes. Athletes Edge is sponsoring travel baseball teams for youths from 8 and under to 12 years old.

Buchholz also hosts group events, such as birthday parties for youths. Those events might involve activities such as dodgeball or kickball or other activities.

"Whatever parents want to do, we set it up and just roll with it," Buchholz said.

Athletes Edge is located at 214 E. Main St., Suite #3, Batavia. The phone number is (585) 356-5995. The business is co-owned by Sam Antinore.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Bob Harris Realty acquired by Buffalo-based firm

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business

After 29 years of Gerace family ownership, Bob Harris Realty, has been sold to RealtyUSA, a company with 2,100 agents in offices from Albany to Buffalo.

The merger was announced at the Bob Harris offices on Ellicott Avenue this morning by Merle Whitehead, president, CEO and sole owner of RealtyUSA, with Joe and Lois Gerace at his side and their sons John and Robert standing nearby.  

"We acquired the assets of Bob Harris Realty, but more importantly, we acquired a household name in Batavia in realty," Whitehead said. "What a great asset for RealtyUSA to enter this market with such a strong family name and reputation, so we're really excited."

Founded in Williamsville in 1959, RealtyUSA grew to be the market leader in the Buffalo area and has expanded over the years through acquisition, Whitehead said, to become the market leader in Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Corning and Elmira.

Last year the company handled $3.6 billion in transactions.

Lois Gerace said she will remain active in the business and doesn't plan to retire just yet. 

"I'm looking forward to at least another five years, easily," Gerace said.

John Gerace will be the manager of the RealtyUSA office.

Whitehead said his company will be able to bring resources to Bob Harris that the company didn't have on its own, such as training and the ability to hire more agents. The corporate office will also take on many tasks involved in running a real estate business, including marketing.

Lois Gerace said the new technology RealtyUSA is able to provide will benefit the business.

"We think we're going to provide better service to our customers, and we're excited," Gerace said.

While recognizing that the Bob Harris brand is well established in Genesee County, Whitehead said given the strong market presence RealtyUSA has to the east and to the west, changing the local name of the business only makes sense.

"We have an incredible Web site," Whitehead said. "It's been named the fourth best real estate Web site in America, so we want to use realtyusa.com to market in this area."

The acquisition is effective today.

Monday, January 12, 2015 at 9:00 am

Get inked for charity this weekend

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, High Voltage Tattoo

High Voltage Tattoo and Piercing is hosting its annual tattoo and piercing event to benefit local charities Friday and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. on both days.

Tattoos, based on available selections, are $35 each and piercings are $15 each.

Proceeds benefit Volunteers for Animals, HomeCare & Hospice, and Justice for Children.

The event always draws a big crowd, so you want to arrive early.

High Voltage is at the corner of West Main Street and Thomas Avenue in Batavia.

Pictured are James Gommenginger, Jeremy Fridman and Mark Fanara.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 11:44 am

UMMC's affiliation with Rochester General completed

post by Howard B. Owens in business, UMMC

Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia has joined Rochester Regional Health System, becoming a full affiliate effective January 1, 2015. Rochester Regional is the newly formed health system that combined Rochester General and Unity Health Systems in July 2014.

The Genesee County hospital announced its intention to join Rochester Regional in February 2014. While United Memorial is very strong financially, hospital leaders recognized that changes in health care threatened the long-term outlook for independent rural health care providers. Joining the large regional system will enable continued and even enhanced local services for Batavia-area patients. United Memorial will maintain its name and a local board, and will continue its longstanding tradition of providing a wide range of medical and acute care services in Batavia.

“The full affiliation of United Memorial is another example of how Rochester Regional is creating a model health care system that helps communities get healthy and stay healthy,” said Eric J. Bieber, MD, President & CEO, Rochester Regional Health System. “Our model will maintain access and control cost by keeping care within the local community with seamless access to the highest quality specialty acute care for patients throughout the region, no matter where you live or through which system-wide door you enter.”

The partnership mirrors a trend among successful hospitals and health care systems nationwide. These system affiliations address the economic realities that community hospitals face with health care reform, enabling them to continue to offer a full range of primary and secondary services locally, while providing a gateway to the best clinical care available when more highly specialized care and technology – like cardiac surgery, stroke services, neurosurgery, and other complex services – are required.

“Joining Rochester Regional Health System secures our ability to provide quality health care to our community for the long-term,” said Dan Ireland, President, United Memorial Medical Center.

“Though most patients won’t notice any difference at the hospital, they will benefit from greater access to specialized services and technology available through the Rochester Regional network.”
The two health care institutions are no strangers to each other, having collaborated in the areas of Cardiology, Pathology, Surgery, Urology and Gastroenterology since 2008, and most recently partnered to open a Cancer & Infusion Center at United Memorial.

In making its decision to affiliate with Rochester Regional in early 2014, the United Memorial board cited the system’s longstanding focus on high-quality patient care and safety, its expertise in clinical integration, its comprehensive medical and surgical specialties that will enhance existing services available in the Batavia community, and its successful track record of collaboration with smaller acute care hospitals and physicians. 

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