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Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Introducing Flip Ads

post by Howard B. Owens in advertisment, business, Sponsored Post, thebatavian

Some of you may have already noticed -- there are a couple of sponsor's ads on the right side of the page that if you mouse over the box, it flips over to reveal a secondary message. 

This is a new concept in online display advertising and locally, it's only available on The Batavian and the Wyoming County Free Press.

To help kick off the introduction of Flip Ads, we're going to run a contest on four days next week (four days between Monday and Friday). Will will randomly pick an ad on the site and make it a Flip Ad, but the secondary message will be a secret code. The code will go up at some unannounced time during the day and stay up until we have a winner. The first person to e-mail me, howard@thebatavian.com, with the correct code, will win $25 cash. (We'll post a reminder Monday morning about the contest.)

After the first week, we'll run the same contest once a week.

Easy to win: mouse over ads and find the Flip Ad with the secret code, like an Easter Egg hunt.

Can you find the two ads running now that are Flip Ads?

Sponsors: Interested in Flip Ads? Contact Lisa Ace, lisa@thebatavian.com, or (585) 250-4118, to sign up.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Community investment plan announced for 24 Main St., Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Le Roy New York LLC

A group of Le Roy residents who once tried to save the Wiss Hotel with a unique community-based investment structure have found a new target for their revitalization efforts: 24 Main Street.

Le Roy New York, LLC, is looking to raise the funds necessary to refurbish the now vacant mixed-use building, which was most recently Java's Coffee Shop.

"Our goal is to create three beautiful residential apartments on the second and third floors and create a vibrant commercial establishment on the ground floor," said Bob Fussell, one of the organizers.

The group needs to raise $250,000, and already has $177,000 toward that goal, mostly from contractors who are contributing labor, equipment and expertise as their primary investment.

A minimum investment in the project is $1,500.

A similar structure for community investment in a revitalization project, led by Rick Hauser, has been used in Perry to help transform that community's downtown.

Hauser, now the mayor of Perry, was a consultant to the group on the Wiss Hotel proposal, which eventually fell short of the group's goal to buy the building and restore it rather than see it demolished.

For more information, visit 24mainleroy.org

The building will be open for tours during Winterfest this Friday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Chamber announces annual award winners

post by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 43rd Annual Awards Ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Clarion Hotel, Park Road, Batavia. This is the County’s premier event that honors businesses and individuals for achievements in business, community service and volunteerism. Tickets are $50 per person or a table of 10 for $450.

The evening begins at 5:30 with hors d’oeuvres, entrée tables & cash bar (no formal sit-down dinner is to be served). The Award Program starts at 7 where dessert and coffee will be served. 

This year’s honorees are: 

  • Business of the Year -- Applied Business Systems, Inc.  
  • Industry of the Year -- Müller Quaker Dairy
  • Agricultural Business of the Year -- Corcoran Combining & Trucking  
  • Innovative Community Contribution of the Year -- Merrill Lynch
  • Special Service Recognition of the Year -- Genesee Cancer Assistance, Inc.
  • Geneseeans of the Year, “Peggy” Margaret Lamb, of Oakfield, and William “Bill” Schutt, of Basom
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Photos: Recreating Norman Rockwell on Main Street for the holidays

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

Local artist Brandi Bruggman this week is recreating two Christmas works by Norman Rockwell on the windows of Steve Hawley's Insurance Center on Main Street. The festive windows will be among those Downtown displays in the BID's annual Christmas window display contest.

Saturday, November 29, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Hawleys host WNY brewers at malthouse open house

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, agriculture, business, NY Craft Malt

Ted and Patricia Hawley hosted several dozen beer lovers at their malt house on the Hawley Farm on Bank Street Road today.

The open house was a chance to invite people to come in and try some of the craft beers that have started using malt from NY Craft Malt.

Breweries serving samples today included Fairport Brewing, Community Beer Works, Resurgence and Big Ditch. The brewers are all from WNY.

Ted Hawley said business is good. The company is selling all the malt it makes.

Previously:

Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Frost Ridge owners will open new restaurant and bar at former Delavan's location

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Frost Ridge

It's the little neighborhood restaurant that could and it will keep chugging thanks to David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell, who purchased the longtime bar-and-grill at 107 Evans St., Batavia, this week.

Luetticke-Archbell have owned and operated the Frost Ridge Campground in Le Roy since 2008 and they see their new establishment as an extension and complementary to what they're already doing.

Most recently, 107 Evans has been Delavan's, which owners Bill and Pati Cultrara closed almost exactly two years ago to the day that David and Greg completed their purchase of the property.

They're calling their new restaurant Delavan's The Little Ridge and promising "great food."

The restaurant is situated in a residential neighborhood and David and Greg think it's a perfect location for the warm, friendly atmosphere they hope to create.

It's going to feature American cuisine, much like they already serve at The Barn Grill at The Ridge, which they say has gotten rave reviews from customers, such as "some of the best American food around."

"We hope to knock your socks off," David said.

There will be prime rib, baked chicken, designer hamburgers, fish fries and salmon, with Greg overseeing the kitchen in the winter.

"The fish fries Greg has been doing, everybody has been loving," David said.

As for the salmon, again, David promises we'll love it.

"Everybody who has ever said, 'I don't like salmon' eats his and loves it."

Since some of the menu will be a hold over from Delavan's, David said Bill Cultrara has graciously offered to share some of his secrets.

They also plan to bring in acoustic music and assuming they continue to host live music concerts at Frost Ridge (there are still a pair of lawsuits pending that challenge their ability to do that), the national acts they bring in will be invited to The Little Ridge for pre-concert meals.

David and Greg had given no thought of opening a restaurant in Batavia, and had no idea the location was available until they went to an auction of the contents of the building Oct. 27.

Once they stewed in the idea awhile, they couldn't pass up the opportunity, David said.

"Sometimes opportunities knock and this one just clicked," David said.

The two men, along with help from their children, staff and friends, are cleaning up the restaurant, bringing in new equipment, getting everything ready to serve customers again. They plan to open Jan. 1.

"This was like a diamond that needed to dusted," Greg said. "We see the potential it has. The charm and the smallness of being manageable for one and a Cheers-like atmosphere."

Friday, November 14, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Senior housing developer sues GCEDC over project rejection

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Calamar, GCEDC, housing, senior housing

A developer seeking to build a senior housing complex in Batavia has filed a lawsuit against the Genesee County Economic Development Center over the board's decision in July to block the project from receiving tax breaks.

The suit alleges that the GCEDC board's decision was "arbitrary and capricious, irrational, an abuse of discretion and affected by an error of law."

The suit calls for a court-ordered reversal of the decision to deny Calamar a public hearing on the project and the proposed tax abatement. 

It doesn't ask the court to actually grant the tax breaks. Typically, the GCEDC board votes on whether to grant tax exemptions after a public hearing. Calamar is seeking to present its project to the public and give the public a chance to weigh in on whether it should receive more than $1.4 million in tax breaks for the project.

Calamar has a contract to purchase 33.4 acres at 3989 W. Main Street Road, Batavia. The development plans call for 110 middle-income apartment units rented exclusively to people 55 and older.

The developer, with offices in New York, Canada, Massachusetts and Nebraska, says it plans to invest more than $11 million in the project.

GCEDC's position is that the lawsuit is without merit. 

Here is a statement provided by Rachael J. Tabelski, marketing and communications director for GCEDC:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center is in receipt of a notice of a file of claim against our organization by Calamar Enterprises as a result of a recent vote by the GCEDC board.

We believe the allegations in the claim are without merit and will be determined by the courts as such.

As this is a legal matter, the GCEDC will have no further comment.

The suit implies that Calamar was misled about GCEDC's willingness to support the project and that the board's decision went both against GCEDC's own policy and prior approvals for similar projects.

The project was first presented to the board by Mark Masse, VP of operations for GCEDC, in February.  Masse said during the meeting, according to a quote in Calamar's petition, that he was looking for feedback from the board. 

Calamar said that GCEDC's attorney told the board that although the project wasn't manufacturing, "This project is authorized and allowable under IDA law."

At a March 6 meeting, CEO Steve Hyde reportedly informed the board that GCEDC had participated in housing projects previously, such as the Manor House and the Jerome Center.

The petition claims that Masse continued to work closely with Calamar officials on project plans and proposed tax incentives in the following months.

At a staff meeting in June, the petition states, Masse gave every indication the project would get a green light.

"At no time during this meeting did Mr. Masse state that the Agency had concerns about the Project or was unwilling to support the Project," the document states. "To the contrary, all statements made and actions taken by Mr. Masse indicated that the Project had the support of the GCEDC, justifying the significant investment of time and resources by Calamar."

The project was put before the board July 10 for approval of a public hearing.

The board voted to deny Calamar a public hearing on the project and Calamar is accusing two board members of a conflict of interest on the project.

Pete Zeliff (mistakenly named "Paul" in the petition,) and Ray Cianfrini both spoke against tax breaks for the project and voted against setting a public hearing.

The conflict arises, according to Calamar, because Zeliff is building a single-family residential project on East Main Road, Batavia, and Cianfrini, also chair of the Genesee County Legislature, sometimes provides legal counsel to Zeliff.

"The agency's mission is to further the development of industries and create jobs and that housing should stand on its own," Calamar quotes Zeliff as saying.

Calamar claims to have been unaware of Zeliff's development interests at the time of the meeting.

To further emphasize the alleged conflict, Calamar quotes from a story published in The Batavian where Zeliff denies there is a conflict.

In that story, Zeliff noted that the two projects are completely different and do not overlap intended housing markets. Calamar is building apartments for seniors. Zeliff is building houses for families.

The petition states, "Zeliff also acknowledged that competition was an issue influencing his vote," and goes on to say that Zeliff voted against the project to protect his own Oakwood Estates development. 

The characterization of what Zeliff told The Batavian is misleading. Zeliff drew the distinction between his own project and said he didn't see Calamar's project as competitive with it, but noted that another senior housing project, Clinton Crossing, has proceeded without government aid and has a waiting list of residents trying to move in. He said the Calamar project, if it received assistance, would have an unfair, subsidized advantage over Clinton Crossing.

Zeliff does not have a financial interest in Clinton Crossing.

The suit also criticizes Zeliff and Cianfrini for misstating how many jobs the project would create. 

Rather than just two jobs, Calamar claims the project would add 4.5 full-time equivalent non-employee jobs (contractors) as well as dozens of construction jobs during the project development.

The rejection, the petition states, was taken "without any findings or reasoning," which Calamar claims is required if the board is going against either past practices or policy.

Calamar is also critical of GCEDC for having a vague Uniform Tax Exemption Policy (UTEP), and notes that the state's comptroller's office had the same criticism of GCEDC earlier this year.

"The Comptroller found that this failure to have formalized evaluation criteria resulted in an inconsistent approach by the Board and a lack of objective evaluation of proposed projects," the petition states.

Calamar claims to have received tax incentives for similar projects in Niagara County, Erie County, Stueben County and Auburn.

There is a great need in Genesee County for such a project, Calamar tells the court. According to the 2010 Census, 28.5 percent of the local population is 55 or older and 23.7 percent is 40 to 55.

The Genesee County Housing Focus Group's strategic plan states, according to Calamar, "senior apartment shortages have been noted as a major concern."

Calamar's project would be marketed to people 55 and older with an annual income of $35,000 to $45,000, and residents would only be those not receiving government housing assistance.

The 117,000-square-foot facility would offer one and two bedroom apartments with rents from $805 to $1,050 per month. There would be a full-time director on site, with events, educational seminars, meals, exercise instruction, home helpers, cleaning services, health system services and transportation offered.

The 33 acres of the proposed project is currently assessed at $166,400. The anticipated increase in assessed value is not stated, but the total value of the PILOT would be $854,580, with Calamar paying 20 percent of the taxes on the increase in assessed value in the first year. Calamar would pay an increasing share of taxes up to 100 percent by year 11.

Other proposed tax abatements are $454,744 on sales tax for materials and an exemption of the $120,000 mortgage tax on the purchase of the property.

The suit claims both Masse and GCEDC attorney Russ Gaenzle were shocked by the board's vote and exhibits include copies of their e-mails.

No hearing date has been set yet for the suit.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Reminder: Shop local and support the businesses that support The Batavian

post by Howard B. Owens in business, thebatavian

We've not done a post like this in a long time, but with the holidays coming on fast, it is important to remind readers of the importance of shopping locally as often as possible.

When you support the businesses that are owned by people in our local or regional community, you are helping to support your local community. As much of 70 percent of every dollar spent at a local business stays in the local community. That has a ripple effect of benefits locally, from employment to donations to local charities to more spending power for everyone.

At The Batavian, supporting local business and family owned business isn't something we do just once in a while as part of an advertising supplement. It's what we do every day. Our home page is a daily reminder to support local businesses.

Please remember not only to shop locally first, but please also be sure to frequent the sponsors of The Batavian and let them know you appreciate their support of independent local news.

Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle
Alberty's Drug Store
Alli's Cones & Dogs
Allstate
American Home Remodeling
Barrett's Batavia Marine and Sporting Supplies
Batavia Country Club
Batavia Downs
Batavia Gold Rush
Batavia Improvement District
Batavia Redemption Center, Eastown Beverages
Batavia Tailors & Cleaners
Beds 'n' Bones Pet Lodge
Belhaven Kennels
Bill Fox and Son Construction & Remodeling
Blue Pearl Yoga
Bob Harris Realty - Robert J. Gerace
Bohn's Restaurant
Bontrager's Real Estate
Bourbon & Burger Co.
Brighton Securities
Bubba's Landscaping
Calling All Dogs
CB Beach Mortuary
Cedar St. Sales and Rentals
Center Street Smokehouse
Chesley's Auto
City Slickers
Classic Optical
Council Opticians
Crazy Cheap Cars
Dan's Tire
Darien Auto Parts
D&R Depot Restaurant
Deep Blue Pool & Spa
Delre's Greenhouse & Garden Center
Derrick Monument Company
Detail Shop (Pellegrino's)
Dougherty Heating Company, Inc.
D'Tangles
Empire Tractor
Falcone Family Funeral & Cremation Service, Inc.
Falleti Motors
Fastec Automotive
Ficarella's Pizzeria
First Choice Travel
Floral Fantasies
Foxprowl Collectibles
Frankly Design
Genesee County Emergency Services
Genesee Dental Group
Genesee Orthopaedics
Geer Farm Services
Gilmartin
GLOW Jobs
Godfrey's Pond
Greens of LeRoy
Hair Studio 25
Hardcor Audio
Harris Wilcox
House of Kolor
Haul-4-Less
H.E. Turner & Co.
High Voltage Tattoo
Humphrey's Electric & Security
Genesee Urgent Care
J. Leonard McAndrew

Jagged Edges Salon
Jay E. Potter & Sons
Jim Saraceni - Prime Lending
John's Service Station
Karen's Yarn Paper Scissors
Ken Barrett
KleenAll
Kreative Design Kitchen & Bath
Larry's Steakhouse
L&L Transmission, Inc.
L.C. Mosman
Lamb Family Medicine
Lambert's Design Jewelers
Le Roy Counseling
Le Roy Hearth & Home
Lucky Ducky Daycare
Main St. Pizza Company
Matteo & Mullen, CPA
Max Pies
Millennium Computer
My Saloon
Nature's Best Hydro-Garden Center
Next Level Fitness
O'Lacy's Irish Pub
Oakfield Fitness
Oliver's Candies
Optique
Parmenter Tire, Auto & Truck Services
Pellegrino Auto Sales
Pembroke Family Medicine
Precision Lawn Care
Pudgie's Lawn & Garden
R&D Outlet
RW Vapors
Radley's Auto Detailing
Ray Station Coal & Stoves
Reed Eye Associates
S.C.O.P.E. of Genesee County
Santino's Pizza
Scooter's Restaurant (Le Roy)
Select Collision
Settler's Restaurant
Sloat's Tire
Smokin' Eagle Brew & BBQ
Southside Deli
Spirits
Stella Collision
Sweet Ecstasy Bakery & Bistro
T.F. Brown's
The Finishing Line
The Insurance Center
The Mane Attraction
The Manor House
The Rack Shack
Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel
Trash Away
Turnbull Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration
Valle Jewelers
Viking Valhalla/Rose Garden Bowl
Vinyl Sticks
WNY Fireplace Outlet
Watch Your Kitty
West Main Wine & Spirits
Western Regional Off Track
William Kent, Inc.
Woody's Deli
YWCA
Yasses Construction
Yngodess Shop
Yume Asian Bistro

 

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Local caterer now offering BBQ at Willow Bend every Wednesday evening

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Willow Bend Inn

In Western New York we love our BBQ, so it's not surprising that another Genesee County resident is finding his own success with slow-cooked ribs and his own sauce.

Mike Swiatowy has been running his own catering business for years. About five years ago, he added BBQ and this year, he said, the business has really taken off. So much that his wife, Kristi, gave up her hair and nail business that she's run for 25 years.

Three weeks ago, Swiatowy came into a new location for his ribs, pulled pork, brisket and chicken -- the Willow Bend Inn.

After serving wings and beef on weck at the Polish Falcon's Club for a few years, he wanted to expand and the partnership with the Willow Bend Inn has given him the venue to do that.

"It's worked out great," Swiatowy said. "I think it's a great atmosphere for BBQ."

We tried the ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket with beans, slaw and mac and cheese. We loved the meal. The meat is as it should be -- fall-off-the-bone tender, flavorful and moist. The sauce is both sweet and savory.

Swy's BBQ also offers chicken, pulled chicken, hickory-smoked chicken wings and traditional chicken wings.

There's also a full line of catering available. For more information, visit the Web site. Swy's is also available for fundraisers.

If you can't wait until Wednesday to try the BBQ at Willow Bend, Swy's is participating in the Holiday Festival on Saturday at Batavia High School from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Chamber introduces 2015 board at annual meeting

post by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce unveiled its 2015 Board of Directors at the Chamber’s Annual Membership Meeting at Bohn’s Restaurant Thursday.  

Serving on the Board in 2015 are Steven Beardsley, Bank Of Castile; Tim Call, Empire Tractor; Keith Conway, Z&M Ag and Turf; Dan Harvey, Graham Corporation; Dennis Kohl, Darien Lake Amusement Park; Steve Krna, Genesee Patrons Cooperative Insurance Company; Hiedi Librock, Town of Batavia; Jonathon Mager, Arctic Refrigeration Company of Batavia, Inc.;

Chan Patel, Clarion Hotel; Steve Pies, Max Pies Furniture; Michael R. Rivers, Rybak, Metzler & Grasso, PLLC; Chris Suozzi, Genesee County Economic Development Center; Joseph Teresi, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc.; Eric Wies, Clark Patterson Lee; and Jennifer Zambito, GCASA.

Keynote speaker at the luncheon was Vinnie Esposito, executive director of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Council. Esposito praised Genesee County for being a leader in economic development and predicted a bright future for the county’s business community.

Chamber President Tom Turnbull gave an overview of the past year at the Chamber and outlined plans for 2015 initiatives. According to Turnbull, the Chamber will continue to fulfill its mission to create an environment for business success and improve the quality of life for all citizens of Genesee County.    

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