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Alpina groundbreaking 'a success for the entire region'

By this time next year, there will be a factory in Batavia turning out 4,000 tons of yogurt on an annual basis, employing 55 people and buying milk from local dairy farmers.

The first step toward that goal was taken today with a ceremonial groundbreaking by South America-based Alpina Products at the site of its planned 40,000-square-foot facility.

“Alpina’s decision to locate in Batavia is a success for the entire region,” said Town of Batavia Supervisor Greg Post.

Alpina started marketing yogurt products aimed at U.S. consumers in the Northeast several years ago. The Batavia plant will be its first U.S.-based manufacturing facility.

Managing Director Carlos Ramirez Zavarce said Alpina was built on European tradition and now embraces American pride in expansion in New York.

Batavia, he said, was part of a list of 50 potential sites for the plant when Alpina first started planning for growth, but quickly moved to the head of the class.

Besides a strong dairy tradition and an abundant supply of milk, as well as trained workers and easy access to a market area of 125 million potential consumers, local leaders demonstrated, he said, that they would be as committed to Alpina's success as the company's executives.

"We understood that you got the message that if we were successful, you would be successful," Ramirez said. "That was very important for us. We have no doubt we're going to have success here. This is the right location, the right place."

After the groundbreaking, attendees were invited to sample Alpina's yogurt products and there was a strong sense of excitement about this initial factory opening in the long-anticipated agri-business park.

“Today’s groundbreaking of Alpina Foods’ first manufacturing facility in the United States is proof that Batavia is a great place to do business,” said Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer. “Alpina’s $15 million investment and its decision to create 50 jobs sends a clear message that other private-sector companies should consider Genesee County for their next investment.”

GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde has said previously that there are other prospects for the business park in the pipeline, but until deals are signed, he is unable to provide public details.

VIDEO: Promotional video from Alpina.

Alpina CEO Julian Jaramillo

Alpina Managing Director Carlos Ramirez Zavarce

Roger Parkhurst, who will be director of operations at the new plant

Sen. Mike Ranzenhoffer and Assemblyman Steve Hawley

GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde

Lisa Falkowski
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...and 2 years from now the plant will be closed, building vacant and run down, and all of those folks out of a job...

Jack Dorf
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Your prediction based on what?

Gary Spencer
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Lisa,
answer the man's questions: "Your prediction based on what?"

Gary Spencer
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maybe there is something to the recent headline:

"Consultants: Negative attitudes hurting city more than actual problems"

George Richardson
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Maybe Lisa is basing her attitude on the history of Batavia. Does anyone remember Hewitt-Robbins, Sylvania, Massey-Ferguson, Montgomery Wards, W.T. Grants, Mancuso Theater and the Drive In's? Where did they go and why did they disappear? I'm not sure, but I don't think it was Obama's fault. Negative attitudes are not formed from thin air, they are cultivated from prior experiences. Saying don't get fooled again is good advice and y'all need to be on your toes. Other than that, I send best wishes for a happy, long and prosperous future in Batavia to Alpina, namaste y'all. Please validate the trust Batavia has in you as a potential employer. Please, I'm begging.

Kyle Couchman
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LOL Ya think Gary...... I think we should mark this down and 2 years from today email Lisa and ask her what she bases this opinion on again.

Nice positive outlook Lisa, two thumbs up for your psychic prediction.

George Richardson
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Maybe Lisa was recalling this video from The Batavian.

George Richardson
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Yeah, one Grandma was a Pollock and I knew her and loved her. My other Grandma was Irish and she died from influenza (the flu) before I ever knew her. Get your flu shot. I loved the dirty old town, all it needed was a steam cleaning but someone knew where the bucks were and what I thought didn't really matter, then or now.

Jack Dorf
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George, who said anything about it being Obama's fault? Most of your post give me a headache.

Lisa Falkowski
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Really? You criticize me for having an opinion? I do not claim to know all, but apparently you do? You did not hesitate to jump all over me.

Howard, I understand and appreciate your input.

I do realize and know about the "positive attitude" in regards to local business, etc. However, I've always been a proud supporter. But I am a realist. And yes, Howard, I am unfortunately in your eyes, basing my opinion on past practice in this area.

I believe that new construction is a waste of time and money. I believe it builds hope where there is none. There must be ways to be resourceful with the buildings we currently have.

Read between the lines...out of country business...tax breaks here...no one else sees this county as being used in order to save money, build up a business, and then take it away and relocate where less expensive labor can be had?

Shame on the immature that feel they need to be so harsh toward me. I don't object to your opinions - I just don't agree right now. I'd be pleased to be proven wrong - for the sake of our economy and for the families whose hopes will be built up with jobs and much needed income.

Jack Dorf
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Bingo Howard.

Dave Olsen
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Well anyways, welcome to Batavia, Alpina. Best wishes for success.

Jeremiah Pedro
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Alpina is a good start. Now we just need to attract more agricultural based businesses to Genesee County. If we can get a group of businesses that will feed off of each other then the chances of them remaining in the area will increase greatly. Where is Alpina's sources of supply for their end product? Will they be using local dairies?

Kyle Couchman
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Sorry Lisa thats pretty much a cop out..... beliefs are not facts even if you treat them as such, you claim you are a proud supportter yet your comment shows otherwise.

Building a new building instead of using whats here? Come on and be sensible. A sure way to fail is to try to fit something into a building thats not designed for it.

However new construction is money spent locally for materials systems and people to install inspect and approve. Not to mentions people to build and fufill, contributions to local sales and sales tax et. al

So hurt feeling aside the comment did warrant a bit of comment on it's negativity, if that upsets you then maybe you should think about how you felt posting this.

Lisa Falkowski
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Kyle - We are all entitled to our opinions. I was not hurt, I was angered at the closed minds responding to my post. Again, I would love nothing more than to be wrong in my projection.

George Richardson
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"George, who said anything about it being Obama's fault? Most of your post give me a headache."
Mission accomplished.

Kyle Couchman
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Closed minds.....looking back on the responses to your first post I fail to see closed minded responses, just responses to a close minded comment.

Pot kettle black?

Lisa Falkowski
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Howard, where is your CSW? A degree in psychology? My reference to closed minded was just that it didn't appear to me that I was acknowledged for having the right to my own opinion. Whether we agree or not is not an issue for me. It's okay to agree to disagree. Kyle, take your pot kettle black and pack it.

Lisa Falkowski
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To all that have participated in this exchange - again, I respect your right to have an opinion. This is is no way a personal shot. An exchange of this sort (email, postings, etc.) is left too wide open to interpretation vs. an in-person discussion.This subject is closed for me now. Anxious to see the future results, and hoping for the best. Thanks.

Kyle Couchman
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Appears I hit a nerve with Lisa however your own words and attitude show that while you demand to have your opinion heard, your ability to allow others that same right when they arent of your said opinion seems limited and you begin to cry unfair. Thats ok people have seen both sides here and can see whats reasonable and whats not.

Lisa Falkowski
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Kyle, I believe that we are saying the same thing about one another. You've hit nothing. I have no feeling about you one way or another. What's reasonable and what's not is a perception. I don't think there are rights or wrongs here. If I'm not making myself clear, let's get together and talk about this.

Gary Spencer
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Lisa,
I am sorry if I offended you in any way, it was not a personal attack, I was simply seeking more information regarding your original post.
I hope that any comments I have made will not be held against me and that your opinion of me has not changed.
Sincerely,
Gary

Lisa Falkowski
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Thanks, Gary. I feel that I do the same and appreciate you making mention of this. It's all good. I don't have an opinion of you persay, except that again, I appreciate you just acknowledging the fact that we may differ.

George Richardson
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Jack, This kind of gives me a headache too, but it's the thought that counts.

Mark Potwora
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Lisa i agree with your point of view on this..I am glad to see business come here and create 50 jobs..i don't think that they will be great paying jobs but jobs none the less..It amazes me the amount of tax break and grants they will give out just to create 50 jobs..To me that is what the liberals call corporate welfare..All this does is reaffirm that our tax structure must be out of whack if this is how you have to conduct business in this county ....
I don't remember all this hoopla over WalMart ,Target ,Home Depot and Lowes building here in Batavia..After all ,the jobs and the yogurt plant will probably pay are the same..Wal Mart alone has created more than 50 jobs..

George Richardson
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"George, there is no logical connection between what happened in the past and what will happen in the future."
I know that Howard. Most times my comments are stream of consciousness ramblings. Don't think for a moment that I don't root for Batavia 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, unless you like being wrong. And I know you don't.

C. M. Barons
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A couple more shovels and few less chairs, they might have got the footer in.

Mark Potwora
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Howard...These are some of the tax breaks...Alpina will receive an extensive package of incentives from state and local agencies, ranging from benefits under the state’s Excelsior Jobs Program, along with $750,000 from a grant program operated by the state Office of Community Renewal. National Fuel Gas Co. and National Grid also have agreed to help pay to extend utility lines to the new plant. The project also will receive property, sales and mortgage tax breaks through the Genesee County Economic Development Center and other aid from the Town of Batavia..To me this seems like alot for 50 jobs...The pay rate for food processing jobs ave $11.30 an hour..http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes513093.htm.....This is from the Bureau of Labor
Home Depot and Lowes pay these same kind of wages.....
To give tax breaks to one group you have to make it up some where..Who pays..It all just another form of welfare...Dept of Agriculture i believe just gave money for the infrastructure in the ag park ..This is all for 50 jobs....I am glad that 50 people will get a job out of this..But if this company it so successful why do they need a tax break.........Was Alpina not going to expand in to the US unless some one gave them money to do so........To me this just confirms the fact that taxes must be too high...So in the end how much will those 50 jobs cost to create...

George Richardson
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Howard, unlike Congress, nobody who posts here wants Batavia to fail. I would bet my life on that. Didn't you ever make fun of a brother or sister? Did that mean you didn't love them anymore? Yeah, right dude. Is that making your head hurt Jack? I sure hope not because me and Jesus and maybe even Howard, love you.

Mark Potwora
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PILOT is just a made up number..How do they come up with it..who decides...Does it represent the total tax assessment on the property....We need to expand tax base ..We assess tax in the city county and school on the value of the property...They call it property tax for a reason...When one group get a special tax break on there property who makes up the difference...To me this is a form of taxation with representation...Because their tax break will cause me to pay more in my taxes to make what they aren't paying..How can a homeowner get a PILOT plan..So that they can pay less then what they should..Also should we just go along with what the city and county does just to go along and not be negative.......I just wanted to come to Lisa's defense ..I don't think she was being negative..Sounds like she seen this before..What i really found ironic was there seemed to be more than 50 people watching the shovel ceremony......To me this whole thing is Big Government at work...Which you oppose...

John Roach
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Howard,
I am against these breaks also, all of them. But, you are right, we have to compete for business. Like it or not, other areas around here like Orleans and Wyoming Counties are going after the same businesses. I think some of the resentment against breaks around here is because of the way GCEDC is run. Giving a break to a business to move from one area of the County to another and then say the jobs that moved are new jobs, gives some a sour taste.

Jeremiah Pedro
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Kyle, do you know for a fact that local contractors are going to be building the new structure? What about the building material, do you know that it is coming from a local source of supply in Genesee County? What about technicians to install and service the computer equipment? Will a local computer store be awarded the service contract for alpina? I don't know that is why I'm asking you since you post suggests that you have knowledge of alpina's contracts for construction and what not.

Kyle Couchman
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Do you know for a fact that it wont Pedro? 90% of the construction projects I have seen go up around here and Ithaca, especially when the business is from out of the area.... use local contracts and supplies , as it drives up costs to ship them from non local sources. Now because jobs like this are usually Bid out to such firms there is a chance it might not be local. However that would be up to the local contractor desire to have such work.

I'm sure only Alpina and a few people in GCEDC know the true facts. Doesn't make my speculation any more valid than any of the others who are siding on the negative aspect of this.

Jeremiah Pedro
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Go on and re-read my comment Kyle. I specifically say that I do NOT know for a fact.

Kyle Couchman
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Not necessary to re-read Pedro I am not required to only post facts or defend them as such being a member of this site I have a much voice and credibility as you to as I bring a lifetime of experience and knowledge the same as you do.

If you want to discredit or place doubts then it SEEMS that your definately of that crowd that is negative and tears down any positive mention or outlook. Besides you seem to focus on only part of my statement, as pointed out by you it's possible that materials and contractors might come from out of town, however if they do they still will spend locally, the inspectors to approve the site, and wiring and other things that make a building legal ie, construction codes, certificate of occupancy, etc will be local. The workers and eventually the people working there will have money to spend in grocery stores, gas stations, banks, homes (if they arent residents already), and so on so whatever your point was to poke at my having knowledge of how hey are going to build, they still bring money to the region. A positive you can't throw much doubt on.

So feel free to ask whatever questions or spin my statements any way you wish as I will defend them and rationally point to this article about Batavia's negative attitude and the glaring examples people themselves provide....as it applies to the conversation that is. Smile

On a side note.... Lisa I do understand you I am in this instance just firmly on the otherside of this argument from you. Please if you really step back and look at your first statement you have to admit it seemed very off the cuff, negative no matter what your intent, my passions in our little arguements in this forum rarely go to personal feeling (except a few glaring instances) But as Howard can tell you I have been warned on a few occasions as I will not hold back or not defend my statements or opinions, and how can my mind ever be changed if we just state our opinions and not discuss them because it would be courteous to do so. I have had my views changed not only by my own but others opinions and viewpoints in here, bcause they couls see things from another viewpoint and could apply life exp that I havent had to back up the what and why.
So there are no hard feelings at all Smile

Jeremiah Pedro
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well Couchman, my initial comment was indeed a question. Not a spin or poke at you. Thick skin my friend. Your retort seems to say other wise. I never said all the nonsense you just espoused in your current response.

On a side note recent events seem to confirm Lisa's so called negative comment.

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