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Monday, July 29, 2013 at 8:39 am

Photo: Member of Big Time Rush stops in Batavia for workout before show at Darien Lake

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, entertainment, Next Level Fitness

James Maslow, member of Big Time Rush, which performed at Darien Lake last night, stopped in at Next Level Fitness yesterday for a workout.

Big Time Rush is both a boy band and a television series on Nickelodeon.

Maslow is a singer-songwriter and actor from La Jolla, Calif. who plays in the television series a Minnesota Hockey player who's moved to Los Angeles and cast into the band Big Time Rush.

Pictured are Andrea Mistler, Kristin Bates, Maslow and Tim Walton.

Photo submitted by Tim Walton.

Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Photo: MTV "Real World" reality star 'CT' at City Slickers

post by Timothy Walton in batavia, business, City Slickers, Ken Mistler, photo

MTV reality star Chris "CT" Tamburello (left) was at City Slickers Friday night making a guest appearance. He is pictured with City Slickers owner Ken Mistler. CT is known for his role on several MTV television shows including Real World: Paris, The Challenge, Road Rules, and the most current, Rivals, which is currently running on MTV. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 9:45 am

First apartments ready under program to bring more residents downtown

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

A program to bring more higher-end apartments to Downtown Batavia is starting to produce results.

Yesterday, visitors were able to view two new apartments at 17 Jackson St. owned by Dr. Edward A. Sielski that were renovated as part of Batavia's community plan.

A $60,000 Main Street Improvement Grant -- funded by the state, administered by the Business Development Committee -- helped pay for the $270,000 project.

The second and third floors of Sielski's building -- his dentist office is on the first floor -- were converted to a pair of 1,000-square-foot apartments. Each is two floors with a kitchen and living space on the first floor and bedrooms, a bathroom and washer/dryer combo on the second floor.

The back apartment overlooks Jackson Square.

There are several more downtown apartment projects in the works under the auspice of the program.

Julie Pacette, economic development coordinator for the BDC, said studies have shown there is pent-up demand for higher-end apartments in Downtown Batavia.

The target market is the professional person or couple earning $60,000 to $75,000 a year who wants to live in a more urban environment. They don't mind walking up stairs and want to walk to the public market, the grocery store, theater, restaurants, bars, post office and gym.

Sielski said he's already received several calls about the apartments without even advertising them.

For the open house, one of the apartments was furnished by Max Pies with decorations from Valle Jewelers.

CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS: The total project cost was $270,000 ($100K more than originally reported). This does not include architectural fees). That's 22 percent of the project cost.  The NYS Main Street Grant Program allows grants up to 75 percent of project costs. The first apartment completed under the program was in the Valle Jewelers building, owned by the Valles, and rented immediately.  The rents for these apartments is expected to be $950 to $1,000 a month.

Dr. Sielski with his family, from left, Neil, Lauren, Dr. Sielski, Claudia and Elise.

Friday, July 26, 2013 at 6:59 am

Batavia Downs sets Sept. 27 for expansion opening

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

Press release:

Batavia Downs announced today that their highly anticipated expansion project will open on Sept. 27.

"Pushing back our opening date ensures that all facets of our new gaming facility will be finished and ready to accept customers,” said Michael D. Kane, president and CEO of Batavia Downs.

Batavia Downs will be open on Aug. 28th and 29th, days which the casino had planned to be closed. Promotions already scheduled around the weekend of Aug. 30th, including several large cash drawings, will go on as planned. 

"Customers should check our Twitter and Facebook pages for exciting promotions planned on days we were to be closed,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Burling Drugs in Corfu closes after 21 years as crony capitalism takes its toll

post by Howard B. Owens in Burling Drugs, business, corfu, Dan Burling

The way Dan Burling sees it, the cards are stacked against the small business owner these days, especially for independent drug store owners.

Reimbursements from big insurance companies for customers' prescriptions have shrunk dramatically in recent years, Burling said. In his view, big mail-order firms engage in anti-competitive practices designed to cripple local pharmacies. And the coming implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act is just going to make matters worse.

So the former State Assemblyman did the only thing he thought he could do: Close.

Yesterday was the last day of business for Burling Drugs in Corfu.

"When I came here 21 yeas ago, there was no pharmacy here," Burling said. "It was shut down. I opened the store up. I put a lot of my heart and my soul into it."

There's no way an independent shop can survive, he said, on what insurance companies are willing to pay these days.

"It looks to me like the insurance companies are ratcheting down their reimbursement to match what the large chains can pay," Burling said. "I have no quarrel with the large chains, Rite-Aid or anything, but our margins just weren’t enough to sustain our business."

To survive recently, Burling had to borrow money and that's something he is no longer willing to do.

"I wasn't taking much out of the business," Burling said. "I did everything I could possibly do to try and stay profitable, but the profits just weren't there."

Big mail-order houses also put the squeeze on independent pharmacies, he said.

As a member of the Legislature, Burling sponsored a bill that made it illegal to force patients to buy prescriptions by mail order. The big firms just ignore the law, Burling said.

"They constantly badger my customers," Burling said. "They get the data and they call them and they market their mail-order business directly to them."

And the crony capitalists in Washington continue to work against the survival of the little guy.

"Medco and Express Scripts merged, and as far as I'm concerned, that never should have been allowed," Burling said. "Being in politics as long as I was, I know how it works. Big money goes to the politicians in Washington and they ignore the little guy and get paid off."

Obamacare -- the Affordable Health Care Act -- Burling said is going to put the squeeze on all sorts of small businesses in medicine. The law will force even smaller reimbursements and the mandated cost cuts that small business owners won't be able to manage. You'll see a lot of health-care providers go out of business when that happens, Burling said.

He understands some people are upset by his store's sudden closure, but his co-op contract with Rite-Aid gave him an out now and he decided to exercise it.

Over the 21 years he's run the store in Corfu, Burling said not only has he provided a pharmacy to the community, he's also brought in doctor offices -- doctors who have since relocated to their own practices.

"These are contributions that I made to the community that I think were significant," Burling said, "but there comes a time in your life, you know, when you're at my age, that this is the only way I'm going to be able to retire, the only way I'm going to be able to enjoy life."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Genesee County's unemployment rate stays at regionally low level

post by Howard B. Owens in business, economy, jobs, unemployment

Genesee County unemployment rate held steady in the month of June at 6.2 percent, matching May's rate and lower than the 7.4-percent rate a year ago, according to figures released today by NYS Department of Labor.

Genesee County continues to maintain the lowest rate in the GLOW region, with Orleans at 8.4 percent, Livingston at 7 percent and Wyoming at 7.1 percent.

The Rochester-area rate is 7.0 and the Buffalo-area rate is at 7.4 percent.

The state's rate is 7.6 percent and the U.S. rate is 7.8 percent.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 11:24 am

Students explore career opportunities at weeklong Math, Science and Technology Camp

Middle school students from throughout Genesee County are participating this week in the 4th Annual Math, Science and Technology Camp put on by the Business Education Alliance.

Today the students were at the Genesee County Airport where they learned about aviation, airplane mechanics, air traffic control, Mercy Flight and racecar driver Val Stevens brought her car out to talk to the students about the science behind race cars.

The week includes learning about robotics at Post Farms, GPS-guided farm equipment at Empire Monroe Tractor, and GPS mapping, among other technologies.

"We make it fun and hands on," said Eve Hens, program coordinator. "The kids get to touch things and do things, explore and learn about careers they might not otherwise know about."

The cost to students is only $40 for the week thanks to underwriting by sponsors Liberty Pumps, Turnbull Heating and Air, Boshart Enterprises, Time Warner Cable and Odyssey Controls.

Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Local entrepreneurs planning to open Yo Twisters frozen yogurt bar on Jackson Street

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

This sign is in the door of the former Salsa & Curry location on Jackson Street, Batavia.

The owners are not ready to discuss their plans, but as you can see, they're getting ready to open a frozen yogurt bar, hopefully by the end of the month. Workers were busy today installing the counter. 

You can follow the progress on the new shop's Facebook page.

Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 11:55 am

County's jobs number jumps from previous month, but still lags a year ago

post by Howard B. Owens in business, economy, jobs

There were 100 fewer jobs in Genesee County for June compared to June 2012, but the month-over-month number looked much, much better.

According to NYS Labor Department statistics just released, Genesee County gained 600 jobs from May to June, going from 23,300 non-farm jobs to 23,900 non-farm jobs.

There were 24,000 jobs reported in June 2012.

The county's unemployment numbers are not yet available, but the state's unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent, the lowest it's been since early 2009 and lower than the national rate of 7.6 percent.

Monday, July 15, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Premiere Credit says its Mill Street location will employ 200 after latest round of hiring

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Premiere Credit

Previously, we published a press release from GCEDC that announced an expansion for Premiere Credit. Here is a press release from Premiere Credit with more information.

Premiere Credit of North America, LLC, a leading national accounts receivable management company headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., announced today the addition of 50 jobs to its Batavia call center operation on Mill Street.

Premiere Credit will be hiring managers and collection cpecialists. Interested applicants can apply online at www.premierecredit.com and click on the Employment tab. These are solid jobs with good benefits and great earning potential for top performers.

“Premiere Credit opened an office in Batavia 17 months ago and we have been so impressed with the workforce in this location. We are excited to have the opportunity to expand our business here,” said President and CEO Rob Meck. “I am also proud to be part of a team that so willingly gives of their time and resources to this community through their involvement in local charities.”

“Premiere Credit’s expansion of its Batavia office is a testament to a high quality, productive and home-grown workforce,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center. “This announcement builds on the positive economic development continuing to gain traction in Batavia and throughout the county.”

The Mill Street location started with 50 employees in March 2012 and will employ nearly 200 people after this expansion is complete.

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