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Monday, September 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Batavia Downs opens new gaming floor Friday

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

Press release:

Batavia Downs announced today that the gaming floor portion of its highly anticipated expansion project will open on Friday, Oct. 4.

"We are very excited to open this first phase of our expansion,” said Michael D. Kane, president and CEO of Batavia Downs. “As a public benefit corporation, the expansion of the gaming floor and the addition of three new restaurants will allow us to generate more revenue for local municipalities.”

As a public benefit corporation, all profits from Western OTB and Batavia Downs Gaming net expenses are contributed back to the 15 counties and two cities of Western New York.

Pictures and videos from the expansion as well as updates can be found on Batavia Downs’ Web site (www.bataviadownsgaming.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bataviadowns) and on Twitter (www.twitter.com/bataviadowns). A grand opening celebration with a ribbon cutting and other events will occur in a few weeks.

Friday, September 27, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Present Tense books on Washington announces plans to close

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Present Tense Books

Present Tense books and gifts, on the corner of Washington and State, Batavia, will be closed as of Nov. 1, owner Erica Caldwell announced today in an e-mail to customers.

The store will start selling items at marked down prices on Oct. 8. Store fixtures will also be fore sale.

Here's a portion of the e-mail:

Present Tense could not have flourished for eight years without the help and support of many people:

  • YOU, our customers. It has been a privilege to provide books for you for these past eight years. We have enjoyed reading, talking, and sharing with you and treasure the many friendships we have made.
  • TERRI MARCHESE and MARCY RUBIN, my dependable, enthusiastic, book-loving sidekicks. Also, thank you to CHASITY MOORE, KELLY DUDLEY, and MARCIA GANN, who were willing to help out when needed.
  • MY FAMILY, especially my parents and sister, who spent quite a lot of time arranging, rearranging, hanging, shelving, fixing, proofreading, baking, and generally improvising to help me create the space and materials I envisioned for Present Tense. Thanks to my father-in-law for his willingness to put on a red suit and white beard every year for our Holiday Open House.
  • DARRICK COLEMAN, my husband, who was not only willing to let me try running an independent bookstore but has also been the one I call for all the worst jobs, like fixing the printers, hanging Christmas lights in high places in the freezing cold, correcting my endless bookkeeping errors, and once even donning the black robe and wig of Severus Snape. Malcolm Gladwell says that creative success is often highly contingent on the efforts of others, and that creative individuals’ stories are invariably love stories. That has certainly been the story of Present Tense.
Friday, September 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Sammy Hills opens in Le Roy with a simple goal: Serve good food

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy

It didn't take long for a young entrepreneur to fill the space that had been Casino's for decades.

The venerable Le Roy restaurant closed just months ago and Le Roy-native Sam Hillburger said when the space became available, he thought, "perfect."

He grew up with Casino's and liked the location.

His new eatery, Sammy HIlls, opened a week ago and serves hamburgers, hot dogs and plates.

The location is perfect for his ambitions he said, because he just wants a small restaurant where he puts out good food.

"I'm not in it to be big and expand," Hillburger said. "It's a small kitchen where you can put out some good food and call it a day."

Patties are fresh, hand-pressed every morning and the meat sauce and chicken are fresh dipped every morning.

After graduating from Le Roy High Sschool, Hillburger went to a culinary school in New Hampshire. He worked for three years at Alex's Place and for a time at the Avon Inn. Now he's ready to see what he can do on his own.

"I was ready to work for myself," Hillburger said. "I've always done it somebody else's way and I'm ready to do it the way I want to do it."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Co-founder of Ben & Jerry's says company leaders can stay true to their values in business

post by Howard B. Owens in business, GCC

It is possible, Jerry Greenfield told the assembled audience in GCC's Stuart Steiner Theater this afternoon, to run a business that is both socially conscious and profitable.

Ben & Jerry's did it, and it's a culture that remains in place even 12 years after Greenfield and his partner Ben Cohen sold Ben & Jerry's to Unilever for $326 million.

From early on in the company's history, Greenfield said, he and Cohen shared a vision that the company would buy raw materials locally, invest in the communities where Ben & Jerry's  operated and donate to charitable causes.

They also did things like find suppliers such as a bakery in New York that employs disadvantaged workers (the bakery makes brownies for Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream).

"The way we approached it was to think how can we find ways to bring social and environmental concerns right into the day-to-day business activities so it's not central to what we do but just a part of what we do," Greenfield said

Greenfield's appearance was part of Wolcott J. Humphrey III Symposium on Leadership and Community Life.

Several times during his talk, Greenfield referenced "community" --  like where Ben & Jerry's buys product or where Ben & Jerry's donates money or how it supports its employees. He encouraged the audience to support local businesses and businesses that share the customer's values.

"I think everything is essentially local," Greenfield said after his talk. "For Ben & Jerry's, the farmers that we buy milk and cream from are neighbors. We want to support our neighbors."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:02 am

County's unemployment rate dips below 6 percent

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

For the first time since April 2008, Genesee County's unemployment rate dipped below 6 percent, being recorded at 5.8 percent for August.

That's three-tenths lower than July and a percentage point lower than August 2012.

Wyoming County's unemployment rate dropped to 6.6 percent, Orleans to 8.4 percent and Livingston to 6.7 percent.

In WNY, only Ontario County at 5.7 percent has a lower unemployment rate than Genesee County.

Buffalo's rate is 7.3 and Rochester is 6.9.

The state's rate is 7.5 and the U.S. rate is 7.3.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Route 5 being restriped to add left-turn lane at ag park entrance

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park

Press release:

Work is slated to begin Monday, Sept. 30 to add a center left-turn lane on Route 5 (East Main Street) from the city of Batavia line to Fargo Road in the towns of Batavia and Stafford, Genesee County. Temporary lane closures will be in effect during the daytime hours for approximately one week weather permitting.

The center turn lane will be created by restriping the roadway without widening the pavement. One of the two existing westbound travel lanes will be converted to a center turn lane with associated left-turn lanes striped at the side street intersections. The remaining westbound lane will serve the westbound thru traffic. Both eastbound lanes will remain the same.

The addition of a dedicated left-turn lane will provide a refuge area, reducing the risk of rear-end collisions for stopped or slow-moving vehicles waiting to turn into the Batavia Agri-Park and adjacent side streets. The restriping will also benefit left-turning traffic at other intersections along the corridor, including Fargo Road, Batavia-Stafford Townline Road, Seven Springs Road, Broadlawn Avenue and the numerous residential and commercial driveways. Signs and other lane markings will alert motorists of the change.

This work is being administered by the Town of Batavia with concurrence from the New York State Department of Transportation.

Motorists should drive with caution through the highway work zone and avoid driving distracted or under the influence of drugs and alcohol. For real-time travel information, call 511 or visit www.511NY.org. 511NY is New York State’s official traffic and travel information source.

Monday, September 23, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Local quilt artists display their work at Blue Pearl Yoga

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, art, Blue Pearl Yoga, business

Submitted by Patricia Hawley:

A group of local fiber artists have gathered at Blue Pearl Yoga to show their work. “Mandala Quilts” features 10 pieces based on the Mandala -- a spiritual representing the wholeness of the Universe. The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. The show hangs through mid-November.

ArtCGirlz started about eight years ago when members of the Museum Quilt Guild began a niche group concentrating on Art Quilts. While every quilt tells a story, art quilts differ in that “they are meant to hang on a wall as art,” says member Martha Lorshbaugh. Her quilt, “Zendala Mandala,” incorporates intricate stitching using fushia-colored thread. According to organizer Elaine Ross, “Art quilters rarely follow a strict pattern. We love to change things around.” Many of the quilts contain embellishments like beads, sequins, buttons and embroidery.

The 11-member ArtCGirlz’s meet the second Tuesday of each month; the location varies so check out their blog at ArtCGirlz.blogspot.com. To view the show, visit the gallery at Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., third floor, in  Batavia. The gallery is open during class times; call ahead for details or check their Web site at www.bp-yoga.com or find them on Facebook at Blue Pearl Yoga. Admission is free.

Top photo: Mary Ellen Casey.

Friday, September 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Photos: Construction begins on new roadway leading to ag park off Route 63

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park

There's heavy equipment moving a lot of earth around just west of the Partridge Farm on Ellicott Street Road, Town of Batavia.

Crews are building a new roadway, which will provide secondary access to the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. The secondary road is needed to accommodate anticipated growth and expansion of the park.

Friday, September 20, 2013 at 11:08 am

Photo: New Mexican food place planned for Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Casa Del Taco, Ellicott Street

It looks like Batavia is going to get a taco stand on Ellicott Street across from the Pok-A-Dot near Liberty Street. This sign appeared in the window recently. The new owners were not around when I stopped by this morning.

UPDATE: One of the new owners is Derek Geib, co-owner of Bourbon & Burger Co.. Mike Hyland, a partner at B&B, is also partner with Casa Del Taco, along with Dick Long. They're shooting for an Oct. 1 opening.

Friday, September 20, 2013 at 9:12 am

Genesee County added 200 jobs in August

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

Genesee County added 200 jobs in August, according to a jobs report released yesterday in which the NYS Department of Labor touted a record number of jobs in the state.

According to the report, there are now 7.6 million jobs in New York, up 22,700 from July to August.

At the same time, the number of employment-eligible workers grew by 24,000, increasing the state's unemployment rate from 7.5 to 7.6 percent.

The number of jobs in Genesee County went up to 23,600, which is 200 over the July figure and the August 2013 number.

The County's unemployment rate has not yet been released.

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