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Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Fasanos planning to welcome you into the family when new restaurant opens at Ellicott and Swan

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

When you sit down for a meal at Pasquales, Mama Fasano wants it to be just like you're coming over to her house for dinner.

Every dish with be based on family recipes and the ambiance and decor will be designed to give diners an old-time, family Italian restaurant feel.

The Fasano family purchased the red brick, two-story building at the corner of Swan and Ellicott streets at the city's tax lien auction a couple of months ago with the specific intention to open a restaurant.

They've had to completely gut the place and entirely remodel it -- including putting in a new kitchen. The restaurant won't open until late fall, but they're ready to talk about their plans.

Joan Fasano has been in the restaurant and catering business for 40 years and at Pasquales the whole family is joining in.

"Many Batavians and Genesee County residents have been familiar with the Fasano name in conjunction with great food over the years," Maggie Fasano said. "Joan and her husband Jim catered many, many weddings, anniversaries, graduations and other events."

The menu will include homemade ravioli, chicken cacciatore, tripe, pasta fazool, along with other old-country recipes, and once every two weeks, a polish dish.

People go crazy over the polish dishes," Rachel Fasano said. "You can’t get them anywhere."

The kitchen is being designed and set up by Karl Klein, who recently closed his restaurant in Le Roy.

The Fasanos and Ganson have been close friends for 30 years.

Every once in awhile he'll work as a guest chef, making special dishes for the day.

Though the building was most recently a bar, the Fasanos are not setting up a tavern. It's an eatery. There will be beer and wine to go with dinner, but the bar won't be a place to come and sit and just drink.

Meals will be affordable.

"We want people to be able come and enjoy dinner and not empty their pockets, so to speak," Dave Fasno said. "Our menu will be based on good Italian food, what Mom likes to call peasant food."

Family photos and old photos of Italian immigrants will hang on the walls.

"We want people, when they walk in, to feel like the restaurant's been here forever," Joan said.

Photo: Rachel, Joan, Maggie in the front and David and Jimmy John behind the bar.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Photo: Chris Collins visits Oliver's Candies

post by Howard B. Owens in business, chris collins, NY-27, Oliver's Candies

Rep. Chris Collins stopped in Oliver's Candies today, but it wasn't for the famed Molly Pops. He was making one of his regular visits to small local businesses in his district.

Oliver's is also famed for -- among other things -- sponge candy, which Collins discussed at some length with Deborah Palmer, left, and Jeremy Liles. Sponge candy is another of WNY's unique foods that is little known in other parts of the country. Liles said it's probably a candy that was brought to WNY by Polish immigrants.

Anita Strollo submitted this photo of Collins at the lunch at the Senior Center today. Her mother, Serena Strollo, celebrated her 91st birthday today and Collins presented her with a Congressional certificate.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Gillibrand stops in Bergen to pump up Foreign Trade Zones

post by Howard B. Owens in business, foreign trade zone, GCEDC, liberty pumps

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stopped for a tour of Liberty Pumps in Bergen today to promote Genesee County's "Foreign Trade Zone" designation.

Liberty is the first company in Genesee County to apply for the benefits of an FTZ.

Charlie Cook, president and CEO of Liberty Pumps, said the designation will help his company grow and create more jobs.

"It's certainly going to help reduce our costs," Cook said. "We are initially limited to three companies because it's crucial to monitor everything and control the inventory on the floor, so our most expensive components are duty free and there's an advantage there. It's our intent to flow the savings to the bottom line and generate more profits, which fuels future growth."

Profits, Cook, explained, means more research and development and more funds to bring new products to market, which means expansion.

Liberty Pumps is surrounded by three parcels of land that are suitable for expansion and Cook mentioned that the company is considering it options and will almost certainly expand in the next couple of years.

The FTZ allows Liberty Pumps to buy some of the parts it needs to build products without paying tariffs, but then it can also avoid tariffs on its exports.

Cook wanted to note, however, that not every component it could buy overseas is imported.

"We really try to limit our foreign purchases of components," Cook said. "If we can buy it domestically, we always prefer domestic components, but the fact is, these particular motors you can't get from a U.S. manufacturer anymore. They've all closed down these lines. Other components, like castings, we could do that, but we're trying to contain that business, a lot of it, to domestic sources rather than foreign."

Gillibrand said FTZs are important to help New York's economy grow.

"I encourage all manufacturers who can benefit to apply," Gillibrand said. "We make some of the most amazing things in the world right here in New York. We produce some of the greatest agricultural products of anywhere in the world. We want to be able to increase the world markets for our goods and services. We want to keep local busineses in a position of strength."

Monday, August 26, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Publication ranks Genesee County as 4th fastest growing food processing region

post by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC

Press release:

For the fourth year in a row, Genesee County, New York has been recognized as one of the fastest growing Food Processing Industry Metros by Business Facilities, a national site selection publication.

The Agricultural and Food and Beverage Sector employs more than 1,500 workers in Genesee County, and throughout the Western New York and the Finger Lakes Region there are more than 20,000 employees within the Food and Beverage Cluster. This number has increased significantly in recent years with the opening of Alpina Foods, LLC, and Muller Quaker Dairy along with the expansion of other food processors in the County.

“The recent construction of two new food processing facilities demonstrates a substantial return on our investment in our Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC). “We are honored to be once again recognized by Business Facilities as it keeps us on the radar screen for site selectors throughout the United States and the world.”

The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park encompasses 211 shovel-ready, pre-permitted acres strategically located between Western New York and the Finger Lakes region in Batavia, NY.  On site, there is access to low cost process water via a local aquifer, a short and main line rail access to move products, and large capacity municipal sewer and water. Through the support of National Grid and National Fuel the site has an enhanced utility infrastructure.

“Genesee County and our strategic partners, GCEDC, GCC, our utility companies, Farm East and other local governments like Batavia, Pembroke, Bergen, etc., made sure that nine-plus years of planning and preparation are paying off in terms of infrastructure, shovel-ready site, employment and training opportunities and good paying, long-term employment options for our community and the region,” said Mary Pat Hancock, chairwoman of the Genesee County Legislature. “The vision and collaboration necessary to make this happen and to sustain development and progress is what our community has always been about.”

Alpina Foods, LLC, a leading dairy producing company in Colombia and South America, recently opened its first specialty yogurt manufacturing plant at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. This is Alpina’s first United States facility and the company recently exceeded their original job commitments of 50 employees. PepsiCo, in a joint venture with German dairy company Theo Müller, also recently opened its own $206 million yogurt manufacturing facility, Muller Quaker Dairy, and as of June 2013 have hired 110 employees for their Batavia facility. 

“Food manufacturers value our region’s abundant milk supply and access to fresh water,” said Mark S. Peterson, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise. “These assets are just some of the reasons Genesee County has become a magnet for leading yogurt manufacturers such as Alpina Foods and Muller Quaker Dairy.”

“A wealth of agricultural assets, shovel-ready sites, transportation infrastructure and access to major U.S. and Canadian markets have helped to establish Genesee County as a leading location for the food processing industry,” said Thomas A. Kucharski, president and CEO of Buffalo Niagara Enterprise.

“Leading dairy companies like Alpina Foods, Muller Quaker Dairy, Yancey’s Fancy and O-AT-KA Milk are among the almost 400 food processing companies that have grown and prospered in Genesee County and the surrounding area,” Kucharski added.

Friday, August 23, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Photo: Graham employee headed toward retirement after 43 1/2 years with company

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, graham corp.

Tonight at T.F. Brown's I met Howard Johns, who retires after five more days of work from a 43 1/2-year career at Graham's. Johns was at Brown's with a group of coworkers celebrating his career as a set-up helper, supervisor and manufacturing engineer. Pictured with Johns, at the front of the picture are, from left, Justin Stramitis, Carrie Bell, Pete Corbelli, Pete Brade and Steve Censak.

Friday, August 23, 2013 at 11:08 pm

'Molly Pops' sign at Oliver's has people talking

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Oliver's Candies

A picture of the marquee under the Oliver's Candies sign has been making the rounds on Facebook. Is "Molly Pops" a mistake, people want to know.

It is not.

A molly pop, according to general manager Jeremy Liles, is a "peppermint molasses sucker covered with chocolate." And he adds, "Very good stuff!"

That's a nominee for understatement of the year.

I stopped by late today to get a picture and as I left, an Oliver's employee offered to let me take a sample sucker.

I took my first bite as I walked through the parking lot toward my truck. I immediately turned on my heel and headed back into the store. I bought a package of eight. Tonight, I shared one with Billie. She insisted that I share the rest.

"It's terribly delicious," she said.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 4:07 pm

A new casino in Henrietta is a long shot, says WROTB president

Rochester media is buzzing today about a purported announcement by the Seneca Nation looking to open a casino in Henrietta.

WHAM 13 is among the stations reporting that the tribe wants to expand to the Rochester suburb.

Michael D. Kane, president and CEO of Western Region OTB, said this afternoon, there will be no Seneca-owned casino in Henrietta, at least not any time soon.

"Under the current statutory scheme, they will not be able to put a casino in Western New York," Kane said. "Without a statutory change, which isn't likely to happen in today's environment, they cannot do what they're looking to do."

Kane said he isn't really sure what prompted the Seneca's to announce an interest in a casino in Henrietta when something like that happening at this time is more of a dream than even a hope.

"If casino gaming became regulated in New York State rather than prohibited, then perhaps they could fashion some agreement with the federal government to do it," Kane said. "From my point of view, there's no change in enforcement from today than there was yesterday."

Western OTB runs Batavia Downs Racetrack and Casino which, under terms of an agreement between the Senecas and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is blocked from expanding into a full-fledged casino.

According to WHAM, the Senecas have hired Flaum Management to "coordinate the development" of a casino.

"This is an exciting day," CEO David Flaum said. "I am profoundly grateful for Seneca Nation for choosing me. I hope to assist them in bringing a casino here."

Kane said Flaum has been a consultant for the Senecas for 12 years.

Also, see the Rochester Business Journal: Seneca Nation to work with Flaum on gaming, hospitality development here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Genesee County posts second lowest unemployment rate in New York

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

Genesee County's unemployment rate improved slightly from June to July, according to data released today by the NYS Department of Labor.

The rate for July was at 6.1 percent, a tick lower than June's 6.2 percent. Both numbers are more than a percentage point better than the 7.5 percent rate in July 2012.

Only Ithaca, at 5.6 percent, has a lower unemployment rate than Genesee County. Glens Falls is also at 6.1.

The labor department reports 2,000 people without jobs in the county, compared to 2,400 a year ago.

Elsewhere in GLOW:

  • Livingston: 6.8 percent
  • Orleans: 8.5 percent
  • Wyoming: 6.7 percent

The state's rate is 7.6 and the nation's is 7.7.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Council members say businesses should pay for dumpster enclosure, not taxpayers

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

At Monday's meeting, the City Council rejected on a 6-2 vote a plan to spend $35,000 to build a dumpster enclosure on School Street.

City administrators have been looking for a way to clean up the collection of dumpsters used by nearby businesses and sought approval to use VLT money (money from slot machines at the Batavia Downs Casino) for the project.

Council members said that money should be spent elsewhere or saved.

"That money should be used for other things," said Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian, "like reducing our budget or the fact that we need new sidewalks or resurfacing our city streets, just helping our taxpayers all the time instead of businesses all the time. And I have nothing against businesses, but nobody helped me pay for a dumpster."

Pier Cipollone also said taxpayers should benefit from the VLT money, not private businesses.

"The VLT money will end up in the budget," Cipollone said. "It will end up in a contingency fund that will offset sidewalk construction, infrastructure improvements which would, in the end, decrease the tax levy."

City Manager Jason Molino agreed to try and rework the enclosure to reduce its cost by $10,000 eliminating any direct contribution by either business owners or taxpayers.

The measure defeated Monday night also called for spending $30,000 to mill and resurface the parking lot around the proposed dumpster enclosure.

(Based on story by The Batavian's news partner, WBTA.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Photos: Yo Twisters, frozen yogurt shop, opens in Downtown Batavia

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

Batavia's new frozen yogurt shop, Yo Twisters, on Jackson Street, officially opened late this afternoon, and as soon as Mercedes Rivera, left, and Tesla Phelinger heard the shop was open they headed right down.

They had sampled the frozen yogurt before and couldn't wait to try it again.

At Yo Twisters, when a customer walks in, he or she is directed to the back the store where the frozen yogurt machines are -- 15 of them. You can mix and match any flavors you like, and then top with any of a large variety of toppings.  You then pay according to the weight of your cup. 

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