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Mortgage bubble keeps bursting

   That housing meltdown that started way back when is still reverberating through the economy. And our souls.
   Via Business Today

Buffalo foreclosure law firm faces suit - Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News
   ... A New York City attorney representing two downstate homeowners has filed a lawsuit against Steven J. Baum PC, calling the law firm a “foreclosure mill” that engages in “sloppy, irresponsible” work Bankowned as part of a mortgage industry conspiracy to bilk homeowners.
   The suit accuses Baum of knowingly and fraudulently filing foreclosures, paperwork and false notarizations statewide on behalf of lenders that don’t hold the actual mortgages, including HSBC Bank USA and its mortgage subsidiary. ...

Haste drove foreclosures off the rails - Washington Post/Buffalo News
  ... Law firms competed with one another to file the largest number of foreclosures on behalf of lenders - and were rewarded for their work with bonuses. These and other companies that handled the preparation of documents were paid for volume, so they processed as many as they could en masse, leaving little time to read the paperwork and catch errors. ... 

Banks seize 288K homes in Q3, but challenges await - AP/Buffalo News
  A total of 288,345 properties were lost to foreclosure in the July-September quarter, according to data released Thursday by RealtyTrac Inc., a foreclosure listing service. That's up from nearly 270,000 in the second quarter, the previous high point in the firm's records dating back to 2005. ...
   But fewer are expected now that several major lenders have suspended foreclosures and sales of repossessed homes until they can sort out the foreclosure-documents mess.
   On Wednesday, officials in 50 states and the District of Columbia launched a joint investigation into the matter.

 - So you bought a foreclosed home. Now what? - AP/Buffalo News
  ... "Anyone who's purchased a foreclosed property in the last three years should really be concerned," says George Babcock, a Providence, R.I., attorney who represents homeowners who have been foreclosed on. "They should call the attorney that did their closing and say, 'Hey, do I have a problem?'"

- Mortgage walkaways tell tales of morality - Gail Marks Jarvis/Chicago Tribune/Buffalo News
   Americans have taken a sharp slap in the face from the the housing crisis, the financial crisis and the jobs crisis. Now some wonder whether the residue of those harsh realities is an ethical crisis.
   For the first time in the nation’s history, bankers say, people are walking away from mortgages they can otherwise afford to pay. The phenomenon known as strategic default was once unthinkable. ...

Foreclosure Mess Draws in the Lawyers Who Handled Them - The New York Times
- Housing mess just got messier - The Columbus [Ohio] Dispatch
Feds can remedy mortgage me$$ - The New York Post
- Who are the culprits in the foreclosure crisis? - Huffington Post 

- Citigroup earns $2.15 billion in 3rd quarter - AP/Buffalo News 

   Out with a little Brit wit:


-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

Tower deal teeters. Phone books fizzle.

   In Business Today, we'll be sorry if the deal to resurrect the Statler Towers falls through [again]. But it's unlikely too many will be morning the loss of the White Pages. I can't even tell you where my copy is. Maybe it's a doorstop on top of something that needed to be flattened.

Statler deal in jeopardy as group raises doubts - Matt Glynn/The Buffalo News
  A lawyer for the investment team planning to buy the Statler Towers in downtown Buffalo is raising doubts that the deal will be closed.
   "Am I confident there's going to be a closing? No," said Robert Knoer, an attorney for Mark D. Croce, Statlerlookingup after a court hearing Thursday. "There are significant hurdles at the Statler. I think everyone is acting in good faith to overcome them."
   Croce and James J. Eagan formed Statler City LLC to acquire the Niagara Square landmark. Their offer for the Statler, valued at $700,000, was accepted by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Carl Bucki in August. But under the sale agreement, they can walk away from the deal after a 60-day "due diligence" period, which expires in mid-November. ...
   Thursday's hearing dealt with a proceeding initiated in the United Kingdom involving the personal bankruptcy of developer Bashar Issa. He formerly owned the Statler through BSC Development of Buffalo, which was forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2009.
   Bucki agreed to recognize a Chapter 15 bankruptcy proceeding involving Issa after gaining assurances from a lawyer in the case, Bernard Schenkler, that the Statler would not be affected.
   Chapter 15, established in 2005, pertains to bankruptcy proceedings that cross international boundaries, where a debtor has assets in multiple countries. The United Kingdom-based trustees in the Chapter 15 Issa case, represented locally by Schenkler, want to investigate other personal assets that Issa, who now lives in Dubai, might have in the United States.
   "It may be that there are no [personal] assets, I don't know," Bucki said. But the trustees in the case will now have the ability to explore the issue, he said.

Residential phone book going way of dinosaur - David Robinson/The Buffalo News
   The White Pages are going the way of the rotary-dial phone.
   Beginning in January, Verizon is dropping the residential White Pages from the directories that it will deliver to its customers.
   But the change won’t affect Verizon’s customers in Erie County for more than a year. Because the Erie County edition of the phone book comes out in December — before the change takes effect — the upcoming directory will include residential listings for one last time, said Andrew Shane, a spokesman for SuperMedia LLC, the Texas company that publishes the Verizon directory.
   The move to eliminate residential listings, approved Thursday by the State Public Service Commission, is being touted by Verizon officials as a way to improve efficiency and keep about 5,000 tons out paper out of the state’s waste stream.
   Verizon said most households don’t use the residential listings, relying instead on the Internet and other new technology. Only about 1 in 9 households still use the residential White Pages, Verizon said, citing a 2008 Gallup survey showing that use had declined from 25 percent in 2005. ...
   With the PSC ruling, the Verizon phone books now will contain only business and government White Pages, along with information pages and the Yellow Pages. Residential listings will be at Printed or CD-ROM versions can be obtained by calling (800) 888-8448.
- The White Pages, Where Anybody Could Be Somebody - Scott Gurian/NPR
- White pages latest casualty of Internet - Teresa F. Lindeman/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- Time to Scrap the White Pages? - Leora Broydo Vestal/The New York Times

   So here is a scene that will never be repeated:


   [OK. All the words are backwards. I'm told it's a trick to keep the copyright police away. Whatever.]

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

Big plans ...

   In Business Today -- and out front -- lots of money being spent in Buffalo-Niagara [maybe]. Lots of money is in the bank, too. Meanwhile a previously troubled meat factory gets shut down by the feds.

Verizon asks for tax breaks in Somerset - Thomas J. Prohaska/The Buffalo News
   In the strongest indication yet that it intends to become a major employer in Niagara County, Verizon Communications submitted a tax-break application Wednesday that outlined plans to invest $4.5 billion over 10 years in a data center in Somerset. The project is expected to create 200 jobs in five years, paying an average of $85,000 a year, according to the application. ...
   No final decision has been made, and Verizon spokesman John J. Bonomo continued to say that other states are under consideration. But an Internet search turned up no news stories anywhere in the United States about proposed Verizon data centers. [Though they just opened one in Hong Kong.]
   Verizon senior strategist Bruce Biesecker told the board of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency on Wednesday that the company looks to break ground by mid-November.
   Somerset Supervisor Richard J. Meyers, meanwhile, said Verizon executives told him in one of their meetings that his town was the company's preferred site in this state for the massive project.

Developers buy, spell out plans to revamp Seneca St. complex -  Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News
   Three prominent local real estate developers bought the massive Seneca Industrial Center in the Seneca+St Larkin District for $3.1 million this week, as part of a planned $50 million redevelopment project that already has received some federal funds.
   Gordon Reger, James W. Cornell and Peter Krog plan a multiple-phase, multiple-year rehabilitation of the 1.2 million-square-foot monolith at 701 Seneca St., complementing what developer Howard A. Zemsky did on nearby Exchange Street with the Larkin at Exchange Building. ...
   The four properties that the developers acquired, as well as Zemsky's Larkin building, originally were part of the sprawling 54-acre Larkin Soap Co. complex, one of the largest industrial complexes in North America at the time. "It was really quite astounding," Cornell said.

- HSBC, M&T still dominate deposits with 62% of market - Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News
  HSBC Bank USA and M&T Bank Corp. continue to dominate Western New York’s retail banking market, controlling more than 62 percent of area deposits, but First Niagara Financial Group has cemented itself as the new No. 3. [In its new HQ in the aforementioned Larkin Building.]
   According to new data released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as of June 30, HSBC held the top spot in the eight-county region, with $13.03 billion in deposits spread across 71 offices. That gave it 35.07 percent of the market, maintaining the leading position it has long held. It increased only slightly from a year ago.

... Bad meat

Tyson plant here shut down by USDA - David Robinson/The Buffalo News
   A Tyson meat processing plant on Perry Street has been shut down by federal regulators after inspectors found violations during follow-up testing stemming from an August recall of deli meat Tyson produced at the Buffalo facility.
   The plant suspended operations Tuesday after an inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, the federal agency said Wednesday. ...
   In the August recall, a sample of roast beef produced at the plant tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. That bacteria can cause Listeriosis, which leads to fever, muscle aches and nausea. The affected products contained ingredients meant to inhibit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, which is most commonly found in deli meats and can survive even if properly refrigerated.
   The Perry Street factory is a former Russer Foods plant. Tyson, based in Springdale, Ark., acquired the plant with its purchase of IBP in 2001. IBP had acquired Buffalo-based Russer in 1999.
   The plant also had two similar recalls in 2004. Tyson first voluntarily recalled 442 pounds of cooked ham in August 2004 after a sample tested positive for Listeria. In November 2004, the company recalled another 50,000 pounds of hot dogs, prompted by an unspecified customer complaint. There were no reports of consumer illnesses in either case.
- Walmart Meat Recall: Is Anything Safe to Eat Anymore? - CBS Money Watch

   Gotta watch out for those germs:


-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

Doing downtown. Consumer confidence. Hats.

   In Business Today, the governor visits downtown Buffalo, area shoppers approach the holidays with clenched pocketbooks, and a local maker of caps gets a really big deal.

Governor promotes preservation credits - Robert J. McCarthy/The Buffalo News
   Tuesday was not the first time Gov. David A. Paterson came to Buffalo to tout a bill granting historic preservation credits that supporters say will spur hundreds of millions of dollars in development across Patersondowntown upstate.
   But after fixing flaws in last year's version of legislation championed by Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo, Paterson said in Niagara Square that this time the state thinks it got it right.
   Paterson said the bill, along with another sponsored by Hoyt that requires the state to avoid "suburban sprawl" investments, represent "a better way to infuse taxpayer money."
   And as he stood in front of the closed Statler Towers complex along with two investors eager to restore it to past grandeur, the governor said the kind of bills he was highlighting could help such projects.
   "It was once the symbol -- the epicenter -- of growth and development in Buffalo," he said of the mammoth building behind him. "Let's imagine we can restart that."
   Paterson was joined by Mayor Byron W. Brown, Hoyt, other state legislators and developers Mark D. Croce and James J. Eagan as they all praised the new legislation.
   The governor addressed the new Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act, which requires state agencies to create committees to evaluate public infrastructure investments based on "smart growth" criteria.

- Confidence falls in region as shopping season nears - David Robinson/The Buffalo News
   Consumers in the Buffalo Niagara region are scaling back their spending plans heading into the holiday shopping season, a new survey of consumer sentiment has found.
   A quarterly survey of consumer confidence in major cities in New York State found that local consumers are less willing to spend today than they have been at any point since last fall and are among the most downcast in the state’s nine major metro areas.
   But their future buying plans, which during the spring were at their weakest since the end of 2008, rebounded a little during the summer, although they remain among the most depressed in those metro areas.
   “We’ve seen very little change over the last five quarters,” said Douglas A. Lonnstrom, founding director of the Siena Research Institute, which conducts the quarterly survey of consumer buying plans.

New Era part of major deal with NFL - George Pyle/The Buffalo News
   Buffalo-based New Era Cap Co. is among the vendors that are part of what could be a $1 billion deal to license official National Football League merchandise in a 10-year pact that will begin in 2012.
   The deal was approved by NFL team owners at a meeting Tuesday in Chicago, but a New Era spokeswoman said the company would not be permitted to comment on the award, or on what it might mean to the company, until after the official league announcement, which they expect today.
   After the 2011 NFL season, Reebok will no longer be the exclusive licensee for NFL-branded apparel, as it has been for the last 10 years, several news sources reported. Nike Inc. will become the exclusive maker of on-field uniforms and other apparel, while New Era will make all the caps to be worn on the sidelines by coaches, assistants, off-the-field quarterbacks -- and fans who want to buy the matching look.

   So we can expect a football version of this spot, with a Bills fan wandering onto the field?:


-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

Senecas diversify. Here's why.

   In the Business Today section of The Buffalo News, we read that the business interests of the Seneca Nation are seeking to diversify. And we see why that might be a good idea.

Seneca Nation buys wireless company that serves federal agencies - George Pyle/The Buffalo News
   Following its mission to diversify the Seneca Nation's financial ventures beyond tobacco and gambling, CT Comm Logo_RGB_Screen Seneca Holdings LLC has acquired a controlling interest in company that specializes in providing wireless communications services for government agencies.
   CT COMM, a company based in Washington, D.C., will be renamed Seneca Communications, and its headquarters will move to the Seneca Nation's Allegany Territory near Salamanca. The sale closed Thursday, and terms were not announced.
   The communication's company's CEO, Kevin Slattery, and its COO, Richard Grimes, will remain with the company. It will also maintain its existing offices in Washington and Pasadena, Calif.
   Robert Odawi Porter, chairman of Seneca Holdings, said the purchase is the first major move the firm has taken in furtherance of its mission to broaden the business interests that support the Seneca Nation.

   - Moody’s cites withheld payments, cuts Seneca Gaming credit ratings - Matt Glynn/The Buffalo News
   Moody’s Investors Service has lowered Seneca Gaming Corp.’s credit ratings, citing uncertainty resulting from the Seneca Nation of Indians’ withholding of revenue-sharing payments to the state. ...
   Seneca Gaming, an arm of the Seneca Nation, operates three casinos — in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca — under a compact with the state. The administration of Gov. David A. Paterson claims the Seneca Nation has breached terms of the compact and owes the state more than $200 million in lapsed revenue-sharing payments.
   [State demands gambling payments - Buffalo News 10/6/10]
   Seneca leaders voted last month to stop making the “exclusivity” payments, contending the state broke the 2001 agreement by permitting compact-prohibited forms of casino gambling at racetracks in Hamburg, Batavia and the Finger Lakes, as well as “Moxie Mania” games at private businesses.
   Moody’s said its downgrade also reflects its view that the withheld payments do not appear to be in “a restricted account or being held by an independent third party solely for the purpose of funding any potential compact settlement.”
   If a settlement calls for paying all or a portion of the amount to the state, “there is no formal assurance that the [Seneca] Nation will have or make these funds available,” Moody’s said. “In the extreme event that a settlement is not reached and the compact is terminated, [Seneca Gaming’s] ability to operate a class III gaming facility would be in jeopardy.”
- Moody’s Cuts Seneca Gaming Rating as Tribe Disputes State Fee - Bloomberg

   Meanwhile, someone else is diversifying their investments:

Dunkin' Brands chief has local link, global plan - Matt Glynn/The Buffalo News Obama_runs_on_dunkin1
   Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins are familiar names to American consumers.
   But customers can also sip a coffee at a Dunkin' Donuts in Indonesia, or grab an ice cream cone at a
Baskin-Robbins in India
. The two chains have thousands of stores in more than 40 countries, stretching far beyond their U.S. roots.
   Expanding the two chains internationally takes careful preparation and research, to ensure customers in those countries will embrace them, said Jon L. Luther, executive chairman of parent company Dunkin' Brands. ...
   Luther, who graduated from Kenmore East High School, will talk about the global plan for Dunkin' Brands when he speaks Oct. 20 at World Trade Celebration as a keynote speaker.

   Hey. This guy [right] used to live in Indonesia. What ridiculous rumor can we make out of that?

  Go out with cute:


-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

High-tech growing in Niagara County

  From a Business Today section last week:
-  Verizon applies for data center tax break - Thomas J. Prohaska/The Buffalo News
   Verizon has applied for a property tax break in Niagara County for its proposed $2 billion data center on the shore of Lake Ontario.
   The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency will have the item on its agenda next week, Verizon officials confirmed Thursday.
   Although the IDA board must vote Wednesday to accept the application before the process can proceed, Somerset Town Clerk Rebecca A. Connolly said the IDA already has booked Town Hall for a public hearing on the tax plan at 4:30 p. m. Nov. 3. If that occurs, the IDA board could act on the aid to the Verizon project at its regularly scheduled meeting Nov. 10. ...
   Verizon is planning to purchase 180 acres of land from AES Corp., operator of a coal-fired power plant on Lake Road in Somerset.
- Verizon 4G service to hit 38 cities by end of 2010 - Christian Science Monitor 

   New this afternoon:
- Semiconductor-related company moving U.S. headquarters to Wheatfield - Thomas J. Prohaska/The Buffalo News
   A high-tech company will consolidate its U.S. operations in a new headquarters, manufacturing and distribution facility in Niagara County.
   Edwards Vacuum held a groundbreaking ceremony this morning for a new $1.5 million plant in Vantage International Pointe, the industrial park operated by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency off Lockport Road.
  Company officials said they will move all workers from the firm's Grand Island manufacturing plant and its distribution center on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Wheatfield to the new site. ...
   "This is a technology company. We provide to the top semiconductor manufacturers in the world," said Ron Krisanda, chief operating officer, who flew from the company's world headquarters outside London to attend the announcement.
   He said about 50 Edwards employees in the company's customer service center in Tewksbury, Mass., were told this morning they're losing their jobs. That work is being shifted to the new plant here, but only two or three workers will be transferred from Massachusetts, Krisanda said. Michael Brown, local operations manager for Edwards, said the project should create about 28 new jobs in New York besides retaining the 100 existing positions.
- Edwards sees stronger second half - Reuters
- Edwards Wins Million Pounds Worth of Orders for Steel Degassing Equipment - PR NewsWire

    Now, for the weekend, a little vacuum humor:


-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

The new Ford. The same old M&T. Twofer T-shirts.

   From a couple of days of Business Today: Find a place for the local plant within the new Ford Motors; being happy that M&T Bank got left at the altar; and catching up with a guy who sells you T-shirts made for two.

The transformation of Ford - Matt Glynn/The Buffalo News
   Ford Motor Co.'s stamping plant in Hamburg faces a significant challenge about a year from now, when an assembly plant it supplies in Ontario is shut down. ...
  James Tetreault, Ford's vice president of North American manufacturing, said securing replacement work is a task that lies ahead for the Hamburg plant to overcome. He declined to discuss what new products might be assigned to the plant. ...
   Tetreault will offer insights into Ford's corporate transformation plan, known as "One Ford," when he is one of two keynote speakers at World Trade Celebration on Oct. 20. The other speaker is Jon Luther of Dunkin' Brands.

Good news! M&T will stay single - David Robinson/The Buffalo News
   M&T Bank Corp. is staying single, and that’s the best thing that could possibly happen for the Buffalo Niagara region.
   Allied Irish Bank, M&T’s biggest shareholder, said last week that it will hold a stock offering by Nov. 15 to sell its 22.4 percent stake in M&T, mainly to big, institutional investors.
   That result, while painful to M&T’s shareholders in the short term—the bank’s stock has fallen 15 percent since Sept. 24—is probably the best thing that could have happened for the region.
   It keeps M&T in Buffalo, under the control of a locally based management that has long shown its commitment to the region. And it sprinkles Allied Irish’s shares among a number of investors, rather than leaving such a large block of stock concentrated in the hands of a single owner.
   In other words, we all can breathe easier today.
   “Everybody in the region should,” said Andrew J. Rudnick, the president of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “It’s exactly what you want.” ...
   We’ve already been down that path with companies like Pratt&Lambert and Varity, which were based here until new owners from out of town took over and shut down all local operations.

New business suits him to a 'T' - David Robinson/The Buffalo News
   Buffalo entrepreneur Dan Gigante is trading in his computer for T-shirts.
   Gigante, one of the co-founders of Web services provider Clevermethod, is selling his stake in the Twopeopletshirt Elma firm to start a T-shirt company with a charitable twist.
   Gigante's new venture, called You and Who, is an online business that sells T-shirts designed either by the company or local artists. But here's the twist: For every T-shirt that You and Who sells, it promises to donate a second shirt to someone in need through homeless shelters and other community organizations across the country. ...
   To drum up artists in the Buffalo Niagara region, the company is holding a "Call for Artists" event from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Sugar City, 19 Wadsworth St. The theme for the initial batch of artist-designed shirts is "New Beginning." SoCorp Inc., a Buffalo screen printing business, will produce the T-shirts. 

   So, it's a T-shirt built for two. Somebody needs to get cracking on a new version of this:


 -- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

Irish sell. Canadians buy.

   We want you to visit Business Today. But it looks like you may need your passport.

Irish bank selling its M&T shares for $2.07 billion - Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News
   Allied Irish Banks, the biggest shareholder in M&T Bank Corp., said Thursday it expects to raise about $2.07 billion from its sale of its stake after setting the price for notes representing the M&T shares.
   The Dublin-based lender, once Ireland’s largest bank, said it set the price for 26.7 million “contingent Mtlogo mandatorily exchangeable notes” at $77.50 each. That completes the first phase of its plan to divest its 22.4 percent holding in M&T. ...
   Morgan Stanley & Co. and Citigroup underwrote and managed the offering for AIB and M&T, so they were obliged to buy any notes not purchased by investors. However, according to a memo to employees from M&T CEO Robert G. Wilmers, obtained by The Buffalo News, the entire 22.4 percent stake “was placed with investors in less than 24 hours” after “coordination between their management and ours.”
   And the 10 largest buyers, on average, bought less than 1 percent of M&T’s outstanding stock, Wilmers said, citing “information we received from AIB.” ...
   M&T’s directors and employees together will now own or control 21.3 percent of the bank’s stock, while Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway will be the largest non-insider shareholder with 4.5 percent of the shares, according to the memo. (Berkshire also owns The Buffalo News, and Buffett is the newspaper’s chairman.)
   The offering, which was announced Tuesday, follows the reported collapse of months of talks between M&T and Banco Santander SA of Spain. Those talks, which involved a proposed merging of Santander’s U.S. subsidiary into M&T in exchange for M&T stock, would have doubled M&T’s size and given it a substantial presence in New England. The talks also included Santander’s buying the AIB holdings.
- M&T boss: Negotiations to buy another bank are off - The Baltimore Sun
AIB announces M&T share pricing - The Irish Times
S&P lowers Allied Irish Banks' credit rating - Market Watch
- M&T Bank's Eminent Improvement - Barrons
   We are upgrading shares of M&T Bank this morning to Hold from Sell.

Canadian shoppers descend - Samantha Maziarz Christmann/The Buffalo News
   This weekend kicks off the holiday shopping season in Canada, and U.S. retailers couldn't be happier.
   Stores in Western New York are preparing for the arrival of hundreds of Canadian shoppers as they 
begin their border-crossing shopping pilgrimage. Today is the start of a long weekend in Canada, which celebrates Thanksgiving on Monday, and the day Canadian holiday shopping really kicks into gear.
   Many shoppers are beginning their journey at Duty Free stores on the border. "It's certainly something to see," said Bonnie Gates, marketing manager at the Peace Bridge Duty Free store. "It's pretty exciting. They're ready to shop, and they're ready to have a good time."
   Beginning this weekend, Gates said, the store will see an average of 40 to 50 buses per week. Traffic will peak on Black Friday -- the day after American Thanksgiving -- with upward of 80 buses. Shoppers come from as far away as North Bay, which is more than 200 miles north of Toronto, as well as WindsorBrantfordHamilton and Peterborough.
   The Fashion Outlets of Niagara, a favorite among Canadian shoppers, is extending mall hours to accommodate its customers from the north. ...
   That purchasing power is boosted by the loonie's strength.
- Percent of annual sales during holidays - The Daily Dish 

   Whatever you do, don't mention this song. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.


-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

It's all about image

   In Business Today, and out front, we have people worried about image - their own and the message that is sent by people who want our votes but spend their money somewhere else.

Cola giant bottles image as the real Coke - David Robinson/The Buffalo News
   Peter Benzino [right] wants to make one thing perfectly clear: The Coca-Cola bottling plant in the Town of Tonawanda is not Tonawanda Coke, the foundry coke manufacturer accused of numerous pollution Cokebottler violations.
   [Tests show coke plant's emissions of benzene far exceed EPA limits - Buffalo News 10/1/10]
   To avoid any confusion, the soft-drink bottler has started a three-week ad campaign on several local radio stations explaining that the two companies are very different.
   "I just want people to understand who we are and who they are," said Benzino, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Buffalo's vice president and general manager.
   Benzino worries that customers reading or hearing stories about Tonawanda Coke's environmental troubles might confuse it with the soft-drink bottler and stop buying Coca-Cola products.

Print your ads here, politicians urged - George Pyle/The Buffalo News
   The old saw that all politics is local turns a little sour in the ears of some Western New York printing firms, where managers are unhappy at the sight of their hometown politicians buying their fliers, mailers and door-hangers from shops in other places.
   That led Timothy Freeman, president of the Amherst-based Printing Industries Alliance, to send an open letter to the area’s political candidates reminding them of the value of buying locally.
   “New York State’s economy continues to be very challenging,” Freeman wrote. “With national attention on putting the unemployed back to work, your decision to ‘Buy Direct’ could mean the different between keeping or losing a job for one of your constituents.”

   Speaking of coke, there is something else the soft drink would rather not be confused with -- even though the original formula included it, hence the name.  We'll let Dr. Clapton explain:


-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

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