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Verizon was ready, more small projects get tax breaks, and wine, wine, wine...

From Business Today:

How many times have we complained that a company was not prepared the the onslaught of customers it gets after a big promotion? The lines are too long,  notVERIZON1  enough supply, untrained workers? Well, Verizon took it to the other extreme on Thursday when it started selling the Apple iPhone. The company did such a good job with its pre-ordering effort for existing customers that the crowds at its stores were modest at best. Store staff members were trained, and there were plenty of them to handle questions. But the crowds didn't show. Our guess is most people are locked into existing phone contracts, so the switchover to the costly iPhone will be more gradual. And less frantic.

The Erie County Industrial Development Agency helped 67 projects last year with $230 million in incentives. Many of the projects were smaller than in the past, as the recession put a damper on big deals. The cost savings of IDA tax breaks are now being figured into almost all projects in the region, large and small.

The campaign being waged by New York State supermarkets to sell wine has become like water dripping Liquor store - wine sales Fin wine Wippert in a cave. The slow, steady force of erosion seeks to break through opposition from the liquor stores. A recent study funded by a supermarket-backed group says letting stores sell wine would raise money for the state. Liquor store owners say it will kill jobs. Drip, drip, drip...

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Let's spill the wine... 

Auto show gleams, business leaders comfortably glum, and Wilmington woes...

From Business Today:

 It's freezing outside, your car is a rolling block of salt and grime and you need a little glimpse of spring. That's what the organizers of the Buffalo Auto Show areBuffalo Auto Show  counting on. The Buffalo Niagara Convention Center is packed with gleaming new vehicles - from high-end imports to electric marvels - and people are loving it. Auto dealers say they are seeing more crowds in their showrooms, and the sales figures are steadily increasing. The show runs through Sunday.

Business leaders across Upstate New York are getting happier, but they're still glum. That's the conclusion of the fourth annual survey by First Niagara Financial Group. About 27 percent of the 645 top level executives say the business climate is "a little better," but 38 percent say it's "about the same" as six months ago. That's more optimistic than last year. But as First Niagara CEO John Koelmel says: "This was years in the making, and it'll be years in the rebound."

M&T Bank has some bad news for employees at Wilmington Trust Corp., the Delaware bank it is buying: Wilmington3 721 back-office jobs are being eliminated in Delaware. It's not a surprise. M&T said it would keep all the jobs where people deal directly with customers, but much of the support work can be absorbed by existing M&T people. It proves the adage: better to be the buyer than the bought.

Ultimate Electronics had a short run here. The discount electronics store that opened last fall in Cheektowaga is closing. The chain of 46 stores is in bankruptcy and going out of business.

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Auto show fun...

A good Rich week, National Fuel moving up to 30, iPhone madness returning...

From Business Today:

Robert Rich Jr., chairman of Rich Products Corp., is having a good week. He was elected chairman of the board of directors of the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, anRobert rich  institution he has served for years. And on Tuesday the New York Times had a front-page story about his investment in a struggling semi-pro soccer team in England. The whimsical story recounted how Rich discovered some royal ancestry, and his wife Mindy bought him the title Lord of Bedlington. So, in the spirit of the title, he has helped sponsor the Bedlington Terriers, a low-level team near Newcastle. All in all, a pretty good week.

National Fuel says it will move 20 to 30 jobs from its Amherst headquarters to Pittsburgh to be closer to its lucrative Marcellus Shale drilling operations. The company had announced the opening of the Pennsylvania office earlier but had not disclosed how many jobs would be affected.

Verizon Wireless stores are gearing up for a rush of technophiles Thursday, when the Apple iPhone goes on sale. The VERIZON EARNS phone sold out quickly in a pre-order sale to existing customers last week. When the stores sell out, people will be able to place orders at the store.

Astronics, the East Aurora-based maker of aircraft electronics and lighting systems, returned to making a profit in the fourth quarter. And CEO Peter GundermannAstronics 02  is optimistic sales will be strong in the coming year.

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Some Bedlington Terriers action..


 

Huffington windfall, home sales stable, making a move for National Fuel...

From Business Today:

It's got to be nice when a long-term investment turns into a bonanza. Softbank, the Buffalo-based investment vehicle headed by Jordan Levy has had two such winners recently. Last week it sold its share of KIT digital Inc., a global provider of cloud-based video AOL HUFFINGTON POST management services based in Prague, Czech Republic. And on Sunday, the sale of the Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million was a high-profile success for the local firm. Softbank was the first institutional investor in the online magazine headed by liberal pundit Arianna Huffington. Levy wasn't saying how much Softbank made on the deal, but he did call it "a great day."

The local real estate market continues on its stable, secure course. Home sales were almost identical to December a year ago. Given all the turmoil in the national real estate market, results like Fin homes Wippert that sound absolutely stellar. There were 743 homes sold in December 2010, compared to 744 the year before. And the average price topped $136,000, up from about $127,000 a year earlier.

National Fuel Gas Co. is having so much success in the Marcellus shale region of Pennsylvania that it is opening an office near Pittsburgh and moving a bunch of jobs down there. The company has not said how many jobs will be moved from its Amherst headquarters, but we're assuming the people will be given the option to move. And in this economy of slow job growth, we're betting a few people will be packing up.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

 Arianna Huffington interview... 

Saving the Bills, Goodwill competitor, auto show returns...

From Business Today:

For years Goodwill Industries, the Salvation Army and Amvets AMVETS have operated large, successful thrift stores across Western New York. Now a for-profit company is moving in on their turf. Savers, a Washington-based company, is opening a thrift store in Hamburg. It links up with a local charity, and sells donated goods and donates some of the proceeds to the charity. 

The Buffalo Auto Show opens Wednesday at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, and the stars of the show may be the hybrid and AUTO SHOW electric cars. The Chevy Volt will be on a rotating display, as will some other gas sippers. But don't worry. There will be plenty of muscle cars, too.

Here are the recent real estate transactions in Erie and Niagara counties.
 

   

Will Barbie take him back?

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Ken doll (his hair still looks perfect).

Kendoll

To mark the milestone, Mattel Inc. -- parent company of East Aurora's Fisher-Price -- is asking the public to decide whether Ken and Barbie should get back together.

Barbie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voters can weigh in at  http://www.barbieandken.com/ Results will be announced on Valentine's Day.

If Ken succeeds, maybe Aqua will record a song just for him, too:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We're still in the Super Bowl (sort of)

Think "Dallas" and "Buffalo" and "Super Bowl," and unpleasant memories flood to mind. (Unless you count Don Beebe knocking the ball out of Leon Lett's hand.)


But there is a local tie to Super Bowl XLV in Dallas on Sunday. Amherst-based Birdair supplied the fabric membrane roofing and clamping to create what would become the world’s longest retractable roof at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

CowboysStadium1

Birdair is known for its work on roofing for stadiums and arenas around the world. The NFL says the retractable roof at Cowboys Stadium will be closed for The Big Game, so Birdair's work will be on full display. (Impress your friends with this detail at the party.)

-- Matt Glynn

 

 

Here's Don Beebe epitomizing hustle in Super Bowl XXVII in January 1993 :

 

 

Dentist meltdown, Larkin District housing, new bank boss, and GM plant tours...

From Business Today:

Things must have been terribly wrong at Allcare Dental when it decided to suddenly close all its offices across the country on Dec. 31. The abruptness of the Larkin men's club closing and the fact that the owners did not tell anyone has triggered a cascade of legal problems. People have struggled to get their dental records, others complain of paying for services not rendered, and attorneys general in some states are considering legal action. The company, headquartered in a tiny office in Clarence, is preparing to file for bankruptcy. In hindsight, there must have been a better way to close up shop.

The gentrification of the Larkin District continues, with plans to convert a sturdy two-story building behind the Larkin at Exchange Building inot apartments. the Larkin Development Group headed by Howard Zemsky is continuing to transform the former warehouse area just east of downtown on Seneca Street into an elegant place to work and live. Earlier this week the company announced plans to build a new service center nearby for Capital Management Services. Now the company plans to convert the former Larkin Men's Club into apartments.

The new CEO of Lake Shore Bancorp. will be paid $225,000 a year in salary as he takes over for lontime CEO David Mancuso, who retired last week. Daniel P. Reininga, a former real estate investor who has been on the bank board since 1994 and bank COO since 2001, took over the top spot last Friday.

Ever wonder what it's like inside the giant GM engine plant on River Road in the Town of Toanawanda? GM PLANT 2 Well, the plant is hosting an open house on June 17. It gives the community an opportunity to see what all the excitement has been about as GM emerges from bankruptcy and retakes it's position as a global leader.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?





Did someone call for a dentist?
  




      

Making more things, banking with a brand, and more coffee please...

From Business Today:

Manufacturing in the Western New York region is chugging along, growing slowly. That's about as good as it gets in manufacturing these days. The area purchasing New Buffalo Shirt Fin shared jobs Wippert managers index has been positive for four consecutive months, showing that the folks who make things around here are having some success. The expectations are that the growth will stay slow for a few more months before - finger crossed - really picking up.

How much is a brand worth? If your a bank, apparently billions. BrandFinance studies such things, and it's latest list puts M&T M&T bank Bank's brand at No. 137, worth $1.15 billion. First Niagara Bank is ranked No. 407 with a brand worth $233 million. HSBC Bank, a global giant, is ranked third with a brand valued at $28.5 billion. The No. 1 bank brand on the list of 500 is Bank of America, weighing in at $30.6 billion.

The new Coffee Culture restaurant in Ellicottville has been sold to a franchisee called Sagittarius Serpentarius Holdings. Managing partners are Michael Meade, formerly of Buffalo, and Joe Ponti, of New Jersey. You coffee heads can all relax, the restaurant Ellicottville 1 - ruberto will remain a Coffee Culture.

Who is getting hired, promoted and  honored?



Speaking of a factory...

 


GEICO boss lauds WNY, Cuomo wants more power, new building in the Larkin District...

From Business Today:

The CEO of GEICO Corp., Olza M. "Tony" Nicely says his company has found an excellent workforce in Western New York, and he attributes the company's success to its people here and around the country. Speaking at the 19th annual Prospectus PremiereNicely  sponsored by The Buffalo News, Nicely outlined the history of the company and the dire circumstances it survived in the 1970's. He also thanked News Publisher Stanford Lipsey for luring GEICO to the region.
 
Gov. Cuomo's budget calls for replacing the Power for Jobs program with another iteration that will set aside more power for economic development by taking it from a residential program. Residential  power bills will be reduced by a discount to offset the loss. Cuomo Niagara Power Project_001 and others believe that boosting businesses with the low cost power will yield greater benefits to the state.

Capital Management Services, a collection agency now in the Larkin Buiulding, is planning to move into a new office building that will go up next door. The company says the building will house 1,000 workers.  Larkin Development, the development company run by Howard Zemsky, will beginLarkin 111 Hydrolic 2  building the two-story, 56,000-square-foot building  in the spring if the project gets the tax breaks and approvals being requested.

Who is getting hired, honored and promoted?

From "Tony" Nicely's speech...

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