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Candy companies merge, controversy arises at auction, West Valley cleanup moves forward

From Business Today:


A Buffalo candy company has merged with a Virginia-based confectioner. Tzetzo Brothers on Military Road and Wythe Will Distributing announced Wednesday they would join forces and share leadership. Both companies make branded and private label candy. The Virginia company is known for its Lindt chocolate and Jelly Belly jellybeans. Together, as Wythe Will Tzetzo, they are expected to have annual revenues of more than $200 million.



More than 60 homes and apartment buildings in Amherst, Cheektowaga and the Town of Tonawanda were auctioned last week to settle the estate of a major local builder who passed away in 2007. Cash Cunningham conducted the auction ordered by Erie County Surrogate's Court. But controversy arose when the complexities surrounding one bundle of properties led to misunderstandings and left potential bidders confused and angry.


A contaminated area in West Valley, just south of Springville, will start the next phase of its shutdown thanks to a multi-million-dollar contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. CH2M Hill-B&W West Valley, a partnership between engineering giants CH2MHILL and Babcock & Wilcox of Charlotte, N.C., &W won the contract to begin phase one of work at the West Valley Demonstration Project. The site was the country's only privately operated commercial nuclear fuel-processing facility.


We got a sneak peek at Wythe Will Tzetzo's newest factory:



Partnership reports, unions and Kaleida avoid strike, and benefit corporations not just about money

From Business Today:


The Buffalo Niagara Partnership gave its annual report to about 150 members at the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts Tuesday. The economic development group's president, Andrew J. Rudnick, credited the Partnership with helping get Republicans elected and securing low-cost hydropower to state businesses.



Kaleida Health and three unions came to a tentative contract agreement early Tuesday morning. The Local 1168, Communications Workers of America; Local 1199, Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers East and Local 17, International Union of Operating Engineers worked out a tentative deal with Kaleida Health and will now bring it to the more than 8,000 union members they represent for approval. The move avoided a strike authorization vote that was scheduled Tuesday.


 New York State passed legislation this month allowing companies to seek benefit corporation status, meaning they are focused not just on profits but on doing public good. The pending law, which is not yet defined, would require benefit corporations to be audited by a third party to ensure they are pursuing their goals and not merely putting on a front to garner goodwill with the public.


 Are minority- and women-owned businesses getting their fair share of county contracts? Some legislators are pushing for a Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Utilization Advisory Board that would monitor and help enforce the local laws in place to be sure they do. But a spokesman for County Executive Chris Collins said the county is already exceeding its contract goals and that the push for a board is simply a political move.

 Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Here's some John Lee Hooker to help you over the hump:



Car sales down, biotech firm wins grant, union workers approve contracts

From Business Today:


Financial aftershocks of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami are still being felt in Western New York. This time, it's showing up in car sales. Overall new car sales in the region were down slightly in the region last month, partly because a lack of inventory on some Japanese car models decreased sales. American companies are focusing more on fuel efficient cars as gas prices rise, and their sales are increasing accordingly.


United Biochemicals, a Niagara County biotech manufacturer, was awarded a $150,000 capital grant by Empire State Development.The fast-growing company will use the grant to toward a massive $1 million project to renovate and upgrade facilities at the Sanborn-based company. The company will also be adding several job positions to its staff including engineers, marketing professionals and secretaries.


Unions representing more than 400 workers at three nursing homes have approved union contracts, according to Local 1199 Service Employees International Union. Absolut at Gasport Nursing Home's 55 unionized workers, Oakwood Nursing Home's 185 workers and Newfane Rehabilitation Health Care Center's 160 workers have all negotiated for pay increases and better job security. Absolut and Oakwood will see immediate pay increases. Newfane agreed to an initial wage freeze with pay increases coming in 2012 and 2013.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Having trouble getting motivated today? Maybe it's time for a mirror pep talk:


Amusement park deals, an outsiders view, and energy drink campaigns...

From Business Today:

Thinking about taking the kids to an area amusement park? The parks have a variety of specials,from online ticket coupons to special evenings prices. It pays to check them out.

Sometimes it takes an outsider's perspective to point out the best things about our region. A family from New Jersey who has been lured to Western New York has plenty of good things to say about our region's attributes, from the commutes, to the housing prices, to the active entertainment scene.  It's refreshing to hear.

The energy drink business is an unusual one. The products are barely distinguishable beverages of sugar and caffeine, but they are targeted to very specific markets. Two Western New York firms are trying to muscle their way into the business using very different approaches. Vital Energy is going for the young male crowd with a funny guerrilla marketing campaign full of pranks, while Pure Energy is aiming for a more sophisticated market.

Recent area real estate transactions...

This may be the all-time greatest mon-having-a-complete-meltdown video as part of a Vital Energy drink prank. This is the thanks mom gets????


Senecas get in on development action, Lockport bar sells and local farmers offered aid

From Business Today:


The Seneca Nation of Indians hosted economic development officials from Western New York and Pennsylvania Thursday looking for ways to work together on future projects. The Senecas said they would like to play a bigger role in economic development in order to benefit the nation and wanted to brainstorm with officials to find ways to make that happen.

"Good business knows no boundaries," said Robert Odawi Porter, the Seneca Nation president.

About 40 economic officials outlined current economic programs and initiatives during the program's first session, then the Senecas outlined their economic goals and opportunities.


A popular Lockport restaurant is being sold to its current management team and bartender. Manager Chris Bell and assistant manager and bartender Brian Junke will take over the loan on Taboo restaurant in Ulrich Center from David L. Ulrich. The Greater Lockport Development Corp. approved the transfer of the balance of a 2007 loan to the  new owners. The balance on the city's loan is $115,000.

The bar will be renamed Lock 34 Bar & Grill, have extended hours, an expanded menu and lower bar pricing.


 To offset losses from Spring storms, farmers in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Erie counties may be eligible for Farm Service Agency disaster emergency loan assistance. Family Farmers can apply for loans at 3.75 percent interest at the FSA office at 3542 Turner Road in Jamestown. The phone number is 664-2351.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Happy Friday everyone:


Ruling upheld in local espionage case, Bethune Lofts coming, quit-smoking aid hopes for fast track review...

From Business Today:


A ruling in favor of Marcone Supply has been upheld by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court. The ruling bars competitor 1st Source Servall from soliciting business from 640 of Marcone's customers. The Cheektowaga company claims two of its former employees used inside information to lure clients away to Servall when tasked with establishing three new Northeast distribution sites. Marcone claims the two Buffalo-are executives, Mark J. Creighton and Karl P. Rosenhahn, stole a confidential list of 3,300 Marcone customers then tried to cover up the theft by destroying evidence. Pictured at right is Marcone's director of Information Technology.


A former University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Design site at 2915 Main Street is one step closer to becoming loft apartments. A Ciminelli Real Estate affiliate purchased the former Buffalo Meter Co. building for $1.05 million and plans a $12.5 million renovation. To be called the Bethune Lofts, the six-story building will have 87 unique one- and two-bedroom apartments with a penthouse on the top floor. 



A Clarence company has filed an application for an "investigational new drug" with the Food and Drug Administration and is hoping to fast-track the review of a smoking cessation aid. 22nd Century Group is hoping a faster review will allow it to bring its low-nicotine cigarettes to the market as soon as possible. The company should know within a month whether its request has been granted. If it is, the company hopes it could receive FDA approval during the first quarter of 2013.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

N-O S-M-O-K-I-N-G!



Dogs go to work, market-rate housing gets a break and the FTC investigates high gas prices

 From Business Today:


Friday is Take Your Dog to Work Day for participating businesses in Western New York. Workers at some companies are encouraged to bring their pets to work for the day as a way to encourage animal adoption and raise money among co-workers. The tradition was started by Pet Sitters International in 1999.


 Sylvia's Place, a 48-unit senior housing project in Elma, won $414,000 in tax breaks from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency. There was some debate over whether the $3 million project, which offers market-rate housing, should be eligible for breaks. But the vote eventually passed 11-2.


The Federal Trade Commission will look into high gas prices to see if anti-competitive or manipulative practices are to blame. It will look at oil refiners, producers, transporters, marketers and traders to see if any of them had any part in manipulating pricing.



Who is being hired, promoted and honored?


New coffee machine, Japan quake sending market waves, inventors learning the biz...

From Business Today:


McCullagh Coffee made an investment in both its company and the environment with its latest purchase. The Swan Street company bought a $225,000 "form and fill" machine that will allow it to package coffee faster and use an eco-friendly package that will biodegrade in landfills. The purchase was made with the help of a $40,000 grant from Empire State Development and a $10,000 incentive from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. President and CEO Warren Emblidge Jr., left, shows Ken Schoetz, senior vice president at Empire State Development what the new packaging machine can do.


Investment strategist Robert Froehlich made a stop in Buffalo Tuesday with some bold news, saying the  Japanese earthquake and tsunami will "have the single greatest impact on your portfolio as any external event in the last 25 years." The disaster could fuel inflation, spur faster economic growth in Japan and keep interest rates low through the summer before possibly spiking in the spring.




Inventors and entrepreneurs spent three days honing their ability to bring their ideas to the marketplace. Seven teams of hopefuls immersed themselves in a pre-seed workshop on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, where they pitched their ideas to industry experts and received coaching and feedback in return. The teams hoped the skills they learned would help them polish their presentations and eventually land them investment money for a start-up.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

The Ice Ball is back at the Statler and Canadians are hard at work underground

From Business Today:


The new owner of the Statler Towers is already planning its coming out party.  Mark Croce is hoping to have the historic building ready in time to host the annual Ice Ball New Year's Eve celebration. Tickets for the high-end event should be on sale by August, with an estimated price tag of $100 to $150.


CLM Real Estate sold its Williamsville office to a local investor for $400,000. Susan Pleskow bought the building and will rent the second floor to her husband, Stephen J. Schop. Schop will use the space for his boutique real estate law firm.

Get an in-depth peek at a massive project going on underground in Niagara Falls, Ontario. For the past five years, 400 workers have been digging and cementing the six-mile Niagara Tunnel, which is 47 feet in diameter. The tunnel will allow Canada to increase the amount of energy it generates from the water.

The Earned Income Tax Credit was a boon for families and the local community this tax season. It brought $6.4 million in refund money this year. The Volunter Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) run throug the United Way and the University at Buffalo helped hundreds of people apply.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?



MoneySmart links from June 20

Here are links that were included in the June 20 MoneySmart section.

Auto loan cost calculator: Click here.


Coupon websites: Click here.

Couponing 101: Click here Click here

Mommy Savers: Click here


From the savings site story: Click here. Click here. Click here. Click here. Click here. Click here. Click here. Click here.


Here are some other savings sites that weren't included in the story: Compare dentists. Click here.

   … Share stuff with neighbors. Think tools,
camping gear. Click here.

   … Sell your old cell. Click here.

   … Hire lawyers by reverse auction, meaning
they bid for your business. Click here.

   … app: Manage your account for trading
books, music, movies and games. Click here.

   … Financial planning site. Click here.

   … Deals near you. Also apps for iPhone, Android
and Blackberry. Click here.

   … Site's not new, but its Virtual Repairman
is. Click here.

   … Deal aggregator, including daily deals. Click here.

   … Wedding planning service with up to 10
percent cash back. Click here.

   … The site for cheap-but-good stuff
recommends cheap stuff near you, mostly restaurants.
Recommendations also activated by FourSquare check-in if
you're following Cheapism. Click here.



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