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Biz Links: Time to pitch the deal.

From Business Today:


Four representatives from the Western New York Regional Development Council are gearing up to make their pitch to a state advisory panel, in hopes of securing $40 million in economic development funding.

Howard Zemsky, one of those representatives, said while the money won't solve all the region's problems, it will set Western New York on the right path.

In fact, he said, the strategic plan the council put together to prioritize which projects should be eligible for the money will go a long way toward putting the regin's leaders on the same page.



Many people in Western New York may be vehemently against the practice of extracting gas in the Marcellus Shale region via hydraulic fracturing, but an Amherst energy firm says we are benefitting from gas extracted there already.

Energy Mark president Gary Marchiori said heating bills in the region will be $351 less expensive on average this winter than last year, thanks to increased production in the Marcellus Shale and other shale formations across the country. The increased production is driving prices down, he said.


M&T Bank has been rated outstanding in terms of its performance under the federal Community Reinvestment Act by federal bank regulators. It was lauded for its lending, investment and services to the community.

The Community Reinvestment Act was enacted by Congress in 1977 to encourage banks to meet the credit needs of their communities by requiring them to invest everywhere that they take deposits. M&T has had the Federal Reserve Bank's highest CRA rating every year for nearly 30 years.



American Airlines' declaration of bankruptcy is a big story in the transportation industry. But in the Buffalo Niagara region, its real effect is little more than a hiccup. That's because American Airlines has a very small presence here, with just 3 percent of the market. At one time, it had the region's third-highest market share. But increased competition caused its enplanements to drop. Today, American Airlines typically runs just four daily flights to O'Hare International Airport in Chicago out of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Guess who else declared bankruptcy:


Biz links: Competing for state money.

From Business Today:


The Western New York Regional Development Council will take its strategic plan before the state Wednesday. It will present its new regional strategic plan to a five member review committee.

The state will evaluate plans from 10 different regions as they compete for $40 million in stimulus funding. The evaluation process is expected to take a month before any decisions will be made.


NiagaraMetalNiagara Metals in Niagara Falls has bought Ben Singer and Sons in Buffalo. The two scrap metal companies have been working together for 50 years. All Ben Singer and Sons employees were retained, and president Lee Singer was kept on as management. The merged company will now have 30 total employees and four locations. Niagara Metals plans upgrades at the Ben Singer and Sons locations.


 A Cheektowaga collections agency has closed its small branch office in Florida. As a cost-saving measure, Northstar Location Services closed the 12-employee branch and brought the work to its two Cheektowaga offices.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

 Niagara may recycle the metal, but no one can destroy the metal:


Biz links: the foreclosure game

From Business Today:

Ever think of buying a home out of foreclosure, fixing it LOCAL foreclosire sales Scullup and renting it or selling it? It can be a lucrative task, but it can also lead to unforeseen expenses that drain any profits. The most important tip form experts in the field: do your homework. Learn as much about the property as possible: Is the title clear? What repairs are needed? Who is paying closing costs?

He may be best known for his MAG BILLY FUCILLO 1obnoxious television ads, but behind the 'aw shucks' image, Billy Fuccillo is a shrewd businessman.

New Buffalo Impact has built a nice business model helping low income families get their homes insulated. The firm was recently recognized as contractor of the year Winterize 03by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Recent real estate transactions...

Who is getting promoted, hired and honored?  

Biz links: How about a natural gas car?

From Business Today:

National Fuel Gas Co. wants to get you into a natural gas powered UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION CNG STATIONvehicle. It is offering incentives to people buying vehicles and to those opening natural gas stations. For the station builders, the utility company would offer $10,000 to $200,000 to help with upfront costs. For car buyers, the utility will offer unspecified incentives in exchange for long-term contracts to buy fuel. Natural gas vehicles cost $7,000 to $22,000 more than conventional gas cars. The effort is an attempt to get an alternative fuel source started. With gasoline at about $3.70 a gallon and rising, the $1.50 a gallon price of natural gas looks pretty good.

The growing Amherst medical corridor could see another medical office on Sheridan Drive. First Amherst Development wants to build a 90,000-square-foot building on Sheridan Drive at the I-290, Sheridan Commons Pref beside the Marriott Courtyard hotel. It would join the growing number of medical facilities along Sheriday Drive and Maple Road near the Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored... 

Profits and sales are up at Tops, and more stories

From Business Today:


Tops had a "very good" third quarter. Sales and profits were up at Tops Holdings Corp., the Williamsville-based parent of Tops Markets. Inside sales were up by 1.5 percent, to $491 million.

The $7.5 million increase is attributed to a 2.1 percent increase in same-store sales. Frank Curci, Tops president and CEO, said the quarter's numbers show that acquiring 79 bankrupt Penn Traffic Stores last year was a sound strategy.



Matt Quagliano, a former employee of Hunt Real Estate, has lost his latest court battle against his former employer. The State Supreme Court dismissed a case last week that was brought by Quagliano against Hunt, alleging the local realty company tried to smear his good name.

Justice John A. Michalek dismissed the case as without merit. A separate court hearing ordered Quagliano to reimburse Hunt for unpaid advertising and attorney fees. At one time, Quagliano was one of Hunt's most visible realtors.


Steven J. Baum PC has made layoffs at the foreclosure law firm official by filing a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification with the state labor department. A total of 90 employees are scheduled for layoff Feb. 20, 67 of them in Amherst, according to the WARN notice. There is still no word on what will happen to some 600 employees at Pillar Processing, a company that exists solely to process paperwork from the Baum firm.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

What are you doing to prepare for Black Friday?


Trouble in Toyland

For a complete list of the Public Interest Research Group's dangerous toys, click here.

Steven J. Baum PC will close, the Cantalician Center gets a boost and more

From Business Today:


The Steven J. Baum, P.C. will close, resulting in lost jobs for 90 full- and part-time workers. The foreclosure law firm, which was once one of the largest in the state, pulled the plug after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said they would no longer use the firm. The Amherst company has run into trouble time and again for the way it has handled mortgage foreclosure filings. There is no word yet on whether Pillar Processing, which handles paperwork for the firm, will close. If it does, another 600 people will lose jobs.


A nonprofit agency that provides services for individuals with disabilities will get $11 million in tax-exempt funding through an Erie County Industrial Development Agency affiliate. The Cantalician Center for Learning is embarking on a $14.7 million project to renovate the former St. Barnabas Catholic Church and school in Depew. It will consolidate its two existing campuses in Buffalo and Amherst to one in Cheektowaga.



The Buffalo Niagara Partnership, along with business and political leaders throughout Erie and Niagara Counties released their 2012 Regional Agenda Monday. The report lists projects they feel should be a top priority in order to spur economic development in Western New York. Topping the list were actions to complete the Peace Bridge plaza.



 Synacor has filed for an initial public offering. It's the second time the Buffalo Internet services provider will try to raise money by selling stock to the public. The 253-employee company lost $3.4 million in its first failed IPO attempt in 2007, just before the stock market imploded. Synacor hopes the IPO will raise $75 million, which it will use to make acquisitions and develop new products.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Synacor is about to get it on with an IPO. Here's a Synacor employee singing "Let's Get it On" at the company's karaoke competition:



Airport parking savings...

From Business Today:

If you are flying out of the Buffalo Niagara International AirportAIRPARK this holiday season, you can save some money depending on where you park. From the NFTA's own lots to neighboring parking lots and hotels, the options are vast. And for some, it can be cheaper to park rather than taking a cab from home.

Rosa's Home Sores went out of business in a huge bankruptcy filing last year, but the sons of founder Paul Rosa are getting back into the business. Anthony, David and Paul HOME FURNITURE GALLERYRosa are oprning Home Furniture Gallery in two former Rosa's stores.This time it's just furniture - no electronics or appliances.

Ever wonder what the techies mean whan they talk about "the cloud," or "cloud computing?" For many businesses it's a new way of handling technology. they don't buyCloud computing 01 their own computers, the rent usage on far away computers that they connect to via the Internet. There are pros and cons to the rapidly growing technology.

Who is getting promoted and honored?

Some recent real estate transactions...



Jobs, meats and bank boards.

From Business Today:


The employment rate in the Buffalo Niagara region is still growing, but not nearly as quickly as it was during the summer, according to numbers from the Labor Department Thursday. About 1,800 jobs were in October compared to the same month in 2010, resulting in a 0.3 percent annual increase. It's the slowest growth rate since January. The drop is attributed to cutbacks at local restaurants and health care providers.


Battistoni Italian Specialty Meats opened its factory doors Thursday to show how it makes more than 40 kinds of Italian dried sausage products. Owner Eric and Rebecca Naber were on hand to share details of the step-by-step process. They bought the 80-year-old Dingens Street factory from Rich Products in 2010. It was founded by Umberto Battistoni in 1931.



William G. Gisel Jr., the president and CEO of Rich Products, has been elected to the board of KeyCorp. Gisel will give the Cleveland-based bank's board representation from Western New york. KeyCorp does business in the northern part of the country spanning from Maine to Alaska.



 The Clarence Industrial Development Agency met Thursday. It approved an $8,750 sales tax savings for a restaurant called Yolo at 5841 Transit Road in Clarence Center. The agency also said it will work with the Erie County Industrial Development Agency on a project at Perry's Ice Cream in Akron, in which the company will add refrigerated space to its warehouse on Main Street in Clarence along with other upgrades at its Akron headquarters. Perry's may receive a $43,750 savings on sales taxes related to the purchase of machinery and equipment, and both agencies would split the bill.


An industrial building at 11035 Walden Avenue that has been vacant for three years has been sold.

Owners of the defunct Elrae Industries sold the 75,000-square-foot facility to 11035 Walden Ave LLC for $1.25 million. The new owners will lease building to a bridge design firm and a construction company. R.J. Watson and National Bridge Co. are engaged in a joint venture related to bridge-building.



A Main Street business incubator has leased space to a dozen firms. The Main Washington Exchange at 523 Main Street has space for private businesses as well as "coworking" space that can be shared by professionals who do not have office space.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?


Thank God it's Friday:


The public debates hydrofracking, insurance rate hike documents go live and more

From Business Today:


The state's Department of Environmental Conservation held the first of eight public comment sessions on its rules for hydrofracking in New York. Much controversy surrounds the method of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region using hydraulic fracturing. More than 850 people appeared in Dansville for the chance to voice there opinion for or against hydrofracking.

Supporters believe hydrofracking would bring money and jobs into the region, while critics fear the method could pollute the finger lakes and spoil the water for future generations to come.


If you're curious about the details behind insurance companies' rate hike requests, you can now pore over the supporting documentation submitted by insurers. State regulators have posted the documents online.

It's part of an effort toward increased transparency. Past and projected financial information, assumptions and other data submitted by insurers when requesting rate hikes can now be found on the state Department of Financial Services Web site.


 The Public Policy Institute of New York State has put out a report saying New York State should rank much higher in the competition to encourage the growth of life sciences companies because of the state's size and financial strength.

Despite the state's unique abilities and potential in the field, the state still struggles to compete against other states and is losing out on opportunities to create jobs. To remedy that, the report says the state should push for more investment in life sciences firms.


In the Town of Tonawanda, members of the business community met with high school students to shed light on entrepreneurship and what it takes to be successful.

About 25 students from the Charter School for Applied Technologies met in small groups with local small business owners to chat about the perks and pitfalls of owning a business, and what is needed to do it right.The event was coordinated by the school and UB's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership in honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week.


There's more trouble for Amherst law firm Stephen J. Baum PC. First, Freddie Mac put a ban on sending any more business its way. Now, Fannie Mae is barring them, too.

Fannie Mae's newest retained attorney list notes the local firm is "not eligible for new referrals."


A bankrupt Jamestown furniture maker has filed notice with the state that it will close its manufacturing plant in February. The filing comes just two months after Crawford Furniture said it would close its retail stores to focus on manufacturing. Company representatives said it hopes the plant's closing will be temporary while the company ramps up its network of independent retailers to sell through nationally. But if its attempts at securing more national retail channels fails, the plant will close for good and 101 workers will lose their jobs.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Here's one take on health care insurance companies, courtesy of some very famous comedians:


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