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Biz Links: New structure at Rich Products

From Business Today:


A democratic assemblyman from Buffalo has some critical words for Western New York's industrial development agencies. Echoing a common sentiment, Sean Ryan said IDAs only help Erie County communities steal businesses from one another rather than helping the region grow. He made his statement outside of Prime Wines (better known as Premier Liquor), which just got tax breaks to move from its longtime Kenmore location to Amherst.


Rich Products Corp. has 50 locations on six continents, and its new business structure is going to reflect that varied global presence. It is turning from its current dual structure of North American and International groups and is switching to a single organization with five regional units: U.S./Canada, Asia/Pacific, Latin America, Europe/Middle East and South Africa.


The computer coding glitch that has plagued Univera Healthcare parent Excellus is still being fixed. But fortunately, very few Western New Yorkers were affected in the company's inital overcharges of high-deductible plan customers. 


A Cheektowaga recycling company is expanding. Great Lakes Paper Fibres Corp. bought a vacant manufacturing facility and warehouse on Harlem Road for $1.075 million from Tony Trusso's Tru Commercial Development. It will use it for a new facility to handle and process scrap paper.



Profits plunged at Ecology & Environment during the first quarter. The Lancaster-based environmental services firm saw a 43 percent drop in profits, which was attributed to rising sub-contracting and operating costs. Still, revenues were up less than one percent to $42.3 million. 

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

I requested a white Christmas, not a wet one:


Biz Links: Three WNY companies expanding

From Business Today:


A Lancaster manufacturing company will expand with help from tax breaks. WNR Pattern and Tool will nearly double its workforce and its footprint on Pavement Road near Broadway. The Lancaster Industrial Development Agency has approved $84,000 in tax breaks for the $102,000 project. The IDA estimated the project's impact at $1.5 million.


Greatbatch Inc. has acquired an Oregon company for $60 million. Greatbatch bought battery maker Micro Power Electronics. The acquisition will roughly double Greatbatch's presence in the commercial battery market.


A Hamburg maker of industrial, temporary lighting has acquired a Pennsylvania company for $500,000. K&H Industries has acquired Sunlite Safety Products, which makes a rechargeable LED lantern. K&H, which employs 35 to 40 people, hopes they will be able to add jobs as a result of the acquisition.


Noco Energy Corp. has unveiled its new, greener gas station across from the airport. The company tore down a smaller Noco Express store and built a larger one using green methods that will help conserve energy. The gas station boasts infrastructure for electric car charging stations which can be added in the future. The store also has a flight check-in kiosk for travelers and a real-time flight arrival and departure screen.


Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?


Biz Links: New development firm springs up in Amherst

From Business Today:



Three real estate professionals have formed a full-service development firm in Amherst called Manguso Development Co. LLC. Nickolas Manguso of Buffalo Excavating is its CEO, Colby Smith (who spent the last 20 years at the McGuire Development Co.) is president and James A. Manguso Jr.  of architectural firm Lauer Manguso is COO.




Many low-interest disaster loans have been made to Buffalo individual and business survivors of natural and man-made disasters, and the national dollar amount on the loans has hit a giant benchmark. The U.S. Small Business Administration has given more than $50 billion in emergency loans nationwide since 1953.



Thanks to new regulation, insurers in New York are exempt from the state's filing and approval requirements for insuring certain businesses. Insurers no longer have to file their rates with regulators and obtain approval before issuing commercial insurance policies to companies that are large enough to hire knowledgeable staff and know their risks.

 Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Biz Links: Gaymar Industries closing

From Business Today:

Western New York is one of the four big winners across the state in the competition for state money. The local council headed by Howard Zemsky and UB Presdient Satish K. Tripathi put together a presentation that brought home $100 million for local projects. Well done!  

A local medical device maker is closing down its operations here, putting Silicon local Silicon  scull160 people out of work. Gaymar Industries will close its Orchard Park and West Seneca facilities by the end of next year. The company was acquired by Michigan-basedStryker Corp. last year for $150 million. The work being done in Western New York will be transferred in phases toStryker facilities, where local equipment will also be relocated.


First Niagara Financial Group's fundraising efforts have been successful so far. The investment banks underwriting the common stock sale exercised the full option to to buy 3.97 million more shares to Koelmelmeet investor demand for more stock. The sale of common stock is expected to net $467.5 million in proceeds, after underwriting discounts, commissions

and costs.


Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

 Here comes the snow:


Biz Links: First Niagara issuing more stock.

From Business Today:


First Niagara Financial Group has priced its offering of 52.94 million shares of common stock. Common stock is priced at $8.50 per share, while preferred stock will sell for $25 per share.

First Niagara is hoping to raise $450 million from the common stock offering to partly finance its $1 billion acquisition of 195 HSBC branches.


A Long Island law firm is planning a move to Amherst in hopes of soaking up some of the foreclosure work freed up by the Baum firm's closure.

Frenkel Lambert Weiss Weisman & Gordon LLP is soliciting resumes for up to 125 open positions and has been looking for 10,000-square-feet of office space.



The computer coding problems that caused errors in calculating health plan consumer deductibles at Univera Healthcare and parent Excellus Health Plans of Rochester are still being fixed. The problem was discovered and fixed on Oct. 16, the company said, but it still needs to go back and manually review every account that might have been affected.


A Batavia-based company just received three orders worth $7 million.

Graham Corp. has been contracted to supply components for U.S. energy products, including making structural supports and assemblies for a two nuclear power plants and a steam surface condenser for a biomass plant.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

$7 million is a nice paycheck. Here's another Paycheck:


Biz Links: Bankruptcy filings keep falling

From Business Today:


Bankruptcy filings dropped again last month. New filings in Western New York were down 17.5 percent in November. That's the 18th straight month filings have fallen. There were just 531 filings in Buffalo and Rochester's bankruptcy courts in November, which makes it the lowest level for that month in at least a decade. Experts speculate people either can't afford to file or have fewer reasons to file for court protection.


An Amherst dental firm has expanded. Dr. Todd E. Shatkin's Shatkin FIRST has expanded from Aesthetic Associates Centre for Plastic Surgery and Dentistry at 2500 Kensington Avenue into renovated space across the street at 2495 Kensington Avenue. The 40-employee business has grown thanks to the popularity of Shatkin's patented technique for replacing teeth in a quick, cost-effective way.



First Niagara Financial Group plans to raise $1.1 billion in new capital by selling common stock, preferred shares and debt, while cutting its dividend in half. It will use the money to help pay for its purchase of HSBC Bank USA's branch network. First Niagara announced in July it was buying 195 branches across upstate New York and southeastern Connecticut.

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York has been honored by its national umbrella group for its branding campaign. The company's Healthy Changes Everything marketing campaign won the "Best of Blue" award, beating out 27 other plans across the country. Entries are judged by a panel of senior marketing and communications professionals from Fortune 500 companies and other outlets.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Check out this cool flash mob BCBS of WNY staged at the Erie County Fair:


Biz Links: Construction jobs jump.

From Business Today:


Construction jobs in the Buffalo Niagara region have grown at the third fastest pace in the country. Over the last year ending in October, the region had an 18 percent increase in construction jobs. The 3,600-job gain was beat only by Houston with 5,100 jobs and Columbus, Ohio with 4,200 jobs. The job growth is attributed to projects in health care, university and private-sector development.



Home sales in the Buffalo Niagara region were up three percent in October. Closed sales rose to 722 from 703 for the same month a year ago. Both of those years' figures are the region's lowest in at least a decade.  Pending sales fell 7 percent, another historic low. Fewer people listed their homes for sale and prices fell, too. The average home price for October 2011 was $132,205, compared to 2010's $142,269.


Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?


If you're in the market to buy or sell, stay away from this guy:


Biz Links: Bob Brady sent Moog soaring.

From Business Today:

Robert T. Brady has been one of Western New York's finest business leaders for decades
. As he steps down as CEO of Moog, Inc., it's fitting to look back at MOOG, BRADYhow he turned a talented but badly-managed company into an aerospace powerhouse.

To collectors, the shops that sell comic books, sports cards, stamps and coins are the focal points of a passion to collect and treasure things that often take us back to our youth. These shops are fighting COMICSa tough battle to survive in the internet age. Some have adapted, and some continue in their traditional ways.

The AAA has morphed from the old automobile club with roadside assistance and flip-chart Trip Tik maps, into a giant travelAAA chestnut 10 agency and now garage operator. Tom Chestnut, president and CEO, discusses why.

Think you can't build a successful business in Buffalo? Just as Paul Dedrick, president of Buffalo Games. He sold his farm to start the Dedrickpuzzle and game maker and now runs 24-hours shifts to keep up wth demand.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Recent real estate transactions...


Biz Links: Wilmers and Brady, two business titans

From Business Today:


Robert G. Wilmers, chairman and CEO of M&T Bank Corp., has been named Banker of the Year by the editors of American Banker. The New York City-based top financial services trade paper said he represents the "best in banking," citing M&T's consistent high performance and steady expansion.


Moog Inc. has a new chief executive officer. John R. Scannell, the company's COO, had been groomed for the job and stepped in to replace longtime CEO Robert T. Brady officially Thursday. The changing of the guard won't bring a "major shift in strategy or focus" to the company, the new CEO said. Scannell is an Ireland native and was named COO of the Elma-based motion-control equipment maker last year.


Moody's Investors Service has downgraded Seneca Gaming Corp.'s debt rating. Moody's said Seneca Gaming's overall operations are financially solid. But what lead to the downgrade was the Seneca Nation of Indians' decision to seek arbitration in settling a dispute it has with Albany that has halted $333 million in casino revenue payments to the state and several Western New York communities. The downgrade took Seneca from B2 to B1, which is five notches below investment grade.


 When M&T Bank Corp. acquired Delaware's Wilmington Trust Corp. last year, it appeared it acquired one of American Airlines' biggest unsecured creditors, according to papers filed in AMR Corp.'s chapter 11 bankruptcy. But M&T executives clarified that they and Wilmington Trust are trustees rather than creditors, and are therefore safe from any negative consequences in the AMR bankruptcy.

 Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Is that snow out there?


Biz Links: Baum repercussions spread.

From Business Today:


The other shoe has dropped in the Steven J. Baum PC debacle. Pillar Processing, a back-office document processing firm that existed almost solely to process paperwork from the Baum firm's mortgage foreclosures, will close. The Amherst company will lay off 590 full-time and part-time employees in Amherst Feb. 27. Another 20 people will get pink slips on Long Island.



McKinley's Banquet and Conference Center in Blasdell closed abruptly, leaving several people who had already booked weddings and parties there suddenly without a venue. But owners said they are working with all of their customers and a few local businesses to relocate the parties to new banquet facilities in the area. Co-owner Ravi Sabharwal, who also owns Tandoori's Indian restaurant in Williamsville, said he had been losing money at McKinley's for 10 years and had to walk away.


One of three people who had planned to buy the Westwood Country Club has walked away, but his two partners have vowed to move on without him. Real estate developer John Yurtchuk said the deal no longer appealed to him, citing negotiation and approval process delays as well as restrictive contract language.


Western New York's Regional Council presented its strategic plan in Albany Wednesday. Now all it can do is sit back and wait to see if it will be one of four groups to receive $40 million in job-creation funding. Recipients will be announced next month.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

The waiting is the hardest part:



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