You'll soon notice a difference in Canadian currency the next time you cross the border. The money has undergone a redesign to make it more durable and secure and to prevent counterfeiting and fraud. $100 and $50 bills have already gone into circulation, $20 bills will come out later this year, and $10 and $5 bills are due by the end of 2013.
M&T Bank Corp. has released its Economic Outlook Survey, in which it posits that the U.S. economic recovery may now be more sustainable. Business confidence is increasing in upstate New York, jobs have grown and there has been an increased output of goods and services, the survey concludes. Among nearly 600 companies that M&T does business with in 7 states, about one-third plan to hire more workers within the next six months.
Check out what real estate sold in Erie and Niagara County for the week ending Feb. 17.
First Niagara Financial Group is just 60 days away from officially closing its purchase of HSBC Bank USA's upstate New York branches, and it's gearing up for the switch. It has begun practicing its systems transfer that will convert HSBC accounts and loans to First Niagara May 18. First Niagara sent notifications about the change to current HSBC customers a few weeks ago.
The former Daffodil's restaurant on Maple Road in Williamsville has a new owner. Mike Rizzo, who owns Banchetti by Rizzo's restaurant and banquet facility, closed the deal Monday, paying $700,000 for the restaurant. It was most recently operated under the name Verbena, but has sat empty since 2010. It will likely become a restaurant and banquet facility again.
Western New York is a terrific place to be in the car business. The weather beats cars up, and the residents love buying new ones - and they are loyal customers. They proved it in February, driving up sales 6.4 percent from the previous year. Most dealers said they have not seen a big panic from buyers due to $4 a gallon gas. Seems we like our trucks and SUV's, too.
The former Bristol-Myers Squibb plant on Forest Avenue in Buffalo is apparently a world-class facility. For years the company made Kerri lotion and other ointments there. Then a Canadian thrid-party producer bought the place, operated there for a few years and then moved its operations to Canada. The plant, near Buffalo State College, has been bought by a California firm that plans to lease it out in parts. But first it is auctioning all the stainless steel vats and other equipment.
The hard work that has gone into the Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the region and other cultural attractions is showing its value in the growth of cultural tourism. And local promoters expect it to continue to flourish.
The Occupy Buffalo movement came to Clarence to speak to that town's Industrial Development Agency. The Occupy people don't like the way towns dole out tax breaks that are paid for by the entire region and state. During a cordial discussion, IDA members said they are careful to grant tax breaks only to projects that they think will boost the economy.