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Sound of Music

The music isn't stopping at the city's Zoning Board of Appeals. In fact, for some applicants, it's just getting started.

According to the agenda for the board's May 29 meeting, at least two petitioners are seeking permission to allow "live" music at East Side restaurants.

Latisha Andrews wants to "re-establish" a restaurant to include live music at 133 Kingsley Street, between Jefferson Avenue and the Kensington Expressway, north of Best Street. That's the site of Club 133.

Joseph Carrier wants to put in an outdoor patio and have live music at the Big 6 VIP Club, at 600 East North Street, in a residential district right next to the Kensington, also at the Best Street exit.



Tops in Lewiston unveils makeover


One of Tops Friendly Markets’ five franchised locations has undergone an extreme makeover.

Anthony DiMino cut the ribbon on his newly renovated, Center Street store in Lewiston Wednesday. He spent $900,000 over the last two years upgrading every department in the store.

The store has eco-friendly upgrades, such as LED lighting and energy-efficient coolers, all new decor with earth tones and dark wood, and expanded produce, deli, cheese, carry-out cafe, organic and natural food sections.

DiMino’s father, Alphonso DiMino, first opened the Tops franchise in 1964. Most of the original franchised Tops locations were bought back by the company during the 1970s, but five of Tops 153 grocery stores are still franchised.

The Tops Markets on Grand Island Boulevard in Grand Island will unveil its newly remodeled store Monday. The corporation invested roughly $1 million to completely overhaul that store.

-- Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Videos from Buffalo Startup Weekend posted online

The organizers of Buffalo Startup Weekend, which is held to identify the most promising innovations of area tech entrepreneurs, have posted to YouTube videos from the March event.
The first two videos have been posted online and organizers plan to post three more videos -- all featuring a different team -- in advance of the next Buffalo Startup Weekend scheduled for this fall, according to Katie Krawczyk, who handled public relations for the event.
The first video features FreeTime (formerly known as Discovery Calendar), which is developing an app that uses synched calendars to determine the best time for a group of people to meet.
The second video highlights P2Park, a peer-to-peer parking app that helps people find available parking spaces.
Neil Carroll of Nickel City Graphics is producing the videos. 
The March event was held at Medaille College and was the second local version of Startup Weekend, which is held in cities across the country and sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation.
-- Stephen T. Watson

Elmwood Avenue and Williamsville getting frozen yogurt stores


By Samantha Maziarz Christmann

The Elmwood Village will soon get a self-service frozen yogurt shop.

White Rabbit Frozen Yogurt will open at 802 Elmwood Ave. in June. The restaurant will occupy the former Dolci location. 

The shop will offer 40 rotating flavors of frozen yogurt, such as red velvet and cotton candy.

Andy Kandola, the restaurant's part owner, is also readying another location at 1750 Niagara Falls Boulevard in Niagara Falls. 

A competing self-serve frozen yogurt shop is also headed for the Elmwood Village. Yotality has a location planned for 715 Elmwood Avenue, but has not yet announced an opening date. It will open a location at 5759 Main Street in Williamsville near Garrison Road Thursday and has plans to open a third local shop in East Aurora.

Yotality has locations in Pittsford and Victor.

Video: New York's TV advertisement promoting investment in Buffalo

During a news conference today, New York State unveiled a new 30-second television ad that will be shown in other markets touting the Buffalo Niagara region as a good place for investment. The ad, part of the state’s broader advertising campaign to promote investment opportunities statewide, will primarily appear in markets outside Western New York, said Howard Zemsky, the local developer who is co-chairman of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. 

The ad features Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, Emmy Award winning actress Christine Baranski, former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, Zemsky, local businesswoman Sundra Ryce and the Geico Gecko:

Stock charts from Sunday

The stock charts that ran in the Sunday, May 5 editions of The Buffalo News were from a previous date in January.  We apologize for this error, which occurred somewhere in the publishing process.

The charts for the New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ National Market, and the Mutual Funds were all from January 18.

The correct charts for May 5 are available by clicking on this link.

We have instituted internal safeguards to prevent this from happening again. We are very sorry for the error.

-- Grove Potter



Lots of gas stations for sale

Getty Realty Corp. is selling 40 gas stations and 70 commercial and retail properties in 12 states -- including five gas stations and a commercial property in Western New York through a national "sealed bid" auction.

The auction, which is being conducted through NRC Realty & Capital Advisors, involves 42 properties in New York, 14 in Pennsylvania, one in Maryland, one in Illinois, 16 in Massachusetts, four in Rhode Island, one in Vermont, four in Connecticut, one in New Hampshire, 21 in New Jersey, two in Delaware and three in North Carolina.

The properties range in size from 3,250 square feet to 3.5 acres, while the buildings range up to 5,000 square feet.

The local properties include two Getty gas stations in Tonawanda, at 1310 Sheridan Drive and 960 Ellicott Creek Rd.; two in Kenmore at 2355 Elmwood Ave. and 1211 Colvin Blvd.; and a fifth at 2540 S. Park Ave. in Lackawanna, as well as a commercial or retail property in West Seneca. 

Buyers can bid on one, some or all of the properties, with minimum bids set at up to 50 percent of the original asking price. The deadline for bids is July 10.

Getty Realty Corp., a real estate investment trust, was part of gas distributor Getty Petroleum Corp. until they split in 1997.

-- Jonathan D. Epstein

Buffalo Niagara region home sales surge

The action's hot and heavy in the local real estate market. At least, that's the word from the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors.

The trade group says both pending sales and closed sales are up so far this year, as are prices. Homes are selling fast, with multiple offers and bidding wars in many cases. And as the demand takes homes off the market, the inventory isn't being replenished as fast because homeowners aren't listing as many homes for sale. So prices are being pushed up.

The result: It's a seller's market, says MJ Peterson's Phil Aquila.

Aquila says he's not worried about the slowing inventory, which has been falling both locally and nationally for months. As long as sales and prices are up, he's happy.

-- Jonathan D. Epstein

Goodwill Store opens in Batavia

Goodwill Industries of Western New York cut the ribbon on a new retail location in Batavia Wednesday.

The Goodwill Store is in the Value Home Center Plaza, 4152 W. Main Street. The site doubles as a donation center, which accepts donations of clothing, toys and household items from the community. The store resells the donated items.

“Not only do we want to provide shoppers with a modern retail experience, but we want to make the donor’s experience as convenient as possible,” said Lisa Churakos, director of donated goods and retail for the company, in a press release.

It’s the not-for-profit organization’s eleventh store and its first in Genesee County.
The Goodwill was founded in 1902 to provide jobs and training to people who lack education or experience or who have disabilities. The Western New York chapter was formed in 1920.


---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Beware of a scam vacation travel club, BBB warns

A vacation travel club accused of perpetrating scams across the country made a stop in Western New York last week, alledgedly bilking at least one Chautauqua County couple out of nearly $1,500.

A to Z Vacations in conjunction with Millennium Travel sent letters inviting “select” consumers to the Marriott Courtyard Hotel on Genesee Street in Cheektowaga to learn about a lifetime travel membership that would snag members wholesale rates on airfare, hotels, rental cars and significant discounts at popular retailers. Membership pricing topped out at $9,000.

But when new members tried to book travel and redeem discounts, none of the booking phone numbers worked. Its Web site had been deactivated as of Wednesday afternoon.

The Web site lists dozens of complaints about unfulfilled “free” travel vouchers from Millennium Travel. The Better Business Bureau has issued an alert about the company on its Web site, saying its phones have been disconnected and that the BBB’s mail to the company has been returned as undeliverable.

“If you have an unresolved dispute with this company, you may wish to seek legal advice,” the alert on the site reads.

- Samantha Maziarz Christmann

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