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Benefitting a little from loss elsewhere.

From Business Today:

Yahoo

Despite bad news for many Yahoo employees, there is good news for the company's East Coast data center here. Yahoo is laying off 14 percent of its workforce, amounting to about 2,000 workers who will be out of jobs. It's the sixth mass layoff in the past four years. But company officials said they will actually be adding workers to its Lockport location, according to State Sen. George D. Maziarz, who said he spoke with the company. Yahoo has not yet disclosed how many jobs might be added.

CEOFonstein

Shares at Cleveland BioLabs sank dramatically Wednesday after news hit that the company's anti-radiation sickness drug wouldn't be getting funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Share value dropped by 23.85 percent, or 57 cents, to $1.82 per share. The company said it will continue to develop its Protectan 502 drug, will look for new sources of funding and will resubmit an application to the Department of Health and Human Services agency.

Greenfields

GreenFields Continuing Care Community in Lancaster is proceeding with plans to add a new wing for patients with dementia and other memory problems. If the Lancaster Town Board approves site plans at its April 16 meeting, construction at the facility could begin as early as next month. In its first phase of construction, Niagara Lutheran Health System will build four, L-shaped buildings, around a central courtyard, which would hold private apartments for 12 to 15 residents, along with common kitchen areas and living rooms.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Wouldn't it be great if the Beatles had written a jingle for Greenfields? It might sound something like this:

 

Jobs and great supermarkets.

UnemploymentFrom Business Today:

 

Unemployment levels in the Buffalo Niagara region are at their second-highest since the 1980s. The local unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent for February. That rate is actually higher than it was last year during that month, when it registered at 8.8 percent. Our local unemployment rate is lower than the state's 9.2 percent rate, but higher than the national rate of 8.7 percent.

 

  Tops

Wegmans and Tops have both landed on a Consumer Reports list of rankings compiled through an extensive study of shopper satisfaction. Wegmans topped the list, with the highest overall shopper satisfaction reading of all 52 stores included in the survey, while Tops landed six spots from the bottom. Despite its poor showing, Tops didn't receive any poor ratings, and even received a good rating for cleanliness.
Republic

Republic Steel's Lackawanna bar mill is set to benefit from the ratification of a new labor contract and an investment in the company's Ohio plant. The labor contract, which affects 262 workers in Lackawanna, includes lump-sum cash payments, wage increases and a continuation of fully paid health care coverage. An investment in a new furnace at the company's Ohio plant means more work will be shifted here.

 

Christopher C. Booth will succeed David Klein as CEO of Lifetime Healthcare Companies, the parent of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in Rochester and Univera Healthcare in Buffalo. Booth has been president of the Excellus health plan division since March 2011. He was named executive vice president and chief operating officer of the entire company in January 2010. He joined the company in 2004 as chief administrative officer and general counsel, and was promoted to executive vice president for commercial markets and health care affairs in January 2009.

 Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Business confidence increasing

From Business Today:

Gateway

After 18 months of major renovations, the Genesee Gateway building is officially open with its first tenants. Two investment firms that spun off from the now defunct, 80-year-old Harold C. Brown & Co. investment firm have moved in: Winthrop Financial and Pratt Collard Advisory Partners. Other tenants include the U.S. Passport Office, the Department of State and NBT Solutions. The rehabbed complex is located in a very visible spot at the corner of Genesee and Oak Streets.

CEOWilmers

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.

RealEstate

Check out what real estate sold in Erie and Niagara County for the week ending Feb. 17.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

From MoneySmart:

Text

Want to send text messages for free? Learn how in today's MoneySmart cover story.

Happy Monday!

 

Buffalo needs more venture capital

From Business Today:

Hochul

Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul, D-Amherst, organized an economic action forum with several local leaders that was held at the University at Buffalo Tuesday. Elected officials, community organizers and business leaders and owners gave their thoughts on what it will take to rebuild Western New York. The region needs more venture capital, better ties among companies and colleges and locally-driven solutions, rather than plans from Albany, said Howard Zemsky, a Buffalo developer and the regional co-chairman of the Western New York Economic Development Council. 

JobSeekers

Unemployment in the Buffalo Niagara region rose to its second-highest rate in 22 years for January. The local unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent during the first month of the year. During January 2010, the unemployment rate jumped as high as 9.6 percent here. By comparison, the rate was 5.6 percent in January 2007, before the recession hit. 

Directair

One day after cancelling all its flights without notice and stranding travelers at the Niagara Falls International Airport, Direct Air has announced it will suspend all service until May 15. The company said it had to ground Monday's flights because it couldn't afford the bill to fuel up its planes. Direct Air said the two month hiatus will allow it to address "operational matters." The company is telling travelers who have booked flights before May 15 to arrange for a refund with their credit card company.

Synacor

 Synacor Inc. made a good showing during its first quarter as a publicly traded company. The Buffalo-based Internet content provider earned $7.7 million, or 34 cents per share, during the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $369,000, or 2 cents per share, a year ago. $6.1 million of its profits came from an income tax benefit stemming from a reduction in the company’s deferred tax assets.

  CEOCropp

Independent Health has been ranked number one by J.D. Power & Associatesfor the third year. The Williamsville-based insurance company ranked highest in customer satisfaction out of 13 companies in New York and New Jersey.

 

GreatWolf

The company that owns the Great Wolf Lodge water park in Niagara Falls, Ontario has a new owner. Wall Street private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC said Tuesday it bought Great Wolf Resorts for $703 million. 

 

County ExecutiveMark Poloncarz has criticized the tax breaks doled out by local economic development agencies, and Lancaster Supervisor Dino J. Fudoli is not happy about it. At Tuesday's Lancaster IDA meeting, he accused Poloncarz of making changes to agency policies in order to reward political allies and suck up to union groups.  

CEONewman

Noco has bought three lubricant distribution warehouses in Pennsylvania from Windward Petroleum. The purchase widens Noco's lubricant distribution territory, which will now stretch from Buffalo to Vermont, and Ottawa, Ont., to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

It's Wednesday. That's halfway to Friday:

  

A delay at the new Niagara Falls train station?

From Business Today:

Railway

A social justice group is calling for more minority and women hires on a Niagara Falls project supported by a $16.5 million federal grant. The Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope wants a study conducted to be sure hiring goals on the third phase of the International Railway Station and Intermodal Transportation Center reflect the demographics of Niagara Falls. The $25 million project will include a new Amtrak station.

Clevelandbiolabs

Protectan, a drug designed for patients in the advanced stages of cancer, has started an advanced clinical trial. The drug was developed by Buffalo biotechnology company Cleveland BioLabs. The drug is meant to treat radiation sickness, but the company says it has also been successful treating cancerous tumors in animals.

InstallsInc

Best Buy's Geek Squad has announced a change in its top brass, but that won't affect a local company that relies on the Geek Squad for a lot of its business. Installs Inc. has handled Best Buy's installation work for 15 years and recently signed another two-year contract. The company employs about 325 people in the Buffalo area.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

It sure is foggy downtown this morning:

 

Sports conference skips Buffalo

From Business Today:

Gallagher-CohenVisitBN

Buffalo had been on a roll booking amateur sporting events, landing several of them over the past few years. But it just lost its bid for the National Association of Sports Commissions conference. Buffalo had been a finalist to host the conference, but the event's organizers said the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center was not up to snuff and that it didn't want to subject its attendees to the many vacant store fronts on Main Street. Snagging the event would have meant more than $1 million in economic impact.

QuadGraphics

 A vacant Depew printing plant has been given a reduced assessment. The 850,000-square-foot former Quad/Graphics property on George Urban Boulevard has had its assessed value cut from $5.6 million to $4.3 million. The Wisconsin-based Quad Graphics bought the plant in 2010 before shutting it down in 2011. It's now up for sale.

Gillibrand 

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand has sent a letter to the Commerce Department asking it to deny three pending Foreign-Trade Zone manufacturing subzone applications that would give an unfair advantage to metal imports from China and Russia. If the applications are approved, it would make survival difficult for Globe Specialty Metals, a company in Niagara Falls that employs 100 people, she said.

LongHorn

Western New York will have its first LongHorn Steakhouse within the next year. The steakhouse chain just inked a deal to build its first local restaurant at Orchard Park's Quaker Crossing plaza. The Orlando-based company will tear down a former Montana's Cookhouse and construct a new 6,000-square-foot building.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

 Today is the first day of March. It seems to have come in like a lamb:

 

Real estate sales and teacher woes

From Business Today:

Homesales

Check out the real estate listings for Erie and Niagara Counties for the week ending Dec. 30. The highest price paid in Erie County was $1.27 million, while the average price was $151,137. In Niagara County, the highest price tag was $351,250 with an average sales price of $90,520.

 ElizabethNicastro

Competition is intense in Western New York for jobs in education. The teacher's union estimates that 17,000 positions have been lost over the last two years, and further cuts are being made due to budget restrictions. At the same time, colleges are pumping out more and more teachers, and graduates are going years without landing work. In elementary education, local experts estimate there are 1,500 applicants for every one job opening.

NadjaPiatka

 This week's Strategy for Success looks at Nadja Foods, the empire built by Nadja Piatka and the low-calorie, low-fat snacks she sells at restaurant and grocery chains. Piatka traces the steps she took to build her Buffalo-based business even when times were tough and creditors were beating down her door. Today, her recipes are mass produced and sold at such powerhouse corporations as McDonald’s, Subway, Wegmans and Price Chopper supermarkets.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

 

From MoneySmart:

 

What did you think of this year's crop of Super Bowl commercials?

 

State pension reform approaching

From Business Today:

Cuomo

The local business community is getting behind a proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo's Tier VI pension reform aims to control state employee pension costs and save $123 billion over 30 years by limiting benefits for new hires. Andrew J. Rudnick, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and Heather C. Briccetti, president of the Business Council of New York State, came out in support of the plan Thursday, saying the reform is a good step toward getting the state into better financial shape and making the region more friendly to businesses. But not everyone is happy about it.

LakeShore

Profits slipped at Lake Shore Bancorp during the fourth quarter. The Dunkirk-based parent company of Lake Shore Savings Bank saw profits dip 34 percent. The decline is attributed to a $500,000 write-down for an investment the bank made in an unnamed payment processing startup. Profits were $587,000, or 10 cents per share, down from $895,000, or 16 cents per share,  during the same period last year.

Witkowski

Five Star Bank will eliminate its top executive position in retail banking, a position that paid $426,757 last year. The Warsaw-based Financial Institutions subsidiary attributed the move to improving the company's efficiencies. The duties filled by the former executive vice president of the bank and regional president for the bank's Western Region,John J. Witkowski, will now be doled out to other executives. Witkowski is a former NFL quarterback.

 

Cobb

Wegmans has issued a recall of hard-cooked eggs and prepared foods made with them. Eggs sourced at Minnesota-based Michael Foods were found to contain the bacteria that causes listeriosis, which can result in illness and death.

The eggs were sold hard-cooked, pickled and Kosher and also used to make prepared foods. Fresh eggs are not affected.

No illnesses have been reported associated with the recall.

 

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

 Happy Friday!

 

Minimum wage debate

From Business Today:

TeresaBiersbachAlbany is proposing a raise in the minimum wage, from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour. There's some debate over whether that is a good thing.

Workers say the extra scratch would be a welcome boost as they attempt to eke out a living. But some employers are fighting the change, saying it will increase their cost of doing business.

Energyaudit

The New York State Energy Research Development Authority rolled out its On-Bill Recovery Loan program Monday. The program allows homeowners to finance energy-efficient upgrades through NYSERDA, rolling the payments into their monthly utility bill. The amount of the monthly payment is designed to mirror the amount of savings realized by the home improvements, to keep utility bills down.

 

CoFounderGeorgeChamoun

A Buffalo Internet service provider is raising its expectations and its stock price as it gets ready to take itself public next month. Synacor had originally planned to raise $75 million with it's initial public offering. But now, with profits expected to jump from $3.8 million to $4.2 million, Synacor said it expects to sell 7.8 million shares at $10 to $12 each, resulting in $94 million.

  

HealthNow

BlueCross Blue Shield of Western New York's parent company HealthNow New York is making a major change to its computer system. Within five years, HealthNow will transition away from its current Facets operating system, and move into the Core Operating System Transition (COST) will eventually be hosted at another arm of Blue Cross in South Carolina.  

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

It's only Tuesday? Really?

 

Biz Links: Local labor market screeches to a halt

From Business Today:

Jobfair

The local labor market has screeched to a stop. The Buffalo Niagara region added no jobs this November over the same month a year ago. It's the first time in 12 months we didn't see a job increase, and the worst numbers we've had in 16 months. Despite a much celebrated increase in construction jobs, most other sectors were weak. The private sector added 600 jobs over the past year.

Clarence

After giving a questionable grant given to the Clarence Chamber of Commerce, the Clarence Industrial Development Agency is reviewing its grant policies. The State Authorities Budget Office mentioned the Clarence IDA in an October report, raising doubts as to whether the $10,000 grant was in line with general municipal law.

Turbine

A wind farm planned in Wyoming County just got state approval. The Stony Creek Energy wind farm project, set for the Town of Orangeville, was approved by the state Public Service Commission on Thursday. The town will be host to 59 wind turbines up to 430 feet tall. It will receive $667,000 annually for 20 years from a Chicago company called Invenergy. The town will receive a total of $3.3 million over 20 years and about six jobs will be created.

Winecoasters

 A Sanborn manufacturer just took ownership of a product it already produces. Katz Americas acquired the name, images and design rights of Paperkraft Coasters, a line of pulpboard-based beverage coasters. The acquisition will add four employees to the company's 50.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

It's Friday, people!

 

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