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Business Expansions and Contractions - Long Island Region October 2013

Business Expansions and Openings

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Wal-mart plans to hire 85 additional employees to work at its Riverhead (Suffolk) store, which is preparing to move to a new, larger location early next year.  The company is accepting applications for both full- and part-time positions between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. at its current location, 765 Old Country Rd.  Most of the new hires will begin work by mid-November to prepare the larger 145,000-square-foot store, to be located at 1880 Old Country Rd. in Riverhead, for its grand re-opening.  Applicants also can apply online at http://careers.walmart.com/.  Through Wal-mart's Veterans Welcome Home Commitment program, the company said it will offer a job to any qualified veteran who has been honorably discharged within the past 12 months. Interested veterans can learn more about the program at http://walmartcareerswithamission.com/.  (Newsday - October 31, 2013)

After two years of extensive renovations, the Dental Care Center at Stony Brook University (Suffolk) has re-opened its doors.  Accommodating more patients quickly and efficiently was the primary goal of the $4.67 million expansion, including a new wing that allows for a 20 percent increase in patient service.  The Center also includes a new emergency clinic for patients with walk-in dental emergencies.  The Stony Brook Dental Care Center is currently the largest provider of dental care on Long Island, serving more than 13,000 patients annually.  In addition to the building renovations, Stony Brook has also dedicated funds toward improving mobile dental services, providing exams, diagnosis, education and minor treatment on the go.  The school also has introduced a new three-year postdoctoral periodontics residency program and is looking to expand its geriatric dental program and options for special needs patients.  Two new residents joined the program in July.  (LI Business News, October 30, 2013)

A training program aimed at helping military veterans gain a foothold in the green construction industry will begin a new class on Nov. 4.  The VetsBuild Long Island class will take up to 20 applicants, and possibly more, said Abdi Akgun, a program recruiter.  Bank of America provided a grant for the five-week, free class.  The vets will learn the basics of weatherization and energy efficiency onsite. The class also includes 10 hours of safety training.  United Veterans Beacon House, a Bay Shore (Suffolk) nonprofit where Akgun is based, recruits and handles enrollment. United Way of Long Island will provide instructors and job counselors. To register, call Tim Scherer of United Veterans Beacon House at 631-665-1571.  (Newsday - October 30, 2013)

IT firm Flexible Business Systems Inc. plans to double its space with the purchase of 380 Oser Ave. in Hauppauge (Suffolk).  The company now occupies 10,000 square feet at 85 Corporate Dr., also in Hauppauge.  Flexible Business is benefiting from interest by hospitals and doctors' offices in electronic health records, which are required under the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.  The company's payroll has increased from 47 people to 76 in the past year; 81 are now employed there. He expects to hire 40 more by 2016.  Last week, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency agreed to provide Flexible Business with $214,083 in tax breaks, including a $145,739 reduction in property taxes over 10 years.  (Newsday - October 29, 2013)

MobileFleet Inc., a seller and manufacturer of equipment found in cars used by police officers, fire chiefs and other government officials, is planning a $3.9-million expansion.  The company hopes to move from Farmingdale to 10 Commerce Dr. in Hauppauge (both Suffolk).  The project would add up to 22 jobs to a workforce of 35 by 2016.  Records show that employees earn, on average, $71,428 per year.  Last week, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency agreed to provide MobileFleet with $193,364 in tax breaks, including a $168,520 reduction in property taxes over 10 years.  (Newsday - October 29, 2013)

Buncee, a Stony Brook (Suffolk) tech startup, formally debuted on October 29, hoping to make a splash in the crowded field of websites that allow users to create online presentations and greeting cards.   After 18 months of unraveling kinks, Buncee is rolling out its service for users to design invitations, thank-you notes, marketing materials, slideshows and more using photos, videos and sound clips.   The launch of Buncee, which won acclaim last spring at an entrepreneurs conference in Silicon Valley, comes as officials hope a groundswell of startups will revive Long Island's economy.  The e-greeting card business overflows with more than 2,600 companies jostling for $2.7 billion in total annual revenue, according to IBISWorld Inc., a Los Angeles-based market research company.  Buncee, which has eight employees and drew 13,000 users during its 18-month trial, plans to generate revenue via advertising and charging for premium service.  The strategy includes marketing it to teachers as a lesson-plan design tool.  (Newsday - October 29, 2013)

Orlando-based Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill is gearing up to open its second Long Island location in front of Macy's at the Westfield South Shore Mall in Bay Shore (Suffolk).  Construction is slated for completion in April.  (LI Business News, October 28, 2013)

The Bellone administration is seeking new proposals to place more solar farms on county property even though Suffolk is embroiled in a lawsuit involving a never-built part of an earlier project that would have put solar panels over the Ronkonkoma train station parking lot.   The county solicited solar proposals earlier this month for two potential Westhampton sites -- 35 acres at Gabreski Airport and a 161-acre former military complex.  Developers have expressed interest in becoming involved in the Long Island Power Authority's power purchase agreement under its Clean Solar Initiatives program.  The county is seeking proposals that would involve leasing county land for up to 20 years so developers could install solar panels and share the revenue with the county from the sale of the electricity.  (Newsday - October 28, 2013)

About 40 people received pink slips after Cosense Inc., a Hauppauge (Suffolk) maker of ultrasonic liquid sensors and switches, was purchased last year by Measurement Specialties of Hampton, Va.  Glen Melder, former CEO at Cosense, was so distressed that he quit and started a company that would hire those who had been laid off.   Sensaras LLC, located at 275 Marcus Dr. in Hauppauge, will compete with Cosense, turning out sensors used in medicine, semiconductors, water and waste management and aerospace.  Melder expects to have a payroll of eight in the company's first year and plans to apply for up to $20,000 in training grants from the county's Labor Department.  He plans to hire another seven people by 2016.  Wages, on average, will range from $62,907 to $75,450, records show.  The IDA agreed to provide $8,625 off the sales tax on equipment purchases for Sensaras' 3,135-square-foot office and factory.  (Newsday - October 26, 2013)

The proposed operating budget for Suffolk County for 2014 released in September by County Executive Bellone included a $2 million increase in funding from New York State and from a Federal Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) matching grant from the NY Metropolitan Transportation Council that will allow Suffolk County Transit (SCT) to expand Sunday bus service throughout Suffolk. This is the first time the company has provided Sunday service county-wide, though a successful pilot summer program was implemented on two east end routes beginning in 2011.  Sunday service, initially expected to begin this fall, is likely to be pushed back to January 2014, however.  While the delay will no doubt disappoint riders, SCT explains that additional drivers and mechanics must be hired in order to accommodate the service expansion.  According to Suffolk Bus Corporation, which is contracted by Suffolk County to run bus service and is the largest transit provider for the County, and data from the National Transit Database, the additional $2 million in funding could provide approximately 18,400 more hours of service, and also create roughly 30 jobs through the hiring of new drivers and mechanics.  (Tri-state Transportation Campaign, October 1, 2013)

 

Previously Reported

Manufacturer of over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements Contract Pharmacal, which currently operates out of six buildings in the Hauppauge (Suffolk) Industrial Park, is in the process of purchasing and renovating a seventh facility in the park - a 70,000-square-foot space located at 145 Oser Ave. for use as a packaging facility for the company's pharmaceutical products.  The company approached the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency about receiving tax breaks on its new purchase, promising to add an additional 100 employees to its already 900-person workforce within the next two years.  In response, the Suffolk IDA approved a total tax savings package of $791,428. Contract Pharmacal will net $116,438 in sales tax exemptions, $21,000 in mortgage recording tax exemptions and $653,990 in property tax savings as part of a 20-year PILOT program.  (LI Business News, October 25, 2013)

UPS, the world's biggest package delivery company said that it foresees peak season daily volume rising 8 percent this year.  The company plans to hire 55,000 U.S. seasonal employees to work as drivers, helpers, package sorters, loaders and unloaders. That's the same number as last year, but this year's group may feel a lot busier. Besides the increased volume, there are just 26 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, six fewer than last year, making it the most compressed holiday shopping season since 2002.  UPS' smaller rival FedEx Corp. said it expects Dec. 2 to be its busiest day of the holiday season. FedEx expects to carry more than 22 million shipments that day. FedEx expects to hire slightly more than the 20,000 seasonal workers that it added last year.  The National Retail Federation predicts that retail sales in November and December will rise 3.9 percent over last year to $602 million - $738 per shopper. It expects online sales to rise by 13 percent to 15 percent.  (LI Business News, October 25, 2013)

The state Education Department will award more than $3 million in grants to help train, recruit and support teachers on Long Island, officials announced October 23.  The funds include more than $700,000 for a regional teacher training center in Roslyn (Nassau) designed to help educators from 111 Island districts better implement Common Core, the new national academic standards.  The remaining $2.4 million will be divided among five Long Island school districts selected in the second round of a competitive grant program aimed at professional development, recruitment and retention of teachers in districts where at least 25 percent of the students are from low-income families.  The five districts -- Huntington, North Babylon, South Huntington, Southampton (all Suffolk) and West Hempstead (Nassau) -- will receive varying amounts, state education officials said. Thirty-nine districts statewide will receive grants.  South Huntington hired more teacher mentors and data coaches, who help educators interpret the Common Core student test scores and teacher evaluations that are tied to them. It plans to hire a science and math coordinator with the new round of funds.  In the Southampton Union Free School District, the $187,560-grant will fund stipends to "master" teachers who will act as peer mentors during the Common Core transition and hiring data coaches.  (Newsday - October 24, 2013)

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage on Long Island and Queens has opened a new regional office at 2395 Ocean Ave. in Ronkonkoma (Suffolk).  The 2,300-square-foot regional office has a conference room that features flat-screen televisions for client and customer presentations and is also designed for meetings and training purposes.  The new office is home to more than 50 affiliated sales associates.  (LI Business News, October 23, 2013)

Despite the Hurricane Sandy's destruction, "Long Island's economy didn't get derailed by Sandy," said two Fed researchers in an overview released October 21. In fact the post said that evidence suggests the Island, especially Nassau, got an employment boostf because of recovery and rebuilding efforts.  The analysis noted, for example, that Long Island construction employment surged in December and has "continued to grow strongly into 2013."  But it added, "One concern is that employment remains depressed in high-paying sectors like manufacturing, finance and government, while much of the new job creation has been in lower-paying industries like private education and leisure and hospitality."  And one caveat beyond the report: Even though construction employment has jumped post-Sandy, the sector has yet to make up all the jobs it lost during the recession. In August, the sector had 69,100 jobs, significantly below the 75,500 in August 2007, four months before the recession hit, state Labor Department data show.  And one P.S. regarding the data: August data is the most recent available because the government shutdown pushed back the release of state and regional statistics for September. Those data, prepared by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, were scheduled to come out on Oct. 17. The state Labor Department hasn't disclosed a new date.  (Newsday - October 23, 2013)

A 9,300-square-foot Ideal Food Basket opened on Prospect Avenue in New Cassel (Nassau), perhaps the first ever in the economically depressed community.  Experts say the development is key for the hamlet, where 17.5 percent of the people live in poverty, according to recent U.S. Census data.  Residents say they often take cabs or taxis to supermarkets in neighboring communities, or rely on bodegas and convenience stores.  According to researchers from Feeding America, a hunger relief charity, nearly 200,000 Long Islanders are "food insecure."  Grants totaling $550,000 from the Town of North Hempstead's Community Development Agency, and a $350,000 loan, aided the property's acquisition, town officials said.  Some areas on Long Island have been labeled food deserts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency defines those as areas where people have difficulty accessing healthy, affordable food. Large clusters exist in Suffolk, experts say, with areas such as Mastic and Riverhead designated as having food-access issues.  (Newsday - October 23, 2013)

Nassau Candy Distributors, one of the largest specialty candy distributors in the country, is in contract to acquire a 127,245-square-foot industrial building at 300 Duffy Ave. in Hicksville (Nassau), where it will consolidate its warehousing and distributing operations.  The candy company has applied to the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency for tax breaks to facilitate the acquisition and renovate the complex. A public hearing on Nassau Candy's application for benefits is scheduled for October 24.  Nassau Candy has expanded from five employees in 1984 to about 700 between operations in Michigan, Florida, California, Texas, Canada and on Long Island, where more than 400 workers are located.   The company supplies candy to thousands of independent retailers daily. It also makes private-label products for major grocery chains, big-box and drugstore chains, as well as the travel and leisure industry.  (LI Business News, October 21, 2013)

One of the country's fastest-growing "better-burger" chains, Smashburger, opened its fourth Long Island location this week at 1600 Marcus Ave. in New Hyde Park (Nassau).  Irwin Kruger, the franchisee, plans to open 20 Smashburgers in Nassau and Suffolk counties during the next five years.  Already operating in Hicksville, Port Washington, Wantagh (all Nassau) and now New Hyde Park, Kruger has permits to build a restaurant in Lindenhurst and is also eyeing East Northport (both Suffolk), among other locales. He said he plans to open at least three new restaurants a year.  Each Smashburger hires between 40 and 50 employees.  (LI Business News, October 18, 2013)

Orbit International is moving its Electronics Group in Quakertown, Pa. to Hauppauge (Suffolk).  The move, which should be completed by the end of June 2014, will cost the company about $400,000 in expenses and charges, but ultimately save Orbit about $2 million a year.  While consolidating its electronics production operations in Hauppauge, Orbit International will continue to design and manufacture combat and gun-weapons systems in Louisville, Ken.  The company declined to reveal how many employees will be moving from Pennsylvania to Long Island.  (LI Business News, October 18, 2013)

(Update) Following 40 years of discussion and planning by Suffolk County developer Rechler Equity Partners intended to break ground on the Hampton Business District at Gabreski, a business and technology park to be built on a portion of Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach, on Nov. 1, but the federal government shutdown further delayed the project.  Rechler is developing the park in two phases, with the first, including two warehouses and two office buildings to be used primarily as medical offices, expected to be ready for tenants by the end of next summer.  The second phase of development includes a 145-room hotel, but officials have not yet selected its operator, nor are there any signed leases yet for the medical offices or warehouse space.  Companies locating in the new business district will be eligible for tax benefits from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency and the state's Excelsior Jobs program.  Suffolk County chose Rechler Equity to develop the 50-acre business park in 2009 and signed the company to a 40-year lease that includes a renewal option for an additional 40 years. The county expects to receive $40 million over the life of the lease.  Community opposition has in the past been an impediment to the project, but in 2007 the Town of Southampton created the Airport Planned Development District, which green-lighted development consistent with recommendations made by the 13-member Gabreski Airport Community Advisory Board.  That board encouraged the campus-like business park to be built in a green manner.  Rechler Equity Partners has agreed to develop the park to LEED specifications.  (LI Business News, October 18, 2013)

The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System is expanding the emergency departments at Huntington and Southside hospitals.  North Shore-LIJ said it is adding 32,000 square feet in a $45 million project at the Huntington (Suffolk) Hospital emergency department. And it's in the middle of a $41 million, 31,000-square-foot expansion of the emergency department at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore (Suffolk).  A North Shore-LIJ spokesman said that the number of patients seen in both emergency rooms exceeds the volume they were built to accommodate.  (LI Business News, October 16, 2013)

Zinburger Wine and Burger Bar, a Phoenix-based chain that offers gourmet burgers paired with a wide selection of wines, opened at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station (Suffolk) on October 15.   (LI Business News, October 16, 2013)

(Update) More than 50 people from communities near a Costco store under construction in Riverhead (Suffolk) complained to the town planning board on October 15 -- as they have for the past year -- about noise and dust from the work site. One planning board member promised to alert the town's code enforcement department about their complaints; another said he would visit the site to see conditions firsthand, but the board adjourned without taking action.  (Newsday - October 16, 2013)

80-year-old architecture and engineering firm H2M has moved its headquarters to 40,000 square feet at 538 Broadhollow Road in Melville (Suffolk), which puts its 190 employees under one roof instead of two.  The new space features low- and zero-VOC carpeting and finishes, natural lighting, high-efficiency electrical and mechanical systems, and furniture composed of 84 percent recycled materials.  H2M Labs remains at 575 Broadhollow Road, where it is undergoing a renovation and expansion.  (LI Business News, October 15, 2013)

Two private lenders have committed to lending about $60 million to businesses in Nassau County under a program approved October 15 by the county's industrial development agency.  The IDA will enter into contracts with Newtek Business Services and Nassau Educators Federal Credit Union.  Each is expected to commit about $30 million in loans to qualified companies.  The IDA hopes to attract other lenders and begin the program, which will be open to businesses of all sizes with priority given to small companies, later this month, said IDA board chairman Timothy Williams. He said loan applicants must meet the banks' lending requirements and pay prevailing market interest rates.  The IDA will make referrals but play no role in funding decisions.  IDA executive director Joseph J. Kearney said the program was partially a response to the needs of small businesses devastated by superstorm Sandy and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's recent veto of a bill permitting IDAs statewide to grant sales-tax breaks to retailers harmed by disasters.  (Newsday - October 15, 2013)

Brad Wallace, 30, founded Mineola (Nassau)-based commercial cleaning franchise Jan-Pro of Greater New York in March and has already recruited 11 local franchisees.  He has his sights set on dozens more as he looks to blanket the company's territory, Nassau, Suffolk and the five boroughs, with at least 65 franchisees and 250 satisfied customers by the end of 2014.  On Long Island, Wallace has sold Jan-Pro franchises in Freeport, Westbury (both Nassau), Brentwood, Patchogue and Wyandanch (all Suffolk).  (LI Business News, October 14, 2013)

An $8 million indoor tennis facility is scheduled to open this month at Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn (Nassau), the first new indoor tennis business to open in Nassau County in more than 20 years.  Christopher Morley Tennis will be housed in two buildings, one with five Deco Turf (hard) courts, opening later this month, and one with five Har-Tru (clay) courts, opening at the end of November.  The complex, built on the site of the park's former outdoor courts, will also feature locker rooms, a pro shop and a turf field between the two buildings for conditioning and training.  (LI Business News, October 14, 2013)

The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System plans to convert a closed King Kullen supermarket in Bay Shore (Suffolk) into an outpatient health care facility focusing on radiation and medical oncology and imaging.  The system hopes to finish the project in 2014, although the start of construction is contingent on state approval.  North Shore-LIJ already has been expanding outpatient cancer services at its Center for Advanced Medicine in New Hyde Park (Nassau), which includes the Monter Cancer Center, home to North Shore University Hospital's hematology oncology program.  (LI Business News, October 14, 2013)

Recharge New York is a commercial lifeline launched by the New York Power Authority earlier this year. The program, which allocates electricity generated primarily by upstate hydropower generators, replaces Power For Jobs, which previously funneled the hydropower almost exclusively to upstate businesses.  Opening the cheaply generated power to the rest of the state is a potentially huge deal for Long Island, where electricity rates are among the highest in the nation - a huge dilemma for local manufacturers.  So far, 117 Nassau and Suffolk firms are to receive about 71 megawatts of Recharge New York electricity, a little less than one-tenth of the power the program has distributed statewide.  Big Apple Visual Group, which serves some of the world's best-known brands at its Islandia (Suffolk) manufacturing facility, received 170 kilowatts of cheap electricity and now plans $3 million in infrastructure improvements.  Also running on Recharge New York power, at least partially, are Autronic Plastics, which is moving from Westbury (Nassau) to Central Islip (Suffolk) and has qualified for 436 kilowatts; Hanan Products in Hicksville (Nassau), (126 kilowatts); and World Market in Huntington (Suffolk), (26 kilowatts).  Also participating are Sag Harbor Industries (50 kilowatts) and Holtsville's Country Frame Corp. (70 kilowatts) - both in Suffolk.  Some larger Long Island institutions have qualified for bigger Recharge New York allocations. North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset (Nassau) will receive 3,060 kilowatts, Cold Spring Harbor (Suffolk) Laboratory 1,200 kilowatts, and Islandia (Suffolk)-based CA Technologies, whose huge computer systems require power not only to run them but to cool them, qualified for 2,560 kilowatts.  (LI Business News, October 14, 2013)

Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy swept across this region, five Long Island health care and social services organizations will receive more than $14 million in federal grants to pay for repairs and renovation of facilities and unreimbursed expenses related to the storm.  The largest Long Island grant, $6.6 million to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, will help build an urgent care center in Long Beach (Nassau).  Long Island Jewish Medical Center will receive $2.9 million for unreimbursed costs to house and care for patients during and after Sandy.  The South Shore Association for Independent Living received $2.2 million to repair and rebuild a community residence and create a recovery case management and services program for those affected by Sandy.  FEGS Health & Human Services got $2.1 million to repair damage to a 10-story, 138-unit low-income residential building for senior citizens and people with disabilities, and the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless received $1.4 million to repair a community center that houses 10 not-for-profits that will provide services to homeless people.  (LI Business News, October 10, 2013)

Hudson River Health Care broke ground last week on the Kraus Family Health Center of the Hamptons, a $4.1 million expansion to Southampton (Suffolk) Hospital.  . The facility is designed to provide medical, dental and mental health care for the underserved and vulnerable, officials said in a statement.  The 9,000-square-foot-facility will be completed in early 2014. It will include a family practice, women's health services and dental services.  (Newsday - October 11, 2013)

The state has given South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside $6.6 million in federal money to build an urgent care center on the site of the shuttered Long Beach Medical Center -- the clearest signal yet that South Nassau will be taking over the barrier island's 162-bed facility.  Long Beach Medical Center, closed since superstorm Sandy almost a year ago, has been in private talks with South Nassau about a possible merger since June.  The facility will include 12 exam rooms and provide treatment and triage for a wide array of serious medical conditions.  In addition, ambulance triage, laboratory and radiology imaging services will be provided on site.  The hospital was the largest nongovernmental employer in Long Beach before Sandy. About 700 people remain laid off.  (Newsday - October 11, 2013)

Long Ireland Beer Co. in Riverhead (Suffolk), which has been operating as a regular microbrewery since 2011, is one of 14 breweries - and the only one on Long Island - that have been approved as a "farm brewery".  Farm breweries, like farm wineries, are required to use a certain percentage of New York-state grown ingredients in their beer - 20 percent until 2018, going up to 60 percent until 2023 and 90 percent by 2024. They are also able to sell various items besides beer, and run restaurants and shops on their business premises.  The brewery currently does not meet the 20 percent New York ingredient requirement for its beer but is actively looking to introduce more local ingredients into its brews. (Newsday - October 10, 2013)

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson (Suffolk) is gearing up to break ground on a 35-bed facility that includes offices, teaching facilities and a conference center.  The expansion will extend the first and second floors and add a portion of a third floor.  The third floor will include patient rooms, while the second will include classrooms and other facilities for a new residency program the hospital is launching with Stony Brook University.  The first floor will include a conference center equipped with teleconferencing technology.  The project will create 70 single-bed rooms by building 35 private rooms in the new facility and converting 35 existing semi-private rooms in the existing hospital.  (LI Business News, October 9, 2013)

A majority of workers nationwide can expect a modest 3 percent salary increase in 2014, the same rate as last year, according to a new survey by human resources and consulting firm Bucks Consultants.  The annual 2014 Compensation Planning survey, released last week, added that only 19 percent of the 320 companies surveyed plan on adding workers in the coming year.  There is an increase among employers in temp and temp-to-permanent positions. "Employers want to try new workers out before making a commitment," a spokesman said.

According to the New York State Department of Labor statistics, Nassau and Suffolk counties saw the addition of 28,500 private sector jobs in August, a 2.7 percent increase over August 2012.  While most industries are seeing paltry gains, the IT and health care professions are the sectors where workers are seeing the highest base salaries, according to the study. Education and health care experienced the most job growth in New York, adding 40,500 new positions since last August.  For Jamie Davis, vice president of Lloyd Staffing in Melville (Suffolk), finding candidates for these positions is harder than others.  (LI Business News, October 8, 2013)

Darby Dental Supply LLC said it plans to add 55 workers on Long Island during the next six months. Darby will be one of the companies recruiting on October 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Newsday Career Fair at the Melville Marriott, 1350 Walt Whitman Road in Melville (Suffolk).  The Jericho (Nassau) company said it has openings for inside sales account managers, office supply sales specialists, collections clerks, staff accountants, web designers and others.  It has 371 workers nationwide, including 160 on Long Island.  Darby also plans an open house for job seekers at its headquarters at 300 Jericho Quadrangle on October 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Newsday - October 8, 2013)

(Update) Babylon Town (Suffolk) has been cleared to redirect $2 million in federal highway funds toward design and construction of a new train station in Wyandanch.  The station is part of Wyandanch Rising, a massive public-private redevelopment project more than 10 years in the making that aims to revitalize the downtown of one of the poorest communities on Long Island.  The federal funds were initially awarded for a roads project. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) intervened with the Federal Highway Administration and the Department of Transportation after town officials said they had other funding for that project.  The new station will replace one built in 1875, Schumer said, and will provide a new pedestrian overpass, complementing the Long Island Rail Road's Second Track initiative to build another track between Ronkonkoma and Farmingdale.  The total cost for the project is $4 million, Schumer said. The state has committed to $1 million for design and construction of the station building.  (Newsday - October 8, 2013)

Cornell Cooperative Extension agents throughout New York are reporting that 2013 could end up being a very good year for New York grapes and wine if favorable weather patterns continue.  In a weekly newsletter, Extension agent Alice Wise said Long Island has had an unprecedented stretch of sunny, dry weather, keeping disease and insects at bay. She said quality of the grape harvest has been excellent overall.  (LI Business News, October 7, 2013)

Americans cut back on using their credit cards in August for a third straight month, a sign that consumers remain cautious about spending.  The Federal Reserve says that consumers increased their borrowing $13.6 billion in August to a record high of $3.04 trillion. That followed a gain of $10.4 billion in July.  But once again the gain was driven entirely by auto and student loans. A measure of that debt rose $14.5 billion to $2.19 trillion. Credit card debt dropped $883.4 million to roughly $850 billion.  (LI Business News, October 7, 2013)

Nassau County Off-Track Betting is seeking a consultant to study the feasibility of putting 1,000 video gaming machines at the Race Palace in Plainview.  Nassau OTB's request for qualifications for the consultant issued October 4 comes on the heels of Suffolk OTB's own request for proposals to build a new 1,000-machine video gambling facility somewhere in Suffolk County.  Together the two video gambling locations would generate $430 million for the state, with $63 million of that staying on Long Island, according to a report released last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget division.  (LI Business News, October 7, 2013)

The Joint, a franchised chiropractic clinic, will shortly open its first Long Island facility in the Stop & Shop shopping center on Route 25A in Miller Place (Suffolk).  It offers affordable all-cash basic chiropractic services with no X-rays or muscle-stimulating devices.  An initial visit/exam/adjustment costs $19 and a monthly fee of $49 covers four visits. No appointments are necessary.  (LI Business News, October 7, 2013)

(Update) The new seaside Stony Brook University Marine Sciences Center in Southampton (Suffolk) opened Sept. 27.  The school offers a Summer Oceanography class, an intensive, two-week program for high school students seeking college credit.  University students can also do a semester-by-the-sea, where all the classes are out of the Southampton campus in fall and spring semesters. While most are in the marine sciences, some classes include maritime history and maritime literature.  (Newsday - October 6, 2013)

Convenience store/gas station chain Quick Chek, based in White Horse Station, N.J., is waiting for approvals for three locations here - in Lake Grove, Bayport (both Suffolk) and Seaford (Nassau) - and has plans to eventually open more than 20 retail locations throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.  The company, which employs about 3,500 people at its 136 stores and corporate headquarters, will begin hiring for its Long Island locations - about 40 jobs per store - next year.  (LI Business News, October 4, 2013)

The Fairway Market grocery chain will open a new store in Lake Grove next spring, the company announced this week.  The 53,000-square-foot store -- the first Fairway in Suffolk County -- will open in the DSW Plaza at 4000 Middle Country Rd., joining major retailers such as the Designer Shoe Warehouse and Toys R Us.  The new Fairway Market location expects to generate 400 jobs.  (Newsday - October 4, 2013)

Most of the 300 students at the Riverhead Charter School in Calverton (Suffolk) turned out early on October 3 for a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new $14.1 million building that school officials hope will be ready for use by next fall.   The new structure will have 18 classrooms, enough space to house the current K-7 student body and to add an eighth grade to what is Suffolk County's largest charter school.  The 15 seventh-graders are expected to become the school's first eighth-grade class next year, while three kindergarten classes of 25 students each will be admitted in 2014, compared with the two classes this year.  Eventually, school officials hope to have 500 students.  The school, which does not charge tuition, opened in 2001 and currently has students from 14 different school districts.  (Newsday - October 4, 2013)

The casual seafood dining chain Bonefish Grill will make its Island debut in Rockville Centre (Nassau) early next year. A new 5,400-square-foot restaurant is under construction at the intersection of Sunrise Highway and Morris Avenue, on the site of the old Rockville Centre Cinema.  About 100 employees will staff the Rockville Centre restaurant.  (LI Business News, October 1, 2013)

Teachers Federal Credit Union opened its 25th branch, in Merrick, its first in Nassau County.  The branch, at 1638 Merrick Rd., opened Sept. 20.  Teachers has more than 227,000 members, more than $4.8 billion in assets and more than 600 employees. (Newsday - October 1, 2013)

(Update) Atlantic Highlands, N.J.-based private ferry firm Seastreak is considering reopening a regular water taxi service to New York City from Glen Cove (Nassau).  Getting on the water from Glen Cove is easier now that it has completed construction of a $14 million dock and boat basin, built mostly with federal funds.  Still to come is a $3 million ferry terminal building on the site.  The ferry terminal has long been a part of the planned development of the waterfront at Garvies Point, a project of Uniondale (Nassau)-based RXR Realty.  The scheme includes 860 residential units, a hotel, and office and retail space.  A single commuter ferry will most likely make two runs in the morning to Manhattan and two in the afternoon for the return trip.  The company estimated the cost of a monthly ticket at about $500.  Under the development agreement with RXR Realty if the ferry service requires a subsidy to get started, the city can require the developer to put in $1 million.  (Newsday - October 1, 2013)


 

Business Contractions and Closings

New Items

The Visiting Nurse Service of New York is laying off 524 workers early next year, including 13 on Long Island.  The Manhattan-based nonprofit outlined the layoffs in a Worker Adjustment Retraining Notice (WARN) filing with the New York State Department of Labor. Companies are required to give 90 days' notice when lay offs reach certain thresholds.  Come Jan. 24, the organization said it is laying off eight workers in its home care office at 375 North Broadway in Jericho (Nassau) and one worker at its VNS CHOICE Community Care operation at the same location.  Four Visiting Nurse Service workers are also being laid off at 657 Central Ave. in Cedarhurst (Nassau).  The biggest layoffs, however, affect 126 in Jackson Heights, Queens, and 93 in Brooklyn.  It employs 11,560 home health aides, 2,445 registered nurses, 525 rehabilitation therapists, 525 social workers and 160 physicians, nutritionists and psychologists.  (LI Business News, October 29, 2013)

Sears is considering separating its Land's End and Sears Auto Center businesses from the rest of the company. The retailer also plans to continue closing some of its unprofitable stores as it moves ahead on its turnaround efforts.  The company said Tuesday that it would likely pursue a spinoff of Lands' End and not a sale.  Sears anticipates closing unprofitable stores, including those locations whose leases are set to expire soon.  (LI Business News, October 29, 2013)

Two of Half Hollow Hills' seven elementary schools will close at the end of this school year due to declining enrollment districtwide.  The school board voted unanimously to shutter the Chestnut Hill and Forest Park schools in Dix Hills (Suffolk).  While no layoffs have been announced, the closures are expected to save the district about $3 million next year -- most of that coming from staffing cuts.  Total elementary enrollment has declined from 4,614 in 2007-08 to 3,475 this year, or about 25 percent, according to district records. Projections call for the number of students to plunge to 2,774 by 2017-18.  The district hasn't made any decisions about potential teacher and staff layoffs tied to the closures.  Forest Park and Chestnut Hill each had 36 teachers in 2011-12, according to state reports.  (Newsday - October 27, 2013) 

Officials at Dowling College in Oakdale (Suffolk) have laid off staff members and reassigned others in recent weeks in a downsizing effort because of declining enrollment and struggling finances.  President Norman Smith refused to say how many people were affected, which jobs were cut or who was asked to leave.  Dowling board chairman Michael Puorro, in a statement October 25, said six noninstructional positions were eliminated recently, some stemming from the August closing of student housing at the Brookhaven campus.  As part of the changes, faculty will take on academic advising roles previously held by nonacademic staff members.  Dowling also has launched a new, major marketing campaign to recruit students -- many from out of the Long Island area -- by emphasizing the waterfront campus and its proximity to major employers on the Island and in New York City.  The number of full-time-equivalent students registered for Dowling's fall semester was 2,500.  That represents a decline from 2,747 for fall 2012.  Dowling faculty held academic advising roles until a shift in the 1990s, when students began going to staff members for those needs.  (Newsday - October 25, 2013)

The Edward Alan Big & Tall store at 343A Oyster Bay Road, in Plainview (Nassau) is selling off its inventory.  It will close for good before year's end.  The company will "consolidate operations" at its remaining store in Commack (Suffolk).  (LI Business News, October 25, 2013)

 

Previously Reported

Wenner Bread Products Inc., which employs about 600 people at plants in Ronkonkoma and Bayport (both Suffolk), is considering a move to another state, executives said on October 24.   The maker of breads and frozen dough for supermarket bakeries and restaurants disclosed its plans in an application for tax breaks from Suffolk County for one of three local facilities.  A person familiar with the company's inclinations, who requested anonymity, said it's keenly interested in New Jersey.  Jeffrey Montie, chief executive and co-owner, said Wenner has grown rapidly in the past three years and needs more space.  Wenner has found a 300,000- square-foot building out of state that would accommodate all production done in Suffolk. A lease is being negotiated, and the company is eligible for up to $30 million in tax breaks over 10 years.  The deal would retain 170 workers and aid in the conversion of vacant space into offices and a new loading dock. Executives said they would close two of four buildings in Bayport.  (Newsday - October 25, 2013)

Bank of America is cutting 3,000 jobs by the end of the year as the number of refinancing applications and troubled loans has fallen. It is part of larger industry pull back in response to the changing housing market.  Bank of America Corp. laid off 1,200 employees this week, primarily from a unit that handles mortgage origination. The company says this is in response to a "significant" drop in refinancing applications this year. The company plans to make the bulk of the remaining reductions in its unit that handles troubled mortgages as an economic recovery has eased the number of borrowers in distress.  It is one of many lenders to cut jobs: Wells Fargo said last month that it would cut 1,800 mortgage related positions on top of prior cuts.  (LI Business News, October 24, 2013)

(Update)  More than 100 North Shore residents, doctors and elected officials staged a rally in a Bayville (Nassau) church parking lot on October 6 to protest North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System's plan to convert Glen Cove Hospital into an ambulatory center in January.   Administrators for North Shore, one of the nation's largest health-care systems, say the number of people seeking inpatient care at the 265-bed hospital has declined and much of the building isn't being used. North Shore-LIJ plans to continue offering emergency services while maintaining an unspecified number of beds depending on need.  But protesters said the move would endanger the health of the approximately 75,000 people who live in the area who would have to travel about 45 minutes to Manhasset Hospital or Nassau Community Medical Center for certain kinds of medical care.  (Newsday - October 6, 2013)

Electric and gas utility National Grid, which lost the contract to operate the electric grid for LIPA, plans to shift dozens of Long Island customer service jobs for its local gas operations from Melville (Suffolk) to it Metrotech headquarters in Brooklyn over the next six to twelve months, as PSE & G takes over on electric operations on Long Island on January 1, 2014.  At present, there are around 190 people answering phone calls for both electric and gas customers at the company's center in Melville.  National Grid says it plans to offer these workers jobs in Brooklyn, though it didn't specify to how many.  The company also says it plans use staff hired as temps to develop a "pool of candidates who will be trained and if they qualify they will be offered full-time employment in Brooklyn as a call agents."  Local 1049 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents unionized call center employees, has filed paperwork to object to the plan.  In all the union says it expects some 200 unionized gas workers, including some who work at 11 walk-in customer service centers across Long Island, four in Nassau and seven in Suffolk, to be impacted by the shift.  (Newsday - October 1, 2013)

Long Island defense company executives said shipments to their customers -- and payments to their companies -- could be delayed if a partial shutdown of the federal government lasted more than a few weeks.   At Telephonics Corp., a Farmingdale (Suffolk)-based electronics defense contractor with about 1,100 Long Island workers, chief executive Joseph Battaglia on September 30 called the effect of a shutdown lasting a few days "absolutely nothing."  But, said Battaglia, if the shutdown lasts a month, there could be delays in the initiation of new contracts and in federal inspections of shipments of hardware ready to go -- in both cases because of furloughs of federal civilian employees.  In some cases, delays in shipment can mean delays in payments, local defense executives said.  (Newsday - October 1, 2013)

The federal government shutdown that paralyzed much of Washington on October 1 could be yet another headache for Long Island's economy, which is already bruised by anemic job growth, depressed housing prices and the aftermath of an epic storm.  The pain in Nassau and Suffolk counties, however, will depend on how long the impasse on Capitol Hill lasts, economists said.  If lawmakers resolve their differences within weeks, the impact is apt to be confined to the furloughed federal employees who live here. Anything longer, economists said, and the trouble could bleed into the stock market, hobble consumer spending and undercut Long Island's fastest-growing industries. Yet the real concern is not the partial government shutdown, economists said. Rather, it's the Oct. 17 deadline for Congress to raise the government's borrowing limit. Without a deal, the U.S. Treasury could default on its bills, roiling global markets, economists said.  There are 16,600 on Long Island (not all of whom are furloughed).  This represents 1.3% of all Long Island jobs.  (Newsday - October 1, 2013)

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