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Western New York, December 2009

Business Expansions

New this Month

A new environmentally friendly business is scheduled to open soon on the East Side of Buffalo (Erie County). Concord Textile Care Products, which manufactures machines and cleaning compounds, has developed cleaning compounds that they say will ‘revolutionize’ the dry-cleaning industry. The company plans to renovate a long-vacant structure into a manufacturing facility and training center and expects to create 80 new jobs in three years making a new line of green products.

WNY Americorps held interviews in South Buffalo (Erie County) on December 8 to hire 40 people to fill positions in its Service-Corps program.

Tops Markets, the Williamsville-based (Erie County) supermarket chain, has put in a bid to buy several WNY Quality Markets supermarkets from parent company Penn Traffic. The bid is expected to be reviewed shortly and, if successful, would nearly double Tops’ holdings The Syracuse-based Penn Traffic is selling 79 supermarket locations as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed last month. Tops would keep Quality’s current employees if the bid is accepted.

SKF Aeroengine officials announced Monday, December 14th, that the Falconer (Chautauqua County) location was chosen as the site for a state-of-the-art Heat Treat facility which is expected to open its doors in early 2011. The construction of the new facility will ensure that more than 600 local workers will retain their jobs for at least the next 20 years.

UB’s Regional Institute has moved from the South Campus to refurbished space on the third floor of UB’s Downtown Gateway building, formerly the M. Wile building. Moving the institute is just a small part of the university’s larger plan to create a vibrant downtown campus along the Buffalo Niagara Medical Corridor. UB eventually wants to relocate its Medical School and other health-related fields downtown, where this year it broke ground with Kaleida Health on a new 10-story vascular and research center.

The developers behind the planned revival of the long abandoned AM&A’s store on Main Street in Buffalo (Erie County) have said the project is on solid financial footing, and they are targeting spring 2011to complete the renovation. The $70 million project would have a mix of uses, including a 117-room Hilton Garden Inn, a health club, apartments, independent living units for older residents, upscale food court and office space. The Hamister Group of Companies plans to move its headquarters there from Amherst, bringing its 30 current employees along with five new jobs. The project is slated to get started in spring 2010.

Steve Baldo Chevrolet in Clarence (Erie County) will stop selling new cars at his dealership next month, but is embracing a new business model for the location. The Main Street location will become a franchisee of Meineke Car Care Centers and Econo Lube N’ Tune starting in February 2010. He will also sell all brands of used cars and continue to operate a collision and paint center. The ongoing reduction process by GM and Chrysler LLC, implementing dealership cuts around the country, has created uncertainty about what the future dealership landscape might look like. A Driven Brands program called “Jump Start” encourages dealers who are ending or losing their new-car franchise dealerships to become franchisees of one or more of Driven Brand’s businesses. Baldo’s Clarence location has 27 employees, and expects to add more.

A growth in business, fueled by new contracts, is allowing an Olean (Cattaraugus County) manufacturer to build a new headquarters and expand its workforce by nearly 50 percent. Napolean Engineering Services plans to build a 20,000-square-foot facility that will be completed by late spring 2010. The firm has 30 workers and is projecting to add between 15 and 20 new employees within the next few years.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Cummins Engine in Jamestown (Chautauqua County) has announced that at least 400 employees will be laid off in January 2010 due to an expected decrease in demand when new engine emission standards go into effect.

On Friday, December 18th, the last variation of the “big block” class of V-8 engines that were made at the General Motors Tonawanda (Erie County) engine plant since 1959 is scheduled to roll off the line, along with 150 jobs. The engine had been a staple product of the plant for more than 50 years. About 50 of those workers were absorbed in the other lines. The V-8 was the plant’s longest running engine line, but new trends in the auto industry made the GM’s trademark automotive engine obsolete. Currently the plant’s main engine line is the L850. It also makes inline 4- and 5- cylinder engines.

Ford Motor Co. is offering another buyout to all of its 41,000 hourly workers in the United States. The buyout comes after union workers across the company rejected a cost-cutting agreement. More than 700 union employees represented by UAW Local 87 are employed at the stamping plant in Woodlawn (Erie County).

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Workers at Upstate Niagara Cooperative’s Cheektowaga (Erie County) plant have approved a new contract. The three-year deal covers 165 plant and distribution workers who are represented by Teamsters Local 264.

Health-care workers at Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital (Niagara County) have reached a new contract agreement. The ratified agreement, in effect until December 2012, covers 377 service and maintenance workers and 142 licensed practical nurses and technicians represented by 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. Registered nurses voted down the proposal by a slim margin.

A new labor contract for unionized workers at Sheehan Health Network in Buffalo (Erie County) has been approved by employees represented by 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. The three-year pact grants LPN’s, nursing assistants, dietary, clerical and maintenance workers, wage hikes and added benefits.

A resolution has been reached between Erie County and Erie County Medical Center Corp. that includes steady financing of the operation and construction of a new health facility in Buffalo. The agreement, which still needs approval from the Legislature, will end a lawsuit filed by ECMCC in 2005.

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