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Cleveland BioLabs works with Russian fund, NT company offers solar-powered car charging stations, Restaurant Week starts and jet sharing company plans open house

From Business Today:


A local company is joining forces with a Russian investment fund to develop cancer-treatment and other drugs. Cleveland BioLabs and Rusnano, a $10 billion fund owned by the Russian government, will work on developing five drugs that are in the preclinical stage.

The venture, called Panacela Labs, could require up to $26 million in funding over a four-year period.


 A North Tonawanda manufacturer is plugging into environmental concerns. Audubon Machinery Corp. has charging stations for electric cars in its parking lot.

But the company takes the stations one step further than just plugging into the electrical grid--the stations are powered by wind and solar energy. Employees with electric cars can charge their cars for free during the workday.


Local Restaurant Week kicked off in Western New York Monday. More than 200 independently owned restaurants are offering a wide array of meal specials priced at $21.11.

Some pricier establishments offer just one entree for that price, while others offer several courses for two plus wine.


Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

I wonder what $21.11 gets you at this restaurant:



Local luxury housing is going strong, local real estate roundup, and smartphone apps to keep you MoneySmart

From Business Today:


Who is buying the modern mansions being built in Clarence, Orchard Park and elsewhere in Western New York? The News takes a look at the region's surprisingly robust luxury housing market. Experts say it's important to have upscale housing available if the region wants to attract the best and brightest talent.



The priciest real estate transaction in Erie County for the week ending August 19 was $960,000, according to our roundup. The priciest Niagara County transaction was $1.03 million. There were 269 sale in Erie County, with a median price of $1125,500. There were 61 sales in Niagara County, with a median price of $100,000.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?


From MoneySmart:

MoneySmart takes a look at some of the best free money-saving and personal finance smartphone apps. Download the apps on our list and you'll have the power in your pocket to do everything from comparing prices to keeping tabs on your budget.

Does somebody have a case of the Mondays?


MoneySmart links from Sept. 26

Here are links from the MoneySmart story on college discounts:

HP Academy: Click here.

Dell University: Click here.

Amazon Student: Click here.





Buffalo Place concerts a success, UAW hears contract details and Travers Collins expands

From Business Today:


Buffalo Place's summer concert series at the Buffalo waterfront brought in $1.5 million.

That's up 35 percent over what was expected and $405,101 more than its own projections. The success was attributed to its move from Lafayette Square to the Central Wharf and the summer's great weather, as compared to last year's rainy season.


The United Auto Workers Local 774 will meet Monday about an upcoming contract vote. Members will hear the details of a tentative contract the UAW reached with General Motors before they are scheduled to vote on it next week.

GM's Tonawanda plant, which employs 800 workers, is getting a boost from the addition of two new engine lines. The four-year pact would add or keep 6,400 jobs in the U.S. and offer buyouts to longtime workers. Most workers won't get annual pay raises, but will get at least $12,500 in bonuses, profit sharing and other payments over the life of the contract.


 Travers Collins has opened a new office in Rochester. The advertising and public relations firm has parterned with Rochester-based PR veteran Mike McDougall to open McDougall Travers Collins. Collins said he had been wanting to break into the Rochester market for 10 years. He hopes McDougall's local and global contacts will bring new clients from Rochester and around the world.


Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Today is the first day of fall. Let's celebrate with the Kinks:


Paladino against Statler funding, big plans for Delaware Mansion, exporting to Brazil, and OSHA cites Perry's

From Business Today:


Carl Paladino has vowed to fight government subsidies to the Statler Towers renovation. At a Buffalo Place board meeting Wednesday, the downtown property owner called a proposed $5.3 million grant to rival developer Mark D. Croce "wrong," "unfair," and a "selective subsidy." Paladino called on the group to join the opposition and threatened a lawsuit, fearing subsidized projects like the Statler would allow other develops to lure his own tenants away with artificially low rents.


The new owner of a historic mansion has big plans for it. James McHugh, owner of Personal Touch Food Service  plans to live in part of the Foster mansion at 891 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo and turn the rest, including two carriage houses, into apartments. He will also return some of its parking lot into green space. McHugh bought the nearly 20,000-square-foot property for $850,000 in June from Canisius High School.


An executive at a local company shared his experiences exporting products to the Brazilian market Wednesday. John DeLuca, international sales manager for Liberty Pumps in Genesee County, told attendees at a World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara event about the opportunities and challenges he encountered when his company began exporting pumps to Brazil.


 Perry's Ice Cream was cited for eight serious violations by the labor department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA cited the Akron ice cream company for not having safe work practice plans in place and for a worker not using proper safety equipment among other things. It is facing $51,000 in fines.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Enjoy the last day of summer, folks!


Hiring continues, company expands in Sanborn, and Independent Health ranks well...

From Business Today:

The region's local unemployment rate dropped to a three-year Unemployment Benefits low in August. At 7.3 percent unemployment, the region's rate is far below national jobless rate of 9.1 percent. There were 7,100 more jobs in the region in August than a year earlier. Although the jobless rate remains much higher than when the recession started, every turnaround has to start somewhere.

Pyrotek is a Washington state-based company with an operation in Sanborn that just celebrated the opening of an expanded factory to Pyrotek make material for electrical anodes. The company was looking at sites across the country to expand, and the Niagara County site won due to a combination of state, federal and local incentives. The plant is in the process of hiring 50 more people.

Independent Health, the local health  insurance company, was recognized as one of the top in the nation for its commercial, Medicare and Medicaid plans. It ranked 28th out of 483 plans in the National Committee for Quality Assurance's rankings. HealthNow New York ranked 49th and Univera ranked 63rd.

Another airliner will be offering Buffalo-to-St. Petersburg, Fla., flights from the Niagara Falls International AIrport beginning in December. Allegiant Air plans Allegiantair_inflight to start with twice a week flights, on Thursdays and Sundays.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Car sales are up, Wilmers scolds bank regulators, Travers Collins & Co. splits, and ECIDA doles out tax breaks

From Business Today:


Car sales are up in the region. Local new car sales rose 10 percent last month over August 2010. In fact, August saw the region's second-best totals of the year with sales of 4,919 for the month. Ford had the leading sales, selling 1,106 vehicles. That's up 22 percent from a year ago. Toyota's sales came in second, but were down 32 percent from last year. In third place was Nissan, with a 52 percent increase, according to data from the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association.


 M&T Bank chairman and CEO Robert Wilmers spoke at a regulatory symposium sponsored by American Banker Monday. In his opinion, the financial reform law goes too far in some ways but not far enough in others. Worse, it will do nothing to prevent a future financial crisis.

Wilmers said the regulations fail to reform credit-rating agencies, government mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and risky bank activity.


 Travers Collins & Co. lost its entire investor relations team, three additional staffers and a slew of clients over the weekend when Lynn Casteel and Jeff Schoenborn left the advertising agency abruptly to set up shop on Wehrle Drive in Amherst. Casteel and Schoenborn said they decided to start their own competing investor relations firm after being "consistently rebuffed" by Travers Collins' owners when it came to business recommendations, improvement suggestions and offers to buy into the firm's ownership.

Owner William Collins criticized the way they handled the split in a letter to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. He said they never raised concerns, moved out secretly and quietly notified clients in advance. The team owed its success to Travers Collins, he said, which gave three of the individuals their first job and gave them all the tools to succeed. There were no non-compete clauses binding, so Travers Collins has no recourse to take in regards to the lost clients, but the owners said they would rebuild the firm's investor relations business.


A study of border crossings has recommendations for improving things at our Canadian border. The study by the Binational Economic and Tourism Alliance recommends that getting better information out about border crossing status along with adding workers during the bridges' busiest times would ease congestion. Better signage to navigate the borders would help, too, as would better planning around special events, the report said.


An abandoned Pizza Hut in South Buffalo will become a Dollar General store, with help from a nearly $49,000 tax break from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency. It made an exception to its "no retail" policy because the property has sat vacant for so long.

The IDA also approved $583,000 in breaks for Gemcor II, a West Seneca automatic fastening equipment maker, to build a $3.1 million addition. Sleep Inn Buffalo Airport in Cheektowaga got $38,000 in sales tax breaks for a $550,000 renovation.


Perry's Ice Cream got an $800,000 low-interest loan from the Buffalo and Erie County Regional Development Council. Perry's is spending $6.4 million to increase its distribution and to begin distrubting snacks by other makers, including Little Debbie.



Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

This couple didn't know their camera was on, and couldn't figure out why they couldn't get it to record:


Buffalo airport soars, downtown development rocking, toy company winning, and Rosie the Riveter making a comeback...

From Business Today:

Good stuff from over the weekend.

The Buffalo Niagara International Airport is simply taking off. AIRPORT Passenger traffic has soared since the new terminal opened in 1997, and the arrival of several discount airlines has pushed down ticket prices and made the region more attractive for business. It is also the No. 1 U.S. airport used by Canadians, which has contributed to the hotel building boom nearby. All in all, it's a dynamic economic development tool, and it makes vacations much more affordable.

Rocco Termini has some interesting things to say about downtown  ROCCO TERMINI development and where it's headed.

East Aurora holds some real gems - from attractive homes to a lovely village - but it also is home to some interesting businessess, like the Beveral Hills Teddy Bear Co., The toy manufacturer has had a string of successes, and it thinks it has Socha another winner for this holiday season.

North Tonawanda native Mark Johnson always showed promise in high school. He was valedictorian of his senior class at North Tonawanda High School and was voted most likely to suceed. His classmates got it right. Johnson just sold his online company Zite to Mark Johnson CNN for a reported $20 million. Zite allows users to create their own magazine based on their interests. 

Hertel Avvenue, the bustling, hip commercial strip of North Buffalo, is getting a new tenant. The traditional Hertel News & Tobacco is bring refashioned into the North Park Market, and the Lotto betting room is getting an upgrade.North Park Market

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has some encouraging words for women entrepreneurs. And she is also challenging them to step up and create a modern version of 'Rosie the Riveter' to inspire others.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Some recent real estate transactions.


Audio: Interview with developer Rocco Termini

Here is audio of News Business Reporter Jonathan D. Epstein's interview with developer Rocco Termini, which accompanies today's published Q&A:

Download the audio and take it with you

Local banks are hiring, job growth continues, Noco chief talks energy at UB, and 7-Eleven arrives

From Business Today:


Local banks are recruiting employees. M&T Bank is looking to fill 285 positions, including auditors, clerks, credit and fraud analysts, tellers, administrative assistants, managers, supervisors, salespeople, loan originators and telephone representatives. Salaries range from the high $20,000s to more than $100,000. You can apply here.


First Niagara, which has stated an overall goal of adding 500 new employees, is looking to fill 86 positions in Erie and Niagara Counties. Apply here.

HSBC is hiring 25 people locally. Bank of America is adding 17. KeyCorp and Evans Bancorp each have 18 openings. Financial Institutions in Warsaw is hiring seven. Citizens Financial Group is hiring six. Northwest Savings Bank is hiring four. Lake Shore Savings Bank and Community Bank System each have one opening.


Job growth continues in Buffalo Niagara. The region added 7,100 jobs over the last 12-month period, ending in August. That's a 1.3 percent annual growth rate, according to numbers for the state labor department.

August's growth rate was more subdued than July's, but was the best August on record since 1999.

The gains are due to a spike in construction work as well as strong hiring in education and health care services.


James D. Newman, president and CEO of of Noco Energy Corp., talked shop at UB Thursday for its "Business of Energy" seminar on sustainable transportation.

He said his company will deliver any kind of energy customers want, but that customers haven't really decided what that energy is. They go back and forth between being environmentally conscious and budget conscious.

For transportation biofuels to succeed, a consistent, long-term strategy is needed. He called for a clear, long-term government policy that would give consumers and investors a stable, forward-looking time frame.



Wilson Farms will soon be a thing of the past. It has been owned by Texas chain 7-Eleven since June, but hasn't shown any signs of outward change. Well, a handful of the convenience stores have begun their transformation. Some stores have new signage, reconfigured aisles and product offerings and have begun adding the store's signature Slurpee and Big Gulp drinks.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Happy Friday!


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