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Western New York, November 2005

Business Expansions

New this Month

A grand reopening for the Wegmans Supermarket in Hamburg (Erie County) was held the weekend of November 6. The newly remodeled store is 37 percent larger and the workforce has grown by 150 to 525 employees to serve new or expanded sections of the store. The entire project has taken three years to complete.

The Seneca Nation of Indians formally broke ground on its $140 million Seneca Allegany Casino project in Salamanca (Cattaraugus County). The casino opened 17 months ago in Salamanca in a temporary facility. The project will be anchored by a 220-room, 11 story hotel that will include three new restaurants and see its gaming space increase by 34 percent. The new casino/hotel will add 450 to the 850 already in place at the current casino. The hotel is expected to open in October 2006.

First Niagara Financial Group said it plans to open new offices in Amherst and North Buffalo (Erie County), as part of its regional expansion. The Lockport-based bank will open its new offices in 2006. The thrift also has two other offices pending to open by the middle of next year in Clarence and another in Amherst.

Rosa’s Home Stores held a grand opening ceremony for its newest store in Cheektowaga (Erie County) on November 10. The new 54,000-square-foot store is the fourth Rosa’s home store in the area and employs about 170 people.

New Era Cap Co. will locate its world headquarters in the former Federal Reserve Building in downtown Buffalo (Erie County). The company plans to invest as much as $10 million to convert the building, and plans to add about 120 jobs to its administrative staff in the process. The move also opens up much-needed space at the Derby facility, making room for production expansion that will add 119 jobs to the plant’s 331-member workforce over the next three years.

Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina opened the doors on the first of seven locations the chain has planned for the Buffalo Niagara region. The 2,600-square-foot, 75-person seating capacity restaurant opened in downtown Buffalo (Erie County) on November 10.

Business Contractions

New this Month

The Episcopal Residential Health Care Facility in Buffalo (Erie County) will be shut down within the next two months. About 160 people will have to be moved to other nursing homes and 350 employees will lose their jobs. In addition, the Episcopal Residential Health and Episcopal Community Health Care also will close their long-term health care program, an adult day health care program and an adult day care program.

The Erie County Legislature on November 15 raised the sales tax by half a penny and the property tax about 15 percent for 2006, drawing a yearlong fiscal saga to a close. The sales tax increase will take effect in January, when shoppers will pay an 8.75 percent tax on clothing, gasoline, and other goods. The property tax raise will also take effect in January 2006.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. will close its Walden Galleria Mall (Erie County) location after the holiday shopping season. The stores 90 employees will be offered a mix of severance packages and opportunities to work elsewhere.

The Buffalo Public Schools (Erie County) may have to eliminate another 1,400 jobs and shut nine schools over the next three years to close budget gaps according to the state control board. In addition to job reductions, the health care consolidation has been put in place but is being challenged by the district’s unions.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Workers at Buffalo Wire Works (Erie County) went on strike November 7 after rejecting a proposed contract. The 38 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, makes wire mesh products for sifting. The company is hiring replacement workers and will also rely on its manufacturing sites outside of New York State.

Six unions, including the United Auto workers and United Steelworkers, formed the Mobilizing@Delphi coalition to fight Delphi’s plans to cut wages and close plants. The UAW and other unions may strike if Delphi breaks its contracts, as Delphi has said it will seek permission to do if no restructuring agreement is reached.

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