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Western New York, December 2014

Business Expansions

New this Month

The Advantage Co. is getting nearly $218,000 in tax breaks from the Amherst Industrial Development Agency for a $1.1 million expansion project at its headquarters and distribution facility in Williamsville (Erie County). The project consists of construction of a 20,000-square-foot addition to its existing store and electronic repair and distribution facility to accommodate growth in is Lifetime Service Center. The center, which does warranty repairs for electronics manufacturers as well as extended warranty repairs for third-party providers, employs 130 people and expects to create 35 full-time and 10 part-tiome jobs within 2 years of the expansion’s completion. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2015 and be completed by the fall.

Solar Frontier, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of solar panels, signed an agreement in April with state officials to explore the possibility of the manufacturer opening a solar module in Buffalo, while also setting up the company’s North American headquarters in Albany. Under the April agreement, the state and Solar Frontier established a three-phase program to evaluate the potential for the company expanding. With the first phase now cleared, the focus is on a more extensive examination of the business and financial viability of a New York expansion. That phase is expected to take a few more weeks to complete, and if successful, would lead to a third phase that would involve negotiating a deal to build a factory in Buffalo. The selection of the company to supply solar modules for a new, highly energy efficient building on the SUNY Polytechnic Institute campus is the key step in building a relationship between the state and the company that ultimately could lead to the opening of a second, major solar panel factory in Buffalo (Erie County). Originally, Solar Frontier had stated that if a deal was struck, the company could create as many as 250 research, development and manufacturing jobs in the state, with a total investment, including payroll, that would approach $677 million over seven years. Solar Frontier has since expanded its thoughts on a possible Buffalo factory, which now could be “many times” bigger than originally contemplated.

Cleveland, Ohio-based White Rock Pigments, a manufacturing company that produces the white pigment used in paint, plastic and other products is planning to open a $130 million plant on River Road in the Town of Tonawanda (Niagara County). The plant is expected to create 101 new jobs within a year of its August 2016 scheduled opening.

Five new businesses have been approved for the Start-Up New York program.

1. Illuminating Diagnostics-a biotech company that will create diagnostic testing for early detection of hospital-borne infections.

2. Simply Natural Clothing- an existing business that will expand its line of eco-luxe clothing made from organic fibers. The company will create 16 new jobs and invest $1,033,600.

3. GradFly-an existing company that develops Web and mobile platforms for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students. 15 new jobs are expected to be created and invest $45,000 at its location on the Buffalo Niagara Medical campus.

4. ID Federator - a startup that develops products that enable businesses to manage electronic identities and strengthen their security. The company is investing $75,00 and will create 43 new jobs at its office in UB’s Gateway Building in downtown Buffalo.

5. Neunz Inc.-a subsidiary of New Zealand-based Neunz Ltd., a manufacturer of nanofiber materials that improve the durability and performance of metals, ceramics and polymers. The company plans to open an office in UB’s Baird Research Park in Amherst and make an investment of $3.8 million, creating 40 jobs.

The five companies will make a total investment of $6.2 million into the Buffalo Niagara region over the next five years and create 160 new jobs. Since the program was launched, more than 2,100 new jobs have been or are being created and $98 million in private-sector money has been invested. (December 29,2014-The Buffalo News) Rich Products Corporation is expanding its research and development operations and its new Customer Innovation Center with help from a $2 million grant received from Empire State Development. The expansion to the manufacturing facility in Buffalo (Erie County) will create 74 new jobs and retain 651 jobs.

Business Contractions

New this Month

First Niagara Financial Group is cutting 150-200 jobs from its 5,800 member workforce. The jobs will be cut across its four-state territory of New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The reductions are expected to be completed in January, and will represent less than 3% of its total workforce. The company’s goal is to reduce the number of layers between the CEO and the customer and the job cuts have nothing to do with the economy. Most reductions will affect managerial positions. The total number of cuts in the Western New York area are unknown at this time.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Nothing to report.

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