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Western New York, October 2015

Business Expansions

New this Month

HSBC will move some jobs to the Buffalo Niagara region over the next two years from New York City. The bank, which employs about 3,000 at its downtown Atrium and space in Depew, will gradually relocate 150 back-office jobs here, at the same time eliminating 40 back-office jobs in Buffalo Niagara, leaving the region with a net gain of 150 positions. The affected employees in New York City will be given the option of relocating to Buffalo, or severance benefits if they do not. Depending on how many choose to relocate, some of the positions could be filled locally.

Delaware North will open a call center in an Amherst office park. The new 8,400 –square-foot call center will employ 47 people initially. The call center will house reservation agents and management positions related to Delaware North’s parks and resorts businesses. The center is being shifted to Amherst as Delaware North prepares to exit Yosemite National Park, after having lost its longtime contract to operate the California park.

Michigan-based wholesale food distributor Gordon Food Service is seeking approval from the Buffalo Planning board to build two additions to an existing store in buffalo to create a nearly 42,000-square-foot food service store to cater to independent food-service operators in the greater Buffalo area. If approved by the board, construction on the $3.5 million project wpu;d begin in November with a late summer of 2016 opening. Initially the project is expected to add 10 full-time and 25 part-time employees, but the company hopes to add staff as volume grows, aiming for 30 full-time and 55 part-time workers.

Goodwill Industries of Western New York recently opened two new larger thrift stores in the Buffalo area. The first, a 13,000-square-foot Cheektowaga (Erie County) store opened in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Plaza, replacing an 8,000-square-foot location. The second, and its largest to date, opened on October 15 in North Buffalo (Erie County). The 16,800-square-foot store will employ 20-25 full and part-time employees, about double the workforce it had at its previous location. The two stores are expected to generate about $2 million in revenue next year, as well as nearly $5 million in revenue for job-training programs and social services.

Tax breaks from The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency were granted to developer TM Montante LLC to build a nearly $12.3 million plant in Vantage International Point in Lockport (Niagara County). The Montante firm is buying a nearly 12-acre parcel in the park and will lease the plant to Bridgestone APM, an Ohio-based subsidiary of Japanese-owned Bridgestone Corp. The 65,000-square-foot plant will produce foam for car seats and is expected to open by early 2017, employing 60 people with salaries of $53,500 a year and up.

The Niagara County Industrial Development agency approved a 15-year PILOT for Wheatfield Gardens LLC, a Jacksonville, Florida company. The company bought a 41-acre site in Wheatfield in April of this year and recently opened a hydroponic vegetable greenhouse. The company already has 47 employees and plans to add over 50 new jobs boosting its employment to 90 after a $2.5 million improvement plan is completed.

Engine repair and magnetic components company Moley Magnetics is seeking to triple the size of its space and expand its business in Lockport (Niagara County). The company is seeking tax breaks from the Lockport Industrial Development Agency to purchase the former Johnson-Rose building instead of building a new facility. With the expansion, plans call for adding 30 new workers to its workforce.

The Walden Galleria Mall’s annual holiday job fair will be held on October 25, 2015. Several of the mall’s retailers will be taking applications for seasonal holiday work as well as some full-time positions.

Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville (Cattaraugus County) will hold job fairs on October 28th and 31st for the upcoming winter ski season. Job openings include lift and parking attendants, ski and snowboard instructors, cashiers, kitchen staff, front desk lodging staff and retail sales.

SolarCity is pledging to hire another 1,500 workers in the next 10 years in New York State, with a significant portion of those newly pledged jobs in Buffalo at the solar panel manufacturing plant currently under construction. The jobs are in addition to the 3,000 jobs the company is planning to hire at the plant.

Business Contractions

New this Month

The acquisition of First Niagara Financial Group Inc. by KeyCorp could mean job losses in the Buffalo area. First Niagara Bank N.A., employs 2,300 people in Western New York, including nearly 750 administrative positions in Larkinville in downtown Buffalo (Erie County) which may disappear as part of the consolidation.

Soraa Inc., one of the high-tech firms that New York state had recruited to open a major facility in the Buffalo area, has decided to build in East Syracuse instead of developing near Solar City in the RiverBend site in South Buffalo. Soraa would have employed more than 400 people locally and potentially invested nearly $750 million.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

The United Auto Workers and General Motors have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, avoiding a strike for now. The proposed contract with GM covers nearly 53,000 U.S. auto workers including over 3,500 in the Buffalo Niagara area.

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