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Western New York, January 2010

Business Expansions

New this Month

Tops Markets bid to buy out Penn Traffic, the parent company of Quality Markets, has been accepted by the bankrupt company’s creditors committee and accepted by a Delaware bankruptcy court. The deal will more than double the size of the local grocery chain and save hundreds of local jobs.

First Wind, the company behind the Steel Winds project, will construct six new windmills on the old Bethlehem Steel in Hamburg (Erie County) site this year. Currently there are eight 400 foot tall windmills on the site. The Thruway Authority has also announced it will seek proposals form the wind turbine industry to assess the feasibility of constructing smaller windmills at six Thruway sites in Western New York.

New Era Cap Co. announced that it plans to keep the Derby (Erie County) plant open, preserving 330 local jobs. Last November, the company announced it was consolidating its U.S. operations and would close a production facility, either in Derby or Demopolis Alabama. The deal swung in Derby’s favor when the Communications Workers of America, the union that represents the workers at the local plant, agreed to a series of “operational efficiencies and cost savings”. The company will also receive about $3 million from the state’s Empire State Development program. Those concessions are subject to a ratification vote on February 12th. If the vote is turned down, the Derby plant’s fate could be back in doubt. As sales increase, up to 100 jobs could be added to the local plant, and workers from Demopolis will be offered those jobs first.

President Obama announced that the high-speed rail line from Niagara Falls to New York City will receive $151 million, making New York State the eighth-largest recipient of the funds among 31 states. The federal stimulus money will be used for a series of projects along the Empire Corridor.

A Lancaster (Erie county) electronics manufacturer that had been courted by development officials in Michigan and the South is poised to remain in the Buffalo-Niagara region with the promise of nearly $70,000 in tax savings. Polyfusion Electronics , a 36-employee company that makes specialized electronics assemblies, will reject offers to move out of the region if the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency approves the aid as expected. The company will retain the current employees, and as business picks up, plans to hire additional employees.

Business Contractions

New this Month

About two dozen employees of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center in Niagara Falls (Niagara County) have lost their jobs. Cuts in state and federal funding, combined with changes in the health care marketplace were the contributing factors. The layoffs account for three percent of the workforce at Memorial.

A weakened economy has forced Trans World Entertainment Corp. to close 137 F.Y.E. retail outlets, including two in the Buffalo (Erie County) region. The chain will continue to maintain two other stores in the area.

The sudden closing of a chain restaurant in Amherst (Erie County) has left 67 employees out of work. Uno Chicago Grill closed its doors Monday (January 11th) after the last shift, with no warning to employees. The restaurant on Maple Road is the only Buffalo area branch of the pizzeria.

The shutdown of the Statler Towers in Buffalo (Erie County) is underway. The last tenants, save for Park Lane Catering, have moved out, the property’s systems are being shutdown, and the public is blocked from entering the Niagara Square landmark. A bankruptcy judge was forced to close the building because sale of the property was not completed and funds to run the building have almost run out. The historic landmark, once a grand hotel, has been used the past 25 years as office space and hosted several weddings and banquets in the grand ballroom run by Park Lane Catering.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Nothing to report.

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