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Western New York, July 2010

Business Expansions

New this Month

Community Bank N.A. will open its third branch in the area next spring in Orchard Park (Erie County). The banking center will provide roughly 4,000 square feet of space for six bank employees.

Cott Corp., the largest private-label soda manufacturer in North America, behind only Coca Cola and Pepsi, has acquired Cliffstar in Dunkirk (Chautauqua County) in a $500 million deal. Cliffstar is the largest producer of apple juice in the United States and the nation’s leading private-label manufacturer of cranberry and grape juice. Cliffstar has more than 700 employees, and no major job cuts are likely under the new merger.

Mighty Taco has opened two new locations in the past month, including the eatery’s first co-branded location in South Buffalo (Erie County) and one in Cheektowaga. (Erie County).

The New York State Power Authority formalized its commitment to fund the redevelopment efforts of the Canal Side Project in downtown Buffalo (Erie County). The agreement cements $105 million in bonds needed to kick start major recreational and community development projects at the Buffalo Inner Harbor site.

The University at Buffalo’s downtown Buffalo (Erie County) supercomputer center is installing $9 million in new equipment this year, improvements that will ramp up capabilities while aiming to reduce energy consumption. The center, which has won $11.45 million in grants in the past year, helps university professors and other researchers run a myriad of projects.

LocalEdge, formerly known as the Talking Phone Book, will bring 150 new jobs to its call center in Amherst (Erie County). The White Directory Publisher announced its plans for a telephone sales center where its consultants will sell online and mobile-phone advertising across the country.

Walmart has started hiring workers to staff its new Town of Lancaster (Erie County) store. The store, which is set to open September 15, will employ 350 to 400 people.

Oncomed Pharmaceuticals is opening a new office, laboratory and call Center in Buffalo (Erie County) in September. The company will initially hire 12 pharmacists and support staff with plans to grow to 100 workers within two years.

A Florida-based company is bringing new life to the former American LaFrance fire truck manufacturing plant in Hamburg (Erie County). E-One, will break into the stainless steel end of the market at the plant, making aluminum fire trucks, which account for about 20 percent of fire-truck sales and are more popular in the Northeast. The company has hired about 15 workers and expects to quickly boost its workforce to between 20 and 25, primarily tapping former American LaFrance and R.D. Murray employees because of their skill working with fire apparatus and stainless-steel trucks.

More than 40 laid off employees at the GM Powertrain Plant in Tonawanda (Erie County) have been called back to work. Factory workers at the plant are working on a project announced with a new $825 million investment at Powertrain.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Two area IHOP restaurants run by a bankrupt franchisee will shut down. The restaurants that will close are in Buffalo and Orchard Park. (Erie County) Two other locations that are in the area will remain open under the ownership of a different franchisee.

Deep cuts and steep layoffs may be looming for Erie County. A decline in sales tax and property tax revenue, and whether Washington delivers stimulus money to the county next year have put Erie County officials on alert. The worst case for Erie County workers could mean a major round of layoffs, and cuts to their departments to help close a potential $36 million deficit.

Officials from the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. have confirmed that the region’s long courtship with Bass Pro Shops is over. The nearly decade-long attempt to bring the sporting and hunting goods retailing giant to downtown Buffalo (Erie County), as the anchor tenant for the Canal Side development is officially over. Officials hinted that negative perception in the community about the long discussed development may have played a role in the company’s decision to pull out. Bass Pro was slated to build a 150,000-square-foot store that was to due to open in 2012. The store was expected to attract more than 3 million visitors annually while creating 400 full-and part-time jobs.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Orchard Park’s (Erie County) white-collar workers and the town have agreed on a new four-year contract. Most of the concessions in the contract will affect future employees. In exchange, employees are guaranteed raises of 9 percent a year. Union members approved the contract on July 7.

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