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Plug Power awarded low-cost Niagara hydropower allocation by NY Power Authority

By Press Release

Press release:

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the New York Power Authority Board of Trustees approved economic development awards to three firms that will spur more than $508 million in capital investments and create 205 jobs. 

Included among the approved items are low-cost hydropower allocations to Plug Power, a New York-headquartered hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer, for further development of its Genesee County site. 

The NYPA board also approved low-cost hydropower allocations to facilitate an expansion in Niagara Falls for EnerPlate, an electroplating service provider for grid-scale battery systems, and CWT, a hatching eggs producer for the global poultry industry, expanding in Watertown. 

"New York's growing clean energy infrastructure and local economic development go hand in hand," Governor Hochul said. "The items approved today by the NYPA Board of Trustees will create good-paying jobs and spark hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in communities in Western and Northern New York." 

At today's meeting, the NYPA board approved a 50-megawatt (MW) low-cost Niagara hydropower allocation to Plug Power, located at the Genesee County's Science, Technology & Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP), to support the firm's $387 million green hydrogen fuel production expansion project that will lead to the creation of 19 additional jobs at the location. The firm is underway with its construction of the $290 million green hydrogen fuel production facility at the site that was announced by Governor Hochul in 2021. The expansion project will increase the capacity of the planned hydrogen production from an estimated 45 tons per day to 74 tons per day. The NYPA board also approved an additional 62 MW of High Load Factor power that NYPA will procure for Plug Power on the energy market.

The Power Authority supports Plug Power at three other locations: Slingerlands, which completed construction in January, Latham, and West Henrietta. In total, NYPA supports Plug Power with 272 MW of low-cost power, supporting more than 2,100 jobs throughout the state.

After a dozen years in business, Jagged Edges moves into new, expanded location downtown

By Howard B. Owens
Jagged Edges
Amanda Lowe, with her family, with the Chamber of Commerce scissors, cuts the ribbon on her new location at 4 State St., Batavia.  Her husband is Raymond, and her children are Bentley and Madison,
Photo by Howard Owens

When The Batavian covered the opening of Jagged Edges 12 years ago, owner Amanda Lowe was clearly a bit nervous about opening a business.

"It was a big jump, for sure," Lowe told The Batavian today at the grand opening of her business's new location, 4 State St., in Downtown Batavia. A dozen years ago, she was an experienced hairstylist but had never run her own business before.

This next big step, a more upscale location that moves the business out of a strip mall, is definitely exciting, she said.

"I've learned a lot over the 12 years," Lowe said.  "There's a lot of growth in different areas. But definitely, having a great team of girls to share everything with makes it so much more enjoyable."

In the beginning, it was Amanda and her sister Sarah, who is still with her, and two other stylists who changed locations with her from another hair salon in town where they all rented booths.

Now she has nine employees and an interior at her new location that is more fashionable and inviting.

Regular customers at Jagged Edges over the past decade could definitely see the business growing, and Lowe said she was driven to see it grow and get better.

"I'm definitely a goal-setter," Lowe said. "I like to see that growth, and it was super exciting and so meaningful. Even through ups and downs, and every business has ups and downs, we always continued to grow. That was just all the hard work that goes into it, so it was rewarding to see all that happen."

The new space is something she had her eye on for a while, she said. She was looking for something that flowed better and was better suited to the brand of her business, which specializes in hair coloring and providing just that perfect hairstyle for each customer.

It's a new location with more space, but Lowe said she has no plans to branch out into other lines of business. She knows what she and her team do best.

"We do hair," she said. "We do it well. That's what we like to do, and we work together well."

Previously (from 2011): From dream to reality, Batavia woman opens her own salon

Jagged Edges
Jagged Edges
Jagged Edges
Jagged Edges
Jagged Edges
Jagged Edges

Batavia resident promoted to leadership position by Tops

By Press Release

Press Release:

Kristin Goetz
Kristin Goetz 
Submitted photo

Tops Friendly Markets, a leading full-service grocery retailer in New York, northern Pennsylvania, and Vermont, is pleased to announce the promotion of Kristin Goetz to director, center store. 

As director center store, Kristin will be responsible for directing the development, procurement, and merchandising programs for designated categories of center store merchandise to achieve budgeted sales, gross profit, deals and allowances, inventory turns and service levels. She will also work closely with all category managers, asset managers, and pricing analysts in order to maximize support for Center Store categories.

Having joined Tops Markets in 1996 as a cashier, Kristin served as a Store Manager in six locations over a span of 10 years and most recently held the position of category manager, beverage, commercial bakery and sweet goods.

Kristin holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Buffalo and currently resides in Batavia, New York with her children, Carter and Ava.

Edward Jones has new financial advisor for Genesee County

By Press Release

Press Release:

The financial services firm Edward Jones has hired David W. Hall as a new financial advisor for the Batavia - Michael R. Marsh; Robin Ettinger branch office located at 7 Jackson Street. Hall has 3 years of experience in the financial services industry. Hall received a bachelor's degree from UNC at Pembroke. Michael R. Marsh, David W. Hall and office administrator Robin Ettinger can be reached at 585-345-1773. You may also visit their website at

Photo: Attendees of Business After Hours at Norton's Chizzlewood

By Howard B. Owens
Norton Chizzlewood
The Batavian owes publication of this photo to Fran and Bobbi Norton, owners of Norton's Chizzlewood at 4309 Gilhooly Road, Alexander. The Batavian attended a Chamber of Commerce Buisnesss After Hours at Noton's on May 11 and forgot to follow up with coverage.
Photo by Howard Owens.Business

New owners plan family-oriented cafe and play center in Darien

By Chris Butler
nutty's play den rendering
Rendering from planning documents of the proposed facade for Nutty's Playden in Darien.

The Town of Darien Planning Board this week approved a special use permit for a new indoor play center and café, which will cater to parents and their young children.

This new establishment, Nutty’s Playden, will likely open sometime between mid-August to early September of this year at 1415 Broadway Road in Darien, said Crystal Nutty.

Nutty applied for a special use permit as opposed to a basic commercial permit. The location has been home two a couple of different restaurants in recent years.

“There are children involved. We will have indoor play equipment inside of the building rather than normal restaurant equipment or business furniture. This is also because we are a café mixed with a play center,” Nutty said.

“We will be taking over the lease [to the building] in August. There are a few things that the owner must do to the building before we take over the lease — like cleaning it out and making sure the bathroom is up to code because right now it is not.”

She said Nutty’s Playpen will have the following: 

  • A large play structure that offers obstacles for children “to walk through, climb through and weave around.”  
  • Slides  
  • Creative play stations where children can pretend they are veterinarians or grocery store clerks  
  • A pretend food truck as part of an imagination station
  • A separate area for children ages 0 to 2   
  • Creative stations where children can draw, color, build blocks or do puzzles.  
  • A ball pit and sensory pit for digging and exploring
  • Regular classes and events
  • A café with strictly pre-packaged items as well as fresh baked goods, coffee, soft-serve beverages and birthday parties.  

“We are waiting for the building to get cleared out and the work to get completed so we can start moving our stuff in so we can get it opened. We will have a website hopefully within the next month. We won’t be open for live booking until we get a little bit closer,” Nutty said.   

“We will be offering online booking as well as drop-ins so people can come in for open play at any time. We will have a maximum capacity. We have not figured out what that is with fire and safety because once we get everything in the building, then we will work out those numbers a little bit. That is what the next step is.”

New business lets you Take 5 for oil change without leaving your car

By Joanne Beck
Take 5 oil change site
A potential site for a Take 5 Oil Change business at the front of Valu Plaza in the City of Batavia is under review by the city's Planning and Development Committee. 
Photo by Howard Owens.

There are a few things you probably can get done without leaving your car during lunch: cashing a check at the bank drive-thru, buying a burger and fries at a fast-food place, and, of course, getting your car washed.

What about an oil change while you’re at it? Peter Pavek of Quattro Development explained the concept of just that service offered by Take 5 Oil Change during Tuesday’s City Planning and Development Committee meeting.

Peter Pavek take 5 oil change
Peter Pavek of Quattro Development. Photo by Joanne Beck.

Pavek represented an owner of the latest Take 5 to go at the corner of West Main Street and Lewiston Road, at the entrance of Valu Plaza.

“We began in Louisiana and have been expanding pretty rapidly,” Pavek said. “There are a couple in Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, in the major cities, and we’re targeting Amherst, Tonawanda and Lockport, and now Batavia.”

The service is a 15-minute oil change. There’s no waiting area, and you don’t even leave your vehicle. Plans are to demolish the current building that formerly housed a bank with a drive-thru, a coin and jewelry exchange, and a mobile phone office. Services are primarily oil changes and replacing filters and wiper blades.

Code Enforcement Officer Doug Randall said that per zoning, they would rather see three bays and asked if the company would be good with that; Pavel agreed.

Given the minimal use for a waiting area, there’s also no use for many parking spaces, and Pavek said they could reduce the parking spots and add to the green space.

“Any additional green space you can maintain, that’d be great,” committee member Ed Flynn said.

The sites typically get 50 vehicles per day, with variations of busiest times throughout the day — mid-morning and especially at 3 p.m. reaching peak times, according to company data.

The committee gave a preliminary thumbs up, with instructions to return with a detailed site plan.

Biogas plant on the drawing board for ag park since 2014 reemerges in planning process

By Howard B. Owens
digester tank
Design rendering from area variance application submitted by Genesee BIogas for a tall digester tank for a proposed plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in the Town of Batavia.

A long-discussed plan to build a biogas plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-business Park in the Town of Batavia is again moving forward with the recommended approval on Thursday of a height variance for a storage tank on the property.

CH4 Biogas of Covington, operating the business name Genesee Biogas for the project,  first proposed the plant in 2014

Sara Gilbert, of Pinewood Engineering, asked the board to Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday to recommend approval for the company to build a digester storage tank taller than allowed by zoning code.  The biogas plant seeks approval for an 83.5-foot tall digester tank.

Gilbert noted that the board previously recommended approval of the variance for a plant location that was going to be just outside the ag park but the Town of Batavia board prefers the company build the plant inside the park so the application for the variance needed to be resubmitted for the new location in the park.

She also noted that HP Hood was granted a variance for a much taller tank, and Oatka Milk has tanks with heights that do not conform to the zoning code so the Genesee Biogas proposal is consistent with existing construction in the area.

The board approved the recommendation with one no-vote, from Eric Biscaro, who expressed concern about potential odor from the plant.

eric biscaro 2023 planning board
Eric Biscaro
Photo by Howard Owens.

"I don't care what the height of the tank is, personally," Biscaro said. "I mean, I'm right next to this thing, and I would just as soon get back into that park further because I work at Armor (Building Supply) right down the road from Oatka and Let me tell you, it's pretty ripe there sometimes. And I'm close to this plant, living near there then I am at work. I'm under the impression that this plant is going to smell worse than Oatka."

No, Gilbert said, everything at the plant is enclosed, and the air coming out of the plant is filtered.

"It is different than maybe a more traditional digester," Gilbert said. "It actually has a negative pressure system that can pull the air out and put it through a biofilter system that filters the air. So it does not have a strong smell. And it doesn't have any animal waste at all associated with it. It's only food-grade waste from the plants in the park."

Genesee County Planning Director also informed the board that the only matter on the agenda for Thursday was the high variance. Genesee Biogas will present at a later date a site plan review, where issues such as odor can be considered.

In 2014, at a previous public meeting, Paul Toretta, CEO of CH4 Biogas, explained how the plant works: "We make green power out of organic waste. Once the digester does its thing, it captures methane and powers an engine that makes green power and puts it on the grid. The engine produces heat that can be used to heat Quaker Muller and Alpina (the plants in the park at the time), helping them cut their heating bill."

Quaker Muller's plant is now owned and operated by HP Hood, and Alpina is owned and operated by the Upstate Milk Cooperative.


Overcoming Covid and cattails, LandPro celebrates new Batavia site

By Joanne Beck
LandPro ribbon cutting and grand opening
LandPro Equipment hosts a ribbon-cutting and grand opening on Friday morning at its new location on West Saile Drive in Batavia.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Of the dozens of people milling about a spit-polished brand new LandPro Equipment site on West Saile Drive Friday morning, not many could compete with the diehard dedication of John Deere collector Marty Frenchie, who was scoping out the trademark grass green-colored tractors in the 75,000 square-foot building’s showroom floor.

Frenchie, as he’s mostly known by his friends, has 13 tractors, and “maybe” looking for number 14 during LandPro’s grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony. He’s familiar with all of the dealers and decided to visit this branch on the town’s north end of Batavia during the morning’s festivities.

“It’s great, it’s close to home,” he said, sharing why he collects Deere tractors. “I got it in my blood.”

Frenchie, while not a farmer of the county’s 200,000 collective acres, certainly fell into the group to whom Glenn Gibson represented. The Ag & Turf Division business manager for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. for John Deere, Gibson gave “a heartfelt thank you for everyone who made this day possible,” from the financial end of things and LandPro ownership and employees to “all of the city officials that helped support this project, and the construction teams that built this absolutely beautiful building,” he said.

“But most importantly, thank you to our customers that LandPro has had the privilege of serving,” he said. “Just a little bit on the history in Genesee County. So John Deere has had a location here since the 1950s. And if you get a chance, there is a beautiful painting that's in the showroom that really depicts that history really well and all of the dealer organizations who have supported this region. Agriculture is the number one industry in the region in Genesee County, with just under 500 farms, operating about 200,000 acres and generating about $250 million to the local economy.”

“Genesee County is very, very important to John Deere and, more broadly, the whole Western New York region. And so … we really appreciate the investment that (Argonne Capital Group) and LandPro are making to build on that legacy here in the region. Today, we are focused on serving the greater good to help the world produce food, fiber, fuel and infrastructure to meet our needs by 2050,” he said. “There'll be 10 billion people in the world, so we'll need to increase our agricultural production by 60 to 70 percent. To tackle these challenges, two years ago, John Deere launched our smart industrial strategy, and our aim is nothing short of revolutionizing the agriculture and construction industries. We want to unlock customer value across their production systems and across their equipment life cycles to make sure that change and that productivity is sustainable for all.”

What does that mean?

  • Leveraging technology to enable smarter, more precise and productive machines to add value throughout the life of their machines to keep them operating and minimize cost, he said. Continuing to focus on innovations, such as alternative power and electrification across many product lines.
  • Autonomous solutions — the company’s tillage tractor that they can operate day and night.
  • A continued focus on artificial intelligence and neural networks on machines “in order to help growers take crop management from a field level down to the individual plant level.”
  • And a great example of that is our new sea and spray sprayer — spraying just the week. So you're realizing a 70 percent savings in the chemicals applied, he said.

“So you may have heard the tagline ‘nothing runs like a Deere.’ And that's true. But our commitment goes beyond the products. And it goes to the communities that our exceptional dealers serve. And so, together with our dealers, we run so that life can leap forward,” Gibson said. “So I'll finish where I began. And that's just a huge thank you to everybody who made this day possible. And as good as today is, our best days are ahead of us. And I think the investment in this building in this community is a shining example of just that.”

LandPro President and CEO Tom Sutter recalled standing in a rural field 20 months ago with cattails up to his eyes, “trying to figure out where this thing’s gonna go,” he said. And on Friday, he recapped that being surrounded by a team of “phenomenal” people, all of whom he wanted to thank, he could only admire the finished product and look back in awe at what they all endured.

Managing a construction project that size from the ground up, for starters. The land was wild with trees and foliage and, of course, full of cattails. Anyone who drove by during its development would have seen the skeleton of structural beams, a scene quite the contrast to a paved sidewalk surrounding the 75,000 square-foot building with a showroom entrance, corporate offices, a large training room, walls decorated with colorful agricultural photos in plexiglass, a 54,000 square-foot shop with a drainage system and heated floor.  Other challenges were COVID-related issues and delays.

Sutter thanked the county Chamber of Commerce, GCEDC, Batavia, and many company and corporate members.

“It’s great working with all of you. I mean, look at this. Look at this beautiful building behind us. They put it in from the ground up. So I can't thank you all enough. You put up with a lot of hardship. So thank you all guys for putting up with that,” he said. “And our customers are so important, you all make this happen.”

Chamber of Commerce President Brian Cousins was on hand with the big pair of scissors and to offer his congratulations. LandPro is twofold, he said, in its benefits for Genesee County and beyond.

"I think it's absolutely fabulous. They've obviously been a staple inside the county for a very long time. It's great for both consumers and agricultural support throughout our region,” Cousins said. "The store is beautiful. It's always great to see the people expand; they get additional jobs, and they get additional support. So I think it's just a wonderful asset to our community as a whole. Agriculture is the number one industry in the community. So having another branch and another support and a larger mechanism to be able to lean on for a resource for our agricultural workers or even our residents is outstanding.”

The location is at 4540 W. Saile Drive, Batavia. For more information, go to LandPro or call 585-948-5261. 

LandPro ribbon cutting and grand opening
Glenn Gibson, Ag & Turf Division business manager for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. for John Deere
Photo by Howard Owens
LandPro ribbon cutting and grand opening
LandPro ribbon cutting and grand opening
Tom Sutter, LandPro president and CEO
Photo by Howard Owens
LandPro ribbon cutting and grand opening
LandPro ribbon cutting and grand opening
LandPro ribbon cutting and grand opening
LandPro ribbon cutting and grand opening
LandPro ribbon cutting and grand opening
LandPro ribbon cutting and grand opening
LandPro ribbon cutting and grand opening

Photos of Friday's ribbon-cutting for LandPro Equipment's grand opening of its West Saile Drive store and shop, by Howard Owens.

D&R Depot owner ready for something different in life, looking for buyer

By Chris Butler
sean valdes
Sean Valdes, center, owner of the D&R Depot in Le Roy, with wife, co-owner and the restaurant's chef, Jennifer, on the left, and Nancy Nickerson, his former business partner, in a file photo by Howard Owens.

Sean Valdes, an owner of D&R Depot in Le Roy, is ready to move on to the next phase of his life, and he’s decided to leave while he’s on top.

Valdes announced earlier this month on social media that he’s selling the restaurant. 

He started working for the restaurant in 1993, as a dishwasher. Valdes worked his way up through the restaurant staff and eventually bought it. His wife is a part-owner and head chef.

“I have never made a personal decision before that wasn't restaurant-first. This will be the first personal decision we have made as adults. We are just looking for something different,” Valdes said.

“My wife and I have been doing it for a long time. We met here. We got married here. Our kids work here now. They are teenagers. It’s just life changes. We are both in our mid-40s, and we are looking to do something different. We are still at our peak. We are busy. We are popular. We have a tremendous staff and a great system in place. This is the time to say, ‘We did it, and let’s go do something else.’”

Don and Nancy Nickerson opened the D&R Depot in September 1991 as a mid-scale restaurant that served homemade food. The restaurant is perhaps best known for its chicken pot pies.

Nancy passed away in September.

Valdes said no changes are immediately coming. Everything is the same as always. He said he doesn’t have to sell D&R Depot to the first person who comes along. Valdes wants to sell the restaurant to “someone who fits our culture.” He wants his replacement to successfully shepherd it through the next 20 to 30 years.

As Valdes prepares to leave, he can’t help but reflect on what he’s learned from 30 years in the business.

“I think that restaurants now are getting a bad rap. Yes, business is hard. Yes, prices are higher. All those things are true,” Valdes said. “But I think if you focus on your customer and focus on your staff and control your costs, the restaurant business could be quite profitable. The relationships you make from it are invaluable.”

GCEDC's Hyde drops hints in remarks to regional economic team of new projects coming

By Howard B. Owens
steve hyde
Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC, speaks to the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council at its meeting at GCC on Wednesday.
Photo by Howard Owens

Remember in 2011 when we all had fun trying to guess the coded meaning of "Project Wave?"

Now we get to do it again.  What is "Project Vulcan?"

Speaking to members of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, Steve Hyde, CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center, said, "We've got a lot going on. We're on the short list for two more projects that are another 700 jobs. I just saw yesterday a term sheet for Project Vulcan."

A reporter standing next to Jim Krencik, senior director for marketing and communications for GCEDC, at the time Hyde mentioned Project Vulcan couldn't get him to drop any further hints about what that phrase might mean.

In 2011, "Project Wave" turned out to be the yogurt plant developed by PepsiCo (the "wave") and the Theo Muller Group.  That business eventually failed, but the plant now employs 400 people working for HP Hood.

Hyde was one of the introductory speakers before the council got down to business (The Batavian didn't stick around for that part of the meeting) that included an update from Executive Director Laura Fox O'Sullivan, a presentation on workforce development priorities, regional talent attraction strategies, a board discussion and development of a work plan.

One of the themes both Hyde and Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein shared was the need for state officials to become better aligned with economic development.

New York is a challenging state because of regulatory schemes to attract businesses, Hyde said.

"Building mega site industrial parks is difficult, challenging," Hyde said. "Employers and investors need support from the state. There is a critical misalignment right now between some of our regulatory agencies in the state and then the governor's economic development goals and strategy.  ... We need to find a way to find a solution to the common good to be partners, to be collaborative in the support of our state strategy and our regional strategy."

Stein, a dairy farm owner in Le Roy, said there is more demand than ever for New York's milk, especially with yesterday's announcement of the fairlife plant planned for the Town of Webster, but the state's continuing regulatory burden on farmers and their workers, such as the recently changed overtime threshold, and the proliferation of solar farms on farmland, is hampering the ability of New York dairy farmers to meet the demand.

She compared the misalignment between competing political forces in the state with the goggles you might put on during a visit to the optometrist.  The optometrist will adjust the lenses one at a time to help bring what you see into focus.  Right now, the two sides are out of focus, she said.

"We want to be able to bring ourselves together with good sound economic development," Stein said. "We want to bring in opportunities for our families. We want to bring together all of us to have a shared common message because we certainly have differences. But we can also work from our commonalities."

Hyde praised the Finger Lakes council for being aligned on economic development for the region.

"Our council is completely aligned," Hyde said. "Look at what we're focused on -- site development, workforce development, it all fits into our goals, right? You know, grow jobs, rollout, drive investment, reduce poverty, create opportunity for our families and our residents."

This was the first time the council has met in Genesee Council since before the pandemic.

In an interview with The Batavian before the meeting, former Rochester mayor and former lieutenant governor Robert Duffy praised the work of Hyde.  He said his first meeting after becoming LG was with Hyde to discuss WNY STAMP. 

He called Hyde a "pit bull" on behalf of Genesee County's economic development goals.

"I think in spite of many challenges we all face nowadays, I think the state is doing some great work," Duffy said. "I would say from my perspective, Genesee County is lucky to have Steve Hyde and his team. I've worked with Steve since 2011, and I've been super impressed with his tenacity and his commitment to this. He has never let go of STAMP and STAMP, now, for all those years and all that work, it's really starting to come together and take hold."

Steve Hyde
Steve Hyde during his presentation to the council.
Photo by Howard Owens
Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Meeting at GCC
Genesee Community College President James Sunser speaking about the college's efforts to support economic development and workforce development.
Photo by Howard Owens
Shelley Stein
Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein: "We want to be able to bring ourselves together with good sound economic development," Stein said. "We want to bring in opportunities for our families.  We want to bring together all of us to have a shared common message because we certainly have differences. But we can also work from our commonalities."
Photo by Howard Owens
Hyde, Stein, Eugene Jankowski
Genesee County has a seat at the table with the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council with Steve Hyde, Shelley Stein, and Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski.
Photo by Howard Owens
Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Meeting at GCC
Photo by Howard Owens

GCEDC mum on whether Genesee County was in running for new Coca-Cola dairy processing plant

By Howard B. Owens
HP Hood Ag Park
The HP Hood dairy processing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia.
Photo by Howard Owens

There just isn't enough room in the Genesee Valley Ag Park on the east side of the Town of Batavia for a project as large as the Fairlife plant announced today in Monroe County.

The 745,000-square-foot facility will be built by Coca-Cola and create an estimated 250 jobs in the Town of Webster.  The company is expected to invest $650 million in the project.

Asked if the Genesee County Economic Development Center competed for the project, Jim Krencik, senior director of marketing and communications for GCEDC, said it is against agency policy to discuss what companies might have looked at Genesee County as a possible site location for a facility.

"The huge winners here are the dairy farmers," Krencik said. "Wherever it's located in our region, the dairy farmers are the biggest winners."

When asked a follow-up question, he said with HP Hood and Upstate Niagara Milk Cooperative operating in the park along with planned expansions, the Coca-Cola facility wouldn't fit in the park.

Asked about potential sites in Genesee County for such a facility, he said there could be, but that would depend on available infrastructure, and he reiterated the policy of not discussing negotiations with businesses.

HP Hood is the largest land owner in the Ag Park. Its current facility sits on 80 acres, and the company also owns a 22-acre parcel to the factory's north, and 30-acre and 17-acre parcels to the west. All three of those parcels are currently vacant.

The Coca-Cola project in Monroe County has echoes of another soda company's foray into the dairy business -- when Pepsi Co teamed up with the Theo Muller Group to build a Greek yogurt factory in the ag park.  Pepsi and Muller invested $206 million into the project only to close the doors less than three years later.

Pepsi sold the 363,000-square-foot plant to the Dairy Farmers of America for $60 million.

Hood purchased the plant in 2018 from DFA for $54 million. Hood immediately expanded the plant by at least another 100,000 square feet.

The other failed Greek yogurt project, the plant built by Alpina, is now a dairy processing facility for Upstate Niagara Milk Cooperative.

The big difference, perhaps, between the Pepsi and Coke projects is that Pepsi was trying to start a new business line and enter the emerging and competitive market of Greek yogurt. And the product, some critics pointed out, wasn't really Greek yogurt. Pepsi Muller found it hard to get its products on grocery store shelves. 

In Coke's case, its Fairlife brand was launched in 2012 and is widely distributed, having already hit $1 billion in sales.

According to the company's website, Fairlife is an ultra-filtered, flavored dairy drink. The process reportedly removes the lactose and much of the sugar and leaves behind more protein and calcium.

Gov. Kathy Hochul praised Coca-Cola for selecting Monroe County as the location for its new plant.

"This decision by Fairlife to expand their operations in Monroe County marks the next chapter in New York's agricultural success story," Hochul said. "New York's dairy industry serves as a crucial economic engine for our state, and this $650 million investment from Fairlife will create jobs and drive economic impact, particularly in the Finger Lakes."

Tompkins Financial Corporation Reports First Quarter Earnings

By Press Release

 Press Release:

Tompkins Financial Corporation ("Tompkins" or the "Company") reported diluted earnings per share of $1.35 for the first quarter of 2023, in line with the immediate prior quarter, and down 15.6% from diluted earnings per share of $1.60 reported in the first quarter of 2022. The first quarter results in the prior year included $2.0 million, pre-tax, ($0.10 per diluted share) in net fees related to the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program loans ("PPP"), compared to net fees of $2,000 in the current period.  

Net income for the first quarter of 2023 was $19.4 million, a decrease of 16.7% from the $23.3 million reported for the same period in 2022.  Increased funding costs coupled with increases in operating expense were the main drivers for the year-over-year decreases in net income.  

Tompkins President and CEO, Stephen Romaine, commented, "The first quarter of 2023 was a tumultuous quarter for the banking industry.  In times like these, our business model - built on strong customer relationships and sustainable financial performance - has helped differentiate Tompkins from companies with less tenable business models. Though we are not immune to certain headwinds facing our industry - as evident from reduced earnings in the first quarter - we are pleased to report an increase in our common equity for the second consecutive quarter, a strong liquidity position, while at the same time delivering an annualized return on equity of 12.45% in the first quarter of 2023." 



  • Key profitability measures remained healthy in the first quarter, with a return on average assets of 1.03% (up from 1.00% last quarter); net interest margin of 2.99% (down from 3.02% last quarter); and return on equity of 12.45% (down from 13.36% last quarter). 
  • Regulatory Tier 1 capital to average assets improved for the sixth consecutive quarter, ending the first quarter of 2023 at 9.63%. 
  • Total loans at March 31 were $5.3 billion, in line with the immediate prior quarter, and up $210.2 million, or 4.2% from March 31, 2022.  Excluding PPP loans, total loans at March 31 were up 4.6% over the first quarter of 2022. 
  • Total nonperforming assets at March 31 represented 0.37% of total assets and declined 13.7% from the most recent prior quarter.    

Total deposits at March 31 were $6.5 billion, reflecting a 1.4% decrease compared to year-end 2022 and a decline of 7.2% when compared to same period last year.   


Net interest margin was 2.99% for the first quarter of 2023, compared to 3.02% reported for the fourth quarter of 2022, and 3.04% at March 31, 2022. The decrease in margin from the fourth quarter of 2022 was due primarily to the increase in interest rates on interest-bearing liabilities outpacing increases on interest earning asset yields due to the higher interest rate environment.   

Net interest income was $54.2 million for the first quarter of 2023, down from $57.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2022, and $56.6 million for the first quarter of 2022. Net interest income for the quarter ended  March 31 was impacted by increases in interest expense, which totaled $15.0 million for the first quarter of 2023 compared to $2.6 million for the same period in 2022, partially offset by increased interest and dividend income, which increased by $10.1 million when compared to March 31, 2022.    

Average loans for the quarter ended March 31, 2023 were up $41.6 million or 0.8% from the fourth quarter of 2022, and $195.3 million or 3.9% compared to the same period in 2022. The increase in average loans was mainly in the residential and commercial real estate portfolios compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2022.  Asset yields for the quarter ended March 31, 2023 were up 25 basis points compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2022, and up 63 basis points compared to the same period in 2022.    

Average total deposits for the first quarter of 2023 were down $144.9 million, or 2.2% compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, and down $328.2 million, or 4.8% compared to the same period in 2022.  The decrease was largely driven by a decline in stimulus funding and a tightening monetary policy that has led to a declining trend in bank deposits on a national level, as reported by the Federal Reserve. Average deposit balances at March 31 are $1.3 billion or 23.9% higher than pre-pandemic levels reported at December 31, 2019.  The cost of interest-bearing deposits increased to 1.10% for the first quarter of 2023, compared to 0.69% for the fourth quarter of 2022, and 0.17% for the first quarter last year. The increase was mainly driven by higher market interest rates as a result of the target federal funds rate increasing 450 basis points over the prior twelve months.   

The total cost of interest-bearing liabilities of 1.26% for the first quarter of 2023 represented an increase of 42 basis points over the fourth quarter of 2022, and an increase of 105 basis points over the same period in 2022. At March 31, the Company estimates total uninsured deposits of $2.6 billion, which is unchanged from December 31, 2022.  The uninsured deposit balance of $2.6 billion at March 31 is made up of $1.1 billion of collateralized government deposits and $1.5 billion of uninsured customer deposits without liquid collateral pledged.  Total insured deposits and collateralized government deposits represent 76.9% of the Company's total deposits of $6.5 billion at March 31.   


Noninterest income of $20.4 million for the first quarter of 2023 was up $2.0 million, or 11.2% compared to the most recent prior quarter, and up $415,000, or 2.1% compared to the prior year quarter in 2022. Noninterest income represented 27.3% of total revenue at March 31, compared to 24.3% at December 31, 2022, and 26.1% at March 31, 2022. Increases in insurance and card service fees in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the prior year quarter were partially offset by lower wealth management fees, primarily due to market conditions.  


Noninterest expense was $50.2 million for the first quarter of 2023, which was in line with the fourth quarter of 2022, and up $3.3 million, or 7.1% over the first quarter of 2022, with the increase largely driven by higher personnel-related costs. Increases in FDIC insurance rates, as well as increased spending on marketing and technology also contributed to expense growth in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the first quarter of 2022.   


The Company's effective tax rate was 23.3% for the first quarter of 2023, compared to 23.0% for the same period in 2022.   


The allowance for credit losses represented 0.87% of total loans and leases at March 31, 2023, unchanged from the prior quarter, and up from 0.83% at March 31, 2022. The ratio of the allowance to total nonperforming loans and leases improved to 162.11% for the first quarter of 2023, compared to 139.86% at December 31, 2022 and 139.20% at March 31, 2022.  

Provision for credit losses for the first quarter of 2023 was a credit of $825,000 compared to a credit of $520,000 for the same period in 2022. Net recoveries for the quarter ended March 31 were $1.3 million compared to net recoveries of $17,000 reported for the same period in 2022.         

Nonperforming assets represented 0.37% of total assets at March 31, down from 0.43% at December 31, 2022 and 0.38% at March 31, 2022.  At March 31, nonperforming loans and leases totaled $28.4 million, compared to $32.8 million at December 31, 2022 and $30.3 million at March 31, 2022.   

Special Mention and substandard loans and leases totaled $85.6 million at March 31, reflecting improvement from the $98.3 million reported for December 31, 2022 and the $135.1 million at March 31, 2022.  The improvement over prior quarter was mainly a result of upgrades on two large commercial real estate loans previously reported as Special Mention. 


Capital ratios at March 31, remained well above the regulatory minimums for well-capitalized institutions. The ratio of total capital to risk-weighted assets was 14.62% at March 31, compared to 14.42% at December 31, 2022 and 14.23% at March 31, 2022. The ratio of Tier 1 capital to average assets was 9.63% at March 31, compared to 9.34% at December 31, 2022 and 8.89% at March 31, 2022.  


The Company's liquidity is well positioned and remains stable from the fourth quarter of 2022.  Liquidity is enhanced by ready access to national and regional wholesale funding sources including Federal funds purchased, repurchase agreements, brokered deposits, Federal Reserve Bank Discount Window advances and FHLB advances.  The Company maintains ready access liquidity of $1.7 billion or 22.5% of assets.  As members of the FHLB, the Company can use certain unencumbered mortgage-related assets and securities to secure borrowings from the FHLB. At March 31 the Company had an available borrowing capacity at the FHLB of $1.3 billion as compared to $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022.  Through various programs at the Federal Reserve Bank, the Company has the ability to use certain unencumbered mortgage-related assets and securities to secure borrowings from the Federal Reserve Bank's Discount Window.  At March 31 the available borrowing capacity with the Federal Reserve Bank was $157.0 million, secured by investment securities.  In addition to the available borrowing lines at the FHLB and Federal Reserve Bank, at March 31, the Company maintained $265.3 million of unencumbered securities which could be pledged to further enhance secured borrowing capacity.   


Speakers at GCEDC annual meeting highlight coordinated efforts of agencies

By Howard B. Owens

The economic development efforts of Genesee County and the region and the state are closely aligned, said two officials who spoke at GCEDC's annual meeting Friday at Batavia Downs.

Ryan Silva, executive director of the NYS Economic Development Council (top photo), first gave an overview of the investments New York made in 2022 in economic development. Among them:

  • A $200 million investment program;
  • A $250 brownfield development program;
  • A $500 million tax recredit program designed to attract semiconductor manufacturers.

"All told, over the last 12 months, there has been $1.2 billion dollars in new economic development initiatives and funding dedicated to New York State," Silva said.

Silva applauded the accomplishments of GCEDC.

"Since the Steve Hyde era began in 2003, I was just amazed to hear some of those stats that you referenced, Steve -- 527 projects, $2 billion in capital, $5 million square feet of space and 5,000 jobs."

He added, "What does that say about how we can grow our economies? What we have to do is continue to build shovel-ready sites all across the state to attract and grow key industries. What does that say about Genesee County? To me, it says you're leveraging your strengths and your assets. Communities are stepping up and helping achieve their own goals, and GCEDC is setting the way. And then what does this mean for our future? It means better careers and outcomes for the families and the communities that we serve and remains revitalized downtown that will attract the next generation of workforce."

 Laura Fox O'Sullivan, regional director of Empire State Development’s Finger Lakes Regional Office (second photo), visited Downtown Batavia during her visit to Genesee County and took note of the efforts to revitalize the city core during a lunch at Eli Fish, where she heard more about how the city is putting to work its $10 million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant award.

"The Batavia DRI project to me felt like such a microcosm of how Genesee County works," O'Sullivan said. "There are really strong partnerships, people know each other, and they really care about each other. And something that I've really been impressed by with Genesee County is that they have these long-standing partnerships, and they're really coming to fruition right now. It's such an exciting time to be here."

Photos by Howard Owens.

During his speech Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC, thanked all of the agencies partners, such as the Town of Alabama, Town of Pembroke, Town of Batavia, the City of Batavia and the Genesee County Legislature, as well as the agencies throughout the state that help the agency attract businesses to the county's shovel-ready industrial parks.

"It's also important to keep this growing," Hyde said. "Industrial development agencies oftentimes specifically are under attack legislatively at the state level, because they have legislation that gets launched that's narrowly focused and misguided. And that, if it passed, actually negatively impacts the competitiveness in New York State."

The Town of Pembroke, represented by Supervisor Thomas Schneider Jr., was honored as GCEDC development partner of the year.

We appreciate it greatly, but we also don't do what we do in Pembroke for accolades," Schneider said. "We do it for the betterment of the community. We do appreciate it. We've got a strong team behind us that also deserve recognition for getting the award. With all the development going on -- it's just all of the sudden sparked off like I couldn't imagine within a year."

Middle of the photo, Pete Zeliff, chairman of the GCEDC board of directors, and Shelley Stein, chair of the Genesee County Legislature.

When Steve Hyde asked audience members partnering with the county's workforce development efforts to raise their hands, among them Kevin MacDonald, superintendent of Genesee Valley BOCES.

Independent Living hires Luis Pacheco as Medicaid facilitator

By Press Release

Press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is pleased that Luis Pacheco has joined their team in the role of Medicaid Facilitated Enroller.  In this position, he will assist individuals who are aged (over 65 years), legally blind or disabled to acquire health insurance.

Mr. Pacheco comes to ILGR with a breadth of experience, having worked as a Spanish language Interpreter for EZ Translations in Rochester; a Quality Controller at heating equipment supplier I Squared R Element Company in Akron; a Class B Building Mechanic at  Patriot Construction in Rochester; a Customer Service Representative (CSR) Insurance Agent at Combined Life Insurance Company of New York (CLICNY); a Bilingual Examiner at the Monroe County Department of Social Services in Rochester; a Customer Service Representative in Banking/ Finance at JP Morgan Chase Wealth Management in  Rochester; and Various Postings and Duty Stations, Worldwide, in the United States Marine Corps.

As a Medicaid Facilitated Enroller, it will be Luis’ role to educate, engage and enroll individuals who are aged (over 65 years), legally blind or disabled, to attend to their needs for health insurance by addressing the levels of eligibility and type of insurance that they are qualified for, preparing the application, and diligently following through to collect information which is needed to fulfill the eligibility requirements, as set forth by the Local County Department of Social Services (LCDSS).

ILGR is delighted that Luis Pacheco is bringing his considerable experience to serve the GOW region in his new position.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region is a member of the Western New York Independent Living, Inc. family of agencies that offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.



Genesee County announces the first countywide Farmland Protection Workshop

By Press Release

Press release:

Genesee County, in collaboration with Genesee Valley Conservancy, Western New York Land Conservancy, and Genesee Land Trust, has announced that the Agricultural & Farmland Protection Board will be accepting pre-applications from landowners interested in being considered for New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets Farmland Protection program or other state and federal farmland protection initiatives that may become available in the future.

The Farmland Protection program buys conservation easements on the State’s most productive farmland.

The program is completely voluntary, and the seller retains ownership of the land and can continue farming the property. However, the land will have permanent restrictions on commercial, residential, and industrial uses.

A workshop will be held on Tuesday, May 2, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Genesee County Building 2, located at 3837 W Main Street Rd, Batavia, to provide landowners with information about the program. All interested landowners must attend this workshop prior to submitting an application. If any interested landowners cannot attend, contact the County Planning at or (585) 815-7901 to inquire about making arrangements.

The State Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program reimburses farmers up to 87.5 percent of the value of the development rights on their land. Three land trusts serve Genesee County and can submit applications for this grant funding. All farmers wishing to apply to the State program must complete a reapplication with their respective land trust. Pre-applications will be evaluated by the land trust and will consider the amount of development pressure, quality of soils to be protected, and farm viability. The highest-scoring pre-application(s) will be invited to have full applications submitted to the program. These pre-applications may be used to select eligible farms for other future state and federal farmland protection programs. The Genesee County Planning Department, the Genesee Valley Conservancy, the Western New York Land Conservancy, the Genesee Land Trust, and the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District work cooperatively to manage the pre-application phase.

The pre-application process will be open year-round for interested landowners in the County but will be reviewed annually by each Land Trust. The full application deadline to the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets has not yet been announced, and there is no guarantee the State will release a funding opportunity this budget year. However, establishing a pipeline of interested farms is crucial to demonstrating funding needs and critical to leveraging other non-state funding. 

For more information on the New York State Farmland Protection program, visit:

Still in the midst of recovering from fire, The Firing Pin hosts a Chamber After Hours

By Howard B. Owens

It's been less than four weeks since a fire in the firing range at The Firing Pin on Buffalo Road in Bergen nearly shut the business down.

But it isn't shut down.

A sign of that was owner Brandon Lewis and his staff hosting an After Hours event for the Chamber of Commerce -- an event that had been scheduled before the fire.

Lewis saw no reason to cancel it.

His 7,500 square-foot retail space and indoor firing range are gutted, but he rented a mobile firing range and converted a 500 square-foot storage area and studio into a new retail space, so the Firing Pin Remains open to take care of its customers, conduct classes, and keep everything going while he works out recovery details with his insurance carrier.

"It's been an adjustment, but we're making the most of it," Lewis said. "Obviously, if it were up to me, we'd already be half rebuilt already. But, you know, we're working within the limitations that we've got. I couldn't be more thankful for my team. You know, I couldn't imagine where we'd be without their efforts."

Previously: Three days after devastating fire, owner of The Firing Pin looking ahead

Photos by Howard Owens: Top photo, Brandon Lewis and his daughter Emmie.

Kelly Bermingham, membership director for the Chamber, with a cookie made for the chamber event featuring The Firing Pin logo.

John Huther, director for training at The Firing Pin, inside the mobile firing range.

Eden to add libations for later night dining

By Joanne Beck

Now that Eden Cafe & Bakeshop is approaching its one-year anniversary of being on the south side, it’s a fitting time to add something new to the menu, owner Judy Hysek says.

Move over cauli wings and hummus wraps, and make room for a glass of beer, wine or cider. Hysek has been given the nod of approval from City Council and is waiting for the state to issue her liquor license.

“We all talk to our customers. And a lot of them said that it’s just something that they would like to see us offering,” Hysek said Wednesday.  “And you know, we think it would be a good fit for our dinner crowd. I know a lot of people like to have a glass of wine or beer with their foods.

“And we’re hoping that it will help bring a little bit more business than what we normally have,” she said. “We do a lot of takeout, so we’d like to have more dining as well.”

She plans to add a few more appetizers to go with expanded later night hours, such as stuffed mushrooms.

And talks have already been in the works with Eli Fish, Hysek said, which was home to Eden Cafe during its inception and learning years. She plans to have some of Eli’s craft beers at her place at 242 Ellicott St., Batavia.

Once the license arrives, the new hours and additional appetizers will be announced, she said.

File photo of Eden's cauli wings, by Howard Owens.

Tompkins Community Bank promotes Diane Torcello to president of WNY market

By Press Release

Press release:

Tompkins Community Bank announced that Diane Torcello has been promoted to president of the bank’s Western New York (WNY) market. Previously, Torcello served as senior vice president and community banking manager. In her new role, she is responsible for the bank’s growth, community and client engagement and stakeholder relations throughout its Western New York market as well as fostering relationships with clients of Tompkins insurance and wealth affiliates.

“Diane has a proven record of leadership expertise and excellence as a community banker throughout the region, from Rochester to Batavia to Buffalo and their surrounding communities,” said John McKenna, president of Tompkins Community Bank. “Having witnessed first-hand her dedication over the past ten years, I know that her vast knowledge of financial services and commitment to collaboration makes her the ideal leader to build on our success in Western New York.” 

A veteran of the banking industry, Torcello is well-known throughout the community for her expertise in retail, commercial, operations, and branch management. She began her career as a teller at The Pavilion State Bank and steadily rose through the company’s ranks into the position of commercial lender.

Torcello began her 18-year tenure with Tompkins as vice president and branch manager before being elevated to senior vice president and community banking manager in 2013, a position she has held for the past decade. In this role, Diane is responsible for the leadership of all staff and operations of the Western New York branch network, as well as the direct involvement and management of the largest deposit relationships. She also interacts routinely with the Tompkins WNY bank board on business development and strategy.

Most recently, Torcello was named one of the Rochester Business Journal’s Women of Excellence in the publication’s 2023 awards announcement. She is also a past recipient of the Women in Business Award from the Batavia Daily News and the 40 Under 40 from Buffalo News.

“Diane’s impact on both the Tompkins community and the community at large has been immeasurable over her remarkable career,” said Jim Fulmer, board chair of Tompkins Community Bank. “Her dedication to the professional growth of her team, and the economic health of her community, is emblematic of our mission to its core.”

Active in the community, Torcello has served as a board member and volunteer for several nonprofit organizations throughout her career, including the Genesee County Chamber Business Development Committee, Mary Immaculate Finance Committee, Children’s Home Committee, United Way, St. Mary’s Parish Council and Junior Achievement. She has also served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Genesee Community College for 14 years, including two as Chair. An upcoming graduate of Roberts Wesleyan University, Torcello resides in Pavilion with her husband, Ralph, although is frequently in Rochester and Buffalo visiting her two sons and their families.

Puerto Rican restaurant to serve up 'a nice little change' in Batavia

By Joanne Beck

Friends. Family. And coming together.

The only thing missing is the delicious food, but Vianiliz “Vee” Echevarria Rivera and her mother, Elizabeth, have that covered. And the Puerto Rican natives plan to bring it to Linda Borinqueña, which means “a beautiful Puerto Rico.” The takeout restaurant will be housed in a new venture expected to open in June at 56 Harvester Ave., The Harvester Center, Batavia.

“My mom was the one who made all the meals. She made really beautiful breakfasts, and lunches and dinners. Over there, a lot of the foods are basically a lot of the rice, beans, yams, a lot of the meats over there are fresh, so that’s what we ate. She has an amazing hand for cooking,” Vee said Friday to The Batavian. “I watched since I was little, and the first time I actually made up white rice with beans on the side, I was 11 years old, and I was very proud of it.”

Likewise, Elizabeth learned from her mom, and the generational tradition was for the young girls to be kicked out of the kitchen by the adults until they were old enough to be helpful. Both mom and daughter admitted to getting the boot at 10, but once allowed back in, they never stopped making toothsome cuisine.

Dishes in Puerto Rico aren't so much about being spicy, Vee said, as it is about adding flavor. Sofrito is “a whole bunch of herbs and garlic, onion and peppers,” that are blended together and added to the food. It may also include cilantro and oregano, and — well, she wasn’t going to give away all the secrets, she said.

Just accept that heating up a can of black beans on the stove is not what beans and rice is. Even the rice is made differently depending on who makes it, she said. Her mom’s version doesn’t taste the same as Vee’s. Much of the secret is in the types of flavors used.

Or changing the type of rice.

“If you’re making a bean stew and use yellow rice, that gives it a nice flavor to it,” she said.

There’s nothing wrong with the culinary staples of this area, but for some diversity for what the Riveras offer, diners have to drive to Rochester or Buffalo, she said.

“There are a lot of Puerto Rican people in Batavia. This is a nice little change for the city,” she said. “As Hispanics, everything revolves around food. If I made a big pot of something, I’d bring it into work; it’s for everybody. It’s about family and friends coming together.”

The food style also blows the way of the Caribbean — can you smell the cilantro, coriander and bell peppers? — which also caters to the tastes of Dominicans and Jamaicans, she said, and hopefully to new customers trying it out for the first time.

Her take-out restaurant, under the roof of The Crapshoot Kitchen & Commissary, owned by Rob Credi, will begin with white rice, two types of yellow rice, roasted pork and roasted chicken, empanadas, beans and a dessert of vanilla flan, an egg custard with a caramel glaze.

“I’m very nervous, this is brand new for us, it’s a huge learning experience. Rob has truly been my mentor,” Vee said. “It’s to bring something new to Batavia. It will be family-run, with my mom and my sister Adrian. I will stay at the hospital during the day and work there at night.”

Her day job is to educate the public about cancer at United Memorial Medical Center. The 36-year-old more recently discovered her entrepreneurial side and has decided to bring her culinary passion forward as well. She has learned a lot about herself during the preparation experience, she said.

“To be happy with the process. Everything that you’re learning, allow other people to help you, and enjoy the process completely,” she said. “It makes (me) happy, it’s a happy feeling feeding other people and seeing their faces about what they tried. It brings you joy.”

Vee and her family plan “to stay faithful” to their business and to Credi’s, having signed up for monthly rent with intentions to be there for an extended time period to build up a customer base.

Linda Borinqueña will be serving lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. More details about the restaurant opening will be publicized closer to June.

Submitted Photo of Elizabeth Rivera, Adrian Rivera and Vianiliz Echevarria.

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