Economic center honors area businesses
ROCK STREAM—The Finger Lakes Economic Development Center reviewed and recognized the work in 2011 to promote economic growth throughout Yates County during the organization’s annual meeting on Friday, March 23. The meeting was held at the Magnus Ridge Winery.
Chief Executive Officer Steve Griffin presented the annual report for the past year. Griffin said over the course of the year, 30 projects (companies coming to the area) were completed in Yates and 28 new attractions were developed.
As a result, a total of 303 jobs were created in 2011. Along with being the second-largest amount of employment opportunities ever to be formed in Yates within a year, Griffin said the 303 created jobs was greater than that of any other county in the Finger Lakes. He added the only county in the region with more projects was Livingston where 34 were completed.
Griffin highlighted some of the companies that have come to the county over the past year. He discussed the purchase of the Dundee Foods facility by Aceyt Foods, LLC. Aceyt plans to run an operation that entails bulk distribution of specialty food items such as olive oil, olives, capers, and sardines. The food company also intends to create 40 jobs over the next three years.
The purchase by Aceyt was completed this year, but much of the process that led to finalizing the sale occurred at the end of 2011. Another new business which Griffin mentioned was the Flour Shop Café in Penn Yan. The café, situated on Main Street, offers a selection of food and beverages including salad, soup, cupcakes, brownies, and coffee. Griffin also pointed out how FLEDC helped the 1922 Starkey House Bed and Breakfast Inn resume its operation.
One negative which Griffin said Industrial Development Agencies must deal with is companies moving out of an area or going out of business. An example he gave for Yates was the AES-owned Greenidge coal fired plant in Dresden which closed down last year. “This is one of the frustrating parts of our job,” said Griffin.
The economic development group had completed 30 projects last year. Griffin noted FLEDC conducted 475 meetings and visitations with businesses during 2011.
During the event, several awards were presented to companies and individuals who have helped support economic development in Yates over the past year. The 2011 Community Award, for providing a major stimulus to economic development in the county, was presented to Finger Lakes Community Health. Griffin expressed praise regarding the healthcare the organization provides for migrant farm workers and community members.
Griffin also commended the work being put in to advance medical services technology. Finger Lakes Community Health Chief Executive Officer Mary Zelazny accepted the award on behalf of the company.
The 2011 Yates Award, for dedicated service promoting economic and community development, went to Robert McNary. Griffin thanked McNary for his assistance with initiatives including the sale of the Dundee Foods building and construction of the Finger Lakes Cultural and Natural History Museum which is expected to open in Keuka State Park in 2014.
“We would not be moving along with some of our efforts without him (McNary),” stated Griffin. The 2011 Welcome Award went to Starkey’s Lookout, the microbrewery and small farm winery on Route 14. Construction of the facility began last November and is expected to be completed by the summer. “We’re lucky to have that investment here,” noted Griffin. Dave Bunnell, who owns the project, accepted the award for Starkey’s Lookout with Olaf Lieber.
A special service award was given to Ryan Hallings for his work during his four years with FLEDC. Hallings, who was the vice president for community development, left FLEDC on March 6 after accepting an offer to be a commercial and agricultural loan officer at Lyons National Bank in Penn Yan.
“Ryan played a very major role in helping achieve the projects we were able to target,” Griffin spoke. Hallings added he greatly enjoyed the time he spent working for the group. “It was a great four years and I could not have had more supportive co-workers,” he said.