Hornblower, Maid of Mist to begin ’17 season on April 1

The operators of separate tour boats that take passengers to the base of Niagara Falls each say they will start their 2017 season on April 1. Starting next Saturday the Maid of the Mist will launch its tour boats from the American side of Niagara Falls while Hornblower Niagara Cruises will do the same from the Canadian shoreline. The tour boats are considered one of the main tourist attractions on both the U.S. and Canadian side of Niagara Falls. For the Maid of the Mist, April 1 marks the earliest…

Radio Shack to close 7 area stores

Financially ailing Radio Shack has announced that seven of its local stores will be closing as part of a nationwide restructuring that will see the retailing chain close 187 of its locations. Only one of the seven is in Erie County. All seven will close once liquidation sales at each store is completed. Targeted for closure are locations in: • The Mid-City Plaza on Payne Avenue in North Tonawanda • Wegmans Plaza on Military Road in Niagara Falls • Niagara Consumer Square on Niagara Falls…

HarpData gains state certification

A Buffalo IT firm was one of five that have been certified by the state Office of General Services under its Division of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Development program. Gaining the certification was HarpData, a minority-owned firm whose president and founder, Ivory Robinson, is an Air Force veteran. The Division of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Development program, created three years ago, confers bidding preferences for state work, especially in public works, commodities, services…

J.C. Penney to close one WNY store — in Dunkirk/Fredonia

Just one regional J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE: JCP) store will close as part of a company-wide restructuring that will see the venerable national retailer drop 138 outlets from its portfolio. The lone J.C. Penney store targeted for closure this spring is in the Dunkirk-Fredonia Plaza in Chautauqua County and very visible from the New York State Thruway. All stores in the immediate Buffalo area will remain in business. The Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney announced its official 2017 store closing list Friday…

Rex Ryan’s house under contract, expected to sell

Former Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan has found a buyer for this Orchard Park home - one that he bought less than two years ago. Sources said Ryan’s house is under contract to a local resident and the deal is expected to close by early May. It is unclear where Ryan and wife, Lerrie, will relocate. The contracted sale price was not disclosed. Sources said four bids were received, two from local residents and another pair from people relocating to the Buffalo area - one from New York City and…

Inner Circle: A moving experience

Ride sharing, or the lack of it, may be garnering the headlines but that is only one of several public transportation matters facing the region. Among the issues identified by panelists in a recent transportation roundtable, sponsored by Business First and Hodgson Russ, was whether Buffalo needed a new train station, what should be done to ease the flow of vehicular traffic across U.S.-Canada border crossings and funding issues for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. Answers and opinions…

Work to start this month on the Northland Corridor, Buffalo new job-training site

Signs of progress from the Northland Corridor project on Buffalo's East Side will be taking shape in the next few weeks. That includes the demolition of a former factory to make way for a shovel-ready development site and for the relocation of Buffalo Manufacturing Works to the Northland Corridor campus. Within the next two weeks, crews will begin demolishing portions of a long-vacant 300,000-square-foot Houdaille Industries plant at 537 W. Delavan Avenue. Approximately two-thirds of the building,…

ESD directors approve Bills’ new practice field

The Buffalo Bills are preparing to kick off work on the team’s new outdoor practice field, having cleared the last pre-construction hurdle. Empire State Development's directors have approved a proposal for the team to develop a 100-yard outdoor practice field that will neighbor an existing field, both of which are located just behind the Ralph Wilson Fieldhouse and AdPro Training Center on the Bills’ 200-acre Orchard Park campus. Empire State Development’s approval came after the Erie County…

Will Foods to close its doors

Will Foods LLC, the oldest food distributor in the region, is in the process of closing its doors, ending a run that dates back to 1926. According to a WARN notice that the Buffalo company filed with the New York State Department of Labor, Will Foods began a systematic shutdown on Feb. 24 when a dozen of its 71 employees were laid off. Another round of layoffs is set for Thursday when four people will lose their jobs and on March 10 when another three will be let go. The company’s filing indicates…

Will all 7 Buffalo-area J.C. Penney stores survive?

Regional mall operators are bracing for the worst as J.C. Penney Co. is preparing to close as many as 140 stores from its 1,014 nationwide portfolio as the retailer continues struggle with declining sales. The Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney announced its 2017 store closing strategy Friday morning after it said the chain’s fourth quarter sales of $3.96 billion was slightly below the $3.98 billion analysts had projected. A final decision on what stores will close will be decided later this spring. J.C.…