Our Newest High Tech Offerings; White Plains's Crop of New Eateries; Class-A Office Space Available
• Yorktown Heights resident Felicia Brescia has joined White Plains-based Concorde Staffing Group as account manager. Brescia will be developing and cultivating new business partners as well as maintaining new relationships. Prior to joining Concorde Staffing Group, Brescia worked in business development at Alden Staffing, where she oversaw territories including Westchester County. She is a member of the Business Council of Westchester and has nearly 15 years of experience in the staffing industry.
• Peggy Leonard (Pictured), the senior vice president for clinical services at Tarrytown-based Hudson Health Plan, was recently invited by the Oregon Evidence-Based Practice Center to join a technical expert panel for a special study on healthcare coordination practices. The study will provide the first major review of evidence to compare the effectiveness of different healthcare coordination models, and its findings will likely influence the way coordination will be managed and funded in the future.
• Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester recently announced the appointment of a new board member, Erik Kaeyer, and the election of current board member Heidi Johnston to serve as secretary. Kaeyer is currently vice president of Kaeyer, Garment & Davidson Architects & Engineers, PC, of Mount Kisco. Johnston is the owner of The Yellow Monkey antiques and furnishings store in Cross River.
• Kris Ruby—founder and CEO of Westchester-based Ruby Media Group—was a featured guest from January 10 through January 14 on Joe Connolly’s Small Business Report, which aired locally on WCBS 880 AM. In the segments, Ruby explained how business owners should use social media tools to market their businesses more effectively—including tips on how to avoid the biggest social media mistakes, and the best ways to use Facebook.
• New Rochelle veterinarian Richard Goldstein, DVM (Pictured Above)—owner of the Westchester-based mobile clinic known as Mobile Vet Squad—was featured this month on the Hallmark Channel’s Petkeeping with Marc Morrone. The episode, entitled “Baby Pets,” was devoted to the proper care of puppies and kittens. While it originally aired on January 12, the cable network will be repeating the episode throughout this month. Goldstein serves on the New Rochelle Humane Society board of directors and is a member of numerous veterinary organizations including the American Veterinary Medical Association.
New businesses, relocations, and operations
• Looking for some serious sports training this winter, but don’t want to brave the cold? Xtra Effort Performance Training Center—a baseball, softball, lacrosse, and soccer indoor training facility—announced the grand opening of its Armonk location in late November. The training center is the only facility in the area to offer immediate video feedback to its athletes through its ProMirror Video Training Systems, and is staffed by sports professionals with outstanding training expertise. Located at 130 Business Park Drive, the facility features a pro shop and is available for birthday parties and team training events.
• While some Westchester service companies have struggled to keep their existing client bases, two Elmsford firms are building up their customer rosters by expanding into New England. Elmsford-based Pragmatix, Inc., a managed IT services and technology services firm, announced the opening of a new Connecticut location in Stamford this month. The Westchester firm, founded in 1992, provides clients with innovative ways to improve business performance through technological services such as managed hosting, cloud services, custom applications and software development. Meanwhile, Corporate Audio Visual Services of Elmsford celebrated its 25th year in the audiovisual equipment rental business by announcing its first expansion into a second location in the Boston area. The company’s new location in Medford, Massachusetts, will enable it to offer more cost-effective gala, meeting and conference services.
• If longevity is a sign of true prosperity in business, then Bronxville’s Arista Camera & Imaging may rank among the county’s biggest success stories. The camera and photography specialists are celebrating their 50th year in business this year, having originally opened in the Bronx before settling in Westchester in 1985. The store is marking the occasion by offering customers an exclusive annual membership program. For a $50 fee, members are offered one free group class, 50 percent off a one-on-one class, discounts on photo enlargements and prints, a free 10-minute advice session, two free events per year, and other benefits.
• Looking for some free PR advice on the latest tools to help you reach your business audience? Harrison Edwards PR & Marketing—an award-winning agency based in Bedford Hills—recently launched a new website filled with information on the latest trends. Visit the new site at www.prharrisonedwards.com.
• While current conventional wisdom may suggest that now is not a great time to be in real estate, Armonk-based Grand Lux Realty has benefited from following an unconventional approach. The brokerage held a grand opening and holiday party in mid-December at its new offices at 428 Main Street. The firm offers clients an à la carte menu of services, allowing homeowners the opportunity to choose how much they want to spend on marketing their home and other services. Michael Levy and his wife, Jodi, founded the brokerage in their Armonk home in 2006, but the company’s growth necessitated the move to three larger spaces over the years.
• O’Connor Davies Munns & Dobbins, LLP, one of the largest accounting and consulting firms in the New York tri-state area, recently announced the expansion of its Harrison office and relocation of its White Plains office. While the company has offices located in New York; Stamford, Connecticut; Paramus, New Jersey; and New Windsor, New York; the firm’s Harrison offices will now be located at 500 Mamaroneck Avenue, Suite 301, in Harrison.
• As noted prominently in the latest issue of 914Inc., the biotech industry is booming in Westchester. ContraFect Corp, a Manhattan-based biotechnology firm specializing in the development of antibodies to treat infectious diseases, recently announced plans to relocate and expand its operations in Yonkers. According to the company, the move would create 40 full-time jobs initially, and close to 200 jobs with an average salary of $90,000 within two years. During the development phase, the project would also create 100 temporary construction jobs.
• International food company and well-known yogurt manufacturer Dannon is renovating its White Plains headquarters to accommodate 50 to 60 new employees. The company is planning to move its Research and Development department from Texas to the White Plains offices, resulting in new job opportunities in R&D as well as sales and finance.
• Telecommunications giant Verizon officially switched on 16 new cellular sites in the New York metropolitan area this month, with Westchester benefiting from new sites in Bronxville, Yonkers, and Croton-on-Hudson. The new sites were likely deployed in preparation for the launch of the first iPhone for Verizon, which will be available to the carrier’s customers on February 10.
• White Plains-based engineering and manufacturing company ITT Corporation announced plans this month to split itself into three standalone public companies. The transformation, which was approved by the company’s board, will spin off its defense technology and information systems business into one business, and its water technology business into another company. The third company will be focused on industrial processes and motion controls. The breakup is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and doesn’t require shareholder approval. ITT stockholders will end up with shares in all three spin-off companies.
• Local attorneys Robert G. Kurzman, Jessica Galligan Goldsmith, and Susan Slater-Jansen were recently named in the 2010 edition of New York Super Lawyers, a list of outstanding lawyers from 70 practice areas who have attained the highest degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Each year, no more than five percent of lawyers in New York State receive this honor. All three are partners at Kurzman, Eisenberg, Corbin & Lever, LLP in White Plains.
• Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester selected Bedford Hills residents David and Holly Singer as its 2011 Humanitarians of the Year. The Singers, who are both attorneys, will be honored at the organization’s annual Humanitarian Dinner, which will be held June 4 at Lexus of Mount Kisco.
• Investment News, a well-known weekly trade newspaper for financial advisors, recently named Palisades Hudson Financial Group LLC of Scarsdale as one of the 50 largest financial planners in the nation. The firm was managing more than $1 billion in total client assets as of December 31, 2010. The published list covers the leading registered investment advisory firms that provide planning services to individual investors. The company was founded in 1997 and invests in low-cost mutual funds, exchange traded funds, and alternative investments by using an individualized asset-allocation strategy.
• The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) recently awarded its Davies Community Health Organization Award to Open Door Family Medical Centers of Ossining. The national award is one of the highest recognition that a community health organization can receive for the implementation and use of health information technology, specifically electronic health records. The clinic, which provides healthcare services to uninsured and underinsured residents in Westchester, has used electronic patient registries to ensure that underprivileged patients and their families are not neglected by falling through the cracks of the medical system.
Our business blog
For most people in Westchester, January is a month of making—and then quickly breaking—New Year’s resolutions. But for businesses in many industries, January is trade-show time, when manufacturers of goods and products pitch their wares to retail and wholesale companies looking to showcase and sell the next big thing.
The world’s largest consumer technology show, the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which was held once again this year in Las Vegas between January 6 and January 9, attracts the rapt interest of technology manufacturers, retailers, home-entertainment enthusiasts, geeks, and gamers alike. Elmsford-based Turtle Beach, which specializes in manufacturing premium gaming headsets and audio entertainment accessories, used the show to announce its latest innovations for 2011. The Ear Force PX5 Progammable Wireless Surround Sound Headset, the Ear Force Amplified Stereo Gaming Headset for PlayStation 3, and XC1 XBOX LIVE Communicator Headset were all unveiled at the company’s CES booth earlier this month.
The PX5, touted by the company as the most technologically advanced headset ever designed for PS3 and XBOX 360 gaming, incorporates a programmable digital signal that will allow customization of the chat, game and microphone signals. Custom settings stored as presets in the headset can be selected during specific parts of a video game to emphasize audio elements that might otherwise be difficult to hear, and programmed to emphasize or de-emphasize online gamers’ voices during loud portions of a game. “By allowing gamers to customize their audio environment, the PX5 gives them an opportunity to take charge of their console gaming experience in ways that have never before been available,” says Carmine Bonanno, president and CEO of Turtle Beach. The product will be available this spring and carry an MSRP of $249.95.
As the one of the New York area’s premium piano dealers, Faust Harrison Pianos sent representatives to another leading trade event: the 2011 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show, which was held from January 13 to January 16 in Anaheim, California. The piano retailer, which started in Irvington and has showrooms in Dobbs Ferry and Manhattan, is a leading dealer of new pianos (such as those featured at the NAMM show) from Yamaha, Mason & Hamlin, Estonia, Brodmann, and C. Bechstein. Faust Harrison is also the largest independent retailer of fully rebuilt “vintage era” pianos from Steinway and Mason & Hamlin. The company, which is owned and operated by co-founders Sara Faust and Michael Harrison, is planning to open a new showroom this spring at the Music Conservatory of Westchester at 216 Central Avenue in White Plains.
Of course, Westchester is known for not only sending countless business representatives to prominent trade shows, but hosting them as well. Along these lines, the Westchester County Center in White Plains will play host to the Westchester County Bridal Expo on January 29, the White Plains Antiques Show on February 12 and 13, the 29th Annual Spring Westchester County Home Show on March 19 and 20, and the International Gem & Jewelry Show from April 29 to May 1 (which will be returning in the fall and winter).
Speaking of White Plains, the face of our county seat continues to change—or, in this case, to be filled with food. The latest trend in the development of the downtown, as detailed in a January 7 article by John Golden in the Westfair Online, is a spate of brand-new, moderately priced restaurants along the Main Street and Mamaroneck Avenue corridor. Five Guys Inc., plans to open its first Westchester-based hamburger franchise at 240 Main Street in late March, following the openings of other franchise restaurants such as Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza at 264 Main Street and Buffalo Wild Wings at the corner of Main and Mamaroneck this past fall, and Cheeburger Cheeburger at 84-86 Mamaroneck Avenue this month. Another fast-growing nationwide restaurant chain, Chipotle Mexican Grill, will likely be the latest to enter the food fray in White Plains, as the company is expected to open a new 2,200-square-foot restaurant at 250 Main Street later this year.
But while White Plains continues its downtown transformation, many parts of the county are still struggling to retain existing companies and attract new businesses, as well as the jobs that accompany them, to Westchester. Late last year, the county’s two most important business membership organizations decided to address the issue by forming separate task forces.
Late last year, the Business Council of Westchester announced the formation of the Westchester Coalition for Business Development, which comprises influential business leaders with a high stake in the county’s economic health in industries such as biotech, information technology, healthcare, professional services, finance, and the green business sector. The group will present recommendations on infrastructure, workforce development, commercial development, and legislative issues—with an emphasis not on problems, but solutions. “Way too much attention has been focused on what’s wrong with our economy and not enough on the many positives we have to offer,” says Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester. “The members of our new group represent a true cross section of Westchester business leaders who are succeeding despite the difficult economy.”
Meanwhile, the Westchester County Association (WCA) announced the formation of Taskforce 2011, a broad-based economic development taskforce. According to the WCA, the group will include representatives of key private economic sectors and work to develop action steps and policy recommendations to help rejuvenate Westchester’s economic base. Bill Mooney, president of the WCA, says that the decision was based on months of discussion within the group’s Board of Directors, and among its members. He adds that, given the serious financial constraints and growing economic problems facing the county, the government could no longer be relied on to “carry the ball” for businesses. “We have the top business leaders who are ready to take action and we will be moving ahead quickly and assertively,” says Mooney.
914INC.’s commercial real estate showcase
555 Taxter Road
Owned and managed by:
Mack-Cali Realty Corporation
Jeffrey Warner (914) 593-7910
Availability: Office spaces ranging from 5,600 to 30,000 square feet are available in the six-story, 170,554 square-foot building. Currently, a total of 48,200 square feet of office space is available.
Selling points: The complex is located in Taxter Corporate Park, a premier Class A complex on a hilltop location with a tranquil 17-acre wooded site. The complex is home to numerous Fortune 500 companies and there is a wide range of hotels, conference centers and restaurants nearby. The complex features a cafeteria, fitness center, sundries shop as well as outdoor seating areas, walkways, ATM banking, and a municipal bus stop. A large glass-enclosed atrium lobby welcomes visitors to the building, and 30-foot column spacing on each floor allows for large, unobstructed work areas. There are also individually controlled heat and air conditioning zones, executive underground parking, as well as ample outdoor parking, 24/7 access and roving security for the building, and public transportation (via bus) to the White Plains Metro-North train station. The greatest selling point of the property, however, might be its location at the intersection of I-287 and I-87 near the Saw Mill River Parkway, Route 119 and minutes from the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Upcoming Business Events
• The Class Connection — Social Media Marketing Workshop, 7:30 to 9 pm at the Ossining Public Library, 53 Croton Avenue, Ossining. Learn how to use social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and StumbleUpon to market your business. For more information, visit the Class Connection website at www.classconnect.com or call (914) 941-2416.
• SCORE Westchester County — Projecting the Right Image for Your Business, 1 to 3 pm, 120 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains. This discussion will cover how to dress and present yourself to make a favorable impression as a business owner. For more information, visit the SCORE Westchester website at www.scorewestchester.com or call (914) 948-3907.
• The 11th Annual Westchester County Bridal Expo — 11 am to 4 pm at Westchester County Center, 198 Central Avenue, White Plains. $8 admission. The show will feature a wide variety of bridal vendors providing a range of styles and prices for prospective brides and grooms to choose from. For more information, visit the Jenks Productions website at www.jenksproductions.com or call (800) 955-7469.
• The Great Westchester Toy & Train Show — 9 am to 3 p. at Westchester County Center, 198 Central Avenue, White Plains. $9 admission; free for children accompanied by a paying adult. The largest toy and train show in the Northeast will feature more than 300 vendor tables, new and antique toys and trains, all gauges, parts, appraisals, die-cast cars, and games/toys for all ages. For more information, visit the Westchester County Events Calendar website at www2.westchestergov.com or call (914) 995-4050.
• Westchester County Association — Young Professionals’ Networking Reception, 5:30 to 8 pm at 42 The Restaurant located atop the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, One Renaissance Square, White Plains. $35 for members; $45 for non-members. Includes wine, beer, and soft drinks, plus hors d’oeuvres. For more information, visit the WCA website at www.westchester.org, or call (914) 948-6444.
• SCORE Westchester County — Workshop on Marketing, Advertising & Public Relations, 1 to 3 pm at the Department of Labor, 120 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains. This interactive workshop will teach attendees how to promote their business using effective communication tools and words that appeal to consumers. All media will be discussed: business cards, websites, and direct-mail strategies. For more information, visit the SCORE Westchester website at www.scorewestchester.com or call (914) 948-3907.
• SCORE Westchester County — Workshop on Franchises, Are They Right for You 1 to 3 pm, 120 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains. This workshop will cover the factors that every business owner should consider before investing in a franchise. For more information, visit the SCORE Westchester website at www.scorewestchester.com or call (914) 948-3907.
• Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester — Youth Philanthropy 101, 6 pm at the Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester, 600 Bear Ridge Road, Pleasantville. This discussion will focus on learning how to make presentations, organize events, participate in fundraising activities, and cultivate your own capacity to make a difference. For more information, visit the Rosenthal JCC website at www.rosenthaljcc.org or call (914) 741-0333.
• Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) — Eldercare: Impact in the Workplace, 9 to 11:30 am at the Eldorado West Diner, Tarrytown. $20 for non-members; free for members. For more information, visit the EAPA website at www.hudsonvalleyeapa.com or call (914) 251-6098.
• SCORE Westchester County — Workshop: The Internet for Business, 1 to 3 pm, 120 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains. This workshop will cover how to build a website, what to ask when hiring an expert, the importance of sitemaps and wireframes, template services, how to choose pictures for your business site, and more. For more information, visit the SCORE Westchester website at www.scorewestchester.com or call (914) 948-3907.
• SCORE Westchester County — Workshop: Marketing on the Internet, 1 to 3 pm, 120 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains. This workshop will cover how to get started with marketing techniques on the Internet—including an introduction to search engine optimization, search engine marketing and social media. For more information, visit the SCORE Westchester website at www.scorewestchester.com or call (914) 948-3907.
• SCORE Westchester County — Workshop: A Winning Business Plan, 1 to 3 pm, 120 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains. This workshop will cover how to create an effective business plan by focusing on your goals. For more information, visit the SCORE Westchester website at www.scorewestchester.com or call (914) 948-3907.
• Chappaqua Library — Take Charge! Career/Life Planning After 50, 10 am to noon at the Chappaqua Library, 195 S. Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua. The start of an eight-week seminar for people over age 50 to assess themselves and pursue work, learning and leisure options. For mandatory pre-registration, call (914) 674-3612.
• SCORE Westchester County — Workshop: Leasing Commercial Retail & Industrial Space, 1 to 3 p.m., 120 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains. This workshop will cover everything you need to know about leasing and renting office or retail space. For more information, visit the SCORE Westchester website at www.scorewestchester.com or call (914) 948-3907.
• The Business Council of Westchester — Mega Mixer Business Expo, 2 pm to 6 pm at the Hilton Rye Town in Rye. The event will feature two full floors of exhibitors, mega samplers providing free food and drink, live cooking demonstrations, and prizes for the most creative display and other feats. $450 for members (booth only); $800 for members (booth and seminar); $300 for non-profit members; $595 for non-members; $500 for members, Green Aisle (booth only); $850 members, Green Aisle (booth and seminar); $600 non-members, Green Aisle. For more information and to RSVP, visit the Business Council website at www.westchesterny.org.
• Archbishop Stepinac High School — Inaugural Trustees Reception, 5:30 pm to 8 pm at 42 The Restaurant located atop the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, One Renaissance Square, White Plains. $250. The high school will honor two of its distinguished alumni—Westchester County Deputy Executive Kevin Plunkett and business leader Kevin Keane of accounting and consulting firm O’Connor, Davies, Munns & Dobbins, LLP —along with its football coach and Athletic Director Mike O’Donnell. The school will also honor Westchester public relations firm Thompson & Bender for its support of Stepinac’s mission. All proceeds will benefit the Team Up for Turf campaign to equip the school’s athletic fields with all-purpose turf. Early reservations are recommended. For more information, contact Paul Thomas at (914) 946-4800, ext. 245 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.