Board Changes for Hudson Valley Bank, Burke Rehab, and The Business Council; Fish Cellar Goes Italian; Primo Office Space
Who’s in, who’s up—and who’s out
• Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, White Plains — Nicholas Germak has been promoted to vice president of affiliated business.
• The Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, White Plains — Peter M. Sanders, Esq., has been named a new member of the Board of Directors.
• Destination Hotels & Resorts at the Tarrytown House Estate and Conference Center, Tarrytown — Steve Sackman, regional director of sales and marketing, has been elected second vice president of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Conference Centers.
• GlobeOp Financial Services LLC, Harrison office — Philip Tazza has joined the provider of financial technology services as global head of investor services, and member of the company's operating committee.
• Hudson Valley Bank, Yonkers — William Mulrow has resigned from the Board of Directors, effective November 1, "to focus on his full-time business interests," and "not the result of any disagreement with the company," the bank announced.
• Leason Ellis LLP, White Plains — Karin Segall has joined the intellectual property law firm as a partner in its trademark and copyright practice group.
• Rockwood Capital LLC, White Plains office — Antonio Lariño has joined the private real estate investment firm as director, hotels.
Our monthly business blog
No Fish Story: Mount Kisco “Cellar” of Seafood Meals Goes Arthur Avenue
The Fish Cellar is going Italian. After 14 years of 18-hour days three days a week, Joe and Joan DiMauro have sold the famed Mount Kisco seafood restaurant to Enzo's of Arthur Avenue.
At least one change is planned: The bar will sport a new granite top, instead of the copper top that adorned it for years.
"It got to a point where, for three days a week, I was working from six-thirty in the morning to six o'clock, and then go to the restaurant from seven to midnight. It was brutal. I'm pushing sixty, and I just said, 'You know what? I don’t want to do this anymore. And my wife was the same. She said, 'I want to start to slow down,'" Joe says.
The Fish Cellar served its last meals on October 23: "It was so bittersweet. My wife was so upset she cried all night. That was her baby. She ran that restaurant."
The DiMauros will stay in the seafood business, Joe says, as owners of Mount Kisco Seafood, the seafood grocery whose offerings include 85 percent seafood or seafood-related products, —"at least thirty to thirty-five different types of fish in my case every day"— plus a sushi bar and a small butcher shop selling prime steaks and homemade sausages.
"I'll never leave here. I'll be on a walker before I leave here," Joe promises. "This is my mother ship. We do a lot of catering in the summer. We're already booked for next June for clam bakes, which is really nice."
Also really nice is the DiMauros' generosity as donors of time and, thankfully, food to the annual "Evening in Good Taste" galas held over the past 20 years by the Food Bank for Westchester, formerly Food-PATCH. At this year's gala on October 21, Joe and four employees served some 500 sample-size lobster rolls, and shucked almost 1,000 oysters – from the Spine Creek variety in Maine to Naskatuckets and Wellfleets from Massachusetts, and from Connecticut Blue Point oysters to two Washington State varieties, Hood Canal and Gold Creek.
It was Food-PATCH's original board chairman, Gerry Murphy, who, 20 years ago, spiced up "Evening in Good Taste" by involving the DiMauros and two other caterers that still support the event, Chappaqua's Susan Lawrence Gourmet Foods and Tarrytown's Abigail Kirsch Inc. Joe got interested in fighting hunger after seeing a high school friend among the homeless people he fed during a midnight run mission by his church.
"We used to take the kids down when they were young," he recalls. "When they would say, 'I want this, I want that,' and they'd act spoiled to death, I'd say, 'Let me show you something. You're going to be the one to knock on the boxes [of homeless people] in the middle of the night to let these guys know that the midnight run's here. They learned quick."
The kids are all grown and out of college, thanks to the Fish Cellar.
"My wife said, 'We better start looking for some money for the kids so they can go to college,' so we opened up the restaurant," Joe says. "It did what it had to. It put three kids through school."
As Hunger Grows, Food Bank Searches for More Space
The nonprofit Food Bank has resumed its search for at least 30,000 square feet of existing warehouse space in Westchester it can use for an expanded distribution facility.
"We definitely need a larger facility to be able to accommodate the growth that we anticipate, and what we should be doing. We should be distributing twelve to fifteen million pounds of food a year in this area, and we're only doing six million, and we're limited tremendously by the size of our warehouse," says Christina Rohatynskyj, Food Bank's executive director.
That warehouse is 13,000 square feet, not counting 2,000 square feet into which Food Bank squeezes its offices. And the 6 million pounds, distributed during the year that ended June 30, is up 1 million pounds above the previous year. Demand for food has grown as the economy has shriveled.
"Before the end of this fiscal year, we will have identified and either moved in, or be deep in the planning of moving in, to a larger facility," Rohatynskyj says.
Food Bank once planned to build out new warehouse space within the county's Grasslands campus in Valhalla. The recession and last year’s change of county executives killed the plan.
Board member Rick Rakow, president of Rakow Commercial Realty Group Inc., in White Plains, is handling the space search.
Charlie Brown's New Position Is Anything but Peanuts
During his more than 30 years in the construction business, Charles W. Brown has taken on some challenging projects. Last January, he joined his wife, Renee, in moving their C.W. Brown Inc. from Thornwood to Armonk. Shortly before that, his roughly $50 million-a-year firm completed the core, shell, and interior space for three new lab buildings occupied by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals at Tarrytown’s The Landmark at Eastview, where the firm is now renovating the office/lab campus’s cafeteria and fitness center.
In addition, "Charlie" Brown has taken on a project of a different sort, building support for the Business Council of Westchester as the new chairman of its Board of Directors. His two-year term begins on January 1.
One area of business, Brown says, will be to review how BCW should engage officials in advancing pro-business policies. Last summer, the Business Council offered meetings with the State Senate's top Republican, Dean Skelos, and promoted the candidacies of three other Republicans — Bob Cohen, Liam McLaughlin, and Mary Beth Murphy — in a letter than alarmed some board members who opposed the partisan tilt. BCW apologized to its members, refunding those who joined its short-lived "$99 club."
“I think what will be revisited is not whether or not we want to take sides or not take sides. I think we have to have a clear stand about where we are. It’s not about political affiliation. It’s more about who’s going to help businesses more, regardless of party,” Brown says.
To that end, Brown adds, the board should work with companies of all sizes and officials to make Westchester business-friendlier — the goal of board colleague Larry Gottlieb, the county’s economic development director, and his boss, county exec Rob Astorino, both of whom Charlie says have been responsive to clients: “You can’t keep hitting Pepsi with a soda tax and expect them to stay here.”
“As a medium-sized business in Westchester, I realize the pain that everybody is going through trying to survive this. It's important that we try to help everybody survive and prosper. We're coming out of the worst economy I've seen in twenty-six years in my own business,” says Brown, who said the recession forced him to lay off two support employees and get back to basics.
An Executive Board member, Brown became a BCW director in 2007, three years after winning a Small Business Success Award from the council, and meeting its president and CEO, Dr. Marsha Gordon. While on the BCW board, Brown says, he got involved with several committees, promoted the business council to potential new members at events, and took up "anything Marsha needs help with."
Charlie is president, and Renee CEO, of C.W. Brown, which has offices in New York City and Stamford, Connecticut. The firm, which started in the basement of their Somers home in 1984, is certified by the state, New York City, and national trade group WBENC as a woman-owned business enterprise.
One Recession, Two Prescriptions
Speakers at the fall dinners of Westchester's two business groups shared gloom over the wobbly economy, but differed on how to fix the problem.
John C. Cushman III, chairman of Cushman & Wakefield Inc., told attendees of the Business Council of Westchester's annual dinner, held at the Hilton Rye Town, that where the economy is concerned, the proverbial glass is not half empty, but bone dry.
Cushman rattled off several statistics, but offered only a vague solution: "We need a serious conversation about our place on the world stage. We need to examine, candidly, our situation, our aspirations, and how we will get there."
Cushman is the grandson and great nephew of the firm's founders, John Clydesdale Cushman and Bernard Wakefield. C&W maintains Westchester offices at Robert Weisz's 800 Westchester Avenue in Rye Brook.
Three weeks later at the Westchester County Association's Annual Fall Leadership Dinner, Robert Selander, MasterCard's executive vice chairman and ex-CEO, was much more blunt in pinning blame, without naming President Obama.
"The administration's regulations and policies are disabling businesses and creating even greater angst. Businesses can't help wonder what regulation or cost will come up next," Selander said.
He said Singapore, by contrast, was so accommodating to MasterCard that the Purchase-headquartered credit giant "will be putting jobs there," without saying how many.
Selander also urged his business audience to flex some political muscle: "We have the power to punish, and we also have the power to reward."
914INC.’s commercial real estate showcase
100 Summit Lake Rd
Owned by SL Green Realty Corp.
Managed by Reckson, a division of SL Green.
Agent: CB Richard Ellis
Al Gutierrez, (203) 352-8908
Available: Within the four-story, 250,000-square-foot building, almost 100,000 square feet in four spaces are available for immediate occupancy:
28,328 square feet on the first floor
11,733 square feet on the second floor
23,233 square feet on the second floor
33,500 square feet on the third floor
Backstory: The third-floor space and the larger of the two second-floor spaces, totaling 56,000 square feet, are soon to be vacated by professional services company Towers Watson, which will move to about 40,000 square feet at Westchester One (44 S Broadway) in downtown White Plains. The smaller second-floor space was vacated by Nortel Networks.
Anchor tenant: PepsiCo, which, in July, renewed, for 10 years, its lease for 75,000 square feet on the third, fourth and a portion of the first floor.
Selling points: Cafeteria, fitness center, private shuttle service to Metro-North's White Plains station, structured parking, and a "seven- to ten-minute drive" from downtown White Plains.
From the broker:
• "100 Summit Lake Drive offers a trophy building, excellent location, and amenities, but at the same time, is a value-added play in terms of its economics."
• "Because of its location, it's perceived as being a Northern Westchester property, and it's not. Beyond the fact that it's conveniently located near downtown White Plains, you're avoiding the congestion that's associated with the I-287 corridor."
About Reckson Summit: 100 Summit Lake Drive is one of three buildings totaling roughly 750,000 square feet within the 102-acre Reckson Summit campus, on Columbus Avenue. Fuji Photo Film USA is headquartered at 200 Summit Lake Drive, while at 500 Summit Lake Drive, Cavalry Portfolio Services recent inked a lease for almost 30,000 square feet.
Asking rent: $26 per square foot, plus tenant improvement allowance.
Upcoming Business Events
• Women's Enterprise Development Center /Alliance of Hudson Valley Women Business Owners — “Finding Your Place in the New Economy" with Rosalie Stackman Edson, president and owner of Meadows Office Furniture Co., during the 12th Annual Women's Business Networking Event, 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm in the East Atrium at MasterCard Worldwide, 2000 Purchase St, Purchase. $60/person.
• Westchester County Association — Young Professionals Networking Reception, in partnership with the NYS Society of CPAs, Westchester Bar Association, and Westchester Women's Bar Association, 6 pm @ LIFE, The Place to Be, 2 Lawrence St, Ardsley. $40/members; $45/nonmembers.
• Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce — Marketing Basics Seminar with Mike Dardano, senior VP of public relations and marketing at the Mount Kisco PR firm Co-Communications, 8 am at the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber offices, 1 S Division St, Peekskill. No charge; registration requested.
Jacob Burns Film Center — Hey, wanna introduce your business to 10,000 upscale, local residents? Business owners have until November 30 to join the Jacob Burns Film Center’s Reel Partners discount program. Participating businesses offer discounts available exclusively to the Center’s 6,000 member households. For more info, or to enroll your business in the program for 2011, contact Elizabeth Garrigue at firstname.lastname@example.org or (914) 773-7663, ext. 412.
• Westchester County Association — Lunch & Learn: Getting and Keeping Cautious Customer, with Ron Volper, founder and managing partner of the White Plains consultancy Ron Volper Group Inc., 11:30 am to 2 pm at Sam's of Gedney Way, 52 Gedney Way, White Plains. $40/members; $50/nonmembers.
• Business Council of Westchester — Holiday Blast, 5 to 7 pm at the Westchester Marriott, 670 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown. $35/members; $50/nonmembers.
• Westchester County Association — Breakfast with the County Executive, an address followed by Q&A with Rob Astorino. Time and place TBA.