Biz Buzz
By Jim Martin, Doug Oathout Erie Times-News staff bloggers
Welcome to Biz Buzz, our daily blog on all things business. Turn here for breaking news on the economy, local industry and area people engaged in the region's companies.   Read more about this blog.
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Posted: April 9th, 2014

Corry Auto Dealers Exchange, which will mark 32 years in business on April 17, will host Medal of Honor recipient Gary Beikrich on Thursday.

Beikrich, who served in the Vietnam War, will be at the auction beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday to meet customers, share his experiences and talk about the importance of supporting our nation’s wounded heroes.

On April 17, the day of a planned anniversary sale at Corry Auto Dealers Exchange, Ronald Rosser, a second Medal of Honor recipient, will make an appearance and a special presentation at the sale. Rosser served in the Korean War.

Ted Swift, the auction and sales manager, said the auction has purchased a special high-tech wheelchair for a local wounded veteran of the war in Iraq. That chair will be presented to the veteran during the April 17 sale.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 4th, 2014

Now this is a different sort of recall.

The Associated Press reports that Mazda is recalling 42,000 Mazda6 cars in the U.S. because spiders can weave a web in a vent hose and cause the fuel tank to crack.

The recall involves cars from the 2010 through 2012 model years equipped with 2.5-liter engines.

The yellow sac spider, which is attracted to hydrocarbons, builds webs that cause pressure to build in the fuel tank. That increases the risk of fuel leaks and fire.

Mazda recalled cars in 2011 for the same problem. It put covers on the vent line, but has found spiders can get past them.

Mazda will update the cars’ software for free beginning this month to ensure that the fuel tank pressure doesn’t build up.

Mazda says no injuries or fires have been reported due to the issue.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 2nd, 2014

The Kmart in Conneaut, Ohio, will be closing its doors after more than 30 years because of an unresolved problem with the building’s roof.

The store, located on Route 7 in the Gateway Plaza, has been plagued in recent months with a leaky roof. Visitors to the store have reported that a series of tarps have been suspended from the ceiling to catch leaks, while fans have been set up through the store to dry wet spots.

Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holdings, which owns Kmart, said in e-mailed response to a reporter’s questions that the store has suffered “roof failure.”

Riefs went on to say: “The Conneaut Fire Department marshal requires that the affected portion of the roof is properly repaired in order for the entire store to remain open. Unfortunately, the landlord refuses to repair the roof to the satisfaction of local officials.”

A scaled-down version of the store is expected to remain open temporarily until the inventory has been sold. The final closing date is expected to be sometime in June, Riefs said.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 31st, 2014

The lifts have been closed for the season, and the snow that still paints the mountainside at Peek‘n Peak Resort and Spa will be left to melt.

That shouldn’t take long. The sun is shining brightly at the moment and it’s expected to rain later this week.

The ski season, which began the day after Thanksgiving, ended Sunday at 4 p.m., said Tiffany Cook, a spokeswoman for Scott Enterprises, which owns the resort in Findley Lake, N.Y.

“It was one of our 10 best years,” she said. “We skied for 122 days.”

Cook said the slopes at were idled on this same weekend in 2013, a year that saw Easter arrive early, and helped to extend the ski season.

This year, she said, “We were keeping really busy, but with the forecast, it didn’t make operational sense for us to stay open.”

While Erie experienced its fifth snowiest winter on record, snowfall at Findley Lake was about average, Cook said.

The resort’s golf season typically begins a few weeks after the end of ski season, but Cook said no date has been set so far.

She did say that the Peak’s new zip line adventure course will open Memorial Day Weekend.

Details are available at

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 27th, 2014

Rochester-based Wegmans, which operates two grocery stores in the Erie area, has been named the best supermarket chain in the United States by Consumer Reports magazine.

Grocery chains were rated on a scale that took into account service, cleanliness, perishable items and prices.

Walmart, which operates numerous locations in Erie counties, ranked last on the list, criticized for having too few open checkout aisles.

According to a report in USA Today, Trader Joes and Costco., neither of which have locations in Erie County, ranked second and third on the Consumer Reports list.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 27th, 2014

Steris Corp., which cut hundreds of jobs in Erie when it closed its manufacturing and office operations here, is planning more cutbacks — this time near its headquarters in the Cleveland suburb of Mentor, Ohio.

The medical device maker has announced that as part of a restructuring plan it will close the Hopkins production facility in Mentor. About 150 jobs are expected to be eliminated, about 100 them in Ohio.

The plant builds liquid chemical sterilant processing systems. Operations are expected to cease by Oct. 31, 2015.

Walt Rosebrough, the company’s chief executive, said the plant has been running significantly below its full capacity.

He continued, “While we have not made final decisions on the locations of all of the Hopkins production, this closure enables us to more efficiently utilize our existing North American manufacturing network.”

The shutdown of Erie’s steam sterilizer plant in 2007 resulted in the loss of 450 manufacturing jobs. That work was transferred to a plant near Monterrey, Mexico. The company eliminated another 240 jobs in 2010 when it closed office operations in Erie.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 27th, 2014

Harborcreek Youth Services took delivery Wednesday of 14 new minibikes, provided to them for free by the Off-Road Express Honda dealership at 9070 Peach St.

Harborcreek Youth Services, a residential treatment facility for young men, has partnered with National Youth Project Using Minibikes in a program designed to engage youth and promote positive youth development.

The program uses minibikes to help clients develop confidence and self esteem and provide an outlet for stress and aggression.

As the sponsoring dealership, Off-Road Express provided the bikes free of charge and will offer discounts for safety equipment and service for the bikes.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 25th, 2014

The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., opened today, initiating the start of the 2014 Great Lakes shipping season.
The locks were closed on Jan. 15 and underwent repairs and maintenance during the winter shutdown.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 24th, 2014

PNC Bank is replacing Visa credit cards for all customers who used them at a Target store during the period hackers breached the retailer’s system and stole information for as many as 70 million accounts.
PNC began notifying customers in a letter this week that a new credit card will be delivered within seven to 10 business days. The bank said it is making the move as a precautionary measure and that it affects only those customers who used their credit cards card between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.
“We are asking customers to activate the new cards, which will deactivate the old ones,” said bank spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel.
If customers don’t activate the cards immediately, their old cards can be used until April 30, when they will be automatically deactivated.
The theft involved credit and debit cards. Target has said the hackers used malware to electronically steal names, card numbers, expiration dates, debit card PINs and the embedded code on the magnetic strip on the back of the cards.
Zwiebel said PNC is not disclosing how many replacement cards are being issued. The replacements do not include debit cards that were used during the breach. PNC’s action is not the result of any recent increase in fraudulent activity, she said.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 18th, 2014

Erie’s fans can point to many advantages of living in Pennsylvania’s fourth largest city.

Turns out they can add relatively low auto insurance rates to that list.

A recent study by, a consumer finance website, analyzed auto insurance rates in Pennsylvania’s five largest cities, using an average a four different driver profiles, including a 30-year-old single male, 30-year-old single female, 40-year-old married couple and a 65-year-old married couple.

The result: Erie County and Scranton were tied with the lowest annual premium for auto insurance at $1,032 a year.

Allentown was slightly higher at $1,092 a year, while Pittsburgh came in 11.8 percent higher than Erie at $1,154 a year.

The real losers were the motorists of Philadelphia.

According to the ValuePenguin study, they’re paying an average of $1,567 a year. That’s almost 52 percent more than car owners in Erie.

Posted in: Uncategorized

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