FREDONIA - A donation to the Fredonia College Foundation will enhance the State University at Fredonia's appeal to potential Start-Up NY entrepreneurs.
The foundation has been gifted the 25,000-square-foot office building that served as headquarters for the Cliffstar Corporation prior to its sale to The Cott Corporation in 2010. The facility, a gift of the Star Family, was formally appraised in late 2013 as having a value of $1.65 million.
The two-story office building is located at 60-62 Franklin Ave., in Dunkirk. It is 18 years old, and its adjacent parking lot accommodates 100 cars. It will be used to assist in recruiting one or more businesses to the community through the state's new Start-Up NY economic development initiative.
"We are very pleased to be able to accept this significant gift on behalf of the university," said David Tiffany, Fredonia College Foundation executive director. "This gives our region an additional asset that will be far more appealing to an existing, relatively mature business than what we currently offer typical, true start-up entrepreneurs within Fredonia's Technology Incubator. It also provides yet another opportunity for students to gain internships and post-graduate employment, and it provides the potential employer with a rare opportunity to align itself and its workforce with one of the top public universities in the northeast."
Kevin Kearns, Fredonia's vice president for economic development and engagement, who oversees both the incubator and the campus' role within the Start-Up NY initiative, echoed Dr. Tiffany's sentiments.
"This facility should benefit both the Chautauqua region and the Fredonia campus," Dr. Kearns said. "The synergies this could provide for our community - be they existing businesses, Fredonia students and faculty, or average, tax-paying residents - could be substantial. We believe this will draw more people to the county - especially Fredonia alumni who might be interested in returning to the area - which ultimately means more jobs will be created, and more money will be spent right here in the community."
To be eligible for the Start-Up NY program, a business must either be a new company in New York state; an out-of-state company that is relocating to New York; or, an expansion of a company that already has employees in New York and is capable of demonstrating that it is creating new jobs, as opposed to moving existing jobs from elsewhere in the state. New companies cannot be in direct competition with existing area businesses, and those in the retail, wholesale, restaurant and hospitality industries, as well as a variety of service-based professions are also ineligible.
"The timing of this opportunity is also excellent, as the recent closure of some larger area employers has presented potential Start-Up NY candidates with an excellent pool of skilled, trainable and available workers right here in the community," Kearns said. "We're hopeful this will help curb this recent trend and bring some positive economic activity to the region. The program will also expand internship opportunities for students and build stronger relationships between the academic programs on campus and the businesses in the region."
Stanley Star co-founded the Cliffstar Corporation in 1970, serving as its chairman until its sale to the Cott Corporation in 2010. Cliffstar grew to become the largest private-label producer of apple juice, grape juice, cranberry juice, and juice-blends in North America. It operated 11 facilities in the U.S., including five bottling and distribution operations, three fruit processing facilities, two fruit receiving stations and one storage facility, and had approximately 1,200 employees at the time of its sale in 2010.
This is the second major contribution which the Stars have made to the foundation and Fredonia's campus. During the spring of 2013, they supported the four-day residency and concert of Metropolitan Opera Soprano Dawn Upshaw and her long-time accompanist, Gilbert Kalish. This sponsorship was funded with a gift of $40,000 and provided students within the School of Music with a once-in-a-lifetime experience to learn from two of the most talented professionals in their industry.
"I deeply appreciate the support we have received from Stanley and Elizabeth Star," said Virginia S. Horvath, Fredonia president. "They have shown a true belief in Fredonia's mission, its leadership, and most importantly, its students. Through such generosity, all Fredonians have the best opportunities to become skilled, connected, creative, and responsible global citizens and professionals. On behalf of the 5,400 students at Fredonia and the faculty and staff who work with them, I thank the Star Family for this significant support."