CVS will close one location in Rochester area

CVS/Pharmacy at 3750 Mt. Read Blvd. in Greece will close on Oct. 5
CVS/Pharmacy at 3750 Mt. Read Blvd. in Greece will close on Oct. 5 (photo by Kevin Oklobzija).

Plans by CVS/Pharmacy to shrink its retail footprint will soon impact Rochester, with one location in Greece slated to permanently lock its doors on Oct. 5.

The CVS at 3750 Mt. Read Blvd. is the only CVS/Pharmacy in the immediate Rochester area that will shut down this year, a company spokesperson said.

Prescriptions will be transferred to the CVS at the corner of English and Long Pond roads, about 2.7 miles away. The company said it also provides home delivery of medications to eligible customers through its website and app.

Employees will be offered comparable positions within the company.

The nation’s largest pharmacy chain announced in November that as many as 900 of its nearly 10,000 stores would be closing as it revamped its business model.

“Maintaining access to pharmacy services in communities is an important factor we consider when making store closure decisions,” Amy Thibault, lead director, external communications for CVS, said in an email to the RBJ. “Other factors include local market dynamics, population shifts, a community’s store density, and ensuring there are other geographic access points to meet the needs of the community, including COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.”

The area is saturated, with three other pharmacies within a half-mile of the Mt. Read CVS: Wegmans directly across the street, Walgreens four-tenths of a mile away at Mt. Read and Maiden, and Tops Friendly Markets a half-mile away off Maiden and Mt. Read.

Earlier this month CVS announced it was buying Signify Health, a platform that focuses on in-home care.

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Juicy Seafood takes its Cajun-Vietnamese blend to Greece

The owners of Juicy Seafood in Henrietta have opened a second Rochester-area location, in the Mall at Greece Ridge.

Greece’s new King Crab Juicy Seafood offers the same fusion of Vietnamese and Cajun food as the Henrietta location, focusing on seafood either fried or boiled in a packet with other ingredients, seasoning and sauce.

The restaurant is a collaboration of owner Qing Feng Wu and Chef Andy Wu. Qing Feng Wu and Qing Yong Wu, the founder and CEO of Juicy Seafood Corp., have a total of 10 restaurants in five states.

The new restaurant opened Jan. 8 in the Mall at Greece Ridge Center, taking over the spot formerly held by Benucci’s.
Restaurant manager Sue Zhang said the menu at King Crab will the same as the Juicy Seafood location at Winton Place in 3020 S. Winton Road.  “We are the same. Everything is the same,” she said.

King Crab has seating for 244.

While the extensive menu features many standard combinations, Zhang said customers may request customized combinations as well. King Crab is scheduled to be open seven days a week.

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Hilton’s Jose Joe’s opens second restaurant location in Greece

 After five years of stuffing burritos and flipping unique burgers in Hilton, the owners of Jose Joe’s have opened a second location at 2570 Ridgeway Ave., in Greece.

Greece town officials and owners of Greece's new Jose Joe's restaurant cut a ribbon there Tuesday. Photo supplied.
Greece town officials and owners of Greece’s new Jose Joe’s restaurant cut a ribbon there Tuesday. (Provided photo)

The new restaurant held a ribbon cutting Tuesday with Greece Supervisor Bill Reilich and other town officials. The business is on the corner of Ridgeway and Long Pond Road.

Thomas Ban, Anna Maria Ban and Robert Buono own Jose Joe’s.

“The town of Greece is proud to be home to the second Jose Joe’s in Monroe County” Reilich said. “We are very excited that the owners are expanding to Greece, and we wish owners Thomas Ban, Anna Maria Ban, and Robert Buono great success in their new location.”

Jose Joe’s offers casual fare such as burritos, burgers and salads, but usually with a twist. The Rochester tradition of a “garbage plate,” for instance, comes in a bread bowl at Jose Joe’s, though it’s available without the bowl, too. The restaurant also has some entrees available for vegetarians.

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Blink opens first Rochester-area gym in Greece

Blink Fitness opened its first Rochester-area location Monday, with a new gym at 2833 W. Ridge Road in Greece.

The company has 140 locations in 10 states, with most of its New York gyms in the greater New York City area. The Greece center is just the third in Upstate New York, with two others in the Syracuse area.

Multiple franchise owner Dean Panos is operating the Syracuse stores as well as the Rochester-area store.

Cheery colors and lighting help keep the mood positive at Blink. This one is in Syracuse but another one opened Monday in Greece. Photo supplied.
Cheery colors and lighting help keep the mood positive at Blink. This one is in Syracuse but another one opened Monday in Greece. (Provided)

“We’re ready to change the way folks in Rochester view exercise,” Panos said. “The Rochester gym will be a healthy neighborhood spot where community members will leave happier than they came in. Blink’s professionally trained staff, uplifting colors, sleek design and clean facility paired with our Mood Above Muscle philosophy set us apart from other gyms.”

Memberships cost as little as $15 per month, though a grand-opening special is available for $10 a month.

Blink emphasizes mood elevation – décor and lighting are specifically designed for that – rather than attaining a specific body appearance in its publicity materials. Its web site features a diverse range of people exercising, including different body types, ages and races.

As part of its opening events, Blink is donating $10,000 worth of memberships to the Rochester/Finger Lakes chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, and running a sweepstakes for a free annual membership.

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Another Aldi store undergoes renovation

The Aldi store at 714 Long Pond Road in Greece is being renovated, with completion scheduled for April.

Empire Commercial Construction, a division of Taylor The Builders, has been awarded the renovation contract, which covers an addition, remodeling the exterior and interior, and making other site improvements. APD Engineering and Architecture of Rochester is designing the work.

“Empire is proud to maintain its ever-growing relationship with Aldi as they continue their successful store expansion and remodel initiatives,” said Project Executive Josh Myers. “As always, we remain committed to exceeding future construction goals for one of America’s favorite grocery retailers.”

The Greece store represents the fourth Aldi that Taylor has been involved with as the company both expands its number of stores to 2,500 by 2022, and renovates its existing stores. Taylor has worked on stores in Brockport, Irondequoit, and Hamburg, Erie County.

The $5 billion update and expansion is about halfway completed, according to Aldi. The company, founded in Germany in 1971, operates some 1,800 stores in 35 states.

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Greece Chuck E. Cheese shows off rebranding

A brighter restaurant greets Chuck E. Cheese guests in Greece. Photo by CEC Entertainment.
A brighter restaurant greets Chuck E. Cheese guests in Greece. Photo by CEC Entertainment.

Chuck E. Cheese is getting a facelift.

The company has started renovation of its more than 500 restaurants, and the Greece store at 3130 West Ridge Road is among the first dozen to receive a makeover.

Corporate officials visited the Greece location Wednesday for the big reveal, or grand opening, involving cake and coupons for free visits to the entertainment venue.

“This is our first wave of the kind of rebrand,” said Micah Hardt, regional training manager at CEC Entertainment. Hardt said the Greece store didn’t close during the renovation, which was accomplished by bringing in crews to work at night so birthdays and other celebrations could continue to take place.

The restaurant now has an interactive dance floor with what looks like an explosion of lights triggered by dancing feet, new warm colors and more comfortable seating for adults accompanying child guests. Hardt said guest Wi-Fi and more outlets are now available so parents can use their devices more.

Twenty more games were added that may get adults out of their seats, too, he suggested.

“Everyone’s got to get their Skeeball game on when they come to Chuck E. Cheese,” Hardt said.

The rebranding includes selling admission in blocks of time with unlimited use of the games, rather than selling game tokens.

Renovations will continue in a scattered pattern all over the country; Hardt did not have a schedule for when the Henrietta restaurant and two others in Western New York will be renovated.

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Chick-Fil-A and At Home open in Greece

The opening of two new stores in Greece this week will have first-day fans trying to pick between camping out for 24 hours to win a year of free chicken sandwiches at Chick-Fil-A, and lining up to be the first in the door at At Home, big-box warehouse store for home decor.

Chick-Fil-A  open at 6 a.m. Thursday, but will give away a year’s worth of meals to people who sign up and stay for the 24 hours prior. If there are more than 100 people at 6 a.m. Wednesday, the store will draw lots to see which 100 people will join the camp out at the new restaurant at 2140 West Ridge Road. Participants will have access to bathrooms, and the store will provide security over night, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner during the camp-out.

Cindy Chapman, a corporate spokeswoman, said 160 were lined up the day that Chick-Fil-a opened its first upstate restaurant in Cicero, Onondaga County, recently.  The store held a preview Tuesday for media and supporters. The franchise owner is former bank executive Alan Taylor, who has lived in Greece since 1999.

Giveaways at Chick-Fil-A's preview Tuesday. Photo by Diana Louise Carter
Giveaways at Chick-Fil-A’s preview Tuesday. Photo by Diana Louise Carter

Taylor’s younger brother, Michael Taylor, who has worked at Chick-Fil-A for 11 years, was on hand for the opening. He became a franchise owner in early April in Chesapeake, Va.

Down the road at Ridgemont Plaza, At Home will open its second Rochester-area superstore at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The grand opening giveaways, however, are scheduled for its open house April 28, when At Home gives gift cards to the first 50 people who come to the store at 3049 West Ridge Road and sign up for its customer rewards program.

Both stores plan to make donations to the community. Chick-Fil-A had filled a house-shaped box with children’s books and was looking for a school or organization that would like it as a lending library, the first of an ongoing series of community projects. At Home, meanwhile, planned a $5,000 donation to the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

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Greece Chamber panel discusses regulations, educating young workers

Human resources regulations can be a pain in the neck and costly, agreed educators, business people and legislators participating in a wide-ranging panel discussion at the Greece Regional Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

Even those regulations with the best of intentions can be difficult to enact. Casey Kosiorek, superintendent of the Hilton Central School District, noted the requirement that all teachers and staff obtain training in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and the use of a cardiac defibrillator.

“Who can argue with that if you’re going to save someone’s life?” he asked. But fitting in and paying for the training still isn’t easy.

Heidi R. Macpherson, president of the State University College at Brockport, reminded the audience of about 60 that there’s a reason for those regulations. She said Brockport hired a full-time Title IX compliance officer who has created a better experience for female students than previous generations had, transformed college culture on sexual harassment and dating violence, and educated male students about what obtaining consent should look like in a sexual situation. All of that was due to regulations.

“They have improved our culture,” Macpherson said.

Understanding those regulations can be complex, though, added Jeffery Tredo, director of Rochester Colleges, Bryant & Stratton. He said New York’s “Enough is enough” sexual abuse regulations are in direct conflict with some federal rules.

New York regulations are like “water torture,” said David Perotto, vice president of Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home. “I threw up my hands last year and hired Paychex.” The HR and payroll company does a great job, Perotto said, but the service comes at a cost.

Another topic many agreed on was that youngsters frequently are not prepared for work.

“We know from our business partners that the kids are unprepared,” said Kathleen Graupman, superintendent of Greece Central School District. She said schools have to be intentional about the partnerships they provide, including real work experience, to help students learn about work. But they must also teach students how to learn before they teach them to work.

More students, including in the Greece district, are growing up in poverty or without two parents working, she said, so students haven’t necessarily witnessed what it means to go to work every day.

Graupman said she grew up in Greece and her father, like many in Greece at that time, was a lifelong Kodak worker. “The challenge is that’s not our community anymore,” she said.

Perotto said it would be good for students in high school to apprentice in a line of work before choosing their higher education path. That might head off a situation he faced recently: A young woman finished two years of schooling for working in a funeral home before beginning her one-year residency at Bartolomeo & Perotto. He felt she brought a lot of talent to the job. But two weeks later, she quit, saying she didn’t want the night work and long hours.

Greece Superintendent Bill Reilich said, “The most basic elements (of work) have to be stressed early on.” In town government, he’s required to hire from the top three scorers on civil service exams. But that doesn’t mean he’ll get a worker who will show up on time, he said.

Deborah Whitt, owner of the Deborah Ham Whitt Agency, said she’s had to tell high schoolers working for her to remove inappropriate nail polish or to change into business attire. But the students can become loyal and hard-working employees.

“As business owners, we have that opportunity to help our young people learn good work habits,” Whitt said.

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Chick-fil-A breaks ground in Greece

The Chick-fil-A that will open in Greece this spring has already been a long time in the making.

Franchise owner Alan Taylor told a shivering crowd gathered for a ceremonial ground breaking today (Wednesday, Jan. 3) that he interviewed with the fast-food company eight years ago. But since he was insistent that his restaurant be located in the town he adopted in 1999, he had to wait all this time until the Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A company expanded into Upstate New York.

Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich and other officials gathered for the outdoor ceremony at 2140 W. Ridge Road. The new restaurant is just east of and across the street from The Mall at Greece Ridge. The building’s framework is already in place and Taylor said it will open in the spring, possibly April, depending on the weather.

The Greece store will be Chick-fil-A’s first in Monroe County and second in Upstate New York. A store in the Syracuse area town of Cicero will open in February. Others in Plattsburgh and Buffalo are due later in 2018.

Taylor, who has been in banking and finance, said he fell in love with the company’s chicken sandwich 25 years ago and was inspired to join the company after his younger brother began working there 12 years ago.

“I feel honored Chick-fil-A selected me to be the first operator in Monroe County,” Taylor said.

Alan Taylor of Greece greets people at the groundbreaking of the Chick-fil-A restaurant he will operate.
Alan Taylor of Greece greets people at the groundbreaking of the Chick-fil-A restaurant he will operate.

The new owner and his wife, Elizabeth, have four children and they’re involved in school and youth sports in Greece. Taylor said he will soon hold meetings to consider how the store will engage in community partnerships by providing store resources or time.

The store will employ approximately 100 full-time and part-time workers.

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Chick-fil-A breaking ground in Greece

Chick-fil-A will break ground in Greece Wednesday (Jan. 3) morning for its first Rochester-area restaurant, to be located at 2140 West Ridge Road.

The Atlanta-based fast-food chain has 2,254 restaurants in the United States, and the Rochester store will be its second in Upstate New York. A store in Cicero, outside of Syracuse, will open in February and the Rochester store’s opening will follow. Additional stores are planned for Buffalo and Plattsburgh.

The company will hold a news conference at the construction site Wednesday to share additional plans, including how it will go about hiring approximately 100 people. The 5,056-square-foot restaurant will include seating for 120 with a patio and a two-story playground for children.

Founded in 1967 by the late S. Truett Cathy, the restaurant chain continues to be family owned and follows its founder’s Christian tenets by remaining closed on Sundays. Protests and boycotts of Chick-fil-A have arisen in recent years over the donations the family’s foundation has made to Christian groups opposing same-sex marriage.

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Owner of Salvatore’s pizza outlet only 25

Frank Frieda, center, new franchise owner for Salvatore's.
Frank Freida, center, new franchise owner for Salvatore’s.

When the newest franchise of Salvatore’s Pizzeria and Pub opened earlier this month in Walworth, Wayne County, it might have seemed like a speedy promotion for the 25-year-old owner.

Frank Freida is currently the youngest franchisee in the 29-store chain, but he has been working toward owning his own shop for eight years. He left community college at age 18 and decided he preferred a hands-on education in business. That started with him working as a delivery driver for the Latta Road Salvatore’s in Greece.

Before too long, however, Freida knew he wanted to move into management. And that would require giving up lucrative tips to work inside. He estimated he took a pay cut of $6 an hour to move inside the store so he could start learning other jobs at the pizzeria.

“You can’t be a driver and be the person running the show,” Freida said. As he talked, it was just after 10 a.m. and though his store had just opened, he already had two sliced-up pies and a tray of garlic knots  waiting under heat lamps on the counter in case someone came in hungry for a savory mid-morning snack. A pot of coffee – free for anyone – was already brewed.

“I had to stop delivery,” Freida recalled.  “You have to know every position better than anyone in the store and faster than anyone so people recognize you as being something special.” He soon learned the jobs of cook and pizza preparer.

Freida worked at the Latta Road store for about three years before moving to another store in the franchise to learn new skills. He speaks admiringly of his time at the pizzeria on East Main Street in Rochester, the original and one of the busiest stores in the Salvatore’s chain. Each person has a specific task there, he said, and even the front-end managers specialize in what they handle, Freida said.

He took notice of everything, as he hoped to replicate it one day as a franchise owner.

“I’ve known I wanted to own one. I’ve been talking to one of the corporate guys for the last four years,” Freida said.  After his time on East Main, Freida returned to Latta Road and became a general manager there, more recently working at the Lake Avenue store in Charlotte. Eventually, he was offered the Walworth store as a franchise.

A former garage converted into a pizzeria, the Walworth location needed updating before Freida took over as the owner. The store formerly had a bar that was separate from the chest-high pizza counter. Freida had the pizza counter lowered and included the bar in this enlarged counter.

“We changed the layout and gave it a more homey feel,” he said.  Although reared in Greece, Freida has family in Wayne County. “I have family support out this way.”  And he has family support in the business. He obtained a startup loan from ESL Federal Credit Union and used his own savings, but his parents also invested in his business.

And at the opening, not only did Salvatore’s officials attend, but three generations of Freida’s family, including grandparents and a great-grandparent were present, too.

While Freida is currently the youngest Salvatore’s franchise owner, he’s not the youngest person to buy a franchise, not by a long shot. Salvatore “Soccer Sam” Fantauzzo founded the restaurant as a home-economics project when he was still in high school. His son, Silvio Fantauzzo, became a franchisee at age 18 and now owns multiple stores.

“Throughout 39 years of Salvatore’s Old Fashioned Pizzeria, several young box makers and pizza chefs are now self-employed owner/operators,” the elder Fantauzzo said. “We plan to continue this tradition of growth and opportunity within all of our brands.”

And Freida is taking note of that example, too.  Now the boss of some 15 or 16 employees in one location, he hopes that several years from now he can brag about having multiple outlets as well.

If what one of the company officials says is any indication, that goal is realistic.

“At only 25 years old, Frank shows much initiative and leadership. His work ethic is above par, and we believe that this location, under Frank’s guidance, will be a success,” said Ashley King, vice president of business operations for Salvatore’s.

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