NEWFANE – The new Tops Markets location in Newfane will receive the unused portion of an allocation of low-cost electricity Niagara County gave to the store’s former owner, Frank Budwey.
The County Legislature’s Economic Development Committee approved the deal last week. The full Legislature is expected to vote Sept. 16.
If the vote is yes, the supermarket will keep 175 kilowatts through April 30, which is when Budwey’s deal would have expired.
The electricity comes from the county’s Empower Niagara program, in which the county takes a portion of the power it was granted by the New York Power Authority under the 2005 Niagara Power Project license and attempts to use it as an economic development tool.
Since 2008, the county has done a dozen power deals, taking credit for creation of 260 permanent jobs.
Budwey, who reopened the store at 2555 N. Main St. in 2009, sold it in July to Rochester investors who leased it to Tops.
The building had previously been home in succession to the Bells, Jubilee and Shur-Fine grocery chains.
All the Budwey’s Market Place employees were invited to stay on with Tops.
“Budwey got this place started up for the people in Newfane,” Assistant County Attorney R. Thomas Burgasser said. “Now those employees have an opportunity to move up, not just within that store but at other Tops.”
Tops spokeswoman Katie McKenna said 10 new jobs were created at the store in addition to those Budwey employed, bringing the work force to 73.
“The investment after all renovations are complete will be $400,000,” she told The Buffalo News by email.
Tops will pay the county $17,500 for the rest of this year.
The Legislature also will be asked to boost the power allotment for Edwards Vacuum from 145 kilowatts to 190 kilowatts, with a three-year extension of the original 2010 power deal.
“They’ve hired 60 people since that allocation was approved,” said Samuel M. Ferraro, county economic development commissioner.
“For Niagara County, this is a success story,” Burgasser said. “They actually created more jobs than they said they would.”
Edwards moved its headquarters from Grand Island to the county-owned Vantage International Pointe in Wheatfield.
It will pay $23,940 a year for the power allocation.