Economy Shows Signs of a Springtime Thaw and More in Westchester

New businesses, relocations, and operations; Scene & Seen; Hot Properties; and 914 Datebook

New businesses, relocations, and operations

Food and drink continues to nourish our local economy, extending a trend that we first noticed when we wrote about a spate of new eateries opening in downtown White Plains several months ago.

Serafina — a popular Italian restaurant with locations in Manhattan, East Hampton, and Brazil — recently opened in downtown White Plains at the corner of Main Street and Renaissance Square. The restaurant features a bar and a wood-burning oven area where patrons can watch the chefs at work. Entrée selections include pizza, pasta, seafood, poultry, and other meat items prepared on the wood-burning grill. The restaurant can seat 90 inside and 40 outdoors for alfresco dining. Prices for entrees range from $17 to $28, and the restaurant will be open from 11 am to 11 pm every day.

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Sabra Dipping Company—the top-selling hummus company in the United States—revealed plans to relocate from Astoria, Queens, to White Plains. The company plans to move to a 30,000-square-foot facility to Westchester Avenue. Sabra plans to move 33 jobs from its current Astoria location to the White Plains office and create 32 additional jobs over the next four years.

Kraft Foods announced that its premium coffee brand, Gevalia, will be available for purchase at supermarkets, mass merchandisers, and retail outlets across the country starting in August. The nearly $400 million global brand already has a significant following in the United States and will launch in 10 store varieties, including Traditional Roast, House Blend, Espresso Roast, and Chocolate Mocha. The global company has one of its four corporate management centers in Tarrytown.

The Music Conservatory of Westchester (MCW) and Faust Harrison Pianos recently announced the establishment of an expansive new piano retail, restoration, and performance center on the conservatory’s campus in White Plains. Scheduled to open in early summer 2011, the piano center will add an entirely new dimension to MCW’s performing arts education facilities.  The new Faust Harrison Piano Center will occupy a newly renovated 24,000-square-foot facility located directly adjacent to the conservatory’s building at 216 Central Avenue. The new center will house piano showrooms, performance spaces, and a state-of-the-art piano restoration shop. Faust Harrison Pianos will maintain high-level acoustic and digital pianos in the MCW studios and will also offer advice to students about pianos and other keyboard instruments. There will be tours for individuals and groups, as well as a class tour program for schools.

The Westchester Library System recently detailed the opening of two new Senior Benefit Information Centers (SBICs) at libraries in New Rochelle and Peekskill. The SBICs offer counseling covering a broad range of topics including Medicare health and prescription plans, food stamps, HEAP, EPIC, weatherization, minor home repair, and tax-relief programs. For more information on the SBICs, please contact Robin Osborne, director of WLS’s Office of Community Connections, at (914) 231-3237.


Environmental stewardship was honored throughout the region in coordination with the annual celebration of Earth Day last month. At an April 17th ceremony held at Kensico Dam Plaza, County Executive Rob Astorino singled out the Business Council of Westchester and Con Edison for the development of Phase II of the Westchester Green Business Challenge—an initiative that encourages local businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve efficiency. Wheelabrator Westchester was also lauded for efficiency in plant operation as well as assistance in the development of the Charles Point Industrial Park in Peekskill.

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The Business Council of Westchester honored its 2011 Business Hall of Fame inductees with a dinner reception on Thursday, April 14, at Glen Island Harbour Club. The honorees included the Dannon Company, Inc., of White Plains for Corporate Citizenship, WESTMED Medical Group for Entrepreneurial Success, Westchester Magazine of Elmsford for Small Business Success, and Wilson & Son Jewelers of Scarsdale for Family Business Success. Dr. Molly Easo Smith (pictured), president of Manhattanville College in Purchase, was honored for Women in Business Success.

ERA Insite Realty Services of White Plains recently received the ERA President’s Circle Award for a 10th consecutive year. The firm was recognized as a top 100 company for business volume among 2,500 ERA firms worldwide. The White Plains firm is the highest performing ERA affiliate in the region. The company also recently presented the Bridge Fund of Westchester with a generous contribution to directly assist county residents who are struggling to keep their homes. The donation check represented $25 from each first quarter home sale closed by the firm, and the company pledged to donate to the charity at the end of each quarter in 2011.

The Mount Kisco Chamber of Commerce honored Bill Harden (pictured) of Accel Printing and Graphics Corporation as its 2011 Citizen of the Year and Mount Kisco Child Care Center as its Outstanding Nonprofit of the Year.

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Westfair Business Publications recently honored Andi Gray, president of the Chappaqua-based business and management consulting firm Strategy Leaders, as its 2011 Overachiever of the Year. The award was presented along with the 2011 Spirit of Achievement. The awards dinner was hosted by Junior Achievement of Hudson Valley at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown.

As the first signs of spring hit the region after a long and difficult winter this past month, there were mixed signs that Westchester’s economy was also beginning to thaw from the long, deep freeze of a recession dating back to 2008.

On the negative side, the county housing market is still suffering from the economic downturn. According to April 21st article in the Journal News, single-family home sales in the county dropped 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011, despite going up in both Putnam and Rockland counties. The average sales price for single family homes in Westchester dropped 3.4 percent. Co-ops sales fared even worse, dropping 8.8 percent over the course of the year.

But there were positive signs of a springtime economic recovery as well. As reported in an April 15th piece in the Westchester County Business, Purchase-based PepsiCo announced that it would keep its bottling operations in Somers after the company considered moving the division to Danbury, Connecticut. The article also noted that the overall county vacancy rate dipped to 16.7 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

According to an April 14th Journal News article, Westchester generated an additional $2.7 million in sales tax revenue during the first quarter, a 2.6 increase from last year. The county government also reported on April 25 that Fitch Ratings reaffirmed Westchester County’s AAA bond rating — making Westchester the only county in the state to maintain top AAA ratings from all three leading credit rating agencies. Fitch cited the county’s strong financial management and a demonstrated willingness to reduce expenditures in its report.

914INC.’s commercial real estate showcase

RiverView at Purchase
287 Bowman Ave

Brokered by:
CB Richard Ellis
William V. Cuddy, Jr.
(203) 325-5380

There are currently five spaces available, ranging from 1,400 square feet up to 10,614 square feet. The rental rate is $29 per square foot per year.

Selling points:
Located along the “Platinum Mile Corporate Corridor” along I-287, the RiverView at Purchase is easily accessible from area highways and public transportation. The building’s high-tech office suites come with amenities such as catering services, a gourmet café on the premises, and an on-site fitness center with showers and lockers. The building also features two floors of parking spaces on the lower levels, as well as energy-efficient solar ban reflective glass.

Upcoming Business Events

WEDNESDAY 5/4/2011

â—    Workshop: Financing Your Business — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this workshop will feature an overview of business finance, key business-plan information, types of capital and their significance, personal credit consideration, and will advise business owners how to deal with the bank and other lenders. Free. For more information, call (914) 948-3907 or visit

FRIDAY 5/6/2011

â—    Westchester Children’s Museum Annual Benefit — 7 pm at the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, 3 Renaissance Sq, White Plains. The Westchester Children’s Museum will raise funds for its Museum Without Walls education program at its annual benefit. The event includes a raffle for an overnight suite at the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester. An after-party at 42 The Restaurant will follow. $200 for individual tickets; $1,750 for a party of 10. Sponsorship and e-Journal ads are also available. For more information, call (914) 421-5050 or email

WEDNESDAY 5/11/2011

â—    Workshop: Leasing Commercial and Industrial Space — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this workshop will present and discuss options for leasing commercial and industrial space for businesses. Free. For more information, call (914) 948-3907 or visit

FRIDAY 5/13/2011

â—    Baseball Card Show — 2 pm to 8 pm at the Westchester County Center, 198 Central Ave, White Plains. Continues on Saturday 5/14 (10 am to 5 pm) and Sunday 5/15 (10 am to 4 pm). $7 per day for adults, free for children under 12. For more information, call (914) 995-4050 or visit

TUESDAY 5/17/2011

â—    914INC.’s Westchester Wunderkinds Reception — 6 pm to 8 pm at Don Coqui, 115 Cedar St, New Rochelle. Join 914Inc. and Westchester’s Wunderkinds for a night of cocktails, lite bites, and lively conversation. The event will feature and honor some of the county’s top young business minds…all under the age of 30. $55. For more information, call (914) 345-0601, extension 146 or email

WEDNESDAY 5/18/2011

â—    Workshop: Franchises – Are They Right for You? — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this workshop will explain how to take advantage of business franchise opportunities. Free. For more information, call (914) 948-3907 or visit

WEDNESDAY 5/25/2011

â—    Workshop: Business and Taxes — 1 pm to 3 pm at 120 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains. Presented by SCORE Westchester, this workshop will feature an overview of tax law and business, including naming, corporate legal structure and other considerations. Free. For more information, call (914) 948-3907 or visit

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

Our Best of Westchester Elimination Ballot is open through March 6!

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