Ikea

WATERLOO — Thanks, but no thanks.

That, apparently, is the response of a Netherlands-based furniture maker to a request from the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency to locate a store near the Thruway in the town of Tyre.

IKEA was founded in Sweden in 1943 and has grown into a multinational group that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances and home accessories. It’s been the world’s largest furniture retailer since 2008, with its low-cost products especially appealing to college students and apartment dwellers. IKEA has 46 stores in the United States; the only New York-based outlets are in Brooklyn and on Long Island.

At Thursday’s IDA meeting, board member Don Trout asked about stories that IKEA was looking at potential sites in Henrietta, Monroe County.

“We checked that out and were told Seneca County is not on their radar for a location,” IDA Executive Director Bob Aronson replied. “We wrote to them again, citing a good location near the Thruway, and have not heard back. Another thing IKEA likes is to be close to a major airport. That’s a big issue.”

Aronson also said the county’s low, 3.2 percent unemployment rate might work against it in terms of an available workforce.

Board member Valerie Bassett noted that Seneca County is in the middle of a triangle with Syracuse, Rochester and Ithaca at its points — and those cities are home to thousands of college students and apartment units.

“I realize it’s a tough sell when compared to a big city, but something we should pursue,” Bassett said.

“I say our location in the middle of those areas makes us a good area. It seems like a great opportunity,” agreed another board member, Jeff Shipley, president of the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve pushed hard for them to consider looking here and hope they will reconsider. It’s a destination-style retail store and would be a perfect fit for Seneca County, with Route 318 a good site.”

One selling point could be the county moving forward with a new sewer system that will service del Lago Resort & Casino, Waterloo Premium Outlets and other businesses in the Routes 318 and 414 area.

Also Thursday:

EDC —Tom Macinski was elected chairman of the county’s Economic Development Corp. for 2018. Steve Brusso was picked as vice chairman and Erica Paolicelli as secretary-treasurer. The only other EDC board member is Tom Kime.

The EDC was formed to oversee activities and outside uses at the former Seneca Army Depot in Romulus and Varick. When the 10,000-plus-acre facility closed in 2000, it was given to the IDA for redevelopment. With much of the former land being sold for new uses, the EDC has shifted its focus to overseeing the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Romulus.

SCFC — In county Funding Corp. elections, Brusso was chosen chairman, Macinski vice chairman and Robert Kernan secretary-treasurer. That trio also makes up the corporation’s board of directors.

The organization’s function is to consider requests from nonprofits for tax-exempt bonds. The IDA can bond for profit-making entities, but not for nonprofits.

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