LYONS — Four long-time businesses were honored last week as part of Wayne County’s National Small Business Week celebration.
On Thursday, IDA staff, supervisors and state and federal officials traveled to each business to present them with plaques in honor of their impressive longevity.
Taking part in the presentations were State Sen. Pam Helming and Assemblyman Brian Manktelow, as well as county supervisors, including Board Chairman Steve LeRoy. A representative of the U.S. Small Business Administration joined them on the tour.
One of those honored, LaGasse Works of Lyons, announced it will soon have a new owner.
“When you get to a certain age, you realize you need an exit plan,” said owner Dan LaGasse, whose business manufacturers specialty farm equipment — much of it for the apple industry — as well as salt spreaders and other products at its Old Route 31 manufacturing facility, which is the former Lyons town highway barns.
LaGasse said he is selling the business to Kaye and Ross Ganz, owners of Stone Goose Enterprises, Inc., which owns The Apple Farm Stand at the corner of Route 104 and Norris Road in Huron.
The sale should be final “within weeks,” said LaGasse, who will stay on at the 65-year-old business. The company employs 10 but has a couple of openings, he said.
Manktelow, R-130 of Lyons, told LaGasse that the apple business is a “pretty impressive industry, and you’re really contributing to that.”
LaGasse said there’s more to come when it comes to technology in the orchard, including robotic apple-picking machines the company hopes to manufacture.
Brian Pincelli, executive director of the Wayne County IDA, as well as the county’s Economic Development and Planning Department, said small businesses “are the life-blood of the economy. We are proud of the work they do and their commitment to Wayne County.”
The IDA said more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.
The other three companies honored:
• Mason Farms of Williamson, in operation over 200 years and a major supplier of produce for Wegmans. Its 500-acre operation grows sweet corn, apples, pumpkins and small plots of other fruits and vegetables, including peppers, eggplant, potatoes, summer squash, cabbage and more.
• Micro-Tech Machine in Newark, a precision contract manufacturer specializing in turning, milling and electrical discharge machining for the aerospace industry. It is celebrating its 35th year in 2019.
• Thomas Electronics of Clyde, a leading manufacturer of products for the electronic display and imaging market. It has been in business for 70 years.
The four businesses each gave short tours of their operations.
Said Manktelow: “In Wayne County, small businesses have always been the backbone of the economy. The companies that we honored today have withstood the test of time and are still going strong. Their commitment to the local economy is paramount to the success of their home communities and Wayne County in general. While large manufacturing plants are important, so are the smaller businesses with deep roots. They are good examples that small operations can succeed here in upstate New York.”
Added Helming: “Congratulations to Mason Farms, Thomas Electronics, LaGasse Works and Micro-Tech Machine for your many years of commitment to doing business in Wayne County. It was an honor and privilege to join Wayne County Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve LeRoy, New York State Assemblyman Brian Manktelow, local government officials, and members of the Wayne County IDA to recognize such outstanding small businesses during Small Business Week. Small businesses like these are the true backbone of our communities.”
Said Virginia Smith, regional director of the U.S. Small Business Administration: “The U.S. Small Business Administration is happy to celebrate National Small Business Week with four incredible Wayne County businesses. Small businesses are the backbone and heartbeat of the American economy, and we are blessed in the Finger Lakes area to be surrounded by flourishing, successful small businesses.”