Hudson Barter Exchange, a recent business startup that brings businesses together to make deals without cash, is expanding from its initial service territory of Westchester County into Rockland County.
The Elmsford-based company said that it has added over 160 members since it opened nine months ago. Trading volume on the barter site has doubled every month during that time, according to the company.
In Rockland, businesses that have signed up to use the barter service include an advertising company, a pest control buiness, a photography studio, a pet spa and a dental office.
Barter has become a popular way for many businesses to trade services with each other during the recession that has eroded sales and dried up available cash to make standard purchases.
Nearly 400,000 businesses nationally now barter for services, according to the National Association of of Trade Exchanges. Across the country, 350 local barter exchanges allow thousands of small and mid-sized businesses to exchange services with each other. The exchange takes a 6 percent commission from each side in a transaction.
Kevin Brown, co-principal of Hudson Barter Exchange, said that the barter service can help businesses attract new customers and manage cash flow.
“These are just two of the many benefits of bartering that (the exchange) now brings to Rockland County,” Brown said.
Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty has increased its presence in the Hudson Valley by expanding into Dutchess County through the acquisition of three Coldwell Banker Currier and Lazier Realtors offices.
The acquisition by the White Plains-based brokerage adds 47 sales associates and offices in Fishkill, Poughkeepsie and Rhinebeck to its footprint in the region. The company now has 22 offices and more than 800 sales associates in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange and Dutchess counties.
“Expanding into Dutchess County was a logical move for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. It completes our footprintand allows us to service the entire Hudson Valley marketplace,” said Greg Rand, the brokerage’s managing partner.
Verizon Wireless said that recent improvements at cell cites covering New Rochelle and Grand View-on-Hudson will mean expanded wireless services for customers in those areas. Verizon Wireless said the improvements will allow consumers and businesses to use mobile devices to gain faster access to email or corporate data, download music and view high-quality videos.
Palisades Federal Credit Union recently opened a new office at 240 East Route 59 in Nanuet. The new branch at the Kohl’s shopping plaza is the the third for the credit union. Palisades Federal Credit Union, with assets of more than $147 million, is the largest credit union based in Rockland County.
Blue Hill Data Services Inc. is expanding its presence at Blue Hill Plaza, an office development in Pearl River. The information technology outsourcing provider, which has been a tenant at the complex since 1997, recently signed an agreement to renew its previous commitment of 30,672 square feet. The company also will lease an additional 19,100 square feet in an expansion, according to building owner Glorious Sun Robert Martin LLC.
Hudson Valley Bank of Yonkers is accelerating its expansion in Connecticut. The bank announced today that it has received regulatory approval to open a new branch in Stratford, Conn., that will be its sixth branch in the state.
The bank expects to open the Stratford branch during the fourth quarter, following the opening of another branch in Milford, Conn., on July 20.
When Milford opens, Hudson Valley will have 32 branches in Westchester, Rockland, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Connecticut.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. of White Plains recently a new hotel near New York City’s Times Square under its Four Points by Sheraton brand.
The 244-room hotel is the brand’s third hotel in New York City. It joins Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan SoHo Village and Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan Chelsea.
“Our expansion in New York City addresses the rising demand for affordable and stylish lodging in urban areas,” said Brian McGuinness, senior vice president of specialty select brands for Starwood.
Pepsi Bottling Group Inc., the largest distributor of Pepsi beverage products, said that it has signed an agreement to distribute Rockstar Energy Drink in Mexico starting in July. Somers-based Pepsi Bottling already distributes the drink in the United States and Canada. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Pacific Asia Petroleum Inc., a Hartsdale-based oil and natural gas company, said it expects to begin production in Chinese oil fields this year after the company signed agreements with Chinese business partners.
Chief Executive Officer Frank C. Ingriselli said that the opportuntes in China could add hundreds of wells to the company’s production portfolio.
Ingriselli is a former executive with Texaco Inc., the petroleum giant formerly based in Harrison. He started Pacific Asia Petroleum in 2005 to reach deals to explore for oil and gas in Asia. One of the company’s strategies is to negotiate with national energy companies in China to gain access to fields.
“Our company looks forward to working with our Chinese partners to enhance recovery from, and drill new wells, in several oil fields in China,” Ingriselli said. “We believe that this new business and the technology we have acquired offer great upside for our company not only throughout China’s energy market, but throughout Asia.”
In the agreement announced yesterday, Pacific Asia Petroleum said that its Hong Kong subsidiary, Pacific Asia Petroleum Energy Ltd., and its Chinese affiliate, Inner Mongolia Sunrise Petroleum Co. Ltd. signed agreements for oil recovery and production with various Chinese companies and individuals. Some of the agreements covered oil fields in Inner Mongolia and the Heilongjiang Province in China.
Pacific Asia Petroleum said that its Hong Kong subsidiary is expected to begin operations in the oil fields in the third quarter. Oil production and revenue generation will follow in the fourth quarter.
Mack-Cali Realty Corp. said that Fabrication Enterprises Inc. had signed a six-year lease renewal for 21,000 square feet of space at the Cross Westchester Executive Park in Elmsford, and was expanding into an additional 16,000 feet.
The company makes and distributes products for physical therapy, rehabilitation, home health and sports medicine. It also renewed a lease for 21,000 square feet at a third location at the office park for six years.
The Westchester Medical Group said it will consolidate administrative offices at 32,000 square feet of space at 2700 Westchester Ave. in Purchase by the end of September. It will add 40 to 50 more employees at the site over the next 18 months.
Chief Financial Officer Clark Yoder said the group was moving administrative offices out of the third floor of 210 Westchester Ave. in Harrison, to accommodate more clinical practice there.
The new offices also will draw staff from two other offices in central Westchester. The medical group will consolidate billing, human resources, general finance, and a call center at the new site. The group employs 510 people plus 143 doctors, Yoder said. About 150 to 160 people work in administration.
CB Richard Ellis represented the medical group in the lease, which will run at least 10 years. The building, owned by Normandy Realty Partners, would be about one-third vacant once the medical group moves in.
In early 2010, Westchester Medical Group expects to open a $7 million surgical center in Rye.
Peapod, the online grocery service, recently began delivering groceries to 10 communities in Rockland County. Customers can order a full range of products over the Internet, including meat, produce, deli and health care products. The Rockland commmunities that are eligible for the service are Nyack, West Nyack, Valley Cottage, Congers, Tappan, Blauvelt, Orangeburg, Piermont, Palisades and Sparkill.
Hudson Technologies Inc., a Pearl River-based refrigerant services company, said that it recently opened a new 60,000 square foot warehouse and reclamation facility in Champaign, Ill. The company said that the new facility will increase its production capacity for the reclamation of refrigerants used by its customers.
Maid Brigade, which offers home cleaning services throughout Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Fairfield counties, recently purchased a 7,000-square-foot building at 8-14 Legion Drive in Valhalla.
The company will move into 5,000 square feet in the building early next month, more than doubling the size of its previous site in Pleasantville.
The company said its goal is to provide environmentally-friendly cleaning services with such cleaning tools as microfiber mops and vacuums with specialized filters.
Fujifilm U.S.A. Inc., the Valhalla-based film manufacturer, said that it is expanding its technical services and support division to provide assistance to business customers of all sizes.
The division will continue working within the photo lab environment, but also expand services to new technologies. Fujifilm will also offer help to businesses seeking support for self-service kiosks, advanced vending machine systems, digital signage, cash registers, servers, and printers.
In a related annoucement, the company said that the division will be led by Ron Santos, who has been with the company since 2003 and a 42-year industry veteran. He is the former vice president of technical services and support/America’s for the printing systems division at IBM Services.
Verizon Wireless said that wireless calling, text messaging and surfing the mobile Internet should be easier and faster for customers in Putnam County after the recent activation of two new cell sites. The new cell sites should improve network coverage and capacity in the Kent and Brewster Hills areas, the company said. The improvements follow the company’s $238 million investment last year in upgraded services in metro New York and New Jersey.
SOMS Technologies LLC, a Valhalla-based company that produces highly efficient oil filters, said that it has extended its product lineup to include major European and Asian automotive brands.
The company said that the expansion comes in response to car companies and consumers looking to cut their energy consumption and economize.
“By offering our filter for a broader range of vehicles, we are enabling drivers to make the most of their current vehicle investment while positively impacting the environment,” Miles Flamenbaum, chief executive officer of SOMS Technologies, said in a written statement.
Audi, Honda, Infinity, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Range Rover, Toyota and Volkswagen are among the foreign brands covered in the expansion.
This company said that its technology can cut maintenance costs by 65 percent and reduce motor oil use by 70 percent by allowing vehicles to operate up to 30,000 miles without an oil change.
SOMS – which stands for Spin-On Microfilter System – began marketing the product last fall. It hopes to become profitable by the end of 2009 with more than $1 million in sales.
AFP Imaging Corp., an Elmsford-based supplier of medical and dental imaging equipment, said that it will expand its Canadian dealer sales network through an agreement with Global Practice Solutions LLC, a Houston-based dental distributor. AFP Imaging said the agreement covers its Dent-X division that supplies dental professionals with a full line of digital imaging and x-ray products.
ITT Corp., a White Plains-based defense contractor, will pursue business ventures in the defense and security sectors of the United Arab Emirates as part of a partnership agreement announced today.
ITT expects that the agreement will open up opportunities in communications, sensing, surveillance, space, and advanced engineering in the Middle Eastern country. Dave Melcher, president of ITT Defense Electronics and Services, signed the agreement with Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, chairman and chief executive officer of Emirates Advanced Investments, which will act as a partner.
“The signing of this agreement formalizes a relationship of trust and confidence that we have mutually developed over the course of nearly a year,” Bernard J. Dunn, vice president of ITT Middle East Operations, said in a written statement.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. said that it plans to open 50 new hotels in China by 2011 and more than double its presence in the world’s largest country.
The aggressive expansion includes a construction binge in Shanghai, China’s largest city, that calls for about 12 Starwood hotels to operate there within two years. That would rival Starwood’s footprint in New York City, the company’s largest market in the United States.
“Starwood’s long term growth opportunity in China is perhaps unsurpassed anywhere in the world,” Chief Executive Frits Van Paasschen said in a written statement. “China is home to the largest number of our hotels outside of North America, and more importantly, it comprises the largest portion of our pipeline outside of the United States.”
The bold Chinese move comes at a challenging time for Starwood, a White Plains-based company that focuses on the upper-end market through such brands as Sheraton, Westin and St. Regis. The company’s profits plunged 46 percent during the fourth quarter as the global financial and economic crisis worsened. The biggest problem for the hotel industry is that business and leisure travelers are booking fewer hotel stays in uncertain times.
Despite the economic questions, Starwood today announced the addition of five new Chinese hotels to its existing portfolio of 47 properties in the rapidly developing country. The new properties include the first St. Regis resort in Sanya; the first St. Regis hotel in Chengdu, Sichuan; the first Sheraton hotels in Jiangyin and Dalian; and a second Sheraton resort in Huizhou, Guangdong.
In 2008, Starwood opened eight new hotels in China.