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In a Friday morning visit to WBTA, Julie Pacatte stressed her confidence that Batavia can be a great business community.

She knows from her experience in a similar job in Central New York's Schoharie County.

"It was very ag-based, very similar to Genesee County," she says. "Batavia actually has more going for it that Schoharie County. It has more population, more access to metropolitan areas, and you also have the Canadian markets here."

Pacatte has 18 years of experience in business development, the last eight with Schoharie County's Chamber of Commerce, and as an Economic Development and Empire Zone coordinator there. She says the towns there have a similar small business-on-Main Street feel.

"We were very progressive with education: SUNY Cobleskill is one of the major employers there," she said, drawing a parallel to Genesee Community College. "That's a real possibility I see here moving forward."

The main job Pacatte is starting with is hitting the streets. She made the rounds of small businesses today, and plans to do more work in the community – what she calls a "grass roots effort" – to develop an idea of Batavia's identity.

Details of Pacatte's development plan are still in the works, and she's reluctant to offer much insight into her philosophies and strategies until she's got a better grasp of the city's situation. But she does say that Batavia has the right tools.

"Education, entertainment, and small business development will all work together in finding the types of businesses that folks in Batavia will be drawn to," she says.

Pacatte stressed her experience working with New York State as an advantage, although she said she doesn't have a "silver bullet" to dealing with some of the more redundant policies from Albany. She does consider the state a friend, not a foe, in attracting small business.


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