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The closing of carhauler Performance Transportation Services in Niagara County in June dealt a blow the area economy, eliminating more than 140 good-paying jobs. But some competing carriers are filling the void and putting some of those drivers and mechanics back to work. Cassens, based in Illinois, has expanded its service into this area and is working on plans to use PT…

Although gasoline prices have (finally!) begun their slow descent, most drivers are continuing their gas-saving ways. Many, like the hypermilers, have made a game out of trying to get the best gas mileage possible.Seeing the way your gas gauge is affected by changing a few driving habits can be addictive - turning the drive to work into a fun daily challenge. (Read these s…

How much are you willing to pay for convenience?  When my sister gave birth to her first daughter, she made everything by hand and from scratch. Powdered pancake mix? Forget about it! My sister happily folded blueberries into the whole wheat flour and brown sugar she bought in bulk at Sam's Club.But by the time baby No. 2 came along, my sister was stocking up on every…

When I was a kid, I always bought my lunch at school.At the time, 80 cents bought a rectangular piece of pizza with two pepperoni on top, a handful of tator tots, chocolate milk, and dessert. Today's school lunches are still relatively cheap, but is it even cheaper to brown bag it?Considering manufacturers are raising prices and shrinking package sizes to offset higher foo…

  When my best friend spent nearly $50 on four Tupperware bowls I thought she was crazy. That is until the "bargain" imitations I bought cracked and warped just weeks later, rendering the lids useless. I ponied up for two more sets before I finally wised up and splurged on the real thing. Considering a friend's mom just traded in (for free, thanks to the Tup…

A story in New York magazine has stirred discussion on a recurring theme in this area: whether people who have moved away can be persuaded to come back. The article, plus a story in Sunday's Buffalo News, looked especially at people in their late 20s and early 30s who are mulling priorities different from when they were fresh out of college, such as being closer to family …

The annual Inc. magazine list of the nation's fastest-growing companies is out, giving some businesses that don't usually receive attention a chance to share their stories. Inc. has expanded the list to 5,000 members from 500 previously. That has opened the door to more companies from Western New York making the list -- this year, 25 in all. Many of these companies gener…

Several retired workers at the Democratic National Convention talked about the difficulty in making ends meet during retirement. For some, rising costs are outstripping fixed incomes. Many are taking steps to live even more frugally, including growing their own vegetables and cutting back on even meager luxuries. Have your experiences or expectations of retirement change…

There used to be two bills for home phone service, one local and one long-distance. It was after the government split up AT&T. That was a victory for consumers, but it's not a good memory. Having two phone companies was a hassle.    Now most homes have one phone company again — by choice. (Not counting cellular here.) And the phone company isn't just sellin…

Save-A-Lot is closing its grocery store in Central Park Plaza, once again leaving a void in the struggling retail plaza. A similar thing happened in 2003, when Quality Markets closed. Save-A-Lot was welcomed as a boost the following year.City officials say it's important to neighborhood residents to recruit another grocery store to that site. But that is just one challenge…

For Brooks Anderson, weathered barns are far from a sight for sore eyes. Anderson, who started Buffalo Barn Board, enlists the help of subcontractors to take apart Western New York barns and then reuse the wood for floors, mantel pieces or display. His customers pay a pretty penny for the high-end products, but other companies and organizations like nonprofit, Buffalo ReUs…

   Halfway through the year, Buffalo Niagara's existing home sales were down 7 percent from a year ago.    The question now facing the local market is, can it close the gap in the second half of the year?    The results for July and August should provide some indication, since they tend to generate some of the highest figures of the year. …

It's thinner. It's faster. It comes in white.   Thousands of people around the globe waited in line for the launch of Apple's iPhone 3G Friday. Though many of them already own the original iPhone - some of them paid hundreds of dollars for it just months ago - early adopters are dishing out another $200 for the souped up version.      But, is it worth…

With huge coffee chain Starbucks announcing it will close 600 stores nationwide, local consumers are wondering whether the specialty cafe is just too expensive for Buffalo.      With increased pressure from rival chains Tim Hortons, Dunkin' Donuts, and McDonalds, Starbucks no longer has a lock on the market it helped launch in Seattle nearly two decades ago…

Performance Transportation Services has folded, shutting its Niagara County terminal and eliminating jobs.But the Teamsters is hopeful another carhauler will fill the void, and bring employees back to work in the process. It's not a great time for the car business, with new car sales slumping. But the union thinks the site will have appeal as a "backhaul" locatio…