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Auto dealer lands rink naming rights

So what will it be -- Northtown Automotive Ice Center? Northtown Rink?

Northtown Automotive has come to terms with the Town of Amherst on a naming rights deal for the former Amherst Pepsi Center, though it is keeping the new name top secret for now. The arrangement is expected to bring the town more than $500,000 in revenue over the life of the 10-year contract.

"When the opportunity came up to submit a bid for the naming rights, we couldn't think of a better investment for the Northtown brand," Northtown Vice President Lawrence Schreiber said in a statement. "We are looking forward to the very near future when we can unveil our name on a facility that's a showcase for our region."

The agreement was reached after extensive negotiations Thursday and the finalization of contract details on Friday.

Northtown Automotive submitted the sole proposal to have its name adorn the well-known four-rink complex off Millersport Highway, which serves as the practice home for the Buffalo Sabres.

Town officials said they were disappointed with the initial offer and were prepared to walk away from Northtown's proposal if the two sides couldn't negotiate more favorable terms for the town.

Supervisor Barry Weinstein gave credit to Council Member Guy Marlette, Purchasing Director Lawrence Graner and Comptroller Darlene A. Carroll for working hard to improve the company's initial proposal.

"They took Northtown Auto's bid, which they thought was low, and they negotiated with them and threw in some additional media exposures," Weinstein said.

As a result, Northtown will not only have its name on the ice complex, but will have the naming rights for the Town of Amherst's popular Fourth of July celebration on the University at Buffalo North Campus.

Northtown will also be able to put its name on other Town of Amherst Recreation Department mailings and partner with the town on other PR opportunities, town officials said.

The Northtown deal should generate $500,000 to $550,000 in new revenue and cost savings, Marlette said. When combined with the exclusive pouring rights deal reached with Coca-Cola Bottling of Buffalo, the town should see an additional $100,000 in annual revenue, he added.

The Town Board is expected to approve the contract next month.

e-mail: stan@buffnews.com

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