Business Development Success Stories

Invest in Rochester, Grow Your Business

Each year, the Business Development team in the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development helps entrepreneurs start or grow a business in Rochester. Here are some examples of successful business leaders who've experienced the benefits of working with our Business Development Team.

Pizza Stop

131 State St.
Downtown Rochester

A Downtown favorite since 1986, the Pizza Stop is a slice of Brooklyn in the heart of Upstate.  Jim Staffieri

The Pizza Stop specializes in New York-style pizza by the slice and other Italian dishes and is centrally located on State Street near Rochester's courts houses, government buildings and high-rise office buildings. The restaurant has won numerous awards from fans and restaurant critics and captures a sizable portion of the lunch crowd each week day.

When lunchtime lines regularly extended out the door and down State Street, owner Jim Staffieri felt the need to expand into a larger location to handle more guests. The City provided assistance with a Business Renovation Grant and a Small Business Grant. This helped Staffieri convert a former Off Track Betting parlor into a pizza parlor that could hold more tables and a second pizza oven. Because the new site was just a few doors away from his original location, the Pizza Stop's conversion appeared almost seamless to its loyal Downtown fan base. 

Visual Dx

339 East Ave.
Downtown Rochester

 Visual Dx offers a perfect example of Rochester's emerging knowledge economy built on the city's legacy in the imaging sciences. So when the company's owners sought an opportunity to re-locate to an historic building in the Center City, the Business Development team was happy to oblige.

Co-founded by Dr. Arther Papier, an Associate Professor of Dermatology and Medical Informatics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Visual Dx provides doctors and other health professionals with instant access to a digital medical image library that improves diagnostic accuracy at the point of care. In June 2015, Visual Dx combined a re-branding initiative with a move from a suburban location into Rochester's Downtown Innovation Zone. The  Business Development team provided assistance with advice on finding the best location and the award of a Business Development Financial Assistance Grant. Visual Dx moved to the Valley Building, which once housed a Cadillac dealership with an indoor showroom.

“We are a dynamic and growing software company that was looking to thrive in a creative downtown environment,” said Art Papier, MD, chief executive officer of VisualDx. “We are beyond grateful for the City of Rochester’s assistance in finding the right space and helping with the transition. Many of our employees were reluctant to move, but now that we are here in the City, we all feel at home.”

VisualDx is launching an updated product in March 2015 with plans to grow the company’s market footprint and local employment.

Tipping Point Communications 

1349 University Ave.
Neighborhood of the Arts

Michelle AshbyTipping Point Communications  is a full service media planning and buying firm that offers services in advertising, public relations and social media. Founded in 2005 by Michelle Ashby, the company's objective is to help clients be noticed through any medium: radio, TV, outdoor, print, online and more.

The company expanded opening Tipping Point Public Relations in 2011. Tipping Point Media, Inc. and Tipping Point Public Relations, LLC merged in January 2016 and are now known as Tipping Point Communications, Inc. Having set up shop in 2007 with seven employees at their previous location Tipping Point Media and Tipping Point Public Relations had grown to employ sixteen people by 2014 and were looking for a space to better accommodate their growing needs. A new location was found at 1349 University Avenue that expanded the company’s square footage from 3,300 sq. ft. to over 5,000 square feet of space. To help with the move, the City of Rochester provided a Targeted Business Assistance Grant that supported the purchase of furniture, fixtures and equipment for Tipping Point’s new home. The company expects to continue its growth adding five additional new jobs over the next three years.

“I am so grateful for the help from the City of Rochester and the Targeted Business Assistance Grant. With the help of this grant, we were able to transform a dark showroom into a bright, contemporary office with an open floor plan, sound masking and an expanded, state-of-the-art focus group facility. The Tipping Point team is truly at home since our move to the Neighborhood of the Arts and we are committed to being a part of an economically successful downtown.”—Michelle Ashby, Founder/CEO Tipping Point Communications.

El Pilon Criollo

973 N. Clinton Ave.
14621 Neighborhood

Zury BrownEl Pilón Criollo is a take-out restaurant that prepares and sells a variety of Hispanic foods. Their menu includes freshly made rice and bean dishes, fried pork, baked chicken, fried chicken, chicken stew, beef stew, ribs and fritters. The Business Development Team worked with El Pilon Criollo, which constructed a 1,300 square foot building at 969-971 and 975-981 North Clinton to house an expanded location of the restaurant.

The City assisted El Pilon Criollo with a Business Development Financial Assistance Loan and a Building Renovation Matching Grant.

Zury Brown, the owner, stated “I’m thankful and appreciate the support the City of Rochester office of Business Development provided to my project. My project faced numerous challenges because of it being a construction project. Once we organized all of our information and documents, I must say I felt a sense of relief because I knew the City was on my side and helping me with every step of the way.”

Steel Tech Fabricators

480 Conkey Ave.
El Camino Neighborhood

Steel Tech Fabricators, Inc. is a certified Minority and Women Owned structural steel contractor providing services to commercial, industrial, and municipal clients. The company fabricates handrails, ladders, ornamental metals, metals stairs, and custom designs. These items are often in excess of 30 feet in length and 10 feet in height. 

In YEAR, the company began an extensive expansion and renovation of its building. The project included the construction of additional office space and Steeltech-Brown1building renovations, the purchase and installation of a canopy over the front entrance and improvements to the parking lot improvement. The Business Development Team provided assistance with a $20,000 Business Renovation Grant to fund a portion of the cost.

Company owner Terence Brown called his experience with the Business Development team "Above and Beyond Expectations."