Pembroke man set to ‘shine’ as neon specialist

After a long career in the natural gas and oil exploration industry, Pembroke resident William Gerych is ready to turn the ‘bright’ idea he’s been clinging to for some time into reality.

Gerych and his wife, Mary Ann, attended the Genesee County Planning Board meeting tonight at County Building 2 on West Main Street Road, seeking a special use permit for a home-based business: building and repairing a neon signs.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Gerych, who has worked for Lenape Resources, Inc., of Alexander for the past 39 years. “I like to bend glass and I have learned that it really is an art.”

He said he spent six weeks learning the trade during a one-on-one training session with Howie Cohen, owner of Just Neon in Utica.

Gerych said repairing neon signs is a “dying industry” because there aren’t many people who specialize in it, but believes there is a market for it. His business plan is to advertise on the Internet and contact stores and restaurants that sell or display the signs.

The planning board, understanding that Gerych will be working out of his barn-style garage behind his home, recommended approval of the special use permit application stipulating that storage and disposal of any hazardous materials must comply with state and federal regulations.

In another action, the board recommended approval of:

  • The downtown design site plan for a new facade at 35 Batavia City Center for the Batavia Players’ Main Street 56 Theatre;
  • Site plan of two office building additions under construction at the Gateway GS LLC (Gallina Development) site on Call Parkway. One building is growing from 22,200 square feet to 30,000 square feet and the other is growing from 27,000 square feet to 33,600 square feet. A third building, designated for future construction, will be reduced from 27,000 square feet to 17,400 square feet;
  • Site plan for a 55 foot by 70 foot addition to O-At-Ka Milk Products on Ellicott Street Road, a project known as the MaCC Room Expansion.

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