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Excellus' addition to DeWitt

"This is a regional economy," he said. "I'm happy they are still staying in Central New York."

A big boost for retail

With more than 800 Excellus employees transferring from downtown to DeWitt, they're sure to give an economic boost to area businesses -- and most companies are counting on it.

"It's definitely going to be a boom for business in the immediate area," DiStefano said, citing not only ShoppingTown Mall, but also stores such as Wegmans, Target and Wal-Mart. He said the two marked times will be the noon hour and right after work.

"What's going to help us is the lunch traffic," said Tom Rowcliffe, sales support manager at JC Penney. "I think with the proximity and hopefully with the new mall update that the town of DeWitt will approve soon -- we hope -- we'll have more eating establishments and that will get them over to have lunch and then shop."

ShoppingTown Mall's marketing manager, Nannette Carbone, said Macerich -- the company that owns the mall -- was thrilled to hear the news.

"Macerich has a vested interest in Central New York, especially in DeWitt," Carbone said. "This is an unfortunate loss of business for downtown but a huge win for the town."

She added that the proposed redevelopment of the mall, adding several restaurants and shops, will make "the perfect mini escape for employees to lunch, run errands, shop or join our mall walkers who love the climate controlled center year round."

Mixed views though, were heard up the road in a plaza off East Genesee Street where both Mario and Salvo's Pizzeria and The Dark Horse Tavern sit.

While the pizzeria is sure pie sales will pick up, owner Bob McDonough of the Dark Horse thinks otherwise.

"We think that if they drink like the Agway guys used to, we're all set," he laughed. "We can retire in a few years. But we think that era has passed so will it affect us much? I'm guessing not."

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