Elevate your future.

With over 50 years of combined experience in the world of personal financial planning, Michael Bono, CPA, CFP®, Sarah Creath, EA, CFP®, and James A. Kaffenbarger, Jr., J.D., CFP®, bring together a simplified approach to investing, a collaborative style of service and an embrace of technology to offer comprehensive financial management that includes:
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Retirement Planning

“Will I have enough to retire?” This might be the most frequent question we are asked. We work with you to evaluate your current assets, how much you are saving each year, your spending patterns and when to claim social security. We use this information to project what retirement might look like. If those projections do not match up with your dreams and desires, we look at alternative scenarios until we get to the plan that works best for you. Then, once you retire, we recommend how to best draw down your assets to meet your needs in the most tax efficient way.

Tax Planning & Preparation

Our goal is to simplify the lives of our clients. One of the ways that we do this is by preparing Individual and Trust tax returns. When we first start working with you, we request the past few years of tax returns. This allows us to prepare a tax plan for you in the current year and prepare your tax return going forward. But, our tax work does not stop on April 15th: we are preparing tax plans and analyses for you throughout the year. This may include things like whether you can change domicile to take advantage of lower taxes in another state or what actions to take in response to changes in the tax law. When changes do occur in the tax law, we perform a detailed analysis of your individual tax situation well before year end, to make sure we are recommending the most effective way to reduce your tax liability.

Healthcare & Insurance Planning

Health insurance is another area that can be difficult to navigate. Whether you are changing jobs or becoming eligible for Medicare, we help you every step of the way. This could include evaluating COBRA coverage vs. purchasing a private policy, or which Supplemental Policy and Drug coverage to choose when you become eligible for Medicare. We will also review your Life, Disability, Long Term Care, Umbrella Liability, Property & Casualty and Auto policies and evaluate your current levels of coverage. If changes are warranted, we will research alternatives and help get new coverage in place.

Estate Planning

The first step in estate planning is figuring out what you want to have happen in the event of your death or disability. We will facilitate conversations with the appropriate parties and help you articulate your thoughts. We will then discuss the various legal avenues available to accomplish your objectives. Next, we’ll help locate an attorney with the expertise to review and draft the plan. Once the appropriate documents have been signed, we will help you implement the plan. This may involve relatively simple things like changing beneficiary designations, or it can involve more complex transactions such as setting up trusts and re-titling assets. Finally, once a client has passed away, we help the survivors maneuver through the Estate process.

Employer Benefits Analysis

We will examine the benefits available to you from your employer and discuss the most efficient ways of using and coordinating those benefits to achieve your objectives. This could involve recommending an asset allocation in your 401(k) that works with the allocation of the accounts that we are managing. Depending on how you are compensated, it could also include advising you on defined benefit pensions, cash performance units, restricted stock awards, stock option exercising strategies, and the decision on whether to fund unsecured, non-qualified pension plans.

Education Planning

Short of funding one’s own retirement, paying for all or part of a child’s education can be one of the most daunting financial undertakings in a client’s life. For parents, we can help set up savings targets and discuss the various savings vehicles available to achieve their objectives. For grandparents who want to help, we look at all the factors that will influence financial aid and tax credits to arrive at an optimal funding strategy for each client. And finally, when it is time to send your child off to school, we will help prepare the financial aid forms, such as the FAFSA and CSS Profile. Once the acceptance letters arrive, we will evaluate the different offers to see how they affect your overall financial picture.


We do not believe that paying an active manager to pick individual stocks in the hope of “beating the market” is the best method for long term investing. The literature and research are quite clear: over time, the vast majority of active managers fail to beat their benchmarks*. Based on all of this research, BCK Partners uses an index approach to invest the equity portion of your portfolio to meet your goals and objectives. The more conservative portion of your portfolio is generally invested in high quality bonds, CDs, money market and index exchange traded funds.

The overall mix between conservative investments and more aggressive investments should be based on what is appropriate for each individual client. We do not set an arbitrary minimum amount that must be conservatively invested. We work with each client to determine how much risk is appropriate based on each client’s unique situation and circumstances.

*From https://us.spindices.com/spiva/#/reports

Family-Wide Services

When you become a client of BCK Partners, we work not only with you but also with your family. This includes your parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren. Oftentimes, we need to know your adult child’s situation in order to provide the best advice to you when it comes time to think about helping to pay for education or leaving a legacy to your children or grandchildren. Sometimes working with your children and grandchildren involves simple things like assisting with an asset allocation or reviewing the employer benefits packages when changing jobs. Other times, we work on more complicated matters such as planning for elderly parents or grandparents, discussing the financial ramifications of marriage and pre-nuptial agreements with adult children and grandchildren and helping to navigate through divorce. We have been doing this a long time and have extensive experience in dealing with these types of issues.

Our Philosophy.

We started this firm in 2015 to deliver comprehensive, personal service at a fair and competitive cost to our clients. Every employee of BCK Partners, Inc. is empowered to make a difference in the lives of our clients. We proactively take the steps needed to make our clients’ experiences with us as easy, convenient and as stress-free as possible. We are more than a firm that manages your wealth: we are a partner with you and your family in navigating the many challenges that life presents.

Our Experience.

Although many professionals call themselves “financial planners,” the Principals of BCK Partners, Inc. are CFP® professionals: they have completed extensive training and experience requirements and are held to rigorous ethical standards.

We understand the complexities of the changing financial climate and will make recommendations in your best interests.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the CFP® certification mark, the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER certification mark, and the CFP® certification mark (with plaque design) logo in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Who We Are

Michael Bono, CPA, CFP<sup>®</sup>

Michael Bono, CPA, CFP®

Principal & Co-Founder

Mike's strong background in accounting and wealth management, along with his many years of active and reserve military service have given him the knowledge, discipline and work ethic it takes to guide clients through the challenges of successfully planning for the future.

Mike specializes in tax planning and preparation, retirement, and estate planning. He has practiced before the IRS for over 25 years successfully representing clients in a myriad of tax issues. At the state level, Mike has worked with many clients on the often dismissed yet challenging issue of effectively breaking state residency for those with multiple residences.

Prior to his position as a principal at BCK Partners, Mike spent more than twenty-five years in the financial industry. He began his career in public accounting in Rochester, N.Y. and eventually made his way to Corning, NY where he worked in the private wealth management industry, polishing his skills in tax planning for individual trusts and investment partnerships.

Mike received a BS Accounting degree from SUNY Geneseo in 1993. He attended the Naval War College in Newport, RI, completing his studies in Joint Professional Military Education. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER , a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the NY State Society of CPAs, and the Financial Planning Association.

Mike recently retired [June 2019] as a Commander in the US Navy Reserve. He is a life member of VFW Post 524 and a member of American Legion Post 746. He is the current Board President of the Corning Lions Club where he was named the 2019 recipient of the Melvin Davis Award for outstanding humanitarian service to the club. Mike is a former board member and now a volunteer at Tanglewood Nature Center in Elmira, NY.

Mike has three grown children, enjoys sailing, staying healthy and cooking a great dish while enjoying a nice glass of wine.

"There is no such thing as luck. Luck is nothing more than being prepared when an opportunity presents itself."


Sarah Creath, EA, CFP<sup>®</sup>

Sarah Creath, EA, CFP®

Principal & Co-Founder

Sarah brings a wealth of career diversity to her role as Principal and Co-Founder of BCK Partners, Inc. From working in politics for a NYS Senator early in her career, to Corporate and Marketing Communications for a Fortune 500 technology company, to working as an award-winning financial planner for a wealth advisory/investment firm, Sarah is able to help people solve complex problems and communicate complicated issues in a way that is understandable to her clients. She firmly believes that helping clients better understand their financial, tax, retirement, insurance and estate situations, allows them to make decisions about these things in a way that is most beneficial to them and their families.

For over 20 years Sarah has been helping clients make smart decisions with their money. She was exposed to financial planning as a child by her father, a broker, whose true passion was helping his clients achieve their personal goals. From an early age, Sarah believed that all jobs involved becoming friends with your 'customers' and truly being a part of their lives. She and her partners have integrated that theory into the foundation of BCK Partners along with the same trust, honesty and integrity she saw her dad practice with his clients.

Sarah has been recognized for her professional and personal accomplishments, including being awarded “Conservator of the Year” by the Spencer Crest Nature Center in 2008. She was named the Ben Williams Award winner at John G. Ullman & Associates, Inc. for three straight years. She is current vice president of the Corning Country Club and is a past president of the Corning Community YMCA [a branch of the YMCA of Greater Rochester]. She was named the recipient of the 2019 Volunteer of the Year award for service to the Corning Branch of the YMCA.

Sarah graduated from Siena College [Albany, NY] in 1992 with a BA in Political Science with Presidential Honors. She completed requirements to sit for the CFP® exam in 2002 from the College for Financial Planning, and she became a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Practitioner in 2003. She became an Enrolled Agent (EA) in 2017.

Originally from Rochester (the youngest of 8 siblings), Sarah has lived in Corning since 1992. She and her husband Tom have two sets of active twins and a very large Bernese Mountain Dog. During the winter they ski and watch the kids play hockey, and in the summer, they look for opportunities to golf and spend time on the Finger Lakes.


James A. Kaffenbarger, Jr., J.D., CFP<sup>®</sup>

James A. Kaffenbarger, Jr., J.D., CFP®

Principal & Co-Founder

Jamie adds unique talents and skills to the BCK Partners team with a career that started out in litigation for the insurance industry, and then evolved to financial planning for high net worth families. He specializes in the areas of retirement, estates, executive benefits and education planning. He also handles tax planning and preparation for clients.

Jamie has a B.A. in Economics and History from Miami University, Oxford, OH and J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, OH. He is a member of the Financial Planning Association, and he is a CFP® certificant.

Working with clients to help them solve problems that cross a multitude of areas is what Jamie enjoys the most. His belief is that you can't focus on one area and expect to do a good job of planning for a family. It's the inter-relatedness of the different areas of a client's financial life that keeps it interesting and fulfilling for him. An advocate for his clients, Jamie is accommodating, enthusiastic and discreet.

Jamie and his wife reside in Elmira as new empty nesters, with their son off to Madison, WI to work as a software developer for Epic Systems and their daughter at the University of Michigan. Fortunately, they still have their two Golden Retrievers, Lucky and Rosie, to keep them company.

Outside of the office, Jamie enjoys traveling with family and friends, soccer (on TV - too old to play anymore), tennis (on TV and still playing), skiing, golf, hiking (the kids still do not enjoy) and good food and wine.

Jamie is on the Board of Directors of The Food Bank of the Southern Tier. He previously served on the Board of Trustees of The Alternative School for Math & Science, the Board of Trustees of The Chemung Valley Montessori School and the Arnot Ogden Medical Foundation. He is a recipient of the Ben Williams Award at John G. Ullman & Associates, Inc.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice." - Mark Twain


Lisa Weidman, FPQP<sup>™</sup>

Lisa Weidman, FPQP®

Operations Manager

Lisa is originally from the Hershey, PA area but has lived in the Twin Tiers region of PA/NY since 1977. She graduated from Houghton University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and with a minor degree in Business Administration. She also has her Master of Science in Education from Elmira College.

Lisa has worked in administrative roles throughout her career, including at Houghton University, Putnam Publishing, American Express and Elmira College. She was new to the financial services industry when Jamie and Mike took her under their wing at another advisory firm in 2010. Mike, Jamie and Sarah were thrilled to have Lisa become BCK’s #1 employee in 2015.

Lisa, a Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional, works behind the scenes to keep the office running smoothly. She loves being creative and using her skills for marketing projects and special communications. Her current role continues to evolve as technological advances provide opportunities to streamline back office operations and procedures, ensuring Jamie, Mike and Sarah are free to put the needs of their clients first.

Lisa enjoys living in the country--not minding the drive to work on dirt roads—and stays busy mowing in the summer and carrying wood in the winter. She tries to avoid bears whenever possible and loves working in the “big city” of Corning. In her spare time, Lisa serves in various capacities at her local church and enjoys walking her dog Bentley (who probably would not protect her from a bear), singing (sometimes at the office!), trying to play the ukulele (never at the office!) and crafting.

"Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffet


Amy Thorsen, CFP<sup>®</sup>

Amy Thorsen, CFP®

Associate Advisor

Amy joined BCK as Employee #2 in 2017. She was promoted from Secret Weapon to Associate Advisor in 2020, and she obtained her CFP® certification in 2022.

Amy was born in Pennsylvania raised in Big Flats and adopted Corning as her hometown in her twenties. She made her way back here after life took her to Buffalo (to earn an English degree), Nashville (to see a lot of live music), and Ithaca (to meet her husband). She and her husband, Eric, have been proud Corning locals since 2010. Amy loves yoga, music, cooking, and travel - but most of all, writing.

Amy has truly enjoyed working with the BCK team over the years and considers it a deep privilege to be welcomed into our clients' financial lives.

“…if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” - Henry David Thoreau


Jennifer K. Anderson, Associate Advisor

Jennifer K. Anderson

Associate Advisor

Jen joined BCK Partners, Inc. as an Associate Advisor in September 2020. Jen's spunk and joy coupled with her 15+ years of experience in the Financial Services Industry is a welcome addition to BCK.

Jen was born and raised in Southern California and journeyed across the country on a Presidential Scholarship to Alfred University. Jen fell in love with the Northeast and graduated Cum Laude from Alfred University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in English.

After graduation, a longer than expected detour to North Texas landed Jen at A.G. Edwards as a Wire Operator / Client Associate. Years later she served multiple clients and Financial Advisors at Merrill Lynch as a Client Associate. Once she and her family grew weary of the Texas heat, they hit the road for the Northeast and landed in Corning, NY.

Jen joined a local firm in 2011 as a Portfolio Management Specialist, dedicated to serving clients and financial planners in portfolio allocation and maintenance, and was responsible for the development projects within the investment team. Jen successfully completed the CFP® Certification Professional Education Program and plans to sit for the exam in the near future.

Jen and her husband live in Corning and lead an abundantly full life with their three adorable “ginger” children. They stay active year-round, constantly zipping between ice rinks, snow slopes, mountains, baseball fields and zooming around on their boat. Jen currently serves on the EC Youth Hockey, Inc. board and is a dedicated hockey mom.

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” - Theodore Roosevelt


Christina Losey, Office Ambassador

Christina Losey

Office Ambassador

Christina was born and raised in Corning, NY. She moved to Indiana for a short time after high school, where she graduated with an Associates of Applied Science in Accounting. After moving back to Corning, she attended Elmira College where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

While in college she started in the banking industry and enjoyed it so much she made banking a 15-year career, eventually becoming an Assistant Manager and Manager at a couple of local banks. While working at one of those banks she assisted BCK Partners and left a very favorable impression on them! Christina is a customer service specialist and has financial experience that serves her well in her new role as Office Administrator. She looks forward to this opportunity with BCK to learn and grow within the financial services industry.

Christina's friendly smile, outgoing personality and customer service skills make her the “Office Ambassador”: always ready and willing to help clients and fellow employees with any task. She is excited to meet and get to know all our clients, and as the first person you speak with, either in person or on the phone, she will make you feel most welcome.

Christina is an active member of the Parkway Elderly Housing Board, the Addison Youth Center Board and the Boy Scouts Committee. Currently residing in Addison with her husband, two active boys, four dogs and a cat, she enjoys the small-town life not far from Corning. Her boys keep her busy with soccer games, cub scouts and ski trips. In her spare time, she enjoys crafting, spending time with her family and friends, camping all summer and traveling to new places she has never been before.

“Don't count the days, Make the days count!” - Muhammad Ali


Our Community

Our Community

BCK Partners, Inc. is a member of the Corning Area Chamber of Commerce. To learn more about Corning, visit https://www.corningny.com or www.gafferdistrict.com. We try to support area businesses by purchasing products when possible from local vendors (Dimitri’s Confectionary Treats is one of our favorites). We also participate in and sponsor various community charity events, as well as serve on the board of several organizations:

  • Mike is the Board President of the Corning Lions Club.

  • Sarah is the Vice President of Finance at the Corning Country Club.

  • Jamie is on the Board of Directors of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.

  • Jen serves on the EC Youth Hockey, Inc. Board.

  • Christina is an active member of the Parkway Elderly Housing Board, the Addison Youth Center Board and the Boys Scouts Committee.

Our Building

Our Building

27 East Market Street - Historic
27 East Market Street - AdvertisementAdvertisement for Williams Hardware, located at 27 East Market Street, 1946

Our building at 27 East Market Street, Corning, NY, was constructed in 1887 and designed by Corning architect Henry G. Tuthill, of H.G. Tuthill & Son. Colonel Tuthill was a hero in the Civil War. 27 East, part of the historic Williams block on Market Street, was a hardware store (Williams Hardware), which later became part of the Corning Building Company.

The architecture of the building is of the Italianate style which gained popularity from 1840 to 1870 with the rise of brownstone row houses in Brooklyn. Although the first floor storefront was changed a bit in 1977, the remainder of the building façade remains basically the same as it was in 1877.

More recently, until 2014, 27 East Market Street was the home of an insurance agency. Sarah’s husband Tom, of EDC Management, purchased the building, and he, along with local architect Elise Johnson-Schmidt, renovated the building within the guidelines for historic preservation. Although the inside has had a major overhaul, elements of the old building may be seen in such things as the interior brick walls, wooden floors and tin ceilings.

27 East Market Street - Street Photo

In 2018 BCK Partners, Inc. won the Corning Gaffer District’s Pan Award for excellence in building renovation (see News Archive).


Smith, Jeffrey (2015, February 19). Market Street Building up for Historic Designation. The Leader.
Retrieved from https://www.the-leader.com/article/20150219/news/150219553

Spellen, Suzanne (2016 April 4). Italianate Architecture: Classic Row Houses with Over-The-Top Leafy Ornament. Brownstoner.
Retrieved from https://www.brownstoner.com/architecture/italianate-style-architecture-brownstone-brooklyn/

News Archive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - BCK Partners, Inc. 'Presenting Sponsor' of Corning Country Club Centennial Program Celebration

Corning, NY, June 6, 2019 - BCK Partners, Inc. and the Corning Country Club jointly announced today that BCK Partners, Inc. has signed on to be the ‘Presenting Sponsor’ of the Corning Country Club 100th Anniversary Celebration and Legends Shoot Out/Pro-Am Events that will take place July 22nd - 27th at the Club.

“We are incredibly proud to be the Presenting/Title Sponsor of this historic celebration and to help see the Corning Country Club into the future” states Sarah Creath, Principal & Co-Founder of BCK Partners, Inc. We believe strongly in partnering with our clients, their families, and our community. BCK Partners, Inc. Principals and Co-Founders, James Kaffenbarger and Michael Bono and I jumped at the chance to support this event that links our local history with a successful future.

The Corning Country Club has served the local area by hosting large community driven events which have had a major economic impact on the region, including the LPGA Corning Classic for 31 straight years (the longest standing tournament, held on the same course, with the same title sponsor) and by partnering with The First Tee of Corning almost 20 years ago. The First Tee of Corning is a local non-profit that continues to give back to the Corning area in a variety of ways, including providing golf clinics and camps for youth golfers that also teach life skills. Over 130,000 youth have been impacted by this development program since its inception.

“Along with 50 plus other sponsors, including five major sponsors, we are very happy to welcome BCK Partners, Inc. as The Presenting Sponsor of this historic event,” said Kirk Gregg, President of the board of directors, of Corning Country Club. “The Club has served our community for a hundred years, and we appreciate their support in helping us to celebrate this milestone and recognize its place in history throughout our region.”

The Centennial Program Celebration will only be open to Club members, sponsors and their guests, and will not be open to the general public, due to the enormous amount of resources that otherwise would be required for managing security, safety, emergency services, traffic control, etc.

As part of The Corning Country Club’s week-long celebration, select Legends Tour members and Corning past champions will tee it up in the Corning Legends Invitational on July 26 and 27. The Legends Players will participate in a Legends Shoot-Out on July 26th and a Legends Pro-am on July 27th.

While the field for the 2019 Corning Legends Invitational is still in the formative stages, the early commitments include 1990 Corning Classic Champion and LPGA Hall of Famer Pat Bradley, Hall of Famers Sandra Haynie and Jan Stephenson and 27-time LPGA Tour Champion Jane Blalock. Ten of the Corning Classic’s past champions have thus far signed up to return to Corning for the event.

“The Corning Classic at The Corning Country Club was always one of my favorite stops on the LPGA Tour,” said Blalock, a prolific LPGA Tour competitor who spearheaded the founding of The Legends Tour nearly 20 years ago. “I was overwhelmed with the number of fans and their unrivaled passion for our players.”

Canadian Golf Hall of Famer Gail Graham, also scheduled to appear in the Corning Legends Invitational, agrees. “I can think of no other town than Corning that had as much affection for women’s professional golf during that historical stretch,” said Graham. “We are thrilled to be part of this homecoming.”

A portion of the event’s net proceeds will be donated to support The First Tee of Corning. “The First Tee of Corning is delighted to join in this celebration,” said Dawn Marie Castellana, Executive Director, The First Tee of Corning. “Our 19-year partnership with the club has introduced thousands of area youth to the game which we hope will keep The Corning Country Club a vibrant center of our community for another 100 years.”

The Corning Classic was last played in 2009 and won by Taiwan’s Yani Tseng. The first Classic title was captured by Penny Pulz of Australia in 1979. Along the 31-year stretch, the Corning Classic was dominated by great champions and current Legends Tour and LPGA Hall of Fame members Donna Caponi, JoAnne Carner, Patty Sheehan, Pat Bradley, Besty King (2-time winner) and Juli Inkster. Rosie Jones, a 13-time LPGA Tour champion with seven wins on The Legends Tour, won the Corning Classic two years in a row – in 1996 and 1997.

“At BCK Partners, Inc., our ‘relationship’ with the community is very much aligned with how we manage our client relationships. We are more than a firm that manages wealth - we partner with our clients and their families to navigate the many challenges that life presents. Our relationship-oriented services help our clients align their money behavior with their life satisfaction, so they can live the best life possible with the money they have,” stated Michael Bono, Principal and Co-Founder, BCK Partners, Inc.

About BCK Partners, Inc. With over 50 years of combined experience in the world of personal financial planning, Michael B. Bono, CPA, CFP®, Sarah Creath, EA, CFP®, and James A. Kaffenbarger, Jr., J.D., CFP®, bring together a simplified approach to investing, a collaborative style of service and an embrace of technology to offer comprehensive financial management that includes retirement planning, tax planning & preparation, healthcare, insurance planning, estate planning, employer benefits analysis, education planning, investing, family-wide services. Visit www.bckpartners.com.

About the Corning Country Club Situated in beautiful wine country, also known as the Finger Lakes Region, Corning Country Club’s remarkable golf course, superb amenities, superlative guest service and year-long schedule of golf and social activities provide members with a foursome of outstanding opportunities to enjoy and create lifelong memories. For more information, visit www.corningcountryclub.com.

About the Legends Tour The Legends Tour is the Official Senior Tour of the LPGA, providing competitive opportunities for female golfers, professional and eligible amateurs, age 45 and over. The tour was founded in 2000 by 25 veteran LPGA Tour professionals to showcase the talents of some of the greatest women’s golfers of all time. The Legends Tour now has more than 120 members, including 14 LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame members. Legends Tour members have over 750 combined LPGA Tour victories, including 84 major championships. In its 18 seasons, The Legends Tour has awarded more than $17 million in prize money and helped raise nearly $24 million for charity. The Legends Tour has hosted nearly 100 charity golf events and professional tournaments nationwide in multiple states and overseas in Japan and Australia. For additional information on The Legends Tour, log on to www.thelegendstour.com.

Corning’s Gaffer District Recognizes Excellence in Building Renovation and Sign Design

Corning’s Gaffer District and the Market Street Restoration Agency recently recognized local building and business owners for excellence in building renovation and sign design for projects completed in 2017.

The 2018 Pan Awards, an award that the Market Street Restoration Agency began presenting in the mid-1980s to celebrate excellence in sign and building design, are presented each year in May in honor of National Preservation Month.

2018 Pan Award Recipients include Tom and Sarah Creath for Excellence in Building Renovation for the BCK Partners occupant, 27 E. Market St., Corning; and Ashley Bates for Excellence in Sign Design for the Cotton Gin Boutique, 24 E. Market St., Corning.

The 27 E. Market St. storefront, designed by the noted Corning architect, H.G. Tuthill and Son, and was built in 1887. The building was gutted and renovated in 2016-17 by building owner Tom Creath. Creath participated in numerous funding sources including Stredec loan, Redec loan, Gaffer Main Street grants, historic tax credits, historic landmark designation for property tax relief, sales tax exemption for the renovation, coupled with personal capital to complete the project.

The Cotton Gin Boutique opened for business in July 2017, and co-owner Ashley Bates was an integral part of the shop’s unique sign design. Corning’s Gaffer District’s design team worked with local sign maker Ryan Hunt from Hughey Signs to source the barn wood to make the handcrafted piece that Bates was looking for. The wood was cleaned and whitewashed before Hunt handpainted the store’s logo on both the facade and projecting sign.


Corning, NY On Thursday, August 17, 2017, BCK Partners, Inc. officially celebrated the opening of their permanent location at 27 East Market Street with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Those in attendance included several members and leaders of the Corning Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as Corning Mayor Rich Negri. BCK Partners, Inc. provides comprehensive financial planning services, including retirement planning, estate planning, tax planning and preparation and education planning.

They are thrilled to be part of the Corning community and look forward to a bright and prosperous future in their new location.

Three partners launch new Corning financial firm

After careers that took them in different directions, three partners are coming together to help people better manage their financial resources.In the meantime, they are ready to help people with a wide array of financial planning services.

"We offer financial services for families on a comprehensive broad basis — not just investments, but tax preparation, estate planning, retirement planning,” Creath said. “We’re helping clients map out what the future looks like."

Twenty years ago, none of the partners could have imagined what their own futures would hold. Creath’s father and older brother were in the brokerage business, but the Rochester native studied political science in college and worked for Kuhl before taking a job doing corporate communications for Corning Inc.

Eventually she circled back around to follow in her father’s footsteps in the financial field.

Kaffenberger, an Ohio native, and his wife, who grew up in Elmira, moved to Baltimore, where his wife practiced medicine while he practiced law.

They were eventually drawn back to the Elmira area, and after conversations with a friend in the financial services industry, Kaffenberger considered a change of careers to accompany his change in address.

Bono grew up on Long Island, and after serving in the Navy for six years, he earned his accounting degree and eventually went to work for Market Street Trust Co. in Corning.

The three ended up working together at John Ullman and Associates on Market Street in Corning, and it was there they started thinking about what they could do on their own.

"Our last eight years we worked in close proximity. We came to know each other very well,” Bono said. “We thought about offering a comprehensive approach to financial planning. A lot of firms focus on investment planning. They don’t all provide tax services or small business planning."

BCK Partners hired its first employee and hopes to hire at least one more person in the near future.

They will continue to work out of their temporary space until the Market Street location is ready — probably four to six months.

So far, response has already been great, Kaffenberger said.

"It’s been exhilarating and exciting and the response we’ve received from friends and professional connections and former colleagues has been overwhelming and made it all worthwhile,” he said. “We’ve been working a lot, nights and weekends, to get where we are today. It’s been worth it. It’s good to have something that you own that you care passionately about."

Follow Jeff Murray on Twitter @SGJeffMurray.