Workforce Data: How Important is this for Business Attraction?

LMA cover

A region’s ability to demonstrate the availability of talented workers has become increasingly essential to all economic development activities. The availability of current and local labor data is critical when answering labor-related questions when courting prospective companies considering relocation to a community. In fact, Area Development 2015-2016 Corporate Survey illustrates the importance corporations place on labor when making location decisions. The availability of skilled labor, is considered “very important” or “important” by 100 percent of the respondents this year.

This past April Invest Buffalo Niagara engaged University of Buffalo Regional Institute (UBRI) to conduct an in depth study of the regional labor market. The study will update the 2010 assessment and build upon it, incorporating new analyses and research-driven supports for:

  • talent attraction
  • underemployment,workforce development and training,
  • employer costs,
  • employer union success stories, and
  • the expansion of workplace best practices

The geographic scope of the work will be the eight counties of Western New York, with an in-depth look at county-by-county comparisons for selected analyses, including differences in labor force size and composition, workforce skill and educational attainment levels, organized labor, wages and other payroll costs.

This work will engage experts and stakeholders representing employers, workforce development groups, organization labor and human resources, to provide insights on scope and research approach. Like the 2010 study, the report will be designed to produce a body of relevant, readable and strategic material to support understanding, decision-making and program implementation by labor market and regional economic audiences.  Invest Buffalo Niagara expects to release the results of the study in January of 2017.

Both Geico’s recent commitment to adding 600 jobs to the region as well as Sumitomo Rubber Industries recent expansion are good indicators that businesses view Buffalo Niagara as having a strong workforce but having the data to support these decisions is critical. Information resulting from the study can also help Buffalo Niagara plan for the future.

by Graham Smith, Research Director

Buffalo Niagara Industrial Real Estate: 200-ton crane, 51’ ceilings and more!

Architectural Rendering of 631 Northland

Buffalo’s East Side will soon be the home of a new industrial complex and next-generation Workforce Development Center, as the next phase of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative takes shape. Serving as the center point of the Northland Corridor Redevelopment Project, the Workforce Development center will be focused on helping local residents develop skills in manufacturing, electrical and solar energy.

While the Workforce Development Center is being designed and created, some of the industrial properties in the Northland Corridor are ready for use today. Industrial space ranging from 33,000 sq. ft. to 92,000 sq. ft. of contiguous space is now available, with tenant participation required for improvements. Procuring brokers will receive a full 5% Leasing commission. And this space has some pretty attractive and hard-to-find features, including:

  • Building 81 – 33,000 sq. ft., 200-ton crane (yes, we said 200 tons!), 51’ clear under the hook (available 2016)
  • 631 Northland – 42,000 sq. ft., 50’ ceiling heights, multiple 40 ton cranes, 39’ under the hook – perfect for a single, light-industrial or warehouse tenant
  • 612 Northland – 15,000 sq. ft.  (available 2017)
  • 741 Northland – 92,000 sq. ft.  multi-tenant light industrial, entrepreneurs, community uses (available 2017)

Architectural Rendering of 741 Northland

We recently had the opportunity to connect with Avanti Manufacturing, an Invest Buffalo Niagara ‘win’ that purchased a building adjacent to the Northland Corridor in 2011.  The company specializes in customized injection molding projects with the capability to go from concept to prototype to end product with significant speed. They’ve already outgrown a 18,000 sq. ft.  facility on Dutton Avenue and will be moving to a larger facility nearby to maintain their established employee base. Owner Jim Wie noted the exceptional real estate, affordable taxes and labor as some reasons for his success.

If you are interested in learning more about these sites, please contact Tom Mancuso, /

To conduct a site search of available properties or view business incentives in the Buffalo Niagara region, please visit our website at

10 Insights on Raising Money in Buffalo, NY

This week Buffalo will host the 7th Annual Bright Buffalo Niagara Entrepreneur Expo, an event designed to connect startup companies in Buffalo, New York with potential investors. In addition to a keynote address from Bill Rancic, the original Apprentice, 32 competitively selected companies will deliver 5 minute and 90 second investor pitches.

Bright Buffalo Niagara is similar to the startup ecosystem you will find in Buffalo – supportive and collaborative. Patrick Finan, co-founder and CEO of Loupe, an app with exclusive perks, discounts and insider information at top locally owned restaurants in cities throughout the United States and Canada, provided an example of this recently. He shared insight on Buffalo’s startup landscape and funding opportunities on his blog.

Entrenched in Buffalo’s startup scene, Patrick states, “The competitions, plans, ideas and organizations are working; Buffalo’s startup community is growing. With all of this energy and enthusiasm in the air, I thought it was time to share what I’ve learned raising money in the City of No Illusions.”

Read, 10 Things Patrick Finan Learned Raising Money in Buffalo, New York.

Enjoy Patrick’s post and I hope to see you at Bright Buffalo Niagara.

Southern Exposure for Buffalo’s Startup Scene

Nearly 40 people from more than 25 Buffalo. NY organizations attending Collision to promote our community and opportunities in our growing entrepreneurial ecosystem - including the opportunity to apply to the 43North Business Plan Competition by May 31, 2016.

Nearly 40 people from more than 25 Buffalo Niagara organizations attended Collision to promote opportunities in our growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and encourage startups to apply to the 43North Business Plan Competition by May 31, 2016.

Featured blogger: Tom Murdock, general manager of WIN: the WNY Incubator Network

We all remember the excitement of the Rise of the Rest tour coming to Buffalo.  As it turns out, that excitement turned some heads, and it has potential Buffalo advocates lining up to partner with our region’s top startups.

It led directly to an invitation to send our best and brightest to compete with startups from other cities across the US as a part of the LaunchPad Pitch competition at the 2016 Collision Conference in New Orleans.

Buffalo was one of eight such cities to get an invitation, joining San Antonio, Birmingham, New Orleans, Charleston, Raleigh, and Pittsburgh.  Never content to be one of eight, 43North’s John Gavigan started executing on a vision for Buffalo to dominate the conference.

The other cities sent a couple people; Buffalo sent nearly 40!

Here are three thoughts from my three days in New Orleans:

  • Our secret is getting out – I got to connect with almost 150 startups from the world over. We all remember the days when wearing a Buffalo t-shirt meant questions about snow or chicken wings.  At this conference, I got head nods, expressions of interest, and excited questions.  Attendees asked if they too could come to Buffalo and live like kings, if I worked in tandem with the wind and sun, and what I thought their odds were in the 2016 43North competition.
  • All hands on deck – Some of us are fortunate enough to work day jobs in economic development. At Collision, we were joined by executives from companies like Alliance Advisory Group, EY, Independent Health, Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP, M&T Bank and many more, who took time away from their day jobs to support the cause.  They worked the floor, outside events, provided volunteer support for Collision, and staffed the Buffalo booth.  These folks made the trip at their own expense because they believe so heavily in what they’re seeing in Buffalo.


  • Enthusiasm is contagious! – no one attended Collision without noticing the excitement in Buffalo. We fielded questions from folks looking to set up their US operations here, to get more exposure to our startups, and to expand their support programs to Buffalo.  Best of all, they were impressed by our resident rock stars from ACV Auctions, Loupe, and Painless 1099, and saw that our enthusiasm is rooted in solid, globally competitive companies.
Painless 1099

Painless 1099

ACV Auctions

ACV Auctions



PS:  the excitement of Rise of the Rest also led to an invitation for Buffalo to become a Village Capital Community.  This is big news, and potentially transformative for a handful of companies in our life sciences sector.  You’ll be hearing more about this soon as the University at Buffalo, LaunchNY, and Invest BN role this program out!



Growing Business through US Expansion

Expanding business in the US: Nutrablend, Amdor, Welded Tube, Outfront Portable, Fichman Furniture

Nutrablend Foods, Amdor, Welded Tube, Outfront Portable Solutions, Fichman Furniture

Since 1999, Invest Buffalo Niagara (formerly Buffalo Niagara Enterprise) has worked to attract more than $4.4 billion in new business investment to the region. With 81 Canadian-based expansion projects during that time, significant investment has come from north of the border. There are many reasons for a Canadian company to expand into the US such as “Made in US” requirements, reaching a market 10 times the size of Canadian market, growing US sales, bridge delays, and raw materials coming from the US.

It just makes sense for Canadian business to consider the Buffalo Niagara region for their US operations. It’s proven that they can thrive here.  We have the right resources to help them succeed and being in close proximity to their headquarters is a significant benefit. Here are a few updates on companies that we helped navigate the economic development landscape in Buffalo Niagara to build their business:

Nutrablend Foods –  today with more than 150 employees working three shifts, and growing

Headquartered in Cambridge, ON, Nutrablend Foods is a leading manufacturer in the sports nutrition and nutraceutical industries.  They opened their first US manufacturing facility in Lancaster, NY in October 2009.  The company pledged to create 40 new jobs in the first five years and invest $1M in the building and equipment.  In 2014, the company was running two shifts daily and employed 134 people.  Today they have 150+ employees operating on three shifts and are looking to expand their presence in Buffalo Niagara.

Welded Tube – today with 70 employees operating two shifts

Welded Tube of Canada is headquartered in Concord, ON and in October 2012 they announced their newest US location to be built and located in Lackawanna NY.  Welded Tube USA is a leading manufacturer of cold formed tubing products.  In 2012 the company pledged to create 121 new jobs and invest $48,250,000 into this new facility.  Today, the company remains strong as the oil and gas industry and prices fluctuate.  Currently they have 70 employees and are operating two shifts.

Fichman Furniture – adding new equipment and expanding sales

Fichman Furniture manufactures custom made wooden radiator covers.  The business started in Scarborough, ON and in June 2012 they purchased their first US industrial building on Main St, in Holland NY.  With the new building the company pledged to create 15 new jobs over 5 years and invest $3M into the new facility.  Today the company has 6 employees, has invested another $225k in new equipment and installation and now has sales over $1.25M.

Amdor – expanding their facility, in order to expand their business

Amdor, a division of Whiting Group, specializes in the design and manufacturing of roll-up shutter style doors for emergency and other specialty vehicles.  In July 2014 the company purchased a 21k sq. ft. building on 8 acres in Lancaster, NY.  They have invested more than $5 million in this location to complete a 10k sq. ft. expansion and install specialized equipment.  Today the company has 9 employees working onsite but expect to grow to 28 employees over the next 5 years.

Outfront Portable Solutions – adding new employees and new niche markets

Headquartered in Beamsville, ON, Outfront Portable Solutions, investigated US business expanding during 2010.  They provide retail display solutions to garden centers, grocery chains and mass merchandise stores across North America.  In 2012, the company purchased an existing Buffalo-based business which included a 50k sq. ft. metal fabrication facility and 8 employees.  Today, Outfront Custom Built is their US company and has grown to 37 employees in Buffalo.  The new operations manufacture custom build food trucks, salad bars and food buffets, and are a tier 3 auto supplier.

Avanti Advance Manufacturing – seeking 2nd facility to accommodate growth

Victory Manufacturing is an injection molding company based in Waterloo, Ontario.  The company’s first US operation, Avanti Advanced, opened at 201 Dutton Ave in Buffalo in December 2011.  The company specializes in customized injection molding projects with the capability to go from concept to prototype to end product with significant speed.  In 2011, the company pledged to create 15 new jobs over 5 years and invest $400k in their new facility.  By 2014, the company employed 6 people and was looking to add 3 more.  Today the company has purchased and installed additional equipment based on new contracts and customers and is investigating a larger manufacturing building to accommodate their expanding business.

For more information on this topic and business expansion, contact Invest Buffalo Niagara.  Carolyn Powell – 716-842-1357 x104 – and

The Right Ingredients for Food Processing & Packaging

Located in Wyoming County, NY, TJ Marquart & Sons processes more than 45 million pounds of potatoes per year, shipping to companies like Wise, Herr’s and Utz. Every year they are improving product and processes to grow some of the best potatoes that make the freshest chips around. What makes their potatoes so great? I had the opportunity to tour their facility and here is what I learned:

The right location:

  • New York State potatoes are wonderful for chips; due to our latitude and longitude the potatoes have a higher gravity so you will actually notice a crunchier potato.
  • Their close proximity to both processers and end consumers results in a fresher chip.
  • According to Marquart, their freight cost is significantly lower year round; although Wyoming County is a rural community, major northeast markets are easily accessible within one day’s drive.

The right people:

  • Food processers and packagers need the right people to be able to fix and operate equipment and Marquart finds it easy to locate that talent in Wyoming County.
  • Excellent, dedicated, hardworking people that are willing to learn are available — and that’s important in their business because it’s always changing. Their workforce allows them to operate faster and make changes faster; that helps them to take advantage of niche opportunities.

Marquart’s location in Western New York is central to their success. It’s also the reason other food processes, packagers and service providers like Trophy Foods (Redland Foods), Pride Pak, Nutrablend, and Magic White are choosing Buffalo Niagara for their businesses.

Contact Invest Buffalo Niagara if you are seeking to grow your business or learn about agribusiness advantages in our region. We’ll help you find the right location in the eight counties of Western New York.

And for the record, my favorite chip is Sour Cream & Onion. What’s yours?

by Jenna Kavanaugh, director marketing & communications, Invest Buffalo Niagara

Koike Aronson Defines Success in Wyoming County, New York

This short video illustrates why companies like Koike Aronson are building big and finding success in Wyoming County.

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Director of Marketing & Communications

Buffalo Niagara: Looking Back at 2015

Buffalo Niagara is a region on the rise. We are enjoying incredible new venues and amenities at locations like Canalside and Larkinville and Business First recently reported that Buffalo Niagara is the hottest construction market in the northeast according to latest employment figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Buffalo, is up 28.6% from 21,000 construction jobs in October 2010 to 27,000 jobs in October 2015.

For those stuck on the adage, you must see it to believe it, we certainly invite you to visit and see all we have to offer. But this year we’ve had the good fortune to have our region’s momentum and efforts recognized in leading publications. Here is a look back at just some of the national press received in 2015:

Millennials Are Moving To Buffalo & Living Like Kings   |  gothamist, January 28, 2015

“If moving to New York City is like dating the most popular kid in your high school only to discover ‘all the blemishes that aren’t visible when gazed upon from a distance,’ then Buffalonians will tell you that moving to their city is like dating the girl next door who’s undergoing a She’s All That-style transformation.”

“Starting a business, like paying rent or buying a drink is also less daunting in Buffalo.


Elon Musk’s Boldest Bet Yet: Buffalo NY, Solar Hub  |  YAHOO! Finance, June 29, 2015

“Henry Ford had River Rouge; Musk and SolarCity have a Buffalo solar panel manufacturing plant named Riverbend.”

“SolarCity’s plant is part of a construction push in the Nickel City unlike any in memory . . .”


Entrepreneurial Spirit Is Driving Buffalo Forward  |  The Huffington Post, June 11, 2015

“Buffalo is channeling its legacy of hard work – dating back to its heyday as a turn-of-the-twentieth-century giant – into a new push for entrepreneurial progress.”

“This concept of exacting change through entrepreneurism is what’s driving Buffalo forward. It’s a bold venture for a city to bet on bright ideas and put them into action. But it’s a critical step, with potentially high reward, in restoring the brightness to America’s City of Light.”

“A number of factors including [Buffalo’s] access to an international border, a strong labor force, and low operations cost are gaining attention.”


The Wind and Sun Are Bringing the Shine Back to Buffalo  |  The New York Times, July 20, 2015

“…the Queen City of the Lakes is suddenly experiencing something new: an economic turnaround, helped by the unlikely sector of renewable energy.”

“The effort has capitalized on the city’s unusual strengths in renewable energy — think Niagara Falls — and the infrastructure that was built to harness it.”

“One result of the investments is newly vibrant neighborhoods, many with reused buildings hosting apartments, shops and restaurants that have attracted young workers from other cities.”


Buffalo’s Tech Scene Reboots the City  |  USA TODAY, August 23, 2015

“…this western New York city of 261,000 is slowly transforming into an attractive destination for tech entrepreneurs.”

“…reasonable real estate prices, a thriving university system and medical research facility pumping out talented graduates, and its proximity to New York and Toronto to draw young entrepreneurs.”

“…the city of “Good Neighbors” is shedding its decades-old image, and in the process is drawing comparisons to Austin on steroids, brimming with funky culture and Art Deco architecture that can leave visitors slack jawed.”


Why Buffalo is Rising (Again), and Why It’s Only the Start |  Huffington Post, September 19, 2015

“The local economy’s current turnaround is happening because people of all ages, backgrounds, experiences, and areas of influence — sole proprietors and CEOs, state and local officials, artists and academics, economists and environmentalists — have come together to make it work.”

“…the greatest melding of vision, strategy, creativity, and cooperation that this city’s ever known…”

2015 was a good year for Buffalo Niagara but we are even more excited for what is to come. As Steve Case discussed when he visited during the Rise of the Rest Tour, now is the time to double down – and we are taking that challenge to heart.

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Director, Marketing

Development Opportunities in Buffalo Niagara


Buffalo is a City on the Rise. The growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and significant development projects such as SolarCity and IBM are driving demand for new amenities and residential living.

Buffalo will add over 12,000 new employees by 2018, the vast majority of whom will locate downtown. The Central Business District’s 97% occupancy rate is driving Mayor Byron Brown’s goal of completing 2,000 residential housing units in the downtown area during this time frame. Close proximity to major employers, access to public transit, a vibrant restaurant scene and many entertainment offerings make downtown an attractive housing option.

To view development opportunities – including over 20 unique parcels ready for redevelopment – please see the 2016 Downtown Development Guide.

Sponsored by National Grid, the guide is the result of a collaborative partnership between Mayor Byron Brown, Chairman of the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, CBRE Buffalo, and Buffalo Place.

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Director Marketing & Communications