We Make Buffalo

You may have heard of 43 North. The group responsible for the world’s largest international business idea competition. Their primary focus has been to attract startup businesses with innovative ideas and have them set up shop here and call Buffalo home. But the focus of 43 North isn’t just about giving money away. It’s about promoting what we’ve got, fostering continued growth, encouraging public support and celebrating everything that makes Buffalo such a desirable place to be.

A wide variety of home-grown, brick-and-mortar small businesses are driving just as much growth and hype as the flashy out-of-town tech startups. And Hertel Avenue is as great of an example as any area in the region to demonstrate the great array of local entrepreneurs we have right here.

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All on one drag, the variety of shops and uniqueness of their offerings is astonishing. And these snapshots are just a random sampling of many more. These places are putting their stamp on the city. And quite frankly, their success is vital to our success.

So next time you’re out and about, give a nod to those business owners. Give them your support – because they need you as much as you need them. And together, We Make Buffalo.

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WANTED: Street Art!

Calling all artists! The North Buffalo Organization has extended their deadline for the Mural Design Contest submissions. This is NBO’s first public art project and the winning submission will be painted on the huge (15′ x 75′) and highly visible wall on the side of the J&L Auto Repair building at 1127 Hertel.

For those that may be unfamiliar with public art, or may even question its significance, please allow me to offer some insight.

The idea of public art is predicated on a few very basic premises: to celebrate art and artists; to beautify neighborhoods and enhance their cultural identities; and to simply connect people and communities.

Public art takes on all shapes and sizes and can come to fruition in a few different ways. You’ve likely seen Shark Girl or the “you are beautiful” signs. Those are just a few of the many exhibits that came from Albright Knox Art Gallery and their Public Art Initiative. Then there’s amazing public/private collaborations like that of Savarino Companies and the Art Services Initiative of Western New York, which brought “Go!” to the side of a Cobblestone District building.

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Hertel has even seen some public art courtesy of Community Canvases, a Public Art and Community Development Initiative that has put their mark on many utility boxes along the avenue.

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Art lover or not, it’s hard to deny that these exhibits not only add beauty to our community, but character, intrigue and just flat out fun.

The goal for this particular project is no different from any of these and the opportunity is huge for both aspiring and established artists alike. So make the last few brush or key strokes (graphic designers are artists too!) on your work, and submit that masterpiece!

You have until Sunday, September 20, 2015 at Noon.

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Above photo credits to Buffalo Rising, Community Canvases, and the North Buffalo Organization.

The Hertel Brand

Maybe it’s a happy coincidence. Or maybe the folks at the Hertel Business Association were inspired by my two-part blog series posted a few months ago focusing on the area’s brand, or lack thereof, and how people refer to the Hertel neighborhood.

If you look at some of the points I tried to make, it came down to just two things. The first was that people call the Hertel area all sorts of things from the common “North Buffalo” and “HerteI” to the lesser knowns like “North Park” and “Northside”. And that point led into the second, that the core business district was lacking a true identity; a marketable name that can translate beyond the city limits and help spur additional traffic and economic activity.

So it looks like HBA, the group in the best position to take the lead on a branding effort, is now working to address that. Refer to their latest press release, which reveals an agreed upon name, a new logo, and also gives some detail on the background and thought process that went into the decisions.

Sure, maybe I would’ve liked to seen this come about in grander fashion with a big reveal and launch campaign, but that’s likely not realistic. (I’m used to the big budgets that come along with marketing for a bank.) And if I had more time, I would’ve volunteered to help lead the effort, but I’ll settle with thinking I was a part of it via this blog.

Hertel, I’m happy things are starting to happen.

Rock star musician meets rock star neighborhood

Thursday: Mick Jagger asks for “the best Italian in the city”. Mick Jagger goes to Ristorante Lombardo.

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Friday:  Mick Jagger asks to go sightseeing. Mick Jagger goes to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House.

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Rock star musician eating rock star Italian, admiring a rock star architect while taking in a rock star neighborhood.

Rock on Hertel!

Poll Results: Our ‘Hood

A few weeks ago I asked what you thought of the name and brand, or lack thereof, for our beloved North Buffalo neighborhood.

Nearly 200 votes were cast and the results are below.

Poll Results

Not surprisingly, “North Buffalo” was the leader at just under 50% of the votes followed by the common “Hertel” and then a scattering of other connotations. A couple interesting write-ins were “NoBu (or NoBo)”, “Northside” and “Hertel East”.

“The suburbs” – submitted by someone with an Elmwood Village superiority complex and residing less than three miles south of Hertel Avenue – was promptly removed from consideration.

In most polls I’d say 49% is a definitive answer. But it leaves me still thinking we have a problem. That’s one out of every two people calling our neighborhood something different. A lot of chatter around the poll seemed to show some consensus on needing something more specific, memorable, or unifying. To me, absent of that, it makes it tough to build any type of momentum.

Unfortunately this won’t be solved any time soon, but I thought it was fun to think about. Thank you to all of you for voting and joining in the conversation. Possibly those with the time, resources, reach and government connections needed to spearhead a city branding initiative (hint hint HNBBA) will read this and start giving it some thought. I know there are a lot of people that would welcome the opportunity to contribute and we’d all benefit from the outcome.

Until then, call 14216 what you want…just keep supporting it!