For years Craig Rittling was holding on to an idea he had for a business but he never had the opportunity to pursue it. That is until he moved back to Buffalo with his family to start his own company.
Like many of Buffalo's college grads, in 1999 after graduating from Canisius College, Craig with his college degree moved to Atlanta, GA to begin his career. While living there he found his future wife Jennifer, originally from Richmond, VA. Craig did consulting work for an engineering firm and had a side business, Urban Park Properties building residential homes throughout the City. Craig and Jen eventually had two kids and their priorities quickly changed. They wanted to raise their kids in a tightknit community, where there were safe neighborhoods, where they could send their boys to a good school, and get them involved in little league sports without having to worry about rush-hour traffic and getting them to practice or games on time. A city that offered a great quality of life. For Craig it was a no-brainer, move the family back to his hometown where he cherished his childhood, Buffalo.
After spending many summer vacations and holidays in Buffalo, Craig's southern wife was easily convinced this would be a great opportunity for the family. There was one hurdle, would Craig and Jen be able to find jobs in Buffalo equivalent to what they had in Atlanta. Jen was able to find a job immediately, but Craig was struggling to find work since his industry was effected by the poor economy. Nothing was going to get in Craig's way of raising his family in his hometown, so instead of focusing on finding a job in Buffalo, Craig decided this was the perfect opportunity to start his business in Buffalo. So Craig with his wife and two boys moved back to Buffalo and started his company Henlie, Inc.
Henlie develops original, first of its kind social networking and advertising applications. The initial application just launched last month is a social networking application called "PettyCourt." PettyCourt is a first of its kind web-based judiciary system that gives its players a fair and impartial forum upon which to file a petty claim. Trivial cases are heard and decided upon by a fair and impartial judge who is a random member of PettyCourt. Members can compete earning their way up the judicial ranking from magistrate to the top spot of Supreme Court Justice. PettyCourt is a dispute resolution tool for friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and any potential antagonist in-between.
Some of the more entertaining lawsuits filed in PettyCourt include a friend who sued his intoxicated friend for vomiting inside his car after a night of drinking down on Chippewa or the fiancé who sued his fiancée because he wanted Paula's donuts to make a giant decorated donut as their wedding cake instead of a traditional cake.
The Company plans to develop three other first of its kind applications that will be released over the next 12-24 months. Craig anticipates having to hire a staff of 10 over the next year including programmers, system engineers, graphic designers, and marketers. Craig is hoping that with the start of his business and successful launch of his initial application PettyCourt, he will be able to put a plug in the "brain drain" Buffalo has been suffering over the past couple of decades.
Craig summed it up well, "With decent paying jobs available, there is no reason for a college grad to make the same mistake I did in leaving Buffalo. There is no better community to raise a family. With the steady stream of technology companies and other start-up companies popping-up in the WNY area there are more opportunities for our graduates to stay home."
We just need to show our support. You can support the success of Henlie by checking out their first initial application www.PettyCourt.com