Like any city, Buffalo has had good times and bad times; times when homeowners flocked the streets and times when residents turned their backs on downtown. And yet, there are some residents who have stuck with Buffalo through all of the ups and downs.
Ben Caudle, who I would call Buffalo’s ultimate fan, has never given up on the city. Moving to Buffalo from Alabama in 1959, Ben has seen the city’s downfall, but he is excited about the current rise that is taking place.
Ben has been more than a supporter of Buffalo, New York. He has been a contributor to the progression over the years. Nicknamed, “The Tire King of Buffalo,” Ben has been working on a three month project, opening a new tire center called “Downtown Tire” on 50 Sycamore Street.
After lavishing attention on the old building on Sycamore–rebuilding offices, bathrooms and waiting rooms, repaving the parking lot, designing new signs, creating six service bays, repainting and adding new fixtures, tire racks, and machines–the center is just about ready for its hopeful grand opening in five days.
Ben said, “They are doing so much to downtown, I just wanted to be a part of it.” Ben is a very hard worker who is not afraid to get his hands dirty in Buffalo’s honor. Having worked for General Motor for 9 years, Ben opened a gas station and a repair shop, which he built himself. For a total of 25 years, he worked in the scrap processing/recycling business. His scrap yard has moved from 504 E. Delevan to 570 E. Delevan.
In 1973, Ben created his first tire center on 1811 North Filmore. Having helped so many people through his service, he continues to donate his time and effort to helping Buffalo. Ben Said, “I’m retired, but I still think my service is needed.”
Ben first moved to Buffalo to find work, with two brothers already living in the area. Hard work runs in the Caudle family. Ben’s brother, Connie, was a General Motor worker for 38 years. However, Connie now has his own moving company called “Connie’s Moving Service.”
Connie is helping move people back downtown. In fact, he moved one of the first families back on Oak and Genesse when the apartment was finished. I would call Ben and Connie the dynamic duo, working together to change Buffalo.
Ben’s new project, Downtown Tire, was initiated through a loan from the bank, so this development is not government funded. The location is convenient, easy to enter and exitf, and the service is friendly and experienced.
The main issue with the tire business is petroleum prices. Since the price of petroleum is increasing, tires are becoming more expensive. Years ago when people needed tires, money was not an issue. However, it is becoming harder to find safe, affordable tires.
What Ben offers is selection and experience, the two keys ingredients for a successful tire center. Ben’s tire center has over 25,000 different tires in over 300 different sizes. The prices are affordable and the quality is excellent, not to mention that the experience is beyond advanced.
When I asked Ben what his favorite part about Buffalo is, he said,” “Buffalo is a good place to live. It has always been good for me. I’ve seen it go down to the low, but it is on the rise.” I’d have to agree with the tire king of Buffalo. Buffalo is shining brighter than ever this summer.
Thanks to people like Ben and his brother Connie, Buffalo is being rebuilt. In regards to the tire center, Ben said, “We’re going out on a limb.” If I’ve learned anything, it is that you have to take big risks if you want to get big results. I’d say this is exactly what Ben Caudle has done.
Photos by Buffalo lawyer and occasional BRO photographer Glenn Murray.
Murray’s observation: “Ben’s no Ivy league graduate and he’s no big-shot bureaucrat. He’s a hardworking man. To me, it’s hardworking small business owners like Ben–who are making an investment and getting their hands dirty rebuilding Buffalo–that are a beacon of hope for Buffalo.”