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America’s 20 Can-Do Cities

Buffalo has scored 60.43 out of 100 points to land a #9 spot on a list of 20 Can-Do Cities. Taking into consideration sustainability, livability, transportation and infrastructure, and business development, Newsweek ranked the performance of the nation’s 200 largest cities and Buffalo placed near the top. Criteria included unemployment figures, Moody’s cost of doing business, air pollutants, green buildings, health care and small business growth rate (see criteria, scoring and intro to top city rankings here).

I’m liking the image that the photographer chose to represent Buffalo, because it tells the story of one direction that Buffalo has been taking that appears to be working quite well. The photo is of a Buffalo First! Buy Local sticker adhered to the window of Betty’s Restaurant – you can even see co-owner Carroll Simon in the background. When Betty’s first opened on the Lower West Side it took the neighborhood by storm. Since that time the business has been growing steadily, endearing residents to its food and business acumen – slow and steady wins the race. 
Small businesses in the city have been beating out the chains – an i-HOP was recently taken over by Tokyo 2 (started on Elmwood), and there’s a rumor that another chain might be closing nearby. All the while, numerous locally owned restaurants continue to spring up in North Buffalo. It’s exactly what the Buffalo First! sticker represents – when you spend your money at locally owned businesses, that money STAYS in the local economy and circulates. That is a message that numerous local organizations have been driving home for years now. One thriving local business may generate numerous benefits to the immediate neighborhood – case in point Betty’s Restaurant and the overnight turnaround that the neighborhood experienced partially due to the ongoing commercial investment of that business. The investment signals to neighbors who think along the lines of, “If a growing business believes in this block, then so do I… I think I’ll paint my porch next year.”
Keep up the good work Buffalo. This holiday season please make a concerted effort to buy locally. Yes, the Internet may be easier sometimes, and the chains might have lower prices in some instances, but in the end if we want to grow our local economy then we all need to go the extra mile to do so. 
Total points allotted was 100. Each category allotment was 25.
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