A week ago I was walking down Ellicott Street in Downtown Buffalo when I came across a fantastic new sign that presently graces the exterior of McClelland Small Animal Hospital. At first I thought that I was seeing things – coming across this after posting my “Signs of the Times” rant a couple of weeks back. But there I stood, standing in front of a larger-than-life sign that looked like something that might have been erected in Buffalo during its heyday.
As good fortune would have it, today (out of the blue) I received an email from Matthew Souza, owner and director of McClelland Small Animal Hospital, who wanted to tell me about some of the work that he has embarked upon as of late. “We have recently undergone a renovation and expansion of our hospital by Buffalo based Johnson and Sons,” Matthew wrote to me. “The expansion includes moving onto the second floor of the hospital after a forty year abandonment of this space, creating an extensive boarding and grooming facility amongst other rooms. Our newly renovated lobby includes historical pictures of the hospital’s past. We have also added a 14′ marquee sign to the front of our building by Buffalo based Innovative Design, dramatically changing the streetscape of Ellicott Street especially at night.”
If this is the direction that we are collectively heading, I say full steam ahead. Not only is the city seeing all sorts of business and development activity with new coffee shops, restaurants and some retailers, some stalwart businesses such as McClelland are rallying behind the effort.
The hospital is the site of Buffalo and Western New York’s first and continuously running veterinary hospital circa 1880, and while the building has lost a lot of its original historic character, an effort is being made to instill some pride back into its bones.
Today the business (and the building) is making a statement that “the lights are still on and we’re open for business”. Even the top floor is active once more – something that Matthew pointed out by saying “The third floor has been developed into a loft apartment with beautiful views of The Electric Tower and Liberty building to the west, and St. Michael’s church, the banking district and Shea’s marquee sign to the north. Regarding our renovation/rehabilitation, we’re doing our part to add to the rebirth of Ellicott Street and our great city!”