Last Thursday, I wrote about a cool national restaurant operation that I felt would be a good fit for Buffalo (Canalside). It turns out that the company’s marketing department picked up on the post and reached out to their real estate team who is in charge of scouting locations for the restaurant operation to open. Luckily, the real estate team was in Cleveland for the grand opening of their newest location at The Flats (this past Saturday). After receiving the email from the marketing team, the real estate duo reached out to BRO from Cleveland and the message was forwarded to me.
A quick decision was made, that instead of flying back to San Francisco and Denver the next day (respectively), the two would change their plans and book a flight for Buffalo so that they could catch The Bills game and tour the city. It happened just like that.
From there, I offered to give the two a tour after the game and they accepted. After drinking a beer at Ballyhoo and catching up briefly, I led them around town, with stops that included RiverWorks, Canalside, Larkinville, The Genesee Gateway, the Medical Campus, Allentown, and point of interest in-between. Although the city was suffering from Post Pat Depression, the real estate team managed to see the light, and got busy jotting down names of buildings, real estate companies, street names and other items of interest.
After the tour, I left the two to their own devices, roaming Buffalo in the directions that I suggested.
Whether or not they decide to open here, we won’t know for a while I’m sure. But what I do know is that cities like Buffalo can be big money makers for an outfit such as this. Their restaurant in Detroit is their most successful to date, primarily because Rust Belt cities crave what they have to offer. The same is true about Buffalo. I believe that this city would go crazy for this sort of place, that features hip bowling alleys, craft cocktails, artisanal food, and the rest.
More importantly than whether Punch Bowl Social opens in Buffalo or not, is the fact that these guys flew into town after their curiosity was piqued. It got me to thinking about all of the other businesses that we should be approaching. Similar to Kevin Townsell’s desire to bring a Hofbräuhaus to Buffalo, we should have a team in place that is designated to reach out to the types of businesses that we want to attract – not just the ones that are currently eyeing Buffalo. Now we know that Punch Bowl Social is at least interested, and they are familiar with the Buffalo landscape, which is a minor success. We could go further and help them to locate a desirable 22,000 square foot space to build or renovate (or a combination of both).
We could also start to put together a wish list of additional businesses to reach out to, that might not be aware of Buffalo’s renaissance. It could be as simple as reaching out, telling our story, flying them in, touring around the city, and hopefully making a great impression.
If the Punch Bowl Social team ended up at The Old Pink at 4am on Sunday, the end result could go in either direction. They will either run for the hills, or they will be booking a flight to come back ASAP.
Ah, the game of chance! Buffalo should be playing every opportunity that it is afforded.