My recent visit to the Tri-Main Center at 2495 Main Street was not my first. Over the years I have been there for a variety of reasons, and each time I am impressed with the number of businesses that operate within, and the amount of creativity that exudes throughout the 600,000 square foot complex. Walking through the six floors is a delight to the senses, from the smells of Landies Candies (and the tastes of their ample samples) to the sights of paintings and various mediums by an array of eclectic artists, not to mention the sounds of machines whirling through the doors of vibrant businesses. There is an energy felt when you walk the halls, you can just feel the extraordinary collection of creative minds and spirits coursing through the structure.
The Tri-Main Center is a very special place, as it has been strengthening our local economy for over 100 years.
This year marks Tri-Main’s 25th anniversary, and the creative hot-spot could not be in a better situation, at near full-capacity with over 100 companies. Furthermore, under way is the renovation of 45 Jewett Parkway as an extension that will include additional parking. According to Jessica Edwards, Director of Marketing and Community Development for the organization, “The Tri-Main Center is a very special place, as it has been strengthening our local economy for over 100 years.” She adds that in its 100 years of existence it has never been vacant, maintaining itself as an economic hub for Buffalo and an anchor institution for Western New York.
There are four distinct eras associated with the building’s history:
- Ford Era (1917-1931) – The building was Plant #2 for Henry Ford, and one of the first places to have manufactured the Model-T Ford. The Model-T was the first affordable automobile and regarded as the car that opened travel to the common middle-class American.
- Bell Aircraft and Hercules Engine Era (1932-1947) – During this time Bell Aircraft built the first jets without propellers for use in WWII as part of a military Black Project in the building.
With regard to Hercules Engine, a little internet research found that, “During World War II, Hercules recognized its responsibility to supply the U.S. and Allied armed forces with infinitely more engines than could then be produced. The company greatly increased its capacity to 18,000 engines per month by building additions to the existing plant, at its own expense, and providing the tools and equipment to accompany the expansion.” The Tri-Main was probably one of the expansions where they were able to increase their production to accommodate the demand of the time.
There were other businesses in the building at that time as well, but unfortunately little is known of them presently.
- Trico Era (1947-1988) – It is here where Trico Plant #2 resided. Trico is well-known as the first manufacturer of windshield wiper blades. At one time Trico was the largest employer in the city of Buffalo.
- Tri-Main Era (1989-present) – In 1989, Tri-Main Development purchased the building where they opened Market on Main, and have since transformed the building into a multi-tenant business center. Their first tenant was Buffalo Arts Studio (BAS) who remains in the building and is currently made up of approximately 30 artists.
To celebrate their 25 years, Tri-Main will hold a number of events throughout the year to highlight their diverse tenants, their history, and their innovation. In appreciation of the milestone of this dynamic bed of innovation, BRO will regularly feature stories throughout the year showcasing the talents of the tenants and related events. There are so many amazing things happening there, it would be a challenge to do them all justice, so reader, I urge you to do yourself a favor and check out what is going on.
There are very few places where can you stand at the cross roads of past, present and future progress.
Saturday, March 12th Tri-Main will be hosting “Buffalo’s Largest Indoor Street Fair” – see Facebook. The family-friendly festival will take place from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and admission is free. Available for purchase will be food and game tickets with proceeds benefiting Aspire of Western New York, one of Tri-Main’s longest standing tenants. The fundraiser will include entertainment from University at Buffalo’s a cappella groups Buffalo Chips and Royal Pitches, Tri-Main tenant Buffalo City Ballet, and Aspire dance party. Games will include a chalk walk-way to decorate, locally produced video games created by Tri-Main tenant Buffalo Game Space to play, a hockey slap shot competition and more. There is ample parking available behind the building, so do not let that potential obstacle prevent you from venturing out.
There are very few places where can you stand at the cross roads of past, present and future progress. Tri-Main is one of them, it leaves Buffalonians “Talkin’ Proud!” Keep an eye out for BRO’s first installment of Tri-Main’s highlighted tenant coming in a few weeks.
For more information on Tri-Main, visit their website at www.trimaincenter.com, or you can like their Facebook page to receive updates. For more information on the Indoor Street Fair Event, call 716-835-3366.