BUFFALO, N.Y. — Between the chicken wings, the Buffalo Bills and Lake Erie, Buffalo is a great place. Turns out a lot of people are starting to figure that out. Bloomberg’s City Lab did a study using data from USPS and the U.S. Census Bureau.
They took those numbers and calculated the percentage change in the inflow and outflow ratios between March of 2020 and February of this year. Basically, those numbers are the people moving in divided by the number moving out.
It found the Buffalo-Cheektowaga area had a 2.3% change in ratio. In the Jamestown-Dunkirk-Fredonia area, that number was .9%. Olean saw 1.2%. Bloomberg writes the map only shows metro areas with more than 1,000 moves in or 1,000 moves out.
So what’s the draw? For folks like Nicky Venditti, it’s affordability.
Checking back in with his hometown wasn’t really part of Venditti’s playbook. But, the pandemic wrote in another act to his life story. The Broadway dancer found himself out of work when the city shut down. Not knowing when he could return to Wicked’s stage as dance captain, he packed his bags.
“I have never lived near my family in my adult life, so I made the move,” Venditti said.
The Queen City he left behind was not what he returned to.
“I used to go downtown for my dance recitals once a year, and it was a ghost town,” Venditti recalled. “Now, it’s amazing.”
There was something he noticed, too.
“Buffalo is a big small business town, and I love that,” Venditti said. “They really cherish individual small businesses.”
Which is music to his ears, considering his dream of opening a fitness studio is now a reality in Williamsville. It’s something that wasn’t quite possible in NYC.
The trend of ex-pats like Venditti, and newcomers is no surprise to folks like Greg Pokriki with Invest Buffalo Niagara.
“Honestly I think the pandemic increases the value proposition of a mid-sized city like Buffalo,” Pokriki said.
Back in September of 2019, Be in Buffalo, a subset of Invest Buffalo Niagara, was created to bring people to Buffalo. It seems to be working. It’s too soon to have any quantifiable numbers, but Pokriki says looking at the data on their website, they have an idea of just how much interest there is in Buffalo. Web traffic has gone up significantly.
So, what’s the draw?
“We are a city really with optimism and grounded in accessibility,” Pokriki said. “If you are coming from a major metro you really don’t have to sacrifice any amenities, you get hours of your life back in your commute and you get a lot of money back in affordability.”
As part of its relocation guide, Be in Buffalo breaks it all down. From milk to eggs, even beer, the numbers are compared. Speaking of beer, did you know the Buffalo-Niagara region has more than 50 breweries? The renaissance we’re seeing now is not going to slow down anytime soon.
“It’s not hitting home runs in how you build a really good economy,” Pokriki said. “It’s hitting singles and doubles, attract small and medium-sized companies, and put them in a position to succeed and continue to grow.”
And some like Venditti might just be reminded of one thing.
“There’s no place like home, really,” Venditti smiled.
This is where you come in. Pokriki says it’s as simple as spreading the word of how great the region is.
Be in Buffalo has a new relocation guide in the works to garner more attention.
For more information on Venditti's studio, click here.