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Buffalo Niagara Enterprise Promotes Region to Retailers Group

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Retail industry leaders visited Buffalo Thursday to offer their overview of Buffalo and Niagara Falls as a retail marketplace.

The International Council of Shopping Centers is one of the largest global trade associations of the shopping center industry. It's made up of 54,000 US and international members, representing shopping center owners, developers, investors and retailers. The region's business development and regional marketing arm, the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, hosted the organization.

"They get together and compare notes. Retailers are doing research all the time," said BNE President Thomas Kucharski. "Many are planning their 2009 and 2010 facilities right now."

Kucharski says with those national retailers looking for new cities to expand in by 2009, the time is ripe for Buffalo to lure them downtown, especially with Bass Pro's plans to build a sporting goods store.

"You got to get in the game and be there, convincing them that not only is the market here, but their customers are here," Kucharski said. "We now have enough information to do a detailed, customized report to targeted retailers that we think would want to be next to a Bass Pro."

Kucharski says with Bass Pro's commitment to build a 250,000 square foot store in downtown, it will attract what he calls a high level consumer, ready to buy. He says with the International Council of Shopping Centers in Buffalo, they will strike while the coals are hot, promoting the region to future retailers that could include clothing, entertainment and new restaurants.