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Niagara Lubricants reopens in new location after 2011 fire

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Chris Caya/WBFO News
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New products are once again rolling out the door at Niagara Lubricant. Three years after the 91-year-old company's original factory in Black Rock was destroyed by fire, it has officially reopened in the former American Axel plant on East Delevan Avenue.

Local officials, including Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, took part in a ceremonial grand opening of the new home Thursday morning.

Niagara Lubricant Chairman Leon Smith says he found the building attractive because it is in the City of Buffalo, accessible for workers, and it is very solid.  

"This was built by General Motors in 1995. Every contractor I've had in here said 'Nobody in their right mind would build a building this sturdy, this safe, and this ready to go to work. We're very lucky to get this," Smith said Thursday.

Smith says depending on the workload, Niagara Lubricants employs 30 to 70 people on a given day. He says he used insurance money from the July 2011 fire to prevent any layoffs.  

"Never did any employee lose their job because of our fire. Nobody ever lost a paycheck because of our fire," Smith said.

Smith was quick to credit Mayor Byron Brown for helping the company rebuild its operations. Loans were provided by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency and the National Development Council.

"Why would I move? I love Buffalo," Smith added.