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Tourism group celebrates Buffalo for "smelling like Cheerios"

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WBFO's Michael Mroziak
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As part of their recognition of National Travel and Tourism Week, Visit Buffalo Niagara is marking one of the region's unique properties: the smell of an iconic cereal in the downtown Buffalo air.

General Mills has been in operation in Buffalo for 110 years but for the past 75 years it has produced Cheerios. When a batch is in production and the wind is just right, the smell of the cereal carries throughout downtown Buffalo and many of its neighborhoods.

It's a one-of-a-kind attribute that was celebrated Thursday at Visit Buffalo Niagara's downtown visitor center, where samples of Cheerios and other General Mills cereals were distributed to guests. 

"It's just a great opportunity for us to really highlight a fantastic business that has dedicated itself to the City of Buffalo, as well as contributing one of the wonderful attributes, and that's the smell of Cheerios in the air in downtown Buffalo," said Patrick Kaler, president and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara.

It has even earned Buffalo a distinction as one of the world's "smelliest" cities. The British publication The Telegraph ranks Buffalo among the top cities for unique smells. 

General Mills plant manager Allen Brown says the employees take pride in producing Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios and Lucky Charms in their hometown. They may soon have additional products added to their workload. Buffalo is a finalist for the addition of two Chex cereals later this year.

"We're really excited about the potential opportunity to bring part of the Chex portfolio into Buffalo," said Brown. "There hasn't yet been a final decision made, but the area's been tremendously supportive."

In the meantime, Kaler is among those who enjoy having the smell of Cheerios in the air. 

"Every time I smell it I always tweet out about how great my city smells, and just love the smell of Cheerios," Kaler said. "I live in the Elmwood Village area and can still smell Cheerios there. When I'm walking my dog in the morning, it's just makes me happy to smell the Cheerios in the air."

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