Anyone can see the recent explosion of artisan wares, distilleries and craft breweries all sporting the “Made in Buffalo” moniker. But what you might not realize is the number of locally made products being mass-marketed across the country and in some cases, around the world. If you want to fully support WNY ingenuity and entrepreneurship, consider adding these to your shopping list.
Cold Stone Creamery’s Milk Shakers
With a century of dairy processing under their belt, Steuben Foods has grown to become one of the most renowned food and beverage manufacturers in the U.S. And while their name might not be on the label, they get full production props for Cold Stone Creamery’s Milk Shakers, which Steuben has manufactured, blended and packaged at their Elma facility since the ready-to-drink product launched in 2014. “It’s our product, our formula, our baby,” said Mike Brown, general manager of sales and brand development for Steuben Foods.
Available at 7-Eleven, KwikFill, various stores on University at Buffalo campus.
Surrounded by an abundance of maple, cherry, hickory and oak trees amid the Allegheny National Forest, Fancher Chair in Falconer traces its roots back 200 years to a small sawmill operation. Today, the OEM business produces roughly 300 chairs a day, made for various high-end clients like Design Within Reach. The renowned modern home furnishings purveyor approached Fancher to manufacture its entire Jens Risom collection based on previous work Fancher had done with the Danish designer.
The Jens Risom collection is available at Dwr.com. Select pieces are also available at the Design Within Reach studio at 214 King St. East, Toronto, (800) 944-2233.
Father Sam’s Bakery
A local Episcopal priest with a penchant for baking, Father Albert Sam often shared his pita bread – made from what he said is an ancient family recipe – with members of his congregation. Later given permission to use it during Holy Communion, in 1977 he began selling it out of a converted garage. Today, the Father Sam’s baking facility on William Street in Buffalo produces pita bread, flatbread and tortillas available at retailers, restaurants, schools and colleges across WNY. “If you’ve had a wrap or pita sandwich in Buffalo, chances are they were made with our product,” said Glenn Povitz, partner and VP of Sales.
Available at Tops, Wegmans, Dash’s Market, various gourmet shops and at fathersams.com. The bakery also provides private label wraps for local retailers as well as many others east of the Mississippi.
What started as a bunch of guys throwing a disc into trashcans has become a hugely popular game at tailgates, college campuses, parties, parks and phys ed classes. “Kids will start playing in gym, then buy one for home, take it to college, maybe start their own league… it spreads quickly,” said inventor and company co-owner Charles Sciandra. The product line has expanded and now includes versions for indoor use, tabletops, beach or pool, and glow-in-the-dark versions. Headquartered in Buffalo since 2006, KanJam is made in WNY.
Available at over 5,000 retail locations throughout the country, including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Olympia Sports, Laux Sporting Goods, Target, Toys R’ Us and Made in America Store. The game is also sold in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, plus 28 countries in Europe.
Kittinger Furniture is found in some of the finest offices and homes in the world, including the White House. Re-established by Ray and Karen Bialkowski in 1996, the company, now based in Williamsville, recently handcrafted 16 replacement mahogany chairs for the Roosevelt Room near the Oval Office. With a history that dates back 150 years, President Nixon commissioned Kittinger Furniture to refurbish much of the West Wing, including the Cabinet Room. Word is he paid for the room’s table himself.
Available at The Kittinger Gallery, 5363 Transit Road, Buffalo’s only Kittinger Furniture showroom. The Kittinger Furniture factory, 4675 Transit Road, features a scaled-down version of the Cabinet Room and many other pieces made for the White House and Presidential Libraries.
Life O’ Wood
From bedroom sets to baby grand pianos, cupboards to car hoods, since 1914 this furniture polish has been used to clean, restore and beautify virtually any surface. Manufactured by the Instant Products Company of Buffalo, in 1998 Melanie Hachten took over the reigns for her grandfather, who began showing her the ropes on her eleventh birthday. Having personally hand-filled over 187,500 bottles, Hachten added, “I put a lot of hard work into every bottle, and I kiss each one as it leaves.”
Available at Arthur’s Home Furnishings, Budwey’s Supermarkets, Dash’s Markets, Dobmeier Janitor Supply, Elmwood Village Fabrics, Ed Young’s True Value, Grimbles Hardware, Hector’s Hardware & Paint, Illos Piano Restorations, J and D Collectibles, Made in America Store, Market in the Square, Parker Pharmacy, Shurfine Markets and Tops. Visit Lifeowood.com for online purchasing info.
New York Chips
At the same Gainseville site in Wyoming County since 1943, the Marquart family farm grew its first potato in 1974. Today they grow 45 million pounds a year, and branched out into the potato chip business this year. With Wegmans on board from the start, the local support has been overwhelming, Adam Marquart said. Made with just three ingredients – unskinned potatoes, sea salt and avocado oil – Marquart said the chips taste more like French fries. “We played with a lot of different oils and found that the avocado oil actually accentuated the potato taste.”
Available at Wegmans, Shurfine and independent groceries, and online at Thenewyorkchip.com.
In addition to their soothing ointment you may remember your mother rubbing on your congested chest as a child, The Mentholatum Company of Orchard Park also helped loosen up attitudes toward lip balms with the launch of the popular Softlips brand lip care in 1992. Marketed as a women’s beauty product, Softlips comes in tons of fun flavors and four types of packaging, including the limited edition Hello Kitty cubes.
U.S. Sugar Co.
In business on Bailey Ave. since 1960, U.S. Sugar Co. is the only independent processor of granulated, brown and powdered sugar in the country. Packaging over 200 million pounds of sugar each year, they specialize in private label retail and industrial-sized bags – selling everything from one-pound packages to 50- and 100-pound bags, and even 2,000-pound “super sacks.”
Availability U.S. Sugar Co. products are available in private label or their brand.
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