Major Businesses and Industries in the Tonawandas, NY

By John McBryde on February 5, 2014 at 6:58 pm EST
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PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Conti

From the mom-and-pop shops to the region’s largest industries, the business scene of the Tonawandas is being reshaped in places to not only improve the quality of life for residents but also as a way to attract new businesses.

Types of Businesses

The region’s manufacturing base is still strong as a driver of the economy here, and the area is dotted with a number of old-time businesses that have existed for 20-30 years. New businesses – either entrepreneurial start-ups or those looking to expand – are coming in as well. Chain retailers and restaurants are few.

Focus is shifting toward revitalizing the downtown and waterfront area of North Tonawanda. Included in this project is a $6 million expansion of the historic Riviera Theatre. This is being done to help the venue bring in bigger acts and to host more events, thus making way to attract larger crowds and fuel nearby businesses.

There is also redevelopment taking place in the Webster Street area that officials are hoping will encourage new ownership.

Major Employers

As they do in most municipalities, health care, government and schools lead the way as top employers in North Tonawanda. DeGraff Memorial Hospital, which is part of the Kaleida Health network, is the city’s leading employer, followed by the City of North Tonawanda and North Tonawanda City Schools.

There are a number of manufacturers with 100 or more employees, including Taylor Devices, Confer Plastics and Armstrong Pumps. Walmart, which opened a superstore in 2012 in North Tonawanda, has around 100 employees.

Workforce Development

The Tonawandas have a history of a strong workforce, and most of the training at various industries is typically done in-house. However, the region has excellent schools for workforce training in Niagara Community College and the University of Buffalo.

In addition, the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) organization is beneficial.

Small Businesses

Small businesses reign throughout North Tonawanda. Unique examples include Jacobs Ladder, which makes exercise equipment sold to health clubs, professional sports teams and elsewhere; and Aquasol Corporation, which makes a paper filter product for a variety of uses.

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