Multiple Transportation Options A Plus for Doing Business in Ken-Ton
When the Neuter and Erie Indians first named the town of Tonawanda, referring to the “swift waters” of the Niagara River, trade and commerce was already taking hold there as America’s early settlers began to move westward.
Today, the area’s many swift waterways – as well as its highways, railways and airways – combine with its close proximity to the Canadian border to fuel an even swifter current of economic and industrial growth.
“The concept of Ken-Ton emerging as America’s “North Coast” stems from the fact that many of the nation’s ports on the East Coast and West Coast are over-utilized,” says Dan Barufaldi, former executive director of the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Chamber of Commerce.
“We are well positioned geographically – and through our existing transportation systems – to take advantage of increased trade volume passing through the area. There’s a huge amount of business being done here and a huge amount of potential.”
According to Barufaldi, approximately 25 percent of all trade occurring between Canada and the United States already moves across the area’s four international bridges, representing nearly $20 billion in commerce – and that number is expected to rise steadily. Cargo also moves through Ken-Ton’s comprehensive network of international waterways, rail systems and airways.
Just minutes away at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport and at Niagara Falls International Airport (which boasts the region’s longest runway), cargo and commercial flights can reach any destination across the globe within 12 hours. The area also holds 20 percent of the world’s fresh water supply. Such advantages have led to a strong and diverse economic base anchored by several multi-national corporations and complemented by healthy commercial and retail sectors.
“It’s a very good strategic location for companies. Not only are we located directly across from an international border, but we are also close to the Niagara River, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Erie Canal and ports of the Great Lakes,” says Barufaldi.
One company taking advantage of Ken-Ton’s “perfect storm” for economic and industrial growth is NOCO Energy Corp., a family-owned and operated petroleum distribution business founded in 1933. Headquartered in Tonawanda, NOCO Energy provides a wide range of products including residential fuels, heating and cooling systems, recyclable products and liquid asphalt. The company is also one of ExxonMobil’s top five distributors of lubricants in North America.
Barufaldi says Ken-Ton is also in the midst of a campaign to expand the area’s growing high-tech sector.
“As we move in the high-tech direction, we’re also seeing an influx of back-office businesses coming into the area,” he says. “Companies moving here are taking everything into consideration – the transportation, the infrastructure, the incentives and the quality of life.”