BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Nick Giammusso took his event and concert ticket business from his parents' basement to a building he bought and renovated on Main Street in Buffalo. Now, this entrepreneur is about to expand into Buffalo's bar and restaurant industry.
Born and raised in Williamsville, Giammusso is a long time champion of downtown Buffalo.
"I feel like I am the welcome wagon of Buffalo sometimes when I bring people downtown. I want to show them the downtown core, I want to go show them Canalside. I get excited to drive up Main Street to the medical campus," says Giammusso.
Giammusso ran the box office at the Aud and found there was a need for helping people buy and sell event tickets. In 1993, he started VIPTIX in his parents' basement. His business made stops in Cheektowaga and Williamsville (for a second go-around) before landing on the 500 block of Main Street.
“Was it before everything was kind of happening again over here?" asked 2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik.
"Yeah, it was. For some reason I have a pretty good eye of what's going to happen almost like a crystal ball. I had just kind of seen what was happening just being downtown at the Aud for so many years, and being downtown I just could feel things changing," said Giammusso.
He bought the building in 2011 and moved VIPTIX in last year.
"I remember bringing my young kids here in 2011. They were scared to get out of the car. And today it's, you know, they're running around kicking soccer balls and running around by themselves as young teenagers, and it's just night and day different down here," says Giammusso.
Giammusso wants to build on the success of his ticket business and start doing event packages. That's why he bought the building that's home to the Irish Times.
"The building needs a lot of work, but it's got really, really great bones, and it's got a lot of history. It dates back to 1864," says Giammusso.
This spring, the Irish Times will become the Union Pub.
"When you look at the area now compared to how it was when you were working at the Aud, did you ever think it would turn the corner like this?" asked Dudzik.
"I never thought it would turn the corner as fast as it did. I mean, it did take a long time. I was at the Aud in the 80s and used to walk up Main Street to go to lunch. I never thought that I'd be sitting here today, maybe 20 years later, and see the area just coming alive, and that's what it is. Downtown is just coming alive. You can feel it when you come down here," he said.
"How do you think you can inspire other people to maybe do the same type of thing, or to maybe start their business if that's just an idea that they have in their head?" asked Dudzik.
"Well, on the real estate side, if you find something, like I call them diamond in the roughs, it's just a no brainer when you can find the right price and the right value and the right building. And for this location everything just kind of came together we hope," says Giammusso.
His goal is to have the downstairs of the Union Pub renovated by St. Patrick's Day and the NCAA tournament. The goal is to finish the rest of the building, including the second bar, dining area, and VIP lounge upstairs by the end of June.
If you have a business owner you’d like to see featured as a City Shaper, just email Kelly Dudzik.