BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Each Monday at 5:30, we highlight a City Shaper-- someone making a positive change or building a business in Western New York. This week, 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik shows us how three people with different creative skill sets are joining forces to bring something new to Allentown.
Sean Wrafter grew up in Wyoming County and moved to Buffalo to go to Buff State about 15 years ago. He never looked back.
"I've had opportunities to leave, and I chose to stay here because I believe in Buffalo," says Sean Wrafter.
Sean was working in sales and marketing when he decided he needed a change.
"I would come home on the weekend and make furniture in my basement. I eventually started selling it, and I quit my job and started Wrafterbuilt," explained Sean.
Now, three-and-a-half years later, Wrafterbuilt has grown into a custom interior design company, and it's outgrown its home on Hertel Avenue.
Sean, his wife Jackie, who is the retail brand manager and buyer, and their business partner Aaron Mach, a designer who spent ten years as an architect, are ready to move into a new space on Elmwood Avenue in Allentown.
"It kind of feels like we're coming home. This is where we live. This is where we go out. This is where we hang out," says Jackie Wrafter.
Wrafterbuilt began in Allentown before moving to North Buffalo. The new space will include a reclaimed lumber yard out back, and a coffee bar, design center, kitchen showroom, and retail space inside.
"What are you most excited about when you guys actually move into this space and start working out of here and being in this neighborhood?" asked Kelly Dudzik.
"Having an office outside of my house. I want a space to bring my daughter to that I can sit and work at with clients," says Aaron Mach.
Those clients are both residential and commercial. Wrafterbuilt is responsible for the interior design of many of Buffalo's new restaurants.
The trio says doing business in Buffalo is great because people support each other, and they've been here long enough to see change.
"For a long time, people left Buffalo because there was nothing here. And at a certain point people stopped leaving and started making things happen for themselves despite what was going on with the economy and local politics or whatever you want to blame it on. I think that there are just a lot of ambitious hard-working people that finally decided to dig their heels in and make it better," says Sean Wrafter. "If you are in Buffalo and you are committed to making Buffalo better, people in Buffalo will support you, they will give you their business and they will cheer you on every step of the way 100-percent."
Wrafterbuilt is expected to open in its new space in June.
Kelly is looking for more City Shapers to feature in April. If you know someone who is making an impact in Western New York, just email her.