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City Shapers year in review

As we continue to celebrate Western New York, we're checking back in with some of this year's City Shapers.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — As we continue to celebrate Western New York, we're checking back in with some of this year's City Shapers.

More than forty groups, or individuals, who are making a positive impact in our community have been featured so far.

Bootleg Bucha, Hook and Ladder Development, and Xavier Rogers are City Shapers who are busy making a difference in Buffalo and beyond.

"There's so much energy around businesses in Buffalo, which has been a huge part of our success. And, people getting together on that, are just kind of rising together on it, so it's awesome," says Jeff Empric, President of Bootleg Bucha.

Bootleg Bucha on Buffalo's West Side is New York's only large-scale producer of kombucha- which is fermented tea. Since we visited with Jeff, Heather, and Todd in June, they've added a new and improved fermentation room and bottling line on Niagara Street giving them the ability to rapidly expand distribution along the East Coast.

We are also checking in with Hook and Ladder Development.

"One of the biggest things we're trying to do in South Buffalo, in particular on Seneca Street, is introduce it to other parts of the City. We really want people to come down, and experience, and get a feel for what's going on in this neighborhood," says Peter Scarcello from Hook and Ladder.

Peter, John, and Gino are the Buffalo firefighters behind Hook and Ladder Development. They're transforming the Seneca Street corridor in South Buffalo. When we met them in August, they had more than thirty properties.

This month, they announced their first tenant at 2116 Seneca Street. It's Grey Havens Tattoo, owned by a South Buffalonian.

The third City Shaper we are checking in with is Xavier Rogers.

"When you see all the kids out here today, and you know that you're going to be helping them, how does that make you feel?" asked 2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik in August.

"It feels good. Makes me feel good because it's like if people don't have enough toys, then I could give it to them," said Xavier Rogers.

Xavier is our youngest City Shaper of 2017. He collects toy donations and give them to children at playgrounds in Buffalo. In August, we went with him. Xavier is busy storing stuffed animals in his blue bin to give to children next summer. He also started a "Toys for Kids on the Playground" newsletter.

Kelly is looking for City Shapers to feature in 2018. If you'd like to nominate someone, just at kelly.dudzik@wgrz.com.

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