BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Buffalo family is looking to bring a new business to East Buffalo, a place that has historically been overlooked.
Making the community stronger, that's exactly what Dr. Uzo Ihenko wants to see in his neighborhood.
"The people complain about the east side: job deserts, food deserts. Every desert in the world they can think of," Ihenko said.
His goal is to bring money into his neighborhood and keep it there. So, Ihenko and his son, are bringing an UPS Store to their community.
"This is the only UPS that is not in a plaza. It is in a physical location, and this was designed especially for that. And thank God, UPS was able to understand our concept, and work with us to make it happen in this location," Ihenko said.
A location where their banker, Isaac De Los Santos said there is a demand. He helped provide them with a Small Business Loan from M&T Bank, which was just named Western New York’s top Small Business Association (SBA) lender, and the sixth largest SBA lender in the nation.
Dr. Uzo’s UPS Store will be part of the larger redevelopment plan on Broadway between Michigan and Jefferson Avenues called the Broadway Business Hub.
"The fact that these services aren't really provided in this area. Wow, that's amazing. Not only do you want to start a business but you found out that there is a service that is needed in the community," De Los Santos said.
Ihenko is also a job creator, hiring from within his neighborhood and he gets to do all of this while having right hand man, his son, next to him.
"He just finished his MBA at the University of Buffalo, he could have gone anywhere else, but he choose to be with his daddy," Ihenko said.
"To me, it's really exciting, to see it finally come to flourished. I started on this a couple of years ago and really getting to see it from the production phase, the planning phase and now getting to see the construction," Ihenko son, Kelechi Chillis-Ihenko said.
They hope to set an example.
"Look around sincerely, on how to help the people in the east side. Not necessary giving handouts, but finding people like us who are making things happen. There are ways you can help businesses grow," Ihenko said.
The UPS Store is expected to be open for the holidays. Ihenko said that's the ideal time, of course, because that's when people are shipping gifts, printing cards, and buying supplies. They will be located at 343 Broadway in Buffalo.