Urban Roots Community Garden Center became a reality nine years ago when a group of residents on Buffalo's West Side decided to develop a cooperative garden center in their neighborhood to keep dollars in the City of Buffalo. They were tired of driving 20 minutes to the suburbs to buy plants and garden accessories, and also recognized the opportunity to build a business that would enrich the community. They approached the Westminster Economic Development Initiative for help in getting their business off the ground.
With $15,000, WEDI helped Urban Roots open its doors. The cooperative also had more than 100 member-owners purchase shares that helped secure the initial financing of the business. Urban Roots is now an established destination garden center to purchase affordable, organic and locally sourced plants. It is also the country's only community-owned cooperative garden center that is open year-round.
Earlier this year, Urban Roots sought support from WEDI to upgrade its entire building's electric system to accommodate a new tenant at 426 Rhode Island St., called Press Raw Food and Juice. This additional funding of $15,000, provided by First Niagara, is enabling both organizations to grow and contribute to the transformation of this Buffalo neighborhood.
"We are so grateful to First Niagara and WEDI for their support of our vision for serving and enriching this community," said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, Urban Roots general manager. "They have enabled us to build a successful business on the West Side and play a significant role in boosting our local economy."
"First Niagara embraces initiatives that improve our neighborhoods, encourage community collaboration and build partnerships," said Buford Sears, First Niagara regional president, Western New York. "We are proud to support Urban Roots and provide the resources they have needed to be a part of the incredible resurgence taking place in Buffalo."