Two-like cities, facing similar issues, just a few years apart.
"Are you thinking about snow? Are you thinking about rust? Well, if you are, we have a surprise for you. Meet the Unexpected Buffalo."
That "Unexpected Buffalo," the city's new branding, could become unexpected Erie.
Brian Hayden, Visit Buffalo Niagara, says, "So many of the buildings in Erie, it looks like neighborhoods and areas in Buffalo, too, that are finding new life as loft apartments, as brewries, as distilleries, as restaurants."
That's a reflection of the same iniatives that helped to rebuild Buffalo.
Steve Orbanek says, "The problems they were facing five or six years ago really aren't all too dissimilar from some of the questions that are surfacing in Erie in now."
Buffalo was named America's Favorite City by Travel and Leisure Magazine last year.
Hayden says its reinvention can be done right here in a similar former industrial city on the shores of Lake Erie.
Both Hayden and John Oliver from VisitErie says one of the key points to turning a city around is perspective.
Oliver says, "It is important that we change our own resident's perspection of the direction that Erie's going. But again, it's out of town visitors. If we can get them to come to Erie, I can guarantee we'll change their perspection of what they thought prior to coming to Erie."
Hayden says, "So much of it comes down to perspection and whether the city believes in itself. I think that Buffalo really has turned a corner and really does believe in itself now, and that same repurposing, reimagining can happen in Erie, too."
Hayden was asked to come speak at the Public Relations Society of America's banquet Thursday afternoon.
The title of his talk was "Reshaping Buffalo and the Rustbelt Narrative."
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