21 Jun What Being a Local Business Means to Us
When co-owners Tyler and Alicia Uebelhoer founded Buffalo Solar Solutions in 2015, including “Buffalo” in the business name was equal parts marketing strategy and mission statement. “It of course helps with SEO on a Google Search,” says Tyler, “but we also want customers to know that we’re local. Large national solar companies don’t hone into customer service like we do.”
With solar, the Uebelhoers expanded on an opportunity that they believed had potential, but had yet to really take hold in the WNY area. They wanted to create a business that would allow Buffalo exposure to an industry that had already begun to sweep the nation. Don’t count us out, basically: if you think that Buffalo wouldn’t be a city on the forefront of solar energy opportunities for both residential and commercial sectors, think again.
It’s the same underdog story that puts Buffalo’s recent growth in perspective to outsiders. When construction began on Harborcenter and the surrounding Canalside area in 2013, it became clear to the rest of the country that Buffalo, though maybe an unlikely candidate, was pulling itself up by its bootstraps and taking initiative to create its own Renaissance. And we never looked outside our own borders to make it happen. Take the long- admired Lafayette building, for example: once destined to be yet another building playing host to dozens of corporate offices, is now one of the most in- demand locations downtown, with hotel rooms, bars, shopping and a coffee roastery.
The Buffalo Solar Solutions story is one that expressly mimics the hometown pride and, frankly, the plain grit it took to push the city into the rebirth it continues to experience today. After deciding that the opportunity for solar in Buffalo was present, Tyler and Alicia put the responsibility on themselves to learn all the ins and outs of solar energy and the benefits it provides to both individuals and the community, making them the expert Solar Educators we currently know them to be. They struggled to get their footing as a young business, often worrying about making ends meet and paying their early employees. At its start, Buffalo Solar Solutions was simply operated out of the Uebelhoers’ home. “We paid visits in people’s homes as a husband-and-wife team, and were shot down for about 4 or 5 months straight,” Tyler says. “I had the logo designed and the truck and trailer wrapped before we even had our first job, because I know that this is a specialty item to this area specifically because it’s so new.” He added, “our goal is to take it to a level where it’s as common as an everyday appliance, but right now, it’s new, and we know that the people who are investing in their households like this deserve more than labor and us trying to cash a paycheck.”
We’ve kept the Buffalo in our name for a reason. To us, being a local business means coming into work every day with the goal of making relentless contributions to this region’s ongoing Renaissance. We offer a socially responsible energy source to businesses and residents alike who might be concerned with their impact on our planet, and we pride ourselves on how a conversion to solar energy drastically reduces the costs listed on so many electric bills. Being a local business means offering employment opportunities to proud Buffalonians who bring something new to our ever-expanding table. It’s showing our support to our favorite local businesses and local teams, knowing that this is an essential part of the camaraderie that this area fosters. Here, it’s cool to #eatlocal and #shoplocal, setting an underlying challenge to those who still favor franchise restaurants and domestic beer.
Above all, we bring the City of Good Neighbors mentality to work. We like to look at it like we’re a customer service business in the solar industry. “Being able to call me, text me, being able to come into the office, that’s nowhere to be found at a multinational or fly-by-night company,” Tyler says. As any true Buffalonian understands, we know that the joy of this city is found in its incredible people. The people in this city work hard for their money, and for the lives that they live. We are looking to acknowledge this in every step we take, whether its educating on the benefits of solar energy or installing modules on your roof.
We’re proud to eat, drink, shop, work and be local. Remembering that every individual we talk to about solar is a neighbor—that’s what doing business in Buffalo means to us.
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