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Emerging Business Leaders, food trucks celebrate progress

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

It might be the perfect marriage of progress. Buffalo’s six food trucks, despite all the political drama that’s unfolded recently, have soldiered into November, desperate to eke out business before the weather deteriorates.  While the progressive food scene has detractors, the food trucks have fostered a sense of community and vibrancy that Buffalo’s city streets have lacked—with Lloyd Taco Truck‘s rejuvenation of Main and Mohawk a prime example. 

Food trucks?  Meet the like-minded Amherst Chamber of Commerce’s program Emerging Business Leaders (EBL), young professionals committed to sharing ideas, improving local businesses and honing career skills. Celebrating its first anniversary Wednesday, the EBL has invited all six food trucks to vend at its outdoor party from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Ciminelli Parking Lot, 350 Essjay Rd in Amherst. 

“How cool is it that we fit into what [the EBL] is trying to do?” asks Christopher Taylor, owner and operator of The Roaming Buffalo, rhetorically. 

You’re saying, “OK, great—there are going to be food trucks and young professionals in a parking lot.”  Well, it’s a little more accommodating than that.

“It’ll be tailgate style,” Caitlin Campbell, Director of Advocacy and Communications for the Amherst Chamber of Commerce said.  “We’ll have heaters, blankets and chairs.”  All they’re missing is a bonfire and s’mores. 

The only cost of admission is a canned good that will be donated to the Food Bank of WNY—the six food trucks will also donate 10% of their proceeds to the same charitable organization.  If you needed more incentive to attend, the first 500 people to drop by will receive a plastic stadium cup courtesy of EBL and a gift bag from Northtown Automotive. 

Sean Macaluso, founder of social media company Mac Groups Inc. and advisory board member with the EBL, was the driving force behind uniting the food trucks with the EBL’s one-year celebration. 

“I grew up with Pete [Cimino, co-owner of Lloyd Taco Truck], and they’re singin’ our tunes,” Macaluso said.  “I wanted them to be a featured part, and [all of the food trucks] were really receptive.”

Macaluso also expanded on the impact that Emerging Business Leaders has had on him.  “[The group] really just lets be myself,” he said.  “No one will judge you for who you are.  All the people are under 39—it’s a lot easier to start conversation with someone your age.  Loosen the tie, crack open a Red Bull and relax,” Macaluso says of the program’s mentality.

From the food truck owners’ standpoint, the gathering is a benchmark—this is the first time that all six food trucks have sold food together in one location. At the Dirty Girl race in Emery Park this summer, however, four trucks—Lloyd Taco Truck, The Roaming Buffalo, The Whole Hog and RnR BBQ—all successfully vended.

“It’s cool that we have events to work together at,” Taylor said.  “All four were at the Dirty Girl, and that was a blast. There were over 7,000 people there, and one truck wouldn’t have been enough. I expect another big turnout on Wednesday.”

When asked if having all the food trucks in one location was at all an act of solidarity against the city of Buffalo’s Common Council, which expects to finally decide on regulations for food trucks by Nov. 30, Taylor said it certainly wasn’t. 

“It’s not a move of solidarity at all,” Taylor said.  “We’re really just showing what we could do for the city.  How many stationary restaurants could cater for a large outdoor fundraising event?”  On the truck, Taylor expects to have a special pot of Buffalo chicken wing soup cooked up for Wednesday.

For more information on Buffalo’s food trucks, visit the following links:

Lloyd Taco Truck
The Roaming Buffalo
The Whole Hog
Rolling Joe Cafe
The Place to Go

TAGGED: amherst chamber of commerce, christopher taylor, emerging business leaders, food trucks, lloyd taco truck, roaming buffalo, sean macaluso, whole hog

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