Buffalo, NY – Mayor Byron W. Brown marked Wednesday, February 21, 2019 by highlighting the vision of business growth for minority and women business enterprises in the City of Buffalo. Today, he spearheaded a special dedication ceremony that included a portrait unveiling to honor Beverly A. Gray, a former Council Member and community activist who envisioned Jefferson Avenue as a vibrant economic corridor. The celebration of entrepreneurship will continue into the evening with an Open House to showcase the services provided at the Beverly Gray Business Exchange. The public is invited to view the portrait at an Open House from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Center, which is located 334 East Utica Street in Buffalo. Community members will have the opportunity to meet Beverly Gray tenants and service partners who offer a variety of services to assist small businesses and enjoy a networking reception.
Mayor Brown stated, “I’m honored to recognize former Council Member Beverly A. Gray who did so much to bring us to this important moment. Beverly A. Gray was a dedicated community advocate, City Council Member and an entrepreneur who envisioned Jefferson Avenue and Buffalo’s East Side as a vibrant hub for innovation and economic growth. The Center is a wonderful addition to this neighborhood, creating opportunity for minorities, women and veterans, while at the same time serving as a one-stop business resource center. Ms. Gray would be proud.”
Momentum continues to grow at the new Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center, located at 332 East Utica Street in the former Utica Street Library, as more programming is developed. The Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center, operated by Next Street, a company which works with small businesses, nonprofits and the organizations to accelerate their success, hired Royce Woods as the Executive Director to manage the day to day operation.
“The Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center serves as an information clearinghouse for small businesses and a hub for creating entrepreneurship and community wealth on the Eastside. We are committed to helping businesses grow and succeed, creating an interconnected network of assistance providers, and
establishing qualified Minority-and Women owned business suppliers for the City’s Anchor institutions,” stated Woods.
He added, “The Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center is housed in an historic building that is a very important part of the Jefferson Corridor’s history. It is important that we honor the foundation and visions that have led to the opening of a business resource center.”
To honor former Councilmember Beverly A. Gray’s legacy, Freedom Wall artist Edreys Wajed created a portrait of the former Council Member.
“This is a community building and we wanted to honor one of our great community members, in a special way. I feel Freedom Wall Artist Edreys Wajed accomplished this,” stated Woods.
As Mayor Brown continues to build an equitable City of Opportunity, he highlighted Buffalo’s economic renaissance and emerging entrepreneurial culture, including the growing number of small businesses and minority and women entrepreneurs. The Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center:
Supports entrepreneurship and innovation for M/WBE startups and small businesses
Enables Buffalo to become the leader in creating and nurturing small businesses aimed at solving community challenges, creating a smarter, more sustainable and resilient city
Increases job growth on the City’s Eastside
Mayor Brown applauded the strategic partnership with the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center and Next Street Buffalo.
“Business growth and success! This is my vision. I believe connecting entrepreneurs and early stage businesses to business planning education and advice, MWBE Certification, financing and networking will enable them to successfully start and launch their businesses,” said Mayor Brown.
“It will be great day for our family to drive by and see Beverly A. Gray’s name on a building to remind us of her of love, passion and commitment to her community,” stated Dwaine Terry, Gray’s nephew.