Five-Year Strategic Plan Gives CVB Marketing Road Map

Thursday, the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau and Erie County
Executive Chris Collins announced that it has begun the implementation of its
five-year strategic plan. Drafted in partnership with the hospitality industry,
County of Erie and an array of community volunteers, the plan will serve as a
blueprint for successfully marketing Buffalo and Erie County as a compelling
visitor destination.

diverse collection of tools and tactics contained in the plan will allow the
CVB to focus our efforts on the markets and opportunities that demonstrate the
greatest potential return on the investment the community is making in
attractions, infrastructure and marketing,” said CVB Board Chair Jennifer
Parker. “In drafting this plan we have made every effort to enhance the sales
and marketing strategies of the Convention & Visitor Bureau.”

Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau sells and markets our assets
and attractions to visitors outside of the Buffalo Niagara region as a
convention, tourism and leisure destination for the economic benefit of the
community. In 2008 the CVB booked over 130,000 hotel room nights and 286
conventions, meetings and events, which resulted in $70 million dollars in
purchases in Buffalo-area restaurants, shops, and attractions.

strategic plan clarifies the CVB’s role in the community as an external
marketing organization, and focuses on helping bureau staff to establish
priorities, solve organizational issues, define metrics and build teamwork and
expertise. The planning process included the solicitation of input and analysis
from visitor industry partners, private and public stakeholders and the
community at large. Focus groups, surveys and interviews were used to ensure
that the information gathering process was reflective of the community’s

key action steps were identified as priorities by the CVB Board during the
strategic planning process. These include:

Creation a Convention Concierge Program to better promote our attractions and
cultural venues to visitors and convention delegates.


Establishment of an Amateur Sports Foundation to further develop our sports
marketing and to allow for the development of sponsorship programs to increase
revenue opportunities.


Determination and implementation of the best and most effective sites in the
region for Visitor Center operations to maximize visibility and customer


Exploration of creative marketing approaches that utilize new types of
research, technology, media and innovative marketing concepts.


take our role as Buffalo and Erie County’s destination marketing organization
very seriously,” said Richard Geiger, President of the Buffalo Niagara CVB. “Tourism
is a very big business and we intend to grab as big a piece of that pie as we
can. This plan will help us to reach our goals.”

noted that “Green” meetings, amateur sporting events, Canadian visitors,
cultural and heritage tourism, fishing tourism and multicultural travel are a
few of the targets that the CVB intends to hit in coming years.

a world that is being transformed nearly every day by new media and social
technologies, the Buffalo Niagara CVB is committed to being an active, aggressive
participant in listening to, talking with and energizing potential customers,”
he added. “We’re thrilled to have this road map that will help to revitalize
the Erie County economy.”

About the author  ⁄ Sitler


From what I have read over the years, I knew this person was a bit of a lightning rod; but, I had no idea he qualified to be an additional center of gravity in the solar system. Apparently he also has enough mass to generate a substantial centrifugal force. It has been a while since any one person has inspired so much debate in this forum.


He does have power because he's not jsut a citizen speaking out - he's an appointed member of the City Preservation Board who have legal powers granted by the Common Council. As such, he can and does cost businesses in delay, money, and frustration.

Occasionally for a business owner having political clout, such as Pearl St Brewery, they can get the Common Council to override the Pres Board. That's rare, a hassle unto itself, and something that some business owners wouldn't want to bother with. The fact that as you say, Pearl St ended up allowed to do what they wanted was in spite of Tielman trying to prevent them from doing it.

Likewise with the Elmwood building which he tried to abuse his PB powers (read the PB's order and tell me that wasn't abuse - saying the alley behind Wilson Farms is significant - wtf?) to order it be kept standing forever against the owner's objections. Sanity prevailed on that in spite of Tielman's best efforts.

And those few small examples likely only scratch the surface.

Anyhow, I gave an answer your original question so there you are.

The Kettle
The Kettle

"Pitbull and some others seemed to be wondering why anybody could possibly have a negative opinion of Tielman"

You're right. Thats why I asked those who do have a negative opinion why. To your point that Tielman discourages business in Buffalo Id again say he does not have the power to do so. The gawdy lake effect man: build anyway. The surface parking lot at Elmwood an Auburn: built anyway. The skyway park: as long as Higgins is in office the skyway and S.Buffalos waterfront will be a highway. I wont deny that may of the people in the construction community find him annoying as do people who want to see anything build regardless of its context with the neighborhood or negative impact. But he does not have the power to hold any of this development back. If he did do you think the city would be worse off with one less mega pharmacy of fast food joint? All he is doing is holding ellected officials accountable to preservation and zoning laws already on the books. In a town where our leaders are willing to prostitute acres of downtown property to casino interests, we need more people like Tielman to keep an eye on politicians and developers.


Paul, I'm a little confused if you're referring to my criticisms. I listed examples of what I consider negative "accomplishments" of his misuse of power. I was careful not to demonize him or anyone a person, and honestly I don't know or care what his personality is. That shouldn't matter.

Lorem Ipsum
Lorem Ipsum

That's "Palladian" and "Tielman" (no H).


I have to agree with Colin regarding separating the man's behavior from his accomplishments -- unless it interferes with those accomplishments. I don't know Mr. Thielman and won't comment on his personality, but he certainly seems to fill a vacuum in the community because the city, in effect Mayor Brown, is not taking the lead and responsibility for many of these matters. I have to give Mr. Thielman credit for that.


1. Numbered posts! Who knew I was so influential?

2. A lot of the anti-Tielman sentiment seems to be about the man rather than his track record. From the limited interactions that friends of mine have had with him, he seems like kind of a jerk. But that shouldn't affect how we judge what he's done.

3. The awnings, the Pearl Street man and whatnot are really ticky-tack things that Tielman and his ilk should let slide. It's a waste of political capital to get involved in a dozen small and relatively unimportant fights when there are plenty of big fights to be had. I think that's a valid criticism.

4. The original debate about the convention center is a bit before my time. It seems doubtful at best, though, that building a new convention center would constitute "progress" or whatever. From what I've seen, those projects end up being money pits.


paul, To answer your question to me - it's not the kind of thing that can be proven one way or another, but my viewpoint is Tielman's attitude and actions do add up to discourage business within Buffalo city limits.

My comment didn't specifically address what Colin asked. I don't have info available or handy to research everything Tielman's done with his Pres Board powers. Although they publish very brief summaries of agendas and meeting minutes, public records of the PB on the city web site are pretty sparse and not easy to search or browse (like much of the city's web presence).

My comment addressed the general question of why people might strongly dislike Tielman's attitudes and actions over the years and consider those harmful to Buffalo's business environment.

Pitbull and some others seemed to be wondering why anybody could possibly have a negative opinion of Tielman, so I rattled off a few instances from memory to add to the Campari's example. The doctor's office building issue was an especially bad abuse of PB powers, and the difficulty they gave Pearl St Brewery wasn't limited to Lake Effect Man, but that was a good example.

As I noted, I'm sure there's plently more roadblocks and attempted roadblocks to other businesses that have happened based on that same attitude we see over and over, as well as potential city businesses who just didn't want to bother proposing something after seeing how others were treated.



In general, those regulations tend to increase the property and intrinsic value of those locations. In general, preservation/zoning ordinances are enacted not in response to what "you" do, but what your neighbor does. The demand for spaces within the historic districts will be inline with the residents and businesses also located there as the effect of the ordinance is on all contributing buildings, so its an at-par possible increase in costs. You may be right that all businesses then decide to move into Amherst, but at some point someone will move into historic districts to service the demand of residents.



What if the owners look at the regulations and decide not to move in at all? Or move to Amherst? Then where are we? Whats the point of preserving buildings if no one wants to move into them?


Yes Campieri's is a small example but still a good one of where preservationists nit-pick and instead of having one nice awning or many nice awnings we have no awning at all.

I think you make a good point. Obesity makes an exaggerated claim and there wouldn't be much data on stalled progress because preservation has done more good than harm. But I'm willing to bet there would be some.


Yes it is only his opinion, but its a strong opinion and its the one we hear the most so fair or not he's sort of become the face of preservation in Buffalo. And I think people associate him and his opinions with the coalition, and the board, and anything else that has to do with preservation. Thats what I was trying to get at in answering you question as to why people have such a negative response to him.

Thank you for pointing out the Erie Canal Harbor. He should get credit for the work he did on that and its a great example of compromise by the preservationists. And yes Campieri's is alive and well and the awning issue didn't hurt his business and its a small issue. I was only trying to point out that it would look better with either style awning but because of the board, in part, there is none. So to me thats hindering development in a way. And I think thats where a lot of people get their "obstructionist" label from. Again, my own opinion.

Ok the Convention Center.... I don't want to delve into this more than any of you seem to either so I'll try to keep it short and my opinion out of it... Good point, Giambra was more the reason than anything else that it didnt get built. But there was very strong resistance from the preservation crowd if my memory serves me, and they do take some credit for helping stop it. And yes there has been development there and there are businesses there that are on tax rolls etc. All good things for sure. Theres no arguing that. But that neighborhood would not have just been destroyed or demolished and left. If your going to use those words you have to finish it. A new building/business would have been built or "developed" that would not have generated tax dollars but would have generated significant amounts of revenue for the county and new money spent by people visiting the area. Also a good thing.

Ok I'm stopping there.


Whatever, have any of the instances you mention impeded progress in Buffalo? I'm just trying to understand the big picture.

Using your Pearl Street Brewery example, I must say that I liked the whimsical Lake Effect Man; however, I know of many community planning boards in the country that would've prohibited this because of the sheer scale of the mascot. Would the Brewery have lost business or closed without their mascot?


To EasySon's example of Tielman's power trip about Campieri's awning, I'll add four more off the top of my head of reasons why many people dislike Tielman's influence.

The first three are examples of his anti-business government bullying using his power of the Preservation Board, and the fourth was pretty harmless because it was so stupid but I'll add it anyway. There's no doubt in my mind that dozens if not hundreds of complaints over the years against Tielman could be made similar to my first three if his whole record was examined.

I'll even number them, Colin-style:

1. Trying to stop Pearl Street Brewery from tasteful harmless changes they wanted to make to their own private property, such as some balconies to give customers nice views from inside, and display of the "Lake Effect Man" mascot. The Common Council overruled Tielman, fortunately, and let the business do what they asked.

2. Giving the Allentown neighborhood group what sounded like a ridiculous set of objections when they wanted to post some "welcome to Allentown" signs. I think they eventually put up a couple signs then gave up on the idea of more due to Tielman's meddling. Somebody can correct me if my recall is wrong about that last part.

3. Trying to use govt force to block demolition of an unremarkable, small, not even slightly historic, long vacant former doctor's office (which wasn't even built to the sidewalk) across from Brodo and Spot Coffee, owned by the landlord of those. Tielman tried to legally block demo of that under the pretence of claiming the long-vacant doctor's office was protecting a "historic alley" behind Wilson Farms. Fortunately, incompetence kept the city from enforcing Tielman's Pres Board order that it remain standing forever and it was demolished anyway as the owner wanted.

4. His crazy idea to build a taxpayer funded park on top of the Skyway.

The Kettle
The Kettle

Okay I get the nitpick stuff. Id be a little pissed if I spent tens of thousands restoring a home and I was badmouthed because my railing was not circa 1895. Thanks for giving a thoughtful response. Just keep in mind that his opinion is just that, opinion. He is not in a position of power and cannot impose that opinion on anybody other than is his tours and writings. He is simply one of many voices that influence the development process. Usualy what gets built is a compromise between what he asks for and what the the developer wants to build(see Erie Canal Harbor).

As far as the obstruction stuff, I will leave my opinion of the proposed Washington street convention center out of this discussion. Tielman did not stop the project Joel Giambra did. The Gorski admin were the ones pushing this thing through if he won re-ellection in 99 it would have been built. The Preservation Coalition did oppose this project but I doubt they would have succeeded in blocking it. They are simply not that powerful. The only thing they could have hoped for would be to influece the design of the building to make it more city friendly or save a few of the structures on the edge of the buildings footprint. I want to leave out my opinion if this was good or bad for the sake of this discussion but I cant help but note the neighborhood that was spared demolition has experienced millions of dollars of private sector residential and commercial investment since 99.

As for the awnings, I believe agree that that sort of thing is hair splitting and I for one would not be opposed it. But not that in spite of not having this awning Campieries (sp?) is alive and well.


EasySon, I'm not targeting you and not about to label you right or wrong. I just want to see the list of projects that couldn't go forward because of preservationists. (Yes, I remember reading about the Campieri awning; but, that's a minor example. I've been involved with similar issues regarding awnings, signage, storefronts, etc. across the country and many successful towns have guidelines regarding this stuff. This is normal.) Rather than rely on anecdotal evidence, though, I would like to see data since the 1970s that exposes the instances where preservation prevented progress. How did Buffalo suffer because of preservation attempts? (Of course, considering all the buildings torn down in the name of progress, Buffalo should be a boomtown by now.)

This issue is where a great city planner could come to the rescue.



I'm not going to let you have it, I just think that the owners who move into these buildings or plan improvements should do the due diligence prior to leasing or purchasing to understand what regulations govern their property. If you're in a historic district you're regulated by the historic ordinance and they have purview to comment on the items you've mentioned.

Regarding the convention center, there currently are multiple tax ratables operating where a publically run building would have been constructed. Not to say that there shouldn't be a new convention center, but a location that doesn't destroy urban fabric seems more appropriate in my eyes.


Actually I can think of a couple projects but mentioning it would be fruitless because as I said above the projects weren't "worthwhile" in Tim's or the Preservationsits eyes. And as soon as anyone here brings up any project they feel was worthwhile that was stopped you all would bash us over the head with a million reasons why they were bad. And thats exactly my point. Tim and the board dictate to everyone else what is and isn't worthwhile and acceptable and there is no room for any other opinion. There is no compromise.

But so you and pitbulls and Sack and Colin can have your fun telling us why were all wrong I'll name a few.

The proposed convention center and the issue of 1 awning or multiple awnings over, was it Campieri's, Pizza on Main?

The convention center issue addresses Colins request to name a project that would have demolished older buildings in need of repair.

Campieris or whatever pizza place that was is a good example of dictation to a property owner on what he can and cant do.

Don't get me wrong. Like I said Tim has done a lot of good and we need someone to make sure we don't lose anymore treasures like the Larkin Building. But its the perception that preservation is "my way or the highway" thats why people take issue with Tielman and the board.

Just my opinion. Now go ahead guys, let me have it.


But what 'worthwhile' structure or project has he or any preservationist actually halted? This issue comes up again and again on BRO and the only answer seems to be 'shovel-ready' land. I would love to see a spreadsheet that details all the projects that didn't go forward over the years because of the preservationists.


I think Onestar's comment sums up exactly why people don't like Tim. No compromise. You changed the railings on your home and they're not historically accurate? Blasphemy! They're terrible! You get the impression that he would fight to have the homeowner change the railings if he could. Even if the costs to that owner were astronomical. What if better or "more authentic" means more expensive and the property owner can't afford that? Then they can't make any changes at all and its worse. Then where are we?

Your comment "I can't think of anything worthwhile that Tim T has stopped." Sums up a lot of the problem. It might not be worthwhile to YOU but to others it is worthwhile and sometimes the minority opinion of Tim and/or the Preservationists halts the majorities efforts. Its the perception of an "our way or no way" attitude that frustrates people. Tim has done much good in the community as Sack mentioned above, (even though those places aren't exactly raking in the tourism dollars, which by the way is what this article is about) but sometimes it gets overshadowed by Tielman and the preservationists dictating to the rest of us what is or isn't worthwhile.


Still waiting for gaustad's list of "all of the run down buildings that [Tielman] obstructed for redevelopment."


No, I took the tour, he pointed out a palladium style window, then a palladium style window, then he stopped the bus and pointed out a ...palladium style window, from there we went through some streets in the Elmwood Village, stopped in front of a very nice house and he told us how the railings on the porch where bastardized and do not match the style or history [while the windows were open mind you, poor owners]. Then we had to hear how much he hated the Blue Delaware towers. The tour was a joke and I believe most of us were ready to jump off the damn thing, but we could'nt due to the fumes from the tail pipe.

The Kettle
The Kettle

Thanks Dan. As I have said in another post, Im not so sure why Tielman provokes a strong negative response from people. Many in the defeatist community label him "obstructionistst" as if somehow he and the rest of the preservation minded citizens are holding this town back. I cant think of anything worth while that Tim T has stopped. If he had that kind of power this town would be better off in my opinion. Instead he has managed to sway opinions of decision makers to make the above mentioned projects better and more authentic. He has also helped fight to protect several valuable structures that otherwise would be replaced with gravel and grass.


All places that tourists flock to...

Daniel Sack
Daniel Sack

If "BuffaloObesity" was not in the witness protection program we could know BO's real personna and just how much he has done for Buffalo tourism.

Tielman has saved and helped to save a good bit of what makes Buffalo a terrific place to live and visit.

Through the efforts of Tielman we have the Squire House, Metzger Building and other buildings at Main and Virginia, the real Commercial Slip, Webb Building, Plymouth Methodist Church (now Karpeles Manuscript Museum) and others.

Tielman successfully fought the modern cladding of the NY Telephone building on Franklin Street, he kept Bass Pro away from the valuable Buffalo River site, saved the Cobblestone District, fought for legislation for NY State Historic tax credits and Historic Homeowners tax credits.

$100 million for the Richardson complex was granted by New York State because of Tielman's "obstructionism".


During the tours does Tim Tielman also point out all of the run down buildings that he obstructed for redevelopment and the quantify all of the money and tourist dollars that Buffalo has lost because of it....

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